Best Weight Loss Pills with Ephedrine: Which Products to AVOID
What were the best weight loss pills with ephedrine previously sold and what are the best alternatives to these banned diet supplements?
The ephedrine alkaloid has been banned as an ingredient in weight loss products for over a decade. While it was previously believed to be one of the most effective fat burners on the market, it was made illegal due to the high risk of side effects.
Ephedrine is an ingredient in cough syrups and asthma relief products. It worked by stimulating the nervous system, dilating airways and boosting metabolism. However, using this stimulant at high doses could put excess strain on the heart.
While ephedrine is illegal in diet pills, the ephedra herb is not. Ephedra extract without the ephedrine alkaloids can be used in dietary supplements and appears to have same physiological effects.
But should you use these ephedra weight loss pills or are they dangerous? Other ingredients that mimic the effect of ephedrine can be found in many of these products and may not be safe for everyone. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
Weight Loss Pills with Ephedrine
Diet pills with ephedrine were all the rage in the 1980’s through the late 1990’s. Dozens of products were available with this active ingredient and they were widely used by dieters and athletes.
Brands including Xenadrine RFA-1, Lipodrene, Hydroxycut, and Yellow Jackets were popular both for boosting fat loss and for increasing energy levels. The supplement could also suppress appetite and promote athletic performance.
Unfortunately, government regulatory agencies, physicians, and hospitals saw increasing numbers of patients experiencing side effects and adverse reactions from use of ephedrine products.
Some of the side effects were temporary and minor, such as headaches or transitory heart palpitations. Others were more serious, including but not limited to myocardial infarction, cardiovascular issues, and strokes.
In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration determined that this ingredient was too dangerous to continue to be sold in weight loss pills. While manufacturers claimed that their products were safe when used as directed, there was a significant risk of misuse.
Many people took higher dosages than what was recommended or used the product in combination with other stimulants. Even when used according to the instructions, ephedrine fat burners could cause side effects if taken by people with medical conditions.
Despite the potential side effects, many argued that they should be allowed to use ephedrine to lose weight if they were aware of and accepted the risks. However, all products were recalled from the US market in 2004 and much of the rest of the world followed suit.
Effects on Weight Loss
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are two alkaloids extracted from the ephedra plant. These two isomers behave much like adrenaline, stimulating greater activity in the sympathetic nervous system, also known as the autonomic nervous system.
Ephedra was initially used in herbal medicine to treat breathing problems, constricted airways and excess mucous build-up. This plant did not become associated with weight loss until the 1970’s.
In one clinical practice in Denmark, a physician noticed that patients using Ephedrine pills for asthma relief began to experience fat loss. After studies were conducted confirming this effect, it was introduced to the market as an anti-obesity drug.
In the United States, it was sold initially in dietary supplements for energy and mood enhancement. However, its use as a fat-burner soon eclipsed all other users.
Diet pills with ephedrine are stimulants. Their primary mechanism of action is to increase metabolism, raising your passive energy expenditure.
Ephedrine activated certain adrenergic receptors in the body. The alpha and beta-adrenergic receptors are involved in constriction of arteries and increasing blood pressure.
When stimulating adrenergic receptors in the heart muscle, ephedrine causes the heart to beat faster and harder. When acting on receptors in the lungs, this alkaloid causes airways to dilate and increases the intake of oxygen.
These responses are similar to those produced by adrenaline, imitating the body’s fight or flight reaction. This causes a surge of energy, increased alertness and a greater flow of oxygen and blood to vital organs in preparation for survival.
Your cells begin to mobilize more stored energy and burn it through a phenomenon known as thermogenesis (heat production). In other words, you begin to burn more calories which can contribute to weight loss.
This plant alkaloid also affects many other mechanisms linked to weight loss. It acts as an appetite suppressant, a diuretic, and increases desire to move and be active. Bodybuilders will typically take ephedrine weight loss supplements before working out to increase fat loss without causing deterioration of muscle mass.
Best Weight Loss Pills
If you are searching on the internet for the best weight loss pills with ephedrine for sale today, note that the only legal option is to buy ephedra diet pills that do not contain the ephedrine alkaloid.
There are international or black-market sources that may advertise real ephedrine HCL pills or bulk powder. However, when buying from underground vendors, be aware of the lower quality standards, risk of fake or impure product and likelihood of having packages confiscated at the border.
