Ephedrine: The Weight Loss Wonder Drug?

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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. THE CLAIMS: 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:/... ... middle of paper ... ...tp://www.gethuge.net/xen3.htm Bruno, A., Nolte, K.B., and Chapin, J. (1997). Stroke associated with ephedrine use. Neurology, 43, 1313-1316. Carek and Dickerson (1999). Current Concepts in the Pharmachological Management of Obesity. Drugs, 57(6), 883-904. Kreiger, D.R., Daly, P.A., Dulloo, A.G., Ransil, B.J., Young, J.B., Landsberg, L. (1990). Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirin Promote Weight Loss in Obese Subjects. Trans Associations of American Physicians, 103, 307-12. Theoharides, T.C. (1997). Sudden Death of a Healthy College Student Related to Ephedrine Toxicity from a Ma Huang – Containing Drink. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 17(5), 437-8. Zahn, K.A., Raymond, L. L., Purssell, R.A. (1997). Cardiovascular Toxicity after ingestion of Herbal Ecstacy. Journal of Emergency Medicine, 17(2), 289-291.

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