Diet aid made legal

By Nina Scimenes
April 21, 2005

Products with 10 milligrams or less of Ephedra have recently been ruled legal in the United States. Ephedra is an herbal supplement that is also known as ma huang. Prior to the recent courts decisions, federal law stated that the selling of Ephedra was illegal according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Tena Campbell, U.S. District Judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, made the decision that the FDA’s needed to be altered based on dosage. Campbell’s point was that there was no proof of low does of Ephedra causing any harm to users.

Everyone who is trying to lose weight is seeking a fast and easy way. There is no such thing as “magic pills” that will help you shed off pounds without endangering health. Ephedra, a plant that is turned into the chemical ephedrine is a common ingredient in most diet pills.

Last April, ephedrine was banned from the market as an illegal drug. Top selling weight loss pills were yanked off the shelf. Some products that contain a high amount of ephedrine were “Metabolife, Ripped Fuel, Diet Fuel, Stacker 3, Hydroxycut, Metabolift and Xenadrine RFA-1,” according to

After the products were banned from using Ephedra as an ingredient, some substitutes were made. Caffeine has similar effects of Ephedra and also contains risky side effects. For example, Metabolife, a diet pill, contains 75 mg of caffeine. This is enough caffeine to make the user experience a rapid heart rate, fatigue and even fainting.

Ephedra’s main purpose is to build muscle and burn fat. Sounds harmless, but it is very dangerous to the heart and circulatory system. Fatal side effects were the main reason for the initial banning of ephedrine. A death that set precedent for the legalities of Ephedra was 23-year-old Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler. He died after taking Ephedra as an athletic enhancer. Public attention over the death of Bechler sparked the FDA to take action and ban Ephedra. There are about 150 other cases of death that are directly linked to the use of products that contain Ephedra.

Now that there is a minimum dosage for the legality of Ephedra users are encouraged to stay aware of the side effects. Potential harm is still a possibility with all drugs. Read all labels on dietary supplements very carefully.

Some of the side effects that are very common are high blood pressure, tremores, rapid heart beat, seizures, heart attack, stroke and in most severe cases even death.

Many users or potenital users shoudl consult a doctor before the use of any dietary supplement because it can lead to further health problems.

Much of this information was unstained from an article written by Jennifer Warner, medical news To stay updated on this issue, visit for current information.

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Nina Scimenes

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