Ephedra Pills Vs Ephedrine: The Biggest Differences Today
Ingredients change all the time. From minor formula revisions to getting on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list and even being restricted by the FDA, dietary supplements have to walk a thin line to maintain it status in products. One famous ingredient that got caught on the wrong side of the line was Ephedrine, commonly found in weight loss products and stack. But luckily, we aren’t completely out of ephedrine, products still use ephedra. So now, in 2020, we have a ton of ephedra pills, but how does it compare?
We’re going to go over this and a couple more common questions.
- What Are They
- Why The Switch
- What To Expect
- Is There Anything Stronger
- What Products Have it
What is Ephedra and Ephedrine?
Ephedra or Ma Huang is a plant that has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It’s medicinal uses range from treating bronchitis and asthma to improving cold and flu symptoms like congestion.
Some of the other names it goes by include:
- Cao Mahuang
- Desert Herb
- Ephedra sinensis
- Ephedra sinica
Ephedrine, however, is the main alkaloid or component within ephedra, which has been synthesized for medical uses. But, there are other alkaloids including: (1)
Synthetic ephedrine compounds, such as pseudoephedrine, are widely used in over-the-counter cold remedies and are regulated as a drug. However, the regulation of ephedrine alkaloids derived from the herb itself are regulated as dietary supplements (until 2004). (2)
So what’s the difference between herb sourced ephedrine vs synthetic ephedrine?
Research indicates that synthetic ephedrine may be more potent than the ephedrine alkaloids found in ephedra. This is because synthetic ephedrine is easily absorbed after oral administration, with peak plasma levels occurring within an hour of ingestion. (8)
Why The Switch?
As of February 9th, 2004, ephedrine alkaloids were prohibited from sales in dietary supplements by the FDA. This was due to the risks that began presenting themselves, which included cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure, palpitations, and heart attacks. (3,4)
But, here’s the thing about stimulants, almost all stimulants have vaso-constricting properties. This means that they can constrict blood vessels. At different dosages you can experience different effects. For example, at low doses you may feel decongestant properties, which is why medicinal ephedrine is commonly seen at 25-50mg. (5)
However, at high dosages you may experience an increase in blood pressure, as well as other cardiac symptoms. But again, this isn’t limited to ephedrine and ephedra. That’s why it’s not only important, but essential to contact your doctor before taking stimulatory dietary supplements if you have a cardiac condition. (5)
So is it legal?
The simple answer is yes. Ephedrine is legal and can be purchased at your local pharmacy…as a decongestant. When it comes to sports and professional occupations that may require drug testings, you’re better off straying away from this ingredient and ephedra.
As we mentioned in the beginning, all stimulants, including all optical isomers are prohibited by WADA. (6) And if you’re still not sure if in the clear, the best advice we can you give you is to not risk it.
What To Expect
Stimulants like ephedra may have beneficial weight loss properties. This is why it’s still so common to use ephedra pills now.
Some of these effects include:
- Appetite Suppression†
- Boosting Metabolism†
- Increased Energy†
Classically, ephedrine was used in combination with caffeine and aspirin to for the ECA Stack. The ECA Stack was taken with the purpose of promoting weight loss and boost athletic performance.†
Both ephedrine and caffeine are central nervous system stimulants. Meaning they stimulate the CNS which triggers the release of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is important to prep our body’s to make an action and for fight-flight responses. The combination of these two stimulants may also improve alertness, increase energy, and boost metabolism (7).
Aspirin, on the other hand, is a pain deliver. In an ECA stack, the aspirin is used to prevent the norepinephrine from decreasing. Essentially it helps maintain the effects from the stimulants.
But was it effective?
Although ephedrine is effective on its own, when combined in the ECA stack, participants in a study lost approximately 2 more pounds per month. This may not sound like a lot, but was significant results. As for the physical performance, there haven’t been as much research on this question. Fortunately, in the same review, ephedra plus caffeine was seen as being just as effective as ephedrine plus caffeine. (7)
So what does that mean?
Although ephedrine is no longer available for use in dietary supplements, ephedra may be just as effective. †
Is There Anything Stronger
In this section we’re going to compare ephedrine with out popular stimulants. But before we bring other stims to the mix, let’s discuss what’s left of ephedra pills without ephedrine.
