Ephedra Diet Pills: Are They Worth Taking?

Ephedra is an herb native to China, and has long been used to treat asthma and congestion. A stimulant and thermogenic, it helps you lose weight by increasing your metabolism and burning more calories. Ephedra diet pills were the mainstay of weight loss supplements for years before they were banned in the US and severely restricted elsewhere. This was due to the potential for deadly side effects such as stroke and other cardiovascular events.

Effectiveness

Several studies have shown that ephedra is at least somewhat effective for weight loss in the short term, up to about 2 pounds extra per month along with a weight loss dieting plan. However, it has not been shown to be effective in the long term and to keep weight off; many people just gain the weight right back again after they stop taking it.

Safety

Ephedra constricts blood vessels, raises blood pressure, and increases heart rate. As a result, people who already have high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease are putting themselves at risk of cardiovascular events like stroke or heart attack if they take ephedra. And there is evidence that even young healthy people can be affected. The push to ban ephedra in the US came shortly after Steve Bechler, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, died partilally due to complications from ephedra.

Availability

Since ephedra diet pills are banned in the US and heavily restricted elsewhere, they are very difficult to get. Coupled with the possibility of serious side effects and even death, they are probably not a good supplement to take for weight loss. Look into apple cider vinegar or Alli instead.