What Is Ephedra And Ephedrine | Why The Switch To Ephedra | What To Expect | How Does It Work | Similar
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What Is Ephedra And Ephedrine | Why The Switch To Ephedra | What To Expect | How Does It Work | Similar To Ephedra | Ephedra Pills (25mg) | Ephedra Pills (50mg+) | Warnings And Side Effects | Disclaimer
Ephedra and ephedrine are two compounds with uses in traditional medicine for centuries to treat various ailments, including asthma, bronchitis, and respiratory problems.† In recent years, they have gained popularity as dietary supplements for weight loss and athletic performance enhancement. However, the use of these substances has been controversial due to safety concerns and adverse health effects.
In this blog, we will provide an overview of ephedra and ephedrine, their potential benefits and risks, and why ephedrine is no longer available in dietary supplements. We will also address common questions about ephedra and ECA stacks (ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin) and discuss the legal status of these substances in different countries.
Whether you are considering using ephedra and ephedrine for weight loss or athletic performance or want to learn more about these compounds, this blog will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about their use.
Ephedra, also known as Ma Huang, is a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The plant contains several active compounds, including ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine, which are believed to have medicinal properties.
In modern times, ephedra has become popular as a dietary supplement for weight loss and athletic performance enhancement. The plant may have thermogenic properties, which means it can increase metabolism and energy expenditure, leading to weight loss. Ephedra is also believed to improve athletic performance by increasing endurance and reducing fatigue.†
Some of the other names it goes by include:
- Cao Mahuang
- Desert Herb
- Ephedra sinensis
- Ephedra sinica
What Is Ephedrine?
Ephedrine is a stimulant alkaloid derived from the ephedra plant. Unlike ephedra, which contains multiple active compounds, ephedrine is a single isolated compound with uses in various medications for its bronchodilator and decongestant properties. It is commonly used to treat asthma, bronchitis, and nasal congestion.
Ephedrine has also been used as a weight loss supplement and athletic performance enhancer due to its ability to increase metabolism and energy expenditure. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the use of ephedrine as a dietary supplement in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to its potential health risks.
But there are other alkaloids in the ephedra plant, including (1)
Synthetic ephedrine compounds, such as pseudoephedrine, are widely used in over-the-counter cold remedies and are regulated as a drug. However, the regulation of ephedrine alkaloids derived from the herb itself is regulated as dietary supplements (until 2004). (2)
So what’s the difference between herb-sourced ephedrine VS synthetic ephedrine?
Research indicates that synthetic ephedrine may be more potent than the ephedrine alkaloids found in ephedra. This is because synthetic ephedrine is easily absorbed after oral administration, with peak plasma levels occurring within an hour of ingestion. (3)
As of February 9th, 2004, the FDA prohibited ephedrine alkaloids from sale in dietary supplements. The decision to ban ephedrine in dietary supplements was based on extensive research and numerous reports of adverse health effects associated with its use. These adverse effects included cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure, palpitations, and heart attacks. (4,5)
But here’s the thing about stimulants: almost all have vaso-constricting properties. This means that they can constrict blood vessels which may result in cardiovascular issues like rising blood pressure. At different dosages, you can experience different effects. For example, you may feel decongestant properties at low doses, which is why medicinal ephedrine is commonly seen at 25-50mg. (6)
However, at high dosages, you may experience an increase in blood pressure and other cardiac symptoms. But again, this isn’t limited to ephedrine and ephedra. That’s why it’s important to contact your doctor before taking stimulatory dietary supplements if you have a cardiac condition. (6)
So is it legal?
The simple answer is yes. Ephedrine is legal and can be purchased at your local pharmacy…as a decongestant. However, its use is highly regulated, and it should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Regarding sports and professional occupations that may require drug tests, you’re better off staying away from this ingredient and ephedra.
As we mentioned in the beginning, all stimulants, including all optical isomers, are prohibited by WADA. (7) And if you’re still unsure if you are clear, the best advice we can give you is not to risk it.
Stimulants like ephedra may have beneficial weight-loss properties. This is why it’s still so common to use ephedra pills now.
