Considered one of the strongest fat burning supplements available on the market, NVE Pharmaceuticals’s Original Stacker 2 with ephedra has now been banned by the FDA. This product came with 25 mg of ephedrine alkaloids from herbal sources, 200 mg of caffeine alkaloids from kola nut extract, and herbal aspirin from while willow bark. That made it one of the best-selling ECA Stacks (ephedrine/caffeine/aspirin) in all of North America. It has now been replaced with an Ephedra-free Stacker 2, but many dieters and bodybuilders would prefer a legal alternative to this now unavailable supplement.
Ephedra Stacker 2 was used both to promote rapid weight loss and as a pre-workout energy and endurance booster. This herbal-based formula has been proven highly effective at boosting the metabolism and supressing the appetite. A 2002 study from Harvard and Columbia Universities looked at the combination of similar amounts of natural ephedra and caffeine from koala nut to what is seen in Stacker 2 Ephedra. They reported that individuals taking the ECA Stack combined with light exercise for 90 minutes a week lost on average 11.7 pounds of bodyweight over 6 months. Their publication further concluded that if used properly, ephedra causes weight loss without risk of severe side effects.
So how do you get the benefits of Stacker 2 with ephedra if this fat burner is now banned by the FDA? NVE Pharmaceutical has two other products sans ephedrine that they believe produce similar results: Stacker 2 Ephedra Free Diet Pills and Stacker 3 with Chitosan. Other products such as Yello Devils, Yellow Jackets, ECA Xteme, and Roxylean ECA have also been suggested as alternatives, but none of these contain real ephedra like Stacker 2. Many fans of the Original Stacker line of supplements have now looked to taking pure ephedrine HCL which is still legal according to US law.
In 2004 when the FDA banned all ephedra weight loss supplements, what they actually banned was the presence of ephedrine alkaloids in OTC diet pills. These alkaloids are the active component of the ephedra sinica plant. However, an exception was added for products containing ephedrine sold as nasal decongestants. You can buy pure ephedrine HCL (hydrochloride) as a hayfever or allergy treatment so long as the pills are in doses smaller than 8 mg each. Only a small number of brands meet this requirement, but Kaizen Ephedrine and Synergenex Ephedrine are considered two of the highest quality options in this category.
Many people who want to lose weight will take their ephedrine with a 200 mg dosage of caffeine and aspirin to recreate the ECA Stack ratio seen in Ephedra Stacker products. This actually works out to be a lot cheaper than buying pre-formulated supplements that use herbal sources of ephedra; you can buy a bottle of synthetic ephedrine HCL for as little as $10 each. If you want to give the original Stacker 2 with Ephedra blend a try, buying pure ephedrine is your best choice!
- Dunnick JK, et al. Cardiotoxicity of Ma Huang/caffeine or ephedrine/caffeine in a rodent model system. Toxicol Pathol. (2007)
- Kucio C, Jonderko K, Adamczak D. Effect of ephedrine on gastric emptying in obese patients. Pol Arch Med Wewn. (1991)
- Dulloo AG, Miller DS. The thermogenic properties of ephedrine/methylxanthine mixtures: human studies. Int J Obes. (1986)