Combining ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin is a popular practice among bodybuilders who want to cut fat and increase metabolism.
This is known as an ECA stack and it is purported to enhance endurance, support weight loss and increase athletic performance.
What is the purpose of combining caffeine and aspirin with ephedrine? Can you use this stack without aspirin and what dosage ratio is best to take?
When used individually, ephedrine and caffeine can both promote fat burning effects. When combined together, the components are believed to have a synergistic effect, producing better results.
Aspirin is generally added to minimize the risk of cardiovascular side effects and to increase the fat-burning potential of the stack,
There is a lot of research into the effects of mixing ephedrine with caffeine. However, there is limited research into the use of aspirin in this stack. While many bodybuilders continue to take aspirin (or the herbal source white willow bark), others opt for an EC stack without aspirin. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirin Stack Review
An ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin stack (ECA stack) has been popular with bodybuilders, athletes, and dieters who want to get faster health and fitness results.
This stack is designed to amplify the results possible with use of ephedrine on its own. It is cited as having benefits for:
- Increasing metabolism
- Faster weight loss
- Decreasing fat mass while preserving muscle mass
- Improving blood oxygenation
- Enhanced stamina and endurance
- Suppressing appetite
According to one source, a combination of ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin can speed up metabolism by 10%. This means your body burns more calories at rest, even when you are not actively exercising.
ECA stacks are also used as pre-workout formulas for the significant boost in energy, motivation and exercise intensity that they provide. Users who take this stack find it easier to push harder at the gym for long periods of time.
Ephedrine is no longer legal in over-the-counter dietary supplements in the United States. The presence of ephedrine and other alkaloids from the ephedra plant were banned from diet pills in 2004.
Depending on where you live, you can still find ephedrine in low milligram strengths in a number of medicines including asthma products, cold and flu medicines, and some cough remedies.
However, these products often contain other ingredients that counteract the stimulant mechanisms of ephedrine. As a result, many bodybuilders have switched to other legal alternatives to use as fat burners instead.
If you are able to lawfully purchase ephedrine in your place or residents, it is important to understand how each of the components in an ECA stack works and how they affect each other.
This article will discuss proper dosage schedules for an ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin stack, as well as the risk of side effects and safe usage practices.
Ephedrine Scientific Review
Ephedrine is a stimulant that has the potential to increase your metabolism and promote greater thermogenic activity. This refers to the rate at which your body burns calories (fat, sugar and protein) to convert them into heat.
It does this by triggering alpha and beta-adrenergic receptors found in muscle tissue, the blood vessels, the heart, airways and other parts of the body.
These receptors stimulate the breakdown of fat and glucose for the production of cellular energy in the body to perform certain functions.
Directly and indirectly, ephedrine has the potential to cause blood vessels to constrict, increasing blood pressure. It can also accelerate heart rate as well as the force of muscle contractions. It causes dilation of airway passages in the lungs, increasing oxygen intake.
These stimulative effects can increase your physical as well as mental energy, giving you more stamina and helping you work out at a higher rate of intensity.
Ephedrine and ephedra extract also cause your body to generate more heat through a process called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. This process can increase your Resting Metabolic Rate so that you are burning more calories even when not exercising.
For this reason, ephedrine and other stimulants like it are rated by bodybuilders and athletes as among the best compounds in achieving accelerated weight loss.
How an ECA Stack Works
An ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin stack is designed to enhance this weight loss because caffeine is also a stimulant. They have an additive effect, which can cause you to burn more fat than if you were to take Ephedrine HCL pills on their own.
Caffeine is reliably able to increase weight loss, but individuals can quickly develop a tolerance to its effects. This compound is an adenosine receptor antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of this neurotransmitter which is involved in sedation and relaxation.
When you inhibit adenosine, you increase the activity of adrenergic, noradrenergic as well as dopaminergic receptor systems. Caffeine on its own can promote wakefulness, appetite suppression and greater metabolism.
However, when you combine ephedrine with caffeine these results are synergistic. They produce greater weight loss in combination than if you were to use either separately.
Also, one of the ways that ephedrine works to preferentially burn fat and not muscle is by increasing cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) levels by stimulating the release of norepinephrine.
The body is always seeking a state of balance and will try to normalize cAMP levels by producing more of an enzyme called phosphodiesterase. Caffeine has been shown to inhibit the production of phosphodiesterase, which may allow ephedrine to be more effective at burning fat.
What does Aspirin do in an ECA stack? Aspirin is used in this stack both to prevent possible side effects and to increase the benefits for metabolic activity.
Aspirin is generally known as an analgesic and is used to treat headaches, pain, fever and inflammation. It has also been shown to have anti-blood clotting effects.
Aspirin is incorporated into this stack due to its anti-coagulant properties and ability to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Both caffeine and ephedra alkaloids have the potential to increase risk factors for cardiovascular issues and use of aspirin may counteract that risk.
