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Ephedrine and caffeine - Still quite popular among bodybuilders cutting fat
Posted: 02 February 2006 01:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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This seems to be very popular among bodybuilders trying to trim fat from their bodies pre-contest, etc. Have their been any more studies about it since ephedra was taken off the market?

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Posted: 02 February 2006 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Nynavae,

I’ve seen a couple of studies published since then.

I think the studies were done before it was removed.

I believe that ephedrine and caffeine is both safe and effective.

All of the documented cases of severe adverse effects that I saw—heart attacks, strokes and death—were explainable. Most involved overdoses.

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Posted: 27 February 2006 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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May I say quickly that I’ve just found this site, and am thoroughly impressed!  Thank you, Larry, for providing this enormous service to the community.

Regarding ephedra/ephedrine:  it is my understanding that the ban has been lifted, and that it is now possible to legally purchase ephedra in full daylight.  wink  Not only have I heard of others purchasing it in stores, but I’ve ordered it from two American online shops who promoted it openly with loud proclamations that they could!

I was very pleased to hear of it’s availability, and feel perfectly safe taking it—moderation in everything, right?

Again, great site, Larry!

Sarah

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Posted: 27 February 2006 01:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It is a great site, and you will love the info!

As for ephedra, you are correct about the issue. I think there’s a cut off on the amount per dose in supplements now though, something like that? You have always been able to buy it in Primatine Mist and Bronkaid tablets though…25mg per pill.

Welcome to the board!

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Posted: 27 February 2006 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Sarah,

Thank you for your comments. I appreciate it.

You’re right about ephedra, although I believe it is limited to 10 mg per dose.

I have not looked at the products to see how much other stuff they are putting in them.

You can buy ephedrine tablets in some states, but not others.

By the way, 25 mg of ephedrine Hcl contains 20 mg of ephedrine and 5 mg of hydrochloride (Hcl).

This is the form that has been used in most of the ephedrine studies.

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Posted: 27 February 2006 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Sarah,

By the way, Primatene Mist contains epinephrine (adrenaline), not ephedrine.

Adrenaline used to be called adrenaline, but now it is called epinephrine, however, I still refer to it by the old name of adrenaline so that people don’t get confused between the two.

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Posted: 27 February 2006 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Sarah,

Regarding serious adverse effects of ephedra…

As I noted, all reports of serious adverse effects that I have seen with ephedra or ephedrine—ephedrine is the chemical found in the herb ephedra—where they have documented evidence, that is blood tests from which they can tell how much a person has taken, have involved overdoses.

You are right—everything in moderation.

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Posted: 28 February 2006 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Oh, I see. I thought ephedra and ephedrine were the same thing. I saw a box of primatene mist tablets on the shelf yesterday and I could swear it said ephedrine on it.

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Posted: 28 February 2006 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Clabbergirl,

You are correct.

Primatene tablets contain ephedrine and theophylline, whereas Primatene Mist contains adrenaline (epinephrine).

Theophylline is about twice as potent as caffeine at enhancing ephedrine’s effectiveness.

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Posted: 28 February 2006 08:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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And is there no discernable difference between ephedra and ephedrine?

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Posted: 28 February 2006 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Sarah,

Ephedrine and ephedra have a slightly different effect.

Most of the weight loss studies have used ephedrine tablets (ephedrine Hcl) combined with caffeine, and less commonly combined with theophylline, aspirin, aminophylline and green tea extract (EGCG plus caffeine).

I prefer ephedrine tablets just because that is what has been studied the most.

Tablets of ephedrine plus theophylline were the best selling asthma drug back in the 1960’s. So it’s got a lot of history behind its use.

Ephedrine tablets are also cheaper than ephedra products.

In 1994, you could buy ephedrine tablets for about 2 cents each. The price has gone up about 10-fold to roughly 20 cents a tablet because of all the state regulations, but they are still cheaper than most ephedra-based products. Most ephedra products that I have seen cost about $1 per day or more, although I have not looked recently since they have come back on the market.

