How do I Choose the Best Ephedra Supplements?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The best way to go about choosing ephedra supplements is to discuss your options with your doctor or pharmacist. For use as a weight loss aid, ephedra is considered effective but there are safety concerns when used with any regularity. You may find various supplement combinations in your local pharmacy, and should mention any ingredients with your health care provider. When in doubt, go with the most basic choice with the fewest active ingredients.

Ephedra is derived from a natural plant-based ingredient, but that does not necessarily mean it is safer than man made diet aids. It is considered a stimulant, and therefore can put increased strain on the heart. Some weight loss formulations which include ephedra also contain additional stimulants, thus compounding the effects. When choosing a supplement, be sure to research and discuss any additional ingredients with your health care provider.

If you choose to use ephedra supplements despite their risks, you will want an option that has been shown effective in studies. Most of the supplements you will find have been shown to promote weight loss, primarily because ephedra stimulates the metabolism and helps the body burn more calories per day. When combined with other ingredients, this effect may be increased.

It should be noted that ephedra is not considered safe by most health care organizations, and that prolonged or heavy use has been shown to cause heart problems. Additionally, weight is generally regained once the supplement has been stopped. Since ephedra supplements are not recommended for long-term use, they may not be effective for healthy weight management. Only a low calorie diet and exercise plan will help you maintain a healthy weight over a long period of time.

There may also be synthetically derived ephedra supplements that are stronger and may be more likely to cause side effects. When choosing the best formulation, try and go with the one with natural ingredients and with as low a dosage as possible. If you feel this isn’t effective, you can consider taking a higher dosage once you have determined you experience few or no side effects on the lowest dose. Be sure your doctor knows that you are taking ephedra, and discuss proper dosage before upping the amount.

Should you experience any side effects while taking ephedra supplements, contact your health care provider. Tremors, insomnia, rapid heart rate, gastrointestinal upset, and jitters are common. If you experience any severe heart palpitations, irregular heart rhythm, chest pain, shortness of breath, or severe dizziness, contact emergency personnel immediately. Do not take ephedra supplements if you have a heart condition.

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