Some of these effects include:
- Appetite Suppression†
- Boosting Metabolism†
- Increased Energy†
Classically, ephedrine was used in combination with caffeine and aspirin for the ECA Stack. The ECA Stack was taken to promote weight loss and boost athletic performance.†
Both ephedrine and caffeine are central nervous system stimulants. Meaning they stimulate the CNS, which triggers the release of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is important to prep our bodies to make actions and fight-flight responses. Combining these two stimulants may also improve alertness, increase energy, and boost metabolism (8).
Aspirin, on the other hand, is a pain reliever. In an ECA stack, aspirin prevents the norepinephrine from decreasing. Essentially it helps maintain the effects of the stimulants.†
But was it effective?
Although ephedrine is effective on its own, when combined in the ECA stack, participants in a study lost approximately two more pounds per month. This may not sound like a lot, but it was a significant result. As for physical performance, there hasn’t been as much research on this question. Fortunately, in the same review, ephedra plus caffeine was seen as being just as effective as ephedrine plus caffeine. (8)
So what does that mean?
Although ephedrine is no longer available in dietary supplements, ephedra may be just as effective.†
In this section, we will compare ephedrine with our popular stimulants. But before we bring other stims into the mix, let’s discuss what’s left of ephedra pills without ephedrine.
While ephedrine was a major ephedra component, it’s not the only good alkaloid in it. In fact, ephedrine was only about 0.5% to 2.5% of the plant. (7) Ephedra is made of many other things like epicatechins, polyphenols (flavonoids), and catechins. (9,10,11)
Epicatechins, Polyphenols & Catchins:
Some of the benefits can include:
- Increased Blood Flow
- Improved Insulin Sensitivity
- Appetite Suppression
- Lower Cholesterol
- Muscle-Building properties
- Myostatin-Inhibiting Abilities
Glycosides are one of the flavonoids in ephedra. This molecule, after binding, helps improve absorption and uptake, which is why it’s commonly used in medicine. (16)
Catechins are commonly found in green tea. There are various catechins, but they are commonly used for fat oxidizing/weight loss. (17)
Ephedra also contains ephedrans, aka glycans. Glycans function as a protective stabilizer for cell-to-cell interactions. (18)
In mice, ephedrans significantly reduced blood glucose levels in normal and diabetic mice. (19) The interactions in humans are not well defined but could be a promising factor for weight loss than other fat-burning ingredients don’t dive into.
Additionally, ephedra contains tannins (what makes wine taste dry), specifically gallic acid. Gallic acid may aid in regulating body weight and glucose levels. (20) Other research shows that gallic acid may inhibit enzymes that metabolize drugs, allowing them to last longer. (21)
Above all, even without ephedrine, ephedra still has stimulatory properties.
How Does Ephedrine Work:
Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic compound, which means that it activates the sympathetic nervous system and increases the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline, leading to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolic rate. (22)
Finally, let’s get into the comparisons.
DMAA VS Ephedrine:
Like ephedrine, DMAA was a popular stimulant no longer in dietary supplements. Both ephedrine and DMAA are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and share some structural similarities. However, DMAA toxicity is described as being greater than ephedrine (but less than amphetamine). (23) They have similar uses because of their similarities in structure. In fact, they share the same medicinal uses as a nasal decongestant. However, these stimulants are both vasoconstricting substances. (24)
DMAA also shares structural similarities with adrenaline. Because of this, its mechanism may be adrenaline mimetic, inducing the same effects as adrenaline.† Unfortunately, direct studies on the pharmacokinetics of DMAA metabolism do not exist.
DMHA VS Ephedrine:
Similarly, DMHA was used as a nasal decongestant and is also vasoconstricting. The biggest difference between DMHA and ephedrine is DMHA is legal! But structurally, there are more similarities between DMAA and DMHA than with ephedrine. So how does DMHA work?
Due to it being a methyl group on the alpha carbon, it should have a half-life of about 9-11 hours. And it should act as a monoamine-releasing agent (MRA) of catecholamines like DMAA. This includes dopamine and norepinephrine.
Then DMHA binds to the trace amine-associated receptor 1. This will temporarily prevent the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine into the presynaptic nerve. By doing this, these catecholamines remain active in your body for longer. This attributes to the euphoric and wakeful feelings we get from ingredients like this. (25)
Amphetamine VS Ephedrine:
Amphetamine, similarly to ephedrine, releases stores of norepinephrine and dopamine. However, amphetamine can also release stores of serotonin. Amphetamines also prevent the monoamine transporters of dopamine and norepinephrine from recycling them. (26)
Popular Ephedra Pills Products:
Ephedra is actually a common ingredient in fat burners. So there are plenty of fat burners to pick and choose from!
