Ephedrine stacks are commonly used by bodybuilders or people who want to lose weight to enhance the fat burning effects of this diet pill ingredient.
The most commonly used stack is the ECA stack, which combined ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin.
There are a number of additional stimulants and thermogenic agents that are frequently stacked with ephedrine HCL or ephedra extract. The right stack to choose will depend on your personal goals, health status and experience with stimulant drugs.
While use of ephedrine or ephedra stacks may have additive benefits for fat loss, there is also a potential for greater frequency and severity of side effects.
Risks of adverse reactions are high when taking this weight loss aid on its own, but can be significantly increased in combination with other commonly used bodybuilding supplements or fat burners. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic amine that increases activity in the sympathetic nervous system and causes your body to burn more calories.
It has some similar effects to the endogenous neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline. When you take this product orally, it can bind to receptors in the body that boost metabolic activity and increase heart rate.
Studies have demonstrated a potential weight loss benefit from use of this compound, but it is not without serious side effects. The ephedrine alkaloid has been banned from ephedra products sold as dietary supplements since 2004.
While the FDA made ephedrine illegal in weight loss pills, it is still a legal ingredient in asthma medications over-the-counter decongestants and bronchodilators. Bodybuilders will often make their own stacks by combining these medications with other stimulants.
Note that combining more than one stimulative ingredient is potentially dangerous. Over-use of stimulants to promote fat loss can negative affect your heart and your endocrine function in a number of different ways.
Some of the common ingredients found in ephedra stacks include:
- White willow bark (aspirin)
- Kola nut extract
- Green tea extract
- Phenethylamine HCl
- Guarana extract
- Yohimbine (Yohimbe bark extract)
- Citrus aurantium (Bitter Orange, containing p-synephrine)
Stack Ingredients Review
Most of the ingredients listed above are stimulants that are used with ephedra or ephedrine to increase the effect on metabolism. Some have an additive effect while others have a true synergistic effect.
Is it necessary to use ephedrine in a stack? No, even research studies in which it has been taken in isolation have produced results. However, many bodybuilders want to experience stronger effects and faster results.
Caffeine – The classic stack is the Ephedra Caffeine (EC) stack. This stimulant also has fat-burning properties and can increase some of the signal transduction associated with ephedrine’s influence on adrenergic receptors.
An EC stack typically uses a dosage ratio of 10:1 caffeine to ephedrine HCL. A common recommendation is 200 mg C to 24 mg E.
Caffeine is available in a number of forms, from pure anhydrous caffeine pills to that cup of coffee you had at breakfast. The Mayo Clinic recommends individuals not exceed 400 mg caffeine at day to reduce the risk for potential side effects.
AspirinFish Oil: Some sources suggest that use of fish oil is as good as Aspirin when making an ECA stack. Fish oil promotes the anti-coagulant effects of aspirin and has been associated with weight loss in some studies.
Bitter Orange – Also known as citrus aurantium, this herbal product contains p-synephrine, which is similar in its mechanism of action to ephedrine. This ingredient is commonly stacked with ephedra extract supplements that have had their alkaloids removed.
Yohimbine – This plant alkaloid is a component of Yohimbe bark, mostly used as an aphrodisiac. It is sometimes used in an ECY stack because it has stimulant effects that may be synergistic with ephedrine.
Thermogenic Boosters – There is a long list of additional supplements that may be combined with ephedrine to increase its thermogenic potential. Cayenne pepper extract, green coffee extract, green tea extract or anything that causes a flush of heat in the body are also common.
The effects of such ingredient combinations as well as the potential for side effects differ widely. Not all of these combinations have been well-studied.
A number of ephedra extract stacks are available online in pre-manufactured proprietary blends. However, in many cases, the exact milligram strength of each of the components in the blend is not listed which can make it difficult to determine efficacy and safety.
The recommended dosage to use of a specific stack will depend on a number of factors. In many cases, optimal doses are difficult to determine beforehand.
The correct dose of ephedrine to day can be affected by weight, age, health status, sensitivity to stimulants, risk factors for cardiovascular disease, goals, fitness level and more.
For some individuals, even low dosages of this product can be harmful to health. Not everyone is able to take this diet pill ingredient safely.
When using an ephedrine stack, be aware that ingredients can have synergistic effects. Even if you have taken 12 mg of ephedrine before safely without negative effects, when you combine it with 100-200 mg of caffeine you may experience a bad reaction.
Always start by taking supplements individually before combining them into a stack. Reduce your dosage when adding new ingredients to your stack.
Some users recommended starting with a dose of 4 to 8mg of ephedrine HCL initially to determine individual tolerance. Only increase gradually to a full dose of 24 mg per day. Do not take more than this amount as you risk serious side effects.
Side Effects of Fat Burning Stacks
Using ephedrine by itself can contribute to an increased risk of dangerous side effects. Taking this product in a stack with other stimulants can heighten the likelihood of experiencing negative effects.
Among the most common side effects associated with ephedrine and ephedra stacks include:
- Upset stomach/nausea/stomach pains
- Headaches, which can be quite severe and trigger migraines
- Dizziness and/or blurred vision
- Heart palpitations
- Increased sense of anxiety or jitteriness
Several of the above-mentioned side effects are caused by overstimulation of the nervous system. This herbal extract can cause over-excitation of neuroreceptors in the body and brain.
One of the most common mechanisms of action of ephedrine is to constrict blood vessels, increasing blood pressure. It can be hazardous for anyone diagnosed with hypertension or at risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ephedrine also has an influence on widening or dilating the airways in the lungs and sinus passages. The increased oxygen intake is considered to be a good thing by many users. But some find that they have reduce stamina or ability to work out intensely when exercising.
High levels of caffeine mixed with ephedrine or other components found in ephedra stacks such as Bitter Orange can have very negative effects on cardiovascular function.
This is due to the stimulant nature of these compounds which may lead to:
- Accelerated heart rate (tachycardia)
- Irregular heart rate (arrhythmia)
- Potential for heart attack
- May also contribute to brain seizures and possible strokes
Stacking is a common practice among bodybuilders, dieters and athletes who want to get faster fat loss results. However, combining multiple supplements or drugs together is inherently risky, especially if such combinations have not been well-studied in research settings.
Many of the stacks used today are based on anecdotal evidence of effectiveness. Oftentimes, bodybuilders will use sources of ephedrine that are intended for the treatment of intermittent asthma or nasal congestion and have not been formulated for weight loss.
When using medicines that still contain ephedrine such as Bronkaid or Primatene available without a prescription from pharmacy counters, be aware of how this drug affects the body.
Even at low dosages, use of ephedrine or ephedra stacks can increase the risk for adverse health events. It is important to practice risk-mitigation strategies such as starting with low doses, avoiding combinations with multiple ingredients and consulting with a doctor first about contraindications and drug interactions.