Ephedra Essay

1228 words - 5 pages

The issue of obesity has become a major issue in mainstream America. As the issue explodes into society, so to do the solutions to the problem. Dieting has become a marketable product that companies are able to profit from. The perception of the "ideal" body is one that is lean and muscular looking and that is the exact image that is portrayed throughout the media. People see this image and they are overcome with a desire to resemble that "ideal figure". There are many different dieting techniques being sold right now to assist obese people to lose weight. One major drug that has become the most popular with dieters looking to lose weight fast is ephedrine. In 2003, The Food and Drug Agency effectively banned all forms of ephedrine in over the counter dieting supplements (FDA, 2003). Ephedrine is a stimulant that increases the heart rate, similarly to a large quantity of coffee being consumed. Combined with exercise, ephedrine increases the drive to work out by pumping blood throughout the body more quickly which in turn causes one to sweat more. This causes weight to come off more quickly because it causes you to be constantly active and you get more out of a workout than you normally would. Ephedrine is a very popular stimulant, estimated to be used by over 12 million people. While the popularity of ephedrine grew, it was never approved by the Food and Drug Agency, which raised the question of its safety in everyday use. Studies done by scientists at UCSF showed that weight loss with the aid of an ephedrine supplement was only temporary. Furthermore, the body becomes more tolerant of ephedrine as its use is continued therefore requiring the user to eventually begin using a higher dosage of the product in order for it become effective. (USCF, 2002) Ephedrine is particularly dangerous to those who suffer from high blood pressure and sometimes even lethal. The FDA received 140 reports of problems with ephedrine, of those 140, 43 people reported symptoms. Of those 43, 3 died from cardiac arrest. The 3 people that died also suffered from high blood pressure. (UCSF, 2002) The dangers of ephedrine combined with high blood pressure is hazardous because it causes the heart to pump at an almost fatal rate. For those that do not have high blood pressure ephedrine is still dangerous to your health. The unnatural induction of a stimulant to increase the heart rate of the body is potentially dangerous to anyone, even those in perfect health. Thus the question is raised as to why people still keep taking this dangerous drug even though it has been ruled illegal and unsafe by the FDA and can be deadly. Studies on those whom are obese show that they believe they are influenced to look a certain way because of the media. (Kiell, 299) Obese people are made to think that they are different and that they represent the negative image of American society (301). This negative image that is forced upon those whom are obese drives...

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