Results of an American study suggest that the labels for ephedra products are often misleading. In fact, one product tested did not contain any ephedra at all, while several others contained a potentially dangerous combination of ingredients. Researchers at University of Arkansas analyzed the contents of 20 different brands of supplements. Many of the labels did not accurately describe what the pills contained and in half of the products, the amount of active ingredient present varied from the stated amount on the label by 20% or more.
The herb ephedra is the source of ephedrine, an over-the-counter herbal supplement touted to promote weight loss, boost energy and enhance athletic performance. Ephedra has amphetamine-like effects, including stimulant effects on the heart and nervous system and can cause insomnia, high blood pressure and anxiety in some individuals. Abuse of the herb has caused death.
While some manufacturers have taken steps to control the contents of their product many experts (including myself) recommend that you avoid herbal products that contain ephedra. (Instead, look for products with Avandra Z, an extract of bitter orange that has been shown to boost metabolism, but does not have the negative side effects of ephedra.) If you do choose to do buy a product with ephedra, buy a product made by a major pharmaceutical company, which is more likely to have quality standards in place.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.