Lipodrene with Ephedra by Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals:
Lipodrene Review By Micheal: “This is as close as I’ve come to finding a fat burner that is like the original Hydroxycut! Their might be others out there but I love this one!!”
Lipodrene Hardcore By Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals:
Lipodrene Hardcore Review By Michelle: “I was absolutely crazy about Krazi Burn until I found Lipodrene. I had these little bursts of energy throughout the day. Don’t take on an empty stomach or with coffee it really does kill cravings!!!”
Yellow Bullet By Brand New Energy:
Yellow Bullet Review By Aaron: “I just tried it today 3/15/23. First excellent hard workout in while. The bullet xtreme give me that extra kick in the “A**. I felt really comfortable working out today. I’m 60 soon to be 61 ouch! I look good I should be in Hollywood. Give me 3 months working with the yellow bullet. I’ll send you a picture k. I don’t use them everyday. I’d say my two a week. Only when I feel like I need that extra kick. Thank you very much. Keep up the excellent hard work. Thank for the sticker.”
Black Widow By Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals:
Black Widow Review By Alexandra: “So far, amazing…just received today and took one and was not hungry all day long….lots of energy!!!! Amazing…love it!!!”
ECA Xtreme By Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals:
ECA Xtreme Review By Kelly: “Great energy without the Jitters. Around down 4lbs.”
Stimerex ES By Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals:
Stimerex ES Review By Linda: “This is the other product I like other than Stimerex Hardcore. Both work well for me. Sometimes my second dose of the day I cut in half depending on how I feel.”
Stimerex Hardcore By Hi-Tech Pharmaceutical:
Stimerex Hardcore Review By Linda: “I’ve been waiting for these to be back in stock. Of all the products I’ve tried, this is the one I like the best. Feel good, Appetite suppressant, energy :-)”
China White By Cloma Pharma:
China White Review By Soo gyoung: “i love it. i regularly buy this product. thank you”
Methyldrene 25 by Cloma Pharma:
Methyldrene Review By Spencer: “Love this product. Helps with appetite but mostly love it for the energy boost needed to get through the day”
Methyldrene Elite By Cloma Pharma:
Methyldrene Elite Review By Lauren: “Methyldrene works really fast and it doesn’t give the jitters or heart flutter like other products I have taken in the past. I take one capsule in the morning and another in the afternoon and thankfully I don’t have problems getting to sleep at night. Other products have kept me up into the wee hours. I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight and greatly recommend Methyldrene! It gives a nice jump of energy to get through the day. I’m about to order another bottle right now. Thanks!”
Black Spider By Cloma Pharma:
Black Spider Review By Sal: “This gives me great, jitter-free energy without a crash. I can study, work out or get housework done. Very nice price too.”
Asia Black By Cloma Pharma:
Asia Black Review By Brianna: “I take these for energy to get through my 12 hour shifts, and they work great! They may not last the full 12 hours, sometimes, but there is absolutely no crash. I do not see myself taking anything else anytime soon.”
ECA ELITE By Brand New Energy:
ECA Elite Review By Austin: “Works well but it is strong. Not for everyone.”
Ultimate Orange By Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals:
Ultimate Orange Review By Kyle: “low caffeine HIGH Everything else. tastes super good too!”
Diablos ECA By Innovative Labs 50mg of Ephedra:
Diablos ECA Review By George: “I bought this fat burner since Hellfire has been out of stock for a while, and I was pleasantly surprised by how similar this is to Hellfire. It is a little lower in the ephedra content, but this felt a lot better than the Hellfire did. I think I just found my new fat burner of choice!”
Yellow Bullet Xtreme By Brand New Energy:
Yellow Bullet Xtreme Review By Debbie: “These fat burners are incredibly strong. I have been using ephedria based product for years and the first time I took these I was jittery and nauseous for hours. Going forward I emptied the capsule into two doses, and this was just the right amount for me. They are brilliant though, gives you energy, decreases appetite and increases focus. I do recommend, just be careful taking them if you are not aware what your dosage point should be.”
