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The Adverse and Deadly Effects of EphedraWe’ve highlighted the risk of various diet pills and drugs for the European Action on Drugs and now we’re going to go in depth on one of the more scarier diet drugs: Ephedra. With the increasing obesity problem in the world many will turn to drastic measures when it comes to dieting. Unfortunately, most of the time these measures are unsafe with short lasting effects. Diet pills may offer some benefits when it comes to weight loss; however, unless prescribed by a doctor and carefully regulated the adverse side effects of diet pills often outweigh the benefits. Ephedra is a Chinese herb that when combined with caffeine provides the user with weight loss. The United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) discovered, “that supplements containing Ephedra show little evidence of effectiveness, except for short-term weight loss [i].” Studies have shown that Ephedra can help dieters lose up to 2 lbs a month.[ii] The pounds lost per month with Ephedra are quite minimal especially when Ephedra’s negative side effects are taken into consideration. In the late 90’s, concerns over the serious side effects of Ephedra started to arise and the FDA found that, “the herbal substance raises blood pressure and stresses the circulatory system. These reactions have been linked to serious health problems, including heart ailments and strokes.[ii].” Other known side effects of Ephedra are:
- Abdominal Discomfort: nausea, vomiting, and irregular bowel movements
- Psychological Effects: anxiety, insomnia, hallucinations, mania, depression, agitation, and delirium
- Heart Problems: Irregular heart rhythms, damage to the heart muscle, heart attack, and high blood pressure
- Kidney Problems: kidney stones, pain when urinating, difficulty urinating
You should always try to diet in a healthy way that involves daily exercise and portion control of nutritious meals. Make sure to give yourself and your body time to adjust to your new lifestyle. The negative and possible deadly effects of Ephedra aren’t worth the risk. What every dieter needs to remember is that losing weight means a lifestyle change and not a quick, diet drug fix.
[ii] Boozer C, Daly P, Homel P, Solomon J, Blanchard D, Nasser J, Strauss R, Meredith T (2002). "Herbal ephedra/caffeine for weight loss: a 6-month randomized safety and efficacy trial". Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 26 (5): 593–604. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802023. PMID 12032741.