If you’ve taken a close look at the ingredients label of many of the ephedra weight loss supplements in your local health store, you might have notice a seemingly innocuous reference to “Ephedra Extract”. Since 2004, this has become the industry standard way of labeling ephedra-based fat burning products. These diet pills are usually marketed on the proven results of the ephedra sinica herb for dropping unwanted pounds. Dozens of clinical studies and thousands more user reviews have attested to this natural plant’s ability to help them lose weight. However, most of these extract supplements do not provide real ephedra and many have NO ephedrine alkaloids at all! Here’s how to tell the difference between real and fake ephedra and make sure that you buy ephedrine alkaloids fat burners.
The first thing that you need to know about ephedra fat burning supplements is that there are over 50 different unique species of the ephedra plant. Some of these species work better than others at promoting weight loss while many have no proven effectiveness at all! The determining factor for whether a specific species of ephedraceae will help you drop unwanted pounds has to do with how much ephedrine content is found in the stems, leaves, and seeds of the plant. Ephedrine is basically the chemical alkaloid agent found in ephedra that causes all of the known health benefits such as increased metabolic rate.
Ephedrine is only found in certain varieties of the ephedra herb, such as ephedra sinica or ma huang which comes from China. Whenever you hear someone talking about “real ephedra” they are usually referring to this Chinese version of the herb. Comparatively, all of the species of the ephedra plant that grow natively in North America have trace amounts of ephedrine at best and most contain none at all. According to the Phytochemical Database from the US Department of Agriculture, plants such as Ephedra Viridis, Ephedra Nevadensis, or Mormon Tea all fall into this category. But these herbs can technically still be called “ephedra”.
As a result, many so-called ephedra diet products do not use real ephedra in their ingredients. That means that they don’t actually contain any ephedrine alkaloids for sale. Several studies from around the world have found that ephedrine HCL can cause as much as 26 pounds of weight loss in a single year. But NONE have established those results for ephedra extract without ephedrine. Think of ephedra extract like coffee that has had its caffeine remove.
Ripped Ma Huang by Energy Nutrition publicizes itself as providing all the key ingredients of the Ripped Fuel with Ephedra product which is no longer available in the USA. It claims to have a whopping 167 mg of ma huang extract with a standardized dose of 10 mg ephedra alkaloids. Despite this persuasive marketing, Ripped Ma Huang has been tested not to contain ANY ephedrine alkaloid – making it somewhat like drinking decaffeinated coffee to help you stay awake.
Consider the popular Yellow Bullet diet pills from Delta Health which uses 25 mg Ephedra Nevadensis instead of ephedra sinica. Or the Stimerex EX 25 which uses Sida Cordifolia Extract with no ephedrine alkaloids. These supplements are not alone: Sports One’s Pure Mahuang, Red Volt Ephedra Tablets, and Ultimate Burn from Schwartz Labs (which goes so far as to call itself an “ephedrine diet pill”) are also all ephedrine-free.
Perhaps the worst perpetrator in this class is BPI’s Roxylean ECA which markets itself on the strength of the popular ECA supplement stack which is known to be even more effective than ephedrine on its own. Ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin when taken together are known as an ECA Stack and Roxylean ECA markets itself as containing 686 mg of “ECA Proprietary Blend” in its ingredients. But not only does this supplement contain no ephedrine, it also contains no ephedra at all!
So how do you actually tell if a supplement has real ephedrine? It is difficult in the USA to find dietary products containing ephedrine alkaloids for sale due to FDA restrictions. Typically, anything advertised as containing “ephedra extract” or “ephedra alkaloids” does not have real ephedrine. But you can still buy pure ephedrine to then add to any other supplements that you choose to use. The important thing to look for is the ephedrine alkaloid content of any pills or capsules that you buy. Brands such as Kaizen and Synergenex are known to provide 8 mg of pure ephedrine hydrochloride in each tablet. So if you want to buy ephedrine alkaloids to help you lose weight, look for these brands as approved sources of this fat burning compound.
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- Dulloo AG, Miller DS. The thermogenic properties of ephedrine/methylxanthine mixtures: animal studies. Am J Clin Nutr. (1986)
- Astrup A, et al. Contribution of BAT and skeletal muscle to thermogenesis induced by ephedrine in man. Am J Physiol. (1985)