Ephedra extract can be legally used in dietary supplements in the USA, so long as it does not contain the ephedrine alkaloids. Some popular examples of diet pills with this ingredient include Hellfire Eph 150, Green Stinger, Yellow Devils, Black Mamba Hyperrush and Diablos ECA Fire Caps.
Another option is to buy raw ephedra sinica (Ma Huang) herb stems or ground powder. This unprocessed form of the plant is still legal in the US, so long as it is not sold as a dietary supplement.
The Ephedra Sinica plant does contain high potency ephedrine alkaloids and can be brewed into a tea or made into an herbal remedy. Availability of this product is limited, but you may be able to purchase it through a Chinese herbalists.
Finally, ephedrine is legal as a drug for the treatment of asthma or other breathing conditions. It can be found in a number of non-prescription products such as bronchodilators, nasal decongestants, cough and cold formulas, and some flu therapies.
Products that contain ephedrine or pseudoephedrine are carefully regulated around the world. The dosages are restricted and in many countries, it cannot be sold as a pure ingredient. In the USA, some states require a maximum dose of 12.5 mg combined with 200 mg of guaifenesin, a muscle relaxant ingredient.
Purchasers are also restricted from buying more than a certain amount on a daily basis or within any 30-day period. Buyers must show ID and sign a logbook that confirms who they are and where they live.
Both ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are used as precursor in the manufacturing of the illegal drug methamphetamine. Medications that contain these ingredients are controlled substances in many countries with strict penalties for anyone breaking the law.
Substitutes for Ephedrine Diet Pills
Diet pills cannot contain ephedrine alkaloids anymore, but they can contain ephedra extract with the alkaloids removed.
The majority of the physiological effects of ephedra consumption are attributed to its sympathomimetic alkaloids. How effective are these diet pills without any ephedrine content?
While ephedra extract does not have significant fat loss effects if used in isolation, it may have benefits when combined with other ingredients. Some of these stimulants can boost metabolism and energy levels but may also contribute to an increased risk of side effects and adverse reactions.
One of the most popular and effective substitutes is Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium). This fruit extract contains (p-synephrine, which behaves in a similar way to ephedrine in the body
The synephrine molecule has a phenethylamine skeleton, which makes it similar in chemical structure to ephedra alkaloids. This compound stimulates the central nervous system by activating alpha-adrenergic receptors and – to a lesser extent – beta-adrenergic receptors.
It has been shown to increase blood pressure, constrict peripheral blood vessels, increase pulse rate and affect a similar metabolic response as ephedrine. However, it is much less potent and is reported to be safer to use.
Use of Bitter Orange, with or without additional stimulants, has shown a propensity for contributing to side effects. Some of those side effects include hypertension, nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, headache, excessive sweating, and feelings of apprehension.
Ephedra extract diet pills often contain multiple additional stimulants. One popular product includes the following among its ingredients:
- Ephedra extract
- Caffeine anhydrous (dry, powdered form of caffeine)
- Green tea extract
- Black tea extract
- Green coffee extract
- Synephrine HCl
- Yohimbine HCl
- Coleus forskohlii extract
- Theobromine anhydrous
Other products contain additional components intended to increase heat production in the body such as:
- Cayenne pepper
- Hoodia Gordonii extract
- Black pepper extract
- Acacia Rigidula
- Black pepper extract
- White Willow Bark
- Guarana extract
- Yerba Mate
- Kola Nut extract
Many of these ingredients have been well-researched and shown to support weight loss when used in isolation. However, ephedra weight loss supplements often combine several ingredients that have not been studied in combination in clinical trials.
While these products may be effective for fat loss, using multiple stimulants together can contribute to a higher risk of side effects. Consumers should be aware of the risk even if not using ephedrine weight loss pills.
Research Study Results
One of the reasons that ephedrine fat loss products became so popular was due to the high volume of research that supported its efficacy. Multiple clinical studies showed that it could contribute to an increase in weight loss results compared to use of a placebo.
In research trials, the combination of ephedrine with caffeine was shown to increase potential body weight reduction by 2.2 lb. per month. This could be sustained with use between three to six months in duration.
There is less research available to evaluate the use of ephedra extract supplements. Some small studies have been conducted to determine how effective and safe these multi-ingredient products are.
