Want to buy ECA Xtreme for weight loss? Your hard earned money is better spent elsewhere. While this product from Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals claims to provide the ECA Stack formulation that has been rigorously proven to promote fat burning, ECA Xtreme does not in fact contain real ephedra. Instead, ECA Xtreme (or ECA Extreme as it is sometimes called) is an ephedra extract supplement without the active ingredient of ephedrine alkaloids. It would be like marketing decaffeinated coffee as an effective way of staying awake!
To clarify this key distinction, let’s take a look back at the ephedra sinica herb that ephedra comes from. This plant, sometimes referred to as Ma Huang, is made up of a number of chemical alkaloids that are known to provide medicinal benefits. The Chinese have been using ephedra to treat colds, influenza, and respiratory disorders for other 10,000 years. But it was not until the late 1800’s that the ephedra alkaloids were isolated an analyzed for their chemical structures.
At this time, it was discovered that the main compound responsible for bestowing ephedra sinica with its heath boosting effects was the ephedrine alkaloid. Ephedrine is the reason why ephedra does work to boost the metabolism and burn fat. For many years, herbal ephedra continued to be sold in the US and around the world to help millions of individuals lose weight fast.
However, it was subsequently discovered that taking natural ephedra with all of its alkaloids acting together caused an unacceptable number of side effects. Natural supplements are also universally known to be difficult to keep free of impurities and to regulate for proper dose sizes. Isolated ephedrine HCL can give you the same weight loss results with much less risk of adverse side effects. This is why the FDA banned ephedra, but continues to allow ephedrine HCL to be sold subject to certain restrictions.
If you know anything about the 2004 ban on the sale of Ephedra in the United States, you might be wondering how supplements like ECA Xtreme can continue to be sold. When the Food and Drug Administration made ephedra illegal, it specifically banned products containing ephedra alkaloids. That means any ephedra sinica supplement with ephedrine alkaloids is not legal. But products that sell ephedra without these alkaloids are legal. These new ephedra supplements are usually marketed as “extracts” but just like decaffeinated coffee doesn’t have any caffeine, ephedra extract does not have any actual ephedrine in it.
Since that time, a number of unscrupulous “ephedra extract” products have entered the market purporting to provide identical weight loss benefits. But this is simply not true: when you remove ephedrine from ephedra, you lose the thermogenic effect of the supplement. Because ECA Xtreme is sold with this inert form of ephedra, it will not help you lose weight.
If you do want to make use of an ECA Stack for weight loss, most dieters will buy pure ephedrine HCL and then combine it with caffeine and aspirin to build their own stack. Ephedrine HCL can be purchased in the US so long as it is sold in 8 mg doses or less and packaged as a decongestant. Typical ECA Stack dosages consist of 25 mg of ephedrine, 200 mg of caffeine, and 75 mg of aspirin, but you may find you achieve better results with a different ratio. It is best to check with your doctor before taking any diet pills and be vigilant for symptoms of side effects. The American Medical Association reports that ephedrine and caffeine can help you burn an average of 2.2 pounds per month and best results will be seen in conjunction with diet and exercise
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- Astrup A, et al. Pharmacology of thermogenic drugs. Am J Clin Nutr. (1992)