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Ephedrine is an asthma and low blood pressure drug. It has previously been used for the purposes of weight loss, being found in numerous diet pills throughout the 90’s and early 2000’s until becoming banned by the FDA.

Nowadays, Ephedrine is only used for specific medicinal purposes, rather than for weight management, due to it being deemed unsafe.

In this article, we’re looking at whether or not you should consider using (or misusing) Ephedrine for the purposes of weight loss.

What Is Ephedrine Used For?

Ephedrine has multiple modern day applications; it is used to increase blood pressure of patients during operations and reduce the risk of complications, it is also used to treat asthma and narcolepsy due to its nasal decongestant and bronchodilating properties.

Illegal uses for Ephedrine include the production of Methamphetamine.

It can also be used, inadvisably, as a weight loss substance. It has been favored in recent years by bodybuilders looking to lose fat while maintaining their lean muscle and it has been sold online without prescription, often leading to problematic effects.

Some people have used Ephedrine for weight loss and experienced minor side effects without major health problems; however this is down to the individual’s health and tolerance and should not be taken as an indication that it is safe to do so.

How Does Ephedrine Work For Weight Loss?

Ephedrine, commonly referred to as EPH in the bodybuilding community, stimulates weight loss by increasing thermogenesis (increased body temperature) in fatty tissue known as ‘brown adipose tissue’ as well as skeletal muscle. Due to the thermogenic effects of Ephedrine increasing the consumers metabolic rates, the body is able to burn calories at a faster rate – this is precisely the reason why it was a common ingredient in many diet pills.

When used in combination with caffeine or other weight loss substances, Ephedrine can increase the user’s metabolism by up to 10%, which is often why Ephedrine-based weight loss pills are called ECA (ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin) stacks.

Ephedrine For Weight Loss Benefits

People who use Ephedrine for weight loss are likely to see extreme results more quickly than those who take other diet pills, due to the strong and rapid effects of the drug.

People who have taken Ephedrine for weight loss report that it can give them a temporary energy boost that helps them undertake cardiovascular exercise that they wouldn’t usually feel able to do. Another commonly reported effect is heavy suppression of appetite if the Ephedrine is taken in the morning. However, users also state that there is a ‘crash’ associated with taking Ephedrine for weight loss and that by the evening extreme hunger can kick in, leading to bingeing and negating the weight loss effects.

These benefits are subject to the consumer experiencing no side effects such as heart palpitations, stroke, seizure or sudden death. The side effects often make consumers ill enough to have to take time off work or to stop their exercise program, leading to them regaining the weight when they stop the drug.

The Risks Of Taking Ephedrine For Weight Loss

The side effects of taking Ephedrine for weight loss are extensive and severe and there have been deaths linked to the drug. It is for this reason that Ephedrine is labelled as unfit for unregulated human consumption by the FDA and is illegal to purchase without a prescription.

Medical side effects of consuming Ephedrine for weight loss include:

  • Nervousness
  • Acne
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Mania, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and hostility
  • Stroke
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Pulmonary edema

People taking Ephedrine for weight loss may also find that they retain water weight due to a decrease in urination. This may lead to other conditions such as urinary tract infections which can inhibit exercise programs. Sudden death is also a possibility when taking Ephedrine for weight loss, no matter what dosage is consumed.

Risks of Importing Ephedrine for Weight Loss

It may be tempting to import Ephedrine from other countries where it is not regulated, for your own consumption and to help you lose weight. However this is strongly inadvisable for the following reasons:

  • Inaccurate labelling – language issues or poor quality control can lead to mislabelling of the imported product.
  • Unreliability of the product. Regulations in other countries may be weak and products may be counterfeit or ineffective.
  • Dirty or non-sterile production and unsanitary packing conditions could cause contamination and sickness.
  • It is illegal

There have been several deaths associated with taking Ephedrine for weight loss and without a prescription. These include a professional baseball pitcher looking to enhance his performance, a police officer wanting to pass a fitness test and several soldiers trying to stay in shape.

Should You Use Ephedrine for Weight Loss?

Taking Ephedrine for weight loss is not a good idea. It certainly has fat burning effects and weight loss potential but the damaging side effects are not worth the risk.

Creating a healthy lifestyle to promote weight loss including regular exercise and balanced diet with a calorie deficit is the best way to lose fat in a sustainable and low-risk way.

Even when Ephedrine does cause weight loss in subjects, the side effects such as nausea and heart palpitations can prevent an exercise routine from being followed, meaning that sustainable weight loss is not achieved.

Ephedrine Alternatives – What Can You Use Instead?

There are several safer alternatives to taking Ephedrine for weight loss. These include natural ingredients that mimic the appealing effects of Ephedrine such as suppressed appetite and increased energy and metabolism.

Caffeine – This drug is known to both suppress appetite and increase metabolism, making it an ideal supplement in your weight loss program. People who consume Ephedrine for weight loss often take caffeine to boost its effects, but it is effective as a weight loss aid on its own.

Garcinia Cambogia Extract– The extract of this tropical Indonesia fruit is known for its beneficial weight loss properties. Fans of Garcinia Cambogia Extract have found that it suppresses appetite and contains an ingredient called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) which blocks a fat-creating enzyme. It should be taken with caution due to potential side effects related to the liver.

Green tea extractGreen tea extract contains antioxidants that are beneficial to promoting body health, as well as fat loss due to its combinations of catechins and caffeine content. Drinking strongly brewed tea is also a great way to increase your fluid intake which will both suppress your appetite and help your body to metabolize fat faster.

Cayenne Pepper – This spicy ingredient that is popular with celebrities has been linked to appetite suppression and has been claimed to be thermogenic, leading to a faster metabolism.

Bitter Orange Extract This thermogenic ingredient increases your body’s internal temperature, leading to an increase in calories burned and will also help your body to use stored fat as a primary energy source.

Nicotinamide – This helps your body to form two essential coenzymes that are important for energy synthesis and repair of the body’s DNA, helping you build and maintain lean muscle as you lose fat.

Guarana Extract – This plant from the Amazon is known for its ability to help people lose weight as well as giving a boost in energy from the stimulant guaranine, which is identical to caffeine.


Overall, we wouldn’t recommend you use Ephedrine for weight loss; there’s a very good reason why it’s banned.

With so many other effective weight loss pills out there on the market, we don’t see why anybody would even consider using the substance; Ephedrine is a highly dangerous drug when consumed in large amounts, and we believe that the risks far outweigh the rewards.

Despite the health risks, if you’re caught with Ephedrine you could be looking at criminal charges (depending on your location), as it’s a main ingredient in the production of Methamphetamine!

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This article has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified nutritionist, and only uses information from credible academic sources.