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Ephedrine is a stimulant ingredient that was once common to diet pills. The ingredient has since been associated with severe side effects, including heart attack.

Below we have reviewed ephedrine against our review criteria to help consumers make an informed decision.

Ephedrine review

Ephedrine Pros
  • Scientific studies have shown that it can aid weight loss
Ephedrine Cons
  • Linked with a long list of potentially severe side effects

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Ephedrine Review

Ephedrine, also referred to as Ephedrine HCl, is a chemical with a composition very similar to that of methamphetamine – or as it’s more commonly known, crystal meth. Ephedrine is illegal when sold in dosages over 8 mg in the US and Canada. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in America have also ruled it illegal to sell and market Ephedrine as a weight loss drug (since its main use is to provide cold relief, as it opens up the airways). As far as Ephedrine UK is concerned, it is only available from a registered pharmacy.

Claimed weight loss benefits

Ephedrine is an ingredient that has received a lot of media attention in the past. It used to be a fairly common addition to weight loss supplements that claimed to target appetite suppression. It can still be found in weight loss supplements in the UK, though usually in fairly small quantities; this is because the ingredient has been associated with severe, and potentially fatal, side effects

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How Ephedrine Works


The primary use of ephedrine in weight loss is as an appetite suppressant. The ingredient belongs to a group of substances known as sympathomimetics. These substances work in the body to mimic the effects of adrenaline (which is naturally found within the body) to make the body respond as if it is in danger. This means that the central nervous system is stimulated, which causes increases in blood pressure and heart rate.

In the brain, ephedrine is thought to prevent the re-uptake of neurotransmitters that are involved with appetite control – mainly norepinephrine. By changing the concentrations of these chemical messengers, or making the brain believe that the concentrations have been changed, even if they haven’t actually, the ingredient is said to make the brain signal to the body that it is not hungry. This effect could help to reduce the amount of food consumed during and between meals.

Ephedrine is often taken in conjunction with caffeine and aspirin in what are known as ECA stacks. The caffeine is said to increase the potency of Ephedrine’s effects and the aspirin prolong them. These stacks often contain relatively high amounts of Ephedrine and 200mg of caffeine – which is half of the 400mg recommended daily allowance for caffeine.

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Key Ephedrine Ingredients

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Ephedrine is often sold in its pure form, making it the sole ingredient in Ephedrine diet pills. Ephedrine is extracted from a plant called the Ephedra Sinica, known in China as the ma huang, where it has been used for thousands of years to relieve cold symptoms. Ephedrine is an alkaloid that increases the activity of the neurotransmitter noradrenaline and stimulates the release of dopamine. The substance is still commonly used as a prescription drug to treat respiratory conditions, including asthma.

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Clinical Studies

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Ephedrine has been the subject of a selection of clinical studies that have been undertaken in an attempt to test the safety and efficacy of the ingredient for weight loss. A clinical study is a trial that is performed on a substance by scientists under controlled conditions. These studies should then be published in reliable, peer-reviewed scientific journals.

One paper provides a handy meta-analysis of studies that have been performed on ephedrine for weight loss and athletic performance to date. The paper was published in 2003 and the authors identified a total of 52 controlled trials and 65 case studies from the literature that considered the effects of ephedra or ephedrine for weight loss or athletic performance, and any negative side effects associated with the substance using human subjects. The results of these eligible controlled trials were pooled and statistical analyses performed on the data. The results indicated that ephedrine could cause short-term weight loss when compared to placebo, but that it is also associated with an increased risk of heart palpitations, and psychiatric, autonomic, and gastro-intestinal side effects.

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Ephedrine Side Effects


Ephedrine has been associated with a number of side effects, some of which are very severe. The NHS lists side effects that can be experienced with use of the drug as a treatment for asthma. These include: circulation problems, insomnia, brain or central nervous system problems, tolerance and dependence, dry mouth, headaches, increased heart rate, anxiety, restlessness, cardiovascular problems, high blood pressure, tremors, nausea, and even heart attack.

It is recommended that if you suffer from any side effects, particularly those related to the cardiovascular system, you should stop taking the product and consult a doctor. There are also many groups of people who should not take the ingredient; these will be listed in the section below.

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How to Use

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Instruction on how to use ephedrine will vary depending on the precise product and the dosage. Some products will contain much more ephedrine than others and as such, should not be taken as often. Ephedrine is usually provided in capsule form, and so should be taken orally with a glass of water. Make sure that you read the instructions provided with the product carefully.

There are numerous groups of people who should not take ephedrine. These include: people who have a history of cardiovascular problems, including high blood pressure, have diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney or prostate problems, thyrotoxicosis, or closed angle glaucoma. Those who are eldery should avoid the substance, as should those who are taking (or have taken in the last two weeks) monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Do not take ephedrine if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or under the age of 18. It is recommended that everybody consult a doctor before taking ephedrine due to its potentially severe side effects, particularly if you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking any medications.

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Who Makes It?

Ephedrine is made and sold by a number of different companies. It is very important that you find a reliable source of ephedrine and do not buy products that contain high quantities of the ingredient as this could be dangerous. Ephedra is not available from any well-known high street stores in the UK, and can only be purchased from online sources. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you do not get caught up in a scam. In order to avoid scams, do not sign up to any ‘free trials’, ensure that the contact details for the company are readily available, and that the product has been made under reliable manufacturing standards. Also make sure that you can access the details of the product manufacturer, not just the retailer, and look for independent reviews of both companies.

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Where to Buy Ephedrine


Ephedra is not sold as a supplement from any well-known high street stores in the UK. Instead, it is only available from lesser-known online sources. If you are certain that you’re going to buy ephedra, look for a product that does not contain high quantities of the ingredient. Remember that the FDA has banned ephedrine for use for weight loss in the USA based on evidence that the potential side effects outweigh any potential benefits.

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Does Ephedrine Meet our Approved Criteria

Money-back-guarantee: This depends on which retailer you opt for, but ephedrine is not available from any high street stores in the UK.

One-off payment: This depends on which retailer you opt for, but ephedrine is not available from any high street stores in the UK.

Manufacturing Standard: This depends on which retailer you opt for, but ephedrine is not available from any high street stores in the UK.

Accompanying Diet Plan: This depends on which retailer you opt for; ephedrine may be most effective when used alongside a diet plan.

Ingredients and quantities disclosed: This depends on which retailer you opt for.

Company contact details readily available: This depends on which retailer you opt for, but ephedrine is not available from any high street stores in the UK.

Ephedrine does not meet our ‘Approved’ criteria as it is banned by the FDA for weight loss purposes and is not sold by any reliable retailers in the UK.

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Overall Verdict

Ephedrine has been shown in scientific studies to help people to lose weight. However, the substance comes with a selection of side effects, some of which could be very dangerous and even fatal. There are many groups of people who should not take the substance, and we recommend that everybody should consult a doctor before taking ephedrine if they are considering it. The substance has been banned for sale for weight loss in the US and is not sold by any reliable retailers in the UK.

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