While ephedrine was a major component of ephedra, it’s not the only good alkaloid in it. In fact, ephedrine was only about 0.5% to 2.5% of the plant. (6) Ephedra is made of a ton of other things like epicatechins, polyphenols (flavonoids), and catechins. (9,10,11)
Epicatechins, Polyphenols & Catchins
Some of the benefits can include:
- Increased Blood Flow
- Improved Insulin Sensitivity
- Appetite Suppression
- Lower Cholesterol
- Muscle-Building properties
- Myostatin-Inhibiting Abilities
Glycosides is one of the flavonoids in ephedra. This molecule, after binding, helps improve absorption and uptake, which is why it’s commonly used in medicine. (16)
Catechins are commonly found in green tea. There’s various catechins, but they are commonly used for fat oxidizing/weight loss. (17)
Ephedra also contains ephedrans, aka glycans. Glycans function as a protective stabilizer for cell-to-cell interactions. (18)
In mice, ephedrans significantly reduced blood glucose levels in normal and diabetic mice. (19) The interactions in humans is not well defined, but could be a promising factor for weight loss that other fat burning ingredients don’t dive into.
Additionally, ephedra contains tannins (what makes wine taste dry), specifically gallic acid. Gallic acid may aid in regulating body weight and glucose levels. (20) Other research shows that gallic acid may inhibit enzymes that metabolize drugs, allowing them to last longer. (21)
Above all, even without ephedrine, ephedra still has stimulatory properties.
How Does Ephedrine Work
Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic amine that works mainly by increasing activity of nor-adrenaline on adrenergic receptors. The actions involve direct and indirect activation of a- and B-adrenceptors. (22)
Ephedra Pills Comparisons
Finally, let’s get into the comparisons.
DMAA VS Ephedrine
Similarly to ephedrine, DMAA was a popular stimulant that is now banned from use in dietary supplements. Both ephedrine and DMAA are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants and share some structural similarities. However, DMAA toxicity is described as being greater than ephedrine (but less than amphetamine). (23) Because of their similarities in structure, they have similar uses. In fact, they share the same medicinal uses as a nasal decongestant. However, these stimulants are both vasoconstricting substances. (24)
DMAA also shares structural similarities to adrenaline. Because of this its mechanism may be an adrenaline mimetic; inducing the same effects as adrenaline.† Unfortunately, the direct studies on the pharmaokinetics of DMAA metabolism do not exist.
DMHA VS Ephedrine
Similarly, DMHA was used as a nasal decongestant and is also vasoconstricting. The biggest difference between DMHA and ephedrine is DMHA is legal! But structurally there are more similarities between DMAA and DMHA than with ephedrine. So how does DMHA work?
Due it’s methyl group on the alpha carbon, it should have a half-life of about 9-11 hours. And it should act as a monoamine releasing agent (MRA) of catecholamines like DMAA. This includes dopamine and norepinephrine.
Then DMHA binds to the trace amine associated receptor 1. This will temporarily prevent the re-uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine into the presynaptic nerve. By doing this, these catecholamines remain active in your body for longer. This attributes to the euphoric and wakeful feelings we get from ingredients like this. (25)
Amphetamine VS Ephedrine
Amphetamine, similarly to ephedrine, releases stores of norepinephrine and dopamine. However, amphetamine can also releases stores of serotonin. Amphetamines also prevent the monoamine transporters for dopamine and norepinephrine from recycling them. (26)
What Products Have It
Ephedra is actually a common ingredient in fat burners. So there are plenty of fat burners to pick and chose from!
Products with 25mg of Ephedra
” I ordered this stuff on a Saturday and it was here by the following Tuesday, so thanks for the quick delivery! I don’t use a lot of supplements, but was looking for a little boost to help with weight loss in the new year. A friend told me about Lypodrene, so after doing some research I decided to grab some. SamedaySupplements had a great deal, os i picked up 2 bottles. Let me tell you, if you’re looking for a boost in energy and an appetite suppressant, this is the stuff.
