By Nick Nilsson
Author of Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss
You've probably heard all these phrases before but are the fat burners containing ephedra that these claims are attached to really that effective and are they safe?
The primary ingredient in fat burners is the herb ephedra, also known as ma huang, or it's manufactured version ephedrine. It has been used in Chinese herbal medicine quite safely and effectively for thousands of years. It is often combined with synthetic or herbal versions of caffeine (e.g. guarana, yerba mate or kola nut) and aspirin (e.g. white willow bark).
Ephedra is no longer commercially available in the United States due to an FDA ban, but it is available in other countries.
Does ephedra help you burn fat?
The answer to that question is yes. Ephedra does effectively help the body to preferentially burn fat for energy. But, according to medical studies, there can be side effects, some of which are quite serious.
Ephedra works to burn fat through several means.
- Its chemical makeup increases the breakdown of fatty tissue for fuel.
- Its stimulatory properties help to increase resting metabolism. This process is known as thermogenesis, which is essentially excess heat production. You body burns more calories simply by producing more body heat.
- When ephedra is combined with caffeine and aspirin, it may have appetite suppressant effects.
- The nervous system stimulation you get can help you maintain your energy levels, which can aid you in your exercise program.
When used according to instructions and in moderate doses, studies suggest that fat-burning formulas containing ephedra, caffeine and aspirin can be safely and effectively used to SUPPLEMENT a good fat-burning program.
Fat burners should never be used as the sole means to achieve fat loss. A good fat loss program must also address diet and exercise, contrary to the hype you see on television and in print.
Anyone who relies solely on pills to lose fat is usually doomed to regain the lost weight and potentially quite rapidly after they stop taking the pills.
There is a reason for this weight gain. These pills are effective, therefore the person does not necessarily have to change the habits that made them overweight in the first place. When a person discontinues use of ephedra without changing those habits, almost inevitably the weight will come back.
The fat-burning effects of ephedra do not come without a price. Ephedra has a number of side effects.
Some of these side effects may include: jitteriness, sleeplessness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, skin flushing or tingling and nausea.
People who should not take ephedra include those suffering from heart disease, anxiety attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes, adrenal disease, thyroid disease or prostate disorders. If you are taking medication for high blood pressure or are taking antidepressants or MAO inhibitors, you should stay away from ephedra. Also, it is not recommended for pregnant women to use this herb.
Now that you know some of the pros and cons of taking ephedra supplements you, along with your doctor, can use this information to help decide whether or not ephedra is right for you.
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