Ephedra is a shrub, known as Ma Huang in China, that is a natural stimulant drug. Ephedra products and ephedrine can be purchased illicitly for help with weight loss and athletic performance. In both the USA and Canada, ephedrine products are restricted for sale. In Canada ephedrine is only available in the form of an 8ml nasal decongestant.
Ephedrine and a related substance pseudo ephedrine have been used for horse doping in the past, a powerful stimulant similar in effect to adrenaline. Ephedrine is the base used by illicit producers of amphetamine and meth drug.
Ephedra is a psychostimulant that releases a dopamine high – all psychostimulant drugs have the potential to become addictive. Ephedra is sold illicitly, with no warning labels, as a weight loss and performance enhancer.
In 2003, Rand Health conducted an extensive study of ephedra effects. Ephedra was found to have a modest impact on weight loss for the first few months. As a sports enhancer there were no specific studies on ephedra – analysis of results for ephedrine in sport concluded that there was no overall improvement in athletic performance.
Due to its stimulant properties, ephedra continues to be used for weight loss. Ephedra achieves nothing that the naturally occuring adrenaline hormone can’t do by way of providing mental and physical stimulation. It is tempting to use Ephedra as a drug to stimulate the body metabolism, and so bring about weight loss, in the very short term. However, there is far more to healthy weight loss than disposing of body fat.
To maintain a healthy weight requires due attention to diet, with the mediterranean diet being the most widely recommended to bring good health and fitness to the sedentary lifestyles that we have today. Losing body fat is important, but muscle tone and an exercise regime are also essential parts of a successful weight loss plan. Often the side effects of Ephedra, such as anxiety, nausea, an inability to settle and nervous iriitability negate the pleasure of weight loss benefits. Lacking an adequate diet with weight loss exacerbates the nervous debility that ephedra use creates.
There is no need of weight loss supplements to burn off excess calories – provided a person takes in fewer calories than they use – weight loss will occur over a period of time. Safe weight loss means using natural methods to bring weight under control and improve general health.
Ephedra used for performance enhancement has been questioned for many years yet still body builders, sportsmen and women, athletes use ephedra or ephedrine to hopefully boost energy levels and improve physical performance. As early as 2001, Powers of the University of Florida studied the use of ephedra to enhance performance, finding that for both safety and for efficacy, manufacturers claims were not supported. The side effects of ephedra are like amphetamine – leaving nervous depletion, muscle fatigue, tremors and cardiac risks.
The use of ephedra supplements for weight loss and performance enhancement is an issue that highlights the modern need for quick fix options by which we try to achieve optimal conditions, excellent results whilst failing to do the natural things that would make good results happen.
The idea that we can lose weight, yet continue to ingest an excessive amount of calories – that we will inevitably store as fat – is something of a contradiction in terms of natural reality, we are in conflict as between the outcome we want and the food that we put into our body.
Similarly, with sports performance enhancement, or using ephedra merely to stay awake, means that whatever we manage to achieve is tainted by the use of an unnatural product. We cannot make claim to a personal best, if it is achieved by artificial stimulation. Our bodies with weight loss are not fit and healthy if all that we do is to eat our usual food, and swallow a dose of ephedra.
Ephedra, as with all addictive drugs that “reward”, provide the reward at cost of a minimal effort. There ulimately can be no satisfaction in creating a facade. We are at the end of the day, only deluding ourselves that we are better off when using drug supplements.
People today need to understand that virtually every drug, illicit or medication is an attempt to mimic, to recreate functions that the human body is already capable of, when in optimal health, and not exposed to and depleted by a wide range of toxic pressures.
If we want good health, weight loss and performance, we need discipline, and to provide the body with the training and routines that can lead to optimal good health.
The only reason why we might not choose more healthy options when made aware of what they are, is that emotionally we are too bound up in depressive ways of thinking, full of negative attitudes, lacking optimism.
People who have got into using ephedra, who have become dependent upon it can benefit from the meth drug programs conducted by comprehensive substance abuse recovery centers.
Comprehensive programs not only stop all drug use and addiction – the methods used, include good food, and natural supplements as required. Comprehensive drug programs stop drug use and enable safe weight loss, and optimal peformance enhancement.