One study noted that a single dose of 50mg p-synephrine increased resting metabolism by 65 calories over the following 75 minutes. Another study showed that it increased the thermic effect of food (calories burned in digestion) in female subjects.
Research has also shown that it can increase lipolysis, which is the breakdown of fat for energy. However, there have not been any long-term studies on its use for weight loss and it is believed to be less effective than ephedrine.
Synephrine has been shown to be highly synergistic with caffeine, meaning that it produces greater effects when used in a stack. In one study on the effects of synephrine and the cardiovascular system, individuals were given either synephrine by itself or in combination with caffeine.
Study participants did not exercise or otherwise engage in activity. They were tested in a rested state during a three-hour period where heart rate and blood pressure were carefully measured.
The study did show that combinations of caffeine and synephrine, significantly increased blood pressure during the second and third hours of the study. It was noted that synephrine did cause a decrease in diastolic blood pressure during the first hour.
Heart rate was not affected and there were no signs of cardiovascular stress in this study. The test subjects remained seated for the duration and did not engage in any activity or exercise, so this may not reflect results among athletes engaging in intense exercise. 
Safety Considerations for Diet Pills
If using an ephedra weight loss product, be sure to consult with a doctor before taking. Herbal stimulants may not be safe for everyone and can cause serious side effects if misused.
It is recommended that individuals carefully examine ingredient labels. Be aware that manufacturers may not disclose the dosage of all ingredients, which can make it difficult to evaluate safety.
Women who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breast-feeding should avoid all dietary supplements with stimulant-like effects. Do not take this supplement without first consulting with a doctor if you are currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications.
Any individual diagnosed with any medical condition including depression, anxiety, heart issues, or metabolic conditions such as diabetes should consult with their physician prior to taking such products.
A recent 2017 study found that heart-related problems could occur when using herbs and dietary supplements like Yohimbe.  This is an ingredient sometimes used in an ECY stack with Ephedra extract.
Heart toxicity can include hypertension, hypotension, hypokalemia, bradycardia, tachycardia, arrhythmia, ventricular fibrillation, heart attack, cardiac arrest, heart failure, and death.
Medical professionals are also seeing a greater increase in caffeine overdose and toxicity. Caffeine is the active ingredient found in coffee, tea and certain natural foods.
It is also a commonly used ingredient in thermogenic fat-burning supplements or pre-workout energy pills. This compound is sometimes combined with ephedra in an ECA Stack.
In low doses, it is not considered dangerous for the majority of people. However, excessive levels of caffeine consumption can lead to serious side effects, life-threatening side effects.
One study examined three cases of caffeine overdose. Patients experienced a drop in blood pressure, tremors, and persistent vomiting. Other cases of caffeine poisoning have resulted in fatality. In one case, the patient died of a sudden heart attack, preceded by seizures and convulsions. 
While use of pure caffeine at low doses may stimulate energy, weight loss and enhanced athletic performance, taking this compound as a bulk powder has been linked to a risk of overdose. The Mayo Clinic recommends not exceeding 400 mg a day, which equates to:
- 4 cups of coffee
- 2 energy drinks
- 10 cans of soda
If taking an ephedra weight loss supplement, start at the lowest dosage possible to determine how sensitive you are to the ingredients. Proceed with caution before using any stimulant weight loss pills as a substitute to ephedrine.
- Ratamess RA, Bush JA, Stohs SJ, Ellis NL, Vought IT, O’Grady EA, Kuper JD, Hasan SB, Kang J, Faigen baum Ad. Acute cardiovascular effects of bitter orange extract (p-synephrine) consumed alone and in combination with caffeine in human subjects: A placebo-controlled double-blind study. Phytother Res. 2017 Oct 19. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5953. [Epub ahead of print]
- Brown AC. Heart Toxicity Related to Herbs and Dietary Supplements: Online Table of Case Reports. Part 4 of 5. J Diet Suppl. 2017 Oct 5:1-40. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2017.1356418. [Epub ahead of print]
- Magdalan J, Zawadzki M, Skowronek R, Czuba M, Porebska B, Sozański T, Szpot P. Nonfatal and fatal intoxications with pure caffeine – report of three different cases. Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2017 Sep;13(3):355-358. doi: 10.1007/s12024-017-9885-2. Epub 2017 Jun 27.