Ephedra, the herb, contains ephedrine plus five other alkaloids related to ephedrine. Some of the ephedra products tested have high levels of some of these other alkaloids, which, in large amounts, can cause problems. I assume they do this because people may feel more stimulating effects and believe that they are working better than other products.

———-

One study found that ephedra contains an unidentified ingredient that seemed to make it slightly more potent at increasing thermogenesis. This suggests that ephedra might be more potent than ephedrine.

However, another study found that ephedra was slightly more toxic than ephedrine. This is not surprising since ephedra is slight more potent. However, I imagine that ephedra is probably similar in safety to ephedrine plus caffeine.

The reason I prefer ephedrine tablets to ephedra-based products is because you can duplicate exactly what the studies did, whereas every company tries to make their ephedra products unique by add a bunch of other things to try and make them more potent.

I’ve done research on ephedra and other ingredient for several companies and they thing they always want to know is, “How can we make it more potent?”

I don’t agree with this approach.

Trying to make a formula more potent reduces its window of safety.

For example, a classic in herbal medicine states that licorice root makes ephedrine more toxic.

Another way of say this is that it makes it more potent, therefore it takes a lower dose to have toxic effects.

For example, the estimated lethal dose of ephedrine is about 2000 mg, which is 100 times the recommended dose. However, when you combine ephedrine with aminophylline, which is similar to theophylline and caffeine, it reduces the estimated lethal dose to about 50 times the recommended dose.

So the more things you add to ephedrine—caffeine, theophylline, licorice root, citrus aurantium, etc—the more potent it becomes, but the lower the estimated lethal dose.

By the way, to put this into perspective, the estimte lethal dose of aspirin is 50 times the recommended dose, and for acetamenophin (Tylenol) is 25 times the recommended dose.

So ephedrine plus caffeine is, dose for dose, as safe as aspirin and twice as safe as Tylenol (acetamenophen).

———-

I disagree with combining ephedra with many of the ingredients found in most ephedra products.

I think you should just stick with what has been studied.

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Posted: 28 February 2006 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Great explanation about ephedra and ephedrine. I did not realize ephedra (or ephedrine) tablets were being marketed alone though. I thought they were being crammed into everything with willow bark, orange peel, etc., known to man!

Hmm.

Again, glad I found this site, and I can’t believe the rest of the dieting world isn’t here with us!

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Posted: 28 February 2006 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Clabbergirl,

Ephedrine tablets—ephedrine Hcl—are sold in some states in the U.S.

In states where you can buy them, they are sold alone or sometimes combined with theophylline as in Primatene tablets which are sold for asthma.

Ephedra capsules, which contain 1% to 6% ephedrine, may be available alone, but usually contain many other ingredients.

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Posted: 28 February 2006 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I have purchased ephedra capsules alone; they contain 25 mg. of ephedra and nothing else.

The willow bark, I thought, was a form of aspirin,  to accomplish the ECA (ephedra, caffeine, aspirin) stack when combined with guarana or something like it.  But you sure can get ephedra on it’s own.

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Posted: 01 March 2006 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Sarah,

Thanks for the info about ephedra capsules.

Regarding ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin (ECA), companies claim that it is the most effective, however, most of the studies have been done with just ephedrine and caffeine.

A couple of early studies combined ephedrine with aspirin or ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin, but the later studies—most of the studies—only used ephedrine and caffeine.

Most studies have used 20 mg of epehdrine combined with 200 mg of caffeine three times per day an hour before meals, but I think 3 doses a day is too much for most people.

I think most people would do fine with one or maybe two doses per day.

I also prefer ephedrine combined with green tea—90 mg of EGCG which is a component of green tea—and 50 mg of caffeine.

This combination is milder than 20 mg of ephedrine plus 200 mg of caffeine and in vitro studies—test tube studies—suggest that it is more effective than ephedrine and just caffeine.

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Posted: 01 March 2006 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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It seems like the ephedra (ephedrine?), caffeine, and aspirin (or willow bark, you are correct Sarah) is what most bodybuilding boards support. But like anything, people experiment.

I’m off to find some info about this oolong tea. I don’t put much faith in green tea for weight loss, but anti-oxidant benefits would be nice.

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