This ingredient can also inhibit one of the negative feedback loops that can interfere with the effectiveness of an EC stack for weight loss. Through prostaglandin inhibition, Aspirin is cited as preventing the degradation of cAMP.
However, much of this is theory and speculation and there have not been mechanistic studies showing that an ECA stack is significantly more effective than an EC stack on its own.
Ephedrine and Caffeine Without Aspirin
A number of individuals are sensitive to aspirin or are concerned about using a drug which has its own risk of side effects.
While Aspirin is generally safe when taken at a low dose, it is not appropriate for everyone. Some people are allergic to the active ingredients in this drug and others may be using medications that have the potential to interact with aspirin.
Many people continue to take a combination of ephedrine and caffeine without aspirin. They may use these ingredients on their own, use a herbal source of salicin (white willow bark) or take other ingredients like yohimbine in an ECY stack instead.
There is no comparative research available to evaluate the efficacy of an EC stack versus an ECA stack. It is possible that there could be an increased risk of side effects when using ephedrine without aspirin, but this has not been well-documented.
If you do not want to take aspirin, you can still achieve results without this component. However, before you consider adding other ingredients to this stack it is important to do your research and to consult with a doctor
ECA Stack Dosage Schedule
There are varying recommendations posted online for creating an ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin stack. A number of factors can affect the suggested dosage for you:
- Different levels of tolerance and sensitivity to each of the components
- Additional ingredients used with the stack
- Duration of use
- Frequency of dosage
- Body weight and body fat composition
- Experience with stimulants
It is generally recommended to use an E:C:A dosage ratio of 1:10:3. For example, the following dosages are frequently cited online:
- 24 mg Ephedrine HCL
- 200 mg Caffeine
- 81 mg Aspirin (Baby Aspirin Tablet)
It is strongly recommended to start with a low dose and only gradually increase to the full dose after gauging how this stack affects you. Many bodybuilders will take it in a pyramidal cycle and gradually raise doses over one week.
It is also recommended to use ephedrine on its own first before adding caffeine. This will help to minimize any potential side effects as you adjust to the effects of this stimulant on its own.
Male bodybuilders often start with 8 mg of ephedrine HCL for 2-3 days, then increase to 16 mg for 2-3 days until finally reaching 24 mg after one week. This dose is also titrated downwards at the end of the cutting cycle to minimize potential side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
A number of women will use dosages that are half the amounts listed above. Some female bodybuilders report starting with a 4mg dose of ephedrine HCL and increasing to a maximum of 12 mg per day.
While some male bodybuilders report taking as much as 50 to 100 mg of ephedrine per day, this practice is strongly advised against. You can cause long-term damage to your heart by over-using stimulants. In addition to the increased risk of short-term side effects, abuse of this stack could cause adrenal fatigue and other long-term consequences.
Consult with a doctor before taking this stack to determine whether it is appropriate for you Ephedrine use is contraindicated for people under the age of 18, women who are pregnant or nursing, individuals with certain medical conditions and people on specific medications.
ECA Stack Side Effects & Dangers
Using ephedrine by itself can cause a number of side effects and that risk may be increased when taking it with other substances, including caffeine.
Some ECA products today contain 600 mg caffeine per dose, with multiple doses daily recommended. The Mayo Clinic recommends individuals not consume more than 400 mg of caffeine daily.
Excess use of stimulants can influence a number of different functions in the body:
- Heart rate
- Blood pressure
- Respiratory rate
- Endocrine functions
A number of side effects have been linked to ephedrine and those risks increase with combinations of two or more stimulants. This is also true when combining this alkaloid with other stimulants such as Bitter Orange (Synephrine) and Yohimbine.
Some negative effects are temporary, including:
- Dizziness or blurred vision
- Nausea, sometimes with vomiting
- An increased sense of nervousness or jitteriness
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty falling asleep
Among the more serious side effects associated with an ECA stack include:
- Higher risk of adverse cardiovascular events such as tachycardia, arrhythmia, or myocardial infarction
- Mood changes such as increased agitation, hostility or psychosis
- Potential for toxicity
Not everyone using an ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin stack will experience severe side effects, but they are a possibility.
In one meta-review, the authors states that “In all studies, no significant changes in heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, insulin, and cholesterol levels, and no differences in the frequency of side effects were found.”
However, this refers to people taking an ECA stack under medical supervision and using it as directed. In many cases, bodybuilders will end up taking significantly high dosages than those used in clinical trials.
There is a high risk for addiction, abuse, withdrawal symptoms and misuse with ephedrine. Taking an overdose can be potentially life-threatening and could result in heart attack, stroke, seizure or death.
Before using any component in an ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin stack, research how each drug behaves in the body, what drugs it interacts with, and pay attention to milligram strength. It is important to check with a doctor if you have any medical conditions or are currently taking drugs that could be affected by an ECA fat burner.