Real ephedra diet pills are difficult to buy in the USA these days. Unfortunately, many of the ephedra fat burners available for sale currently use fake ephedra instead of the real thing. These products are much less effective for weight loss results since they use an inert version of the plant that does not contain ephedrine. However, if you do want to purchase a real ephedra supplement there are still options out there for you. This article will explain the difference between real and fake ephedra and tell you where many Americans are choosing to buy their ephedra diet pills from in 2013.
Real Ephedra vs. Fake Ephedra
Wondering what the distinction between real and fake ephedra supplements is? If you thought that all ephedra products were created equally, it might be a rude awakening to learn that there are many imposters out there. That is because there is more than one species of ephedra used in dietary supplements. All ephedra comes from a family of plants known as Ephedraceae, but only a small fraction of these plants contain the compounds that can promote weight loss.
The difference has to do with the content of the chemical ephedrine in a specific species of the ephedra herb. Ephedrine is the active ingredient in this plant that is responsible for raising your metabolism and burning away unwanted fat. Ephedrine works for weight loss because it is chemically indistinguishable to adrenaline when it comes in contact with certain receptors in your brain and body. These beta receptors are responsible for determining how much fat you are burning at any given time. By taking real ephedra with ephedrine, you trigger your body to break down more fat cells and convert them into energy. But ephedra plants that do not contain ephedrine cannot produce the same results.
The original type of ephedra used in diet pills and other herbal weight loss treatments was ephedra sinica – a Chinese species that is also known as Ma Huang. This Chinese ephedra species is what most people refer to when they use the term real ephedra, but the name also applies to other species like Ephedra Distachya and Sida Cordifolia. In general, any version of the ephedra herb that shows a high concentration of the ephedrine alkaloid is considered real ephedra and those species with little to no ephedrine are referred to as fake. You should avoid products listed with Ephedra Nevadensis or Ephedra Viridis as these fake species of the plant do not contain ephedrine alkaloids and cannot produce significant weight loss results.
Another type of ephedra product that is often labelled as fake ephedra is ephedra extracts. An extract is basically any variety of inert ephedra which has specifically had its ephedrine content removed. For example, some diet pills will advertise that they use a real ephedra species like Ma Huang, but further analysis shows that the ephedrine alkaloids have been removed. If you see any product mentioning “ephedra extract” in its list of ingredients, you can be assured that it is fake ephedra and is not worth your money.
Why Use Fake Ephedra?
Considering that fake ephedra has little to no value for weight loss and diet purposes, you might be wondering why supplement companies use this as an ingredient at all. In fact, this is the result of a legal loophole created by the FDA’s ban on certain types of ephedra in the USA. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration started banning real ephedra from all nutritional products and health supplements. When supplement companies discovered that fake ephedra with the ephedrine removed was still technically legal, they flooded the market with a new wave of products that satisfied this requirement. Diet pills and pre-workout bodybuilding supplements like ECA Xtreme, Black Mamba, Stacker 2 and Hellfire Eph 150 are perfect examples of this sleight of hand. The manufacturers are aware that ephedra without ephedrine is not proven to promote weight loss but continue to market their products on the strength and record of real ephedra.
Can You Buy Real Ephedra?
So if you want to use the real thing, how can you get your hands on ephedra with ephedrine? Due to the legal status of ephedra in the USA, these types of products can no longer be sold or imported into the country. However, the FDA does allow synthetic ephedrine to be sold in pure format in certain OTC products. Studies have shown that ephedrine on its own is much safer than taking the equivalent amount of herbal ephedra which contains many other chemicals that may interfere and cause unsafe side effects. That is why you can still purchase Kaizen Ephedrine or Synergenex Ephedrine online and use these pills for weight loss just as effectively as real ephedra. Just look for any 8 mg pure ephedrine HCL pill and you can legally purchase these products under US federal law for personal use.
- Shannon JR, et al. Acute effect of ephedrine on 24-h energy balance. Clin Sci Lond. (1999)
- Astrup A, et al. The effect and safety of an ephedrine/caffeine compound compared to ephedrine, caffeine and placebo in obese subjects on an energy restricted diet. A double blind trial. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. (1992)
- Astrup A, et al. The effect of ephedrine/caffeine mixture on energy expenditure and body composition in obese women. Metabolism. (1992)