Ephedrine: The Weight Loss Wonder Drug?

2997 words - 12 pages

Ephedrine: The Weight Loss Wonder Drug

An increasing number of people are using products to enhance their diets. A recent estimate indicates, “Americans are spending some $6 billion annually on nutritional supplements, and the market is growing by 20% every year” (Zahn, 1997). Of these supplements, the increase in herbal remedy use is most dramatic. Zahn holds that the increase can be attributed to the widely held belief that herbal substances are healthy and harmless because of their natural origins (1997). Unfortunately, research on these supplements, herbal or otherwise, has not transmitted to the public as quickly as the diet enhancers themselves. The phenomenon leaves many consumers misguided by skewed advertising and uninformed about the potential risks involved in ingesting these seemingly harmless, over the counter substances. The following is an attempt to look at one particular herbal supplement, Ma-Huang (active ingredient, ephedrine), more critically.


What is MaHuang?

MaHuang is an herbal supplement found in products such as Metabolife and SoBeTrim, which claim to stimulate weight loss. It is available in the form of a pill, a powder, or a liquid and is often used in combination with other drugs such as caffeine and aspirin. In addition to being used in weight loss supplements, MaHuang is also promoted as “natural ecstasy” (Theoharides, 1997) and is often abused under this guise. MaHuang as “herbal ecstasy” is also called ultimate X-phoria or Cloud 9 (Zahn, 1997).

What does Ma-Huang (Ephedrine) claim to do?

Produces euphoria ! (White, et al 1997) & (Zahn, 1997)
Enchances energy levels ! (Zahn, 1997) http://www.gethuge.net/xen3.htm
Aids in weight loss ! (Zahn, 1997) http://www.bennrye.com/dietfuel3.html
Heightens awareness ! (Zahn, 1997)
Increases sexual sensations ! (White, et al 1997) & (Zahn, 1997)
Enhances Physical Performance ! http://www.gethuge.net/xen3.htm
Increases Mental Alertness ! http://www.bennrye.com/dietfuel3.html
Stimulates Fat Burning Metabolism.! http://www.ephedra.demon.nl/
Lose weight by feeling less hungry ! http://www.bennrye.com/dietfuel3.html
Burn stored fat! http://www.gethuge.net/xen3.htm
Reduces appetite ! http://www.ephedra.demon.nl/
Control sugar and carbohydrate cravings ! http://www.sobediet.com/html/tools.html
Preserve lean muscle tissue ! http://www.gethuge.net/xen3.htm
Helps you stop smoking! http://www.ephedra.demon.nl/

These claims were made by various web-sites that sell products containing MaHuang or Ephedrine. Although each web-site states it differently,...

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