Methylzene By Brand New Energy:
Methylzene Review By Amy: “Gives me great energy to get things done during my day and helps with cravings. This is a wonderful product!”
Black Mamba By Innovative Labs 65mg of Ephedra:
Black Mamba Review By Rob: “I basically began taking this as a pre workout, and the energy I receive is unmatched! It is not too powerful, but it is not weak either. You can really feel the ephedra working. I sweat like crazy during my workouts now. I highly recommend for energy and weight loss.”
Black Viper By Dragon Pharma 75mg of Ephedra:
Black Viper Review By Ulysses: “It arrived without any problems. I prefer to buy directly from sameday supplements because I am sure it is an original product and within its expiration date. Happy with the purchase.( Chegou sem problemas. Prefiro comprar diretamente na sameday supplements por ter certeza de se tratar de um produto original e dentro da validade. Feliz com a compra.”
EPH 100 By Brand New Energy 100mg of Ephedra:
EPH100 Review By Danillo: “One of the best thermogenics I’ve ever tried, high concentration of extract, really different from others, disposition, focus and mood improvement, very potent!”
Hellfire By Innovative Labs 150mg of Ephedra:
Hellfire Review By Ricardo: “Feel a lot of energy, no crash, youre not gonna feel hunger for more than 8 hours straight, excellent for very low carb diet and lose weight fast. Dont overdose, 2 pills max on 24 hour, 1 in the morning , the other one no more late than 4:00pm or your gonna stay awake all night. Eat healthy , and drink a lot of water.”
This marks the end of our ephedra VS ephedrine post! To help wrap things up, if you’re dabbling in fat burners and want to try one of the ephedra pills, we recommend sticking within the 25mg range. However, if you’re an experienced user and looking for the max, Hellfire or EPH 100 is the fat burner for you!
Thank you for reading! And as always, if there was something that wasn’t clear, another question you might have, or if you have another idea for a blog, Email Us!
Are you looking for more to read? Check out some of our other blogs!
- Tricaprin, Caprylic Acid, and MCT Oil Supplements
- The Science Behind Minoxidil
- Is Crack Pre Workout Safe to Use?
- Lipodrene VS Lipodrene (What to know in 2023)
Not for use by individuals under the age of 18 years. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing. Individuals who consume caffeine with this product may experience serious adverse health effects.
These products can raise your blood pressure and interfere with other drugs you may be taking. Talk to your doctor about this product.
These products contain ingredients that may be banned by some sports organizations and/or increase the risk of a false positive on a drug test. Please consult with your sports organization or physician before taking these products.
Individuals who consume caffeine with these products may experience serious adverse health effects. Individuals sensitive to caffeine’s effects should consult a licensed healthcare professional before consuming this product.
Do not consume synephrine or caffeine from other sources, including but not limited to;
- other dietary products or medications containing caffeine or phenylephrine
Do not use it for more than eight weeks. Consult with your physician prior to use if you are taking medication, including but not limited to
- MAOI inhibitors
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- products containing phenylephrine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, or other stimulants
Consult your physician prior to use if you have a medical condition, including but not limited to;
- heart, liver, kidney, or thyroid disease
- psychiatric or epileptic disorders
- difficulty urinating
- high blood pressure
- cardiac arrhythmia
- recurrent headaches
- enlarged prostate or glaucoma
Discontinue two weeks prior to surgery or if you experience:
- rapid heartbeat
- severe headache
- shortness of breath
In case of accidental overdose, seek professional assistance or contact a poison control center immediately. Avoid alcohol while taking this product. Exceeding recommended serving may cause serious adverse health effects, including heart attack and stroke. Improper use of this product may be hazardous to a person’s health.
†Please note the intention of the information provided is for reference only. Furthermore, we are in no way providing medical advice or instruction. Instead, the information provided in this guide/blog utilizes anecdotal information and available studies/reviews. While we aim to maintain and display accurate information, we can’t guarantee it represents the latest product formulation or information. Therefore, please visit the manufacturer’s website if you have any concerns. Also, the information above does not represent our views here at Same Day Supplements. Instead, these are the manufacturers’ and users’ views and information. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. Finally, these products aim not to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease or illness.
The post Ephedra Pills Vs Ephedrine: The Biggest Differences Today appeared first on Supplement Reviews Blog.