If you’re like me and don’t use stuff like this very often (if ever) I would NOT start with the recommended dose of 2 pills in the morning and 1 pill after lunch. I find that 1 pill in the morning and MAYBE another pill after lunch is plenty. Maybe I’ll work up to the recommended dosage, but for now 1-2 pils/day works great. When I took 2 pills in the morning, I got a bit jittery. Not that I couldn’t function, but I wasn’t expecting it to work as well as it did. Lypodrene definitely works as promised!”
Review By Joe
“Have been taking it on and off for a year now. Great results!”
Review By Anthony
“Love the energy and appetite suppression. My favorite ephedra pills!!”
Review By Andrea
“This is my favorite fat burner. I have a very high tolerance to stimulants, but black widow is perfect. Dropping weight even during quarantine!”
Review By Brandy
“I just started taking these to help with slimming down and I think its helping. My appetite is not as aggressive and I feel more awake throughout the day.”
Review By Tanner
“Energy. Energy. If you’re not good with a lot of caffeine and stims, be careful with this! I love the energy and focus I get with these ephedra pills. 10/10”
Review By ANOM
“It is everything I hoped it would be. It provides energy and appetite suppression. But don’t take it too late in the day you may not be able to sleep. I found that out the hard way!”
Review By Ben
“This product is a strong stone but does not cause nervousness or jitters I’m extremely caffeine sensitive last time I took it I lost weight I could see and tell the difference usually I just do 8 km in 1.5 hours”
Review By Jason
“I am happy with this product so far. It gives a little boost without headaches or jitteriness like some ephedra products. Also, super fast delivery!”
Review By N/A
“No other fat burner helps me lose weight, gives me energy and cuts my appetite like Methyldrene elite does.”
Review By James
“One of the best products for burning fat is very beautiful and effective results.”
Review By Aurore
“This product works great for me. I would recommend the product for the appetite suppression and energy. I would recommend Same Day Supplements because ordering was very simple and easy, shipping is fast, and you get a cool sticker + samples”
Review By Nicole
“Red Wasps – Best for energy and decreased appetite! Gets me thru my workouts and helps me stay at the gym longer!”
Review By Chris
“Love the bit of protein in with the mix. I had one of my best shoulder days the first day I took Ultimate Orange. Think I’m a lifelong consumer now.”
Review By Joe
Products with 50mg+ of Ephedra
“If you’re not a fan of really sweaty workouts, this isn’t for you! I feel the heat, energy, and appetite suppression. Everything I want from a fat burner! I’m a very happy customer and even happier that with all this COVID-19 stuff, my order was shipped on the regular schedule and I didn’t experience any delays!! Thanks Same Day!”
Review By Hannah
“The energy and focus during workouts is great.. i will be buying more”
Review By N/A
“produto e site nota 1000 primeira compra fora do brasil e experiencia muito boa vou compra mais e mais esse e meu primeiro termogenico que vou usar e ja quero compra mais so tenho a agradece a samedaysuplements voces sao muito serio no que oferecem e entregam como descrito .
product and site note 1000 first purchase outside of brazil and very good experience i will buy more and more this is my first thermogenic that i will use and i want to buy more so i just have to thank samedaysuplements you are very serious in what they offer and deliver as described.”
Review By William
“Love this product. Was 65kg after stress eating and beer drinking. Droped back to my original weight of 55kg with one bottle. Always order 3 yrly as I gain when I get off. Best for maintaining weight goal and energy. I always get comments about my glow and confidence. Be lost without this shoe in of a product.”
Review By N/A
Wrapping It All Up
This marks the end of our ephedra vs ephedrine post! To help wrap things up, if you’re just dabbling in fat burners and want to try one of the ephedra pills, we recommend sticking within the 25mg range. However, if you’re an experienced user and looking for the max, Hellfire is the fat burner for you! Thank you for reading and if there’s another product you’d like us to review, an ingredient that you think needs further elaboration, or another blog idea you want to see in the future– send us an email here or leave a comment below!
The intention of the information provided is for reference only and we are in no way providing medical advice or instruction. The information provided in this post is based on anecdotal information and available studies/reviews. While it is our goal to maintain and display accurate information, we can’t guarantee it represents the latest formulation of the product or information. Therefore, if you have any concerns, please visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, the information above is not a representation of our views at Same Day Supplements. Rather, these are the views and information provided by manufacturers and users. Also, the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these statements. Finally, the intention of these products is not to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.