Research Paper On The Dietary Supplement Ephedra.

2084 words - 8 pages

Research PaperWouldn't it be nice to pop a pill, stretch out in a BarcaLounger and incinerate calories like a long-distance runner? That's one of the many statements that manufactures of dietary products claim ephedra can do for someone. Ephedra is an herb which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years and is considered the world's oldest medicine. Ephedra is used as a dietary supplement to help stimulate metabolism and suppress appetite. Over $16 billion spent annually on dietary supplements is devoted to weight-loss aids containing ephedra. Ephedra is a hit with athletes, particularly bodybuilders and the average person wanting to lose a little weight. But the lawful use of ephedra as a dietary supplement has been debated for a number of years. It is a fact that people have died and become sick from the use of the product. It is also a fact that athletes as well as common individuals have used ephedra to lose weight as it is intended without death or any illness. I believe that the dietary supplement ephedra should be banned in the United States based on the fact that it can cause death, personal illness, and also because the use of ephedra as a dietary supplement is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.Ephedra should be banned because the improper use of the product can cause serious illness or even a result in death. In the last few years a couple of well known athletes have died from the use of ephedra, one of which was Steven Bechler, a twenty-three year old starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. Bechler, "... fell ill Feb.16 during a workout at fort Lauderdale stadium in Florida, where he was hoping to be picked up for a second season by the Baltimore Orioles. The next morning he died of complications from heatstroke... Dr. Joshua Perper, the medical examiner who autopsied Bechler, used the right-hander's death to call for a crusade. After finding a weight-loss supplement in Bechler's stomach, Perper held a press conference and urged Major League Baseball to ban ephedra, a controversial herb found in the supplement that is similar to amphetamines" (Time, pg.60).There are many players and owners who still debate on whether ephedra should be banned or not. "Many major leaguers told reporters last week that they take ephedra to improve performance. 'It's a good supplement if taken right', Bechler's teammate Jay Gibbons told the Baltimore sun" (Time, pg.60). Some doctors claim that there were more factors in Bechler's death; some say that Bechler came into spring training overweight and was trying anything to shed the extra pounds. Bechler also exceeded the required dosage on the dietary supplement. Others claim Bechler should have never taken the supplement without consulting a physician.If ephedra is a safe dietary supplement, why has it killed several athletes in recent years? All three of the athletes that died in the last couple of years, had some form of ephedra in their systems. Most of the...

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