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November 21, 2001

For Consumers, Popular Dietary Supplement Ephedra Confirmed Safe and Effective for Weight Loss

Clinical Evidence Mounts that Ephedra is Safe When Used as Directed

 (SafetyAlerts) -  The popular dietary supplement Ephedra, used by 12 million American consumers, has the support of new clinical research studies that confirm its safety and efficacy for losing weight. Two recently published studies by separate researchers, reported by the Ephedra Education Council (EEC) and published in abstracts by the Obesity Research and the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, add to the growing body of evidence that Ephedra is safe and effective for weight loss when consumed and used as directed.

"This research is important to the millions who need to lose weight. The number of overweight adults continues to be at epidemic levels. It is the latest in a series of clinical studies that support the safety of Ephedra at a time when there is no clinical research linking dietary supplements containing Ephedra to significant adverse events," said Wes Siegner, spokesperson for the Ephedra Education Council, in weight loss research. "While longer-term studies ultimately will be more conclusive, the findings of these clinical trials continue to confirm Ephedra's safety."

In two separate clinical trials involving healthy adults, researchers found that herbal Ephedra, when combined with caffeine, aided in safe weight loss. A study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, and conducted by Miami Research Associates and MetaResponse Sciences, tested the effect of an Ephedra and caffeine supplement on heart rate variability, blood sugar, serial EKGs and body temperature. Researchers found that Ephedra did not have a significant impact on any of the above characteristics, but was successful in producing weight and fat loss, in comparison to the control group.

A second study, published in the September supplement of Obesity Research, and conducted by researchers at Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Group, tested for Ephedra and caffeine's effect on weight loss as well as pulse and blood pressure. Researchers concluded that study participants taking the Ephedra supplement experienced safe weight loss over the three-month trial period, and did not experience significant pulse or blood pressure changes.

In its proposed actions against Ephedra, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has relied on anecdotal adverse event reports (AERs), not clinical research. Yet, the scientific evidence that has been assembled supports the conclusion that Ephedra is safe when taken as directed.

The most recent data regarding Ephedra's safety and effectiveness reiterates the findings of studies published earlier this year. Researchers at the prestigious Harvard and Columbia Universities, who recently published data in abstract form in the FASEB Journal and Obesity Research, found that herbal Ephedra, when combined with caffeine, lowered body weight, fat and body mass index. There were no significant adverse events in this 6-month study, and rigorous testing of cardiac function showed little or no effect on heart rate or blood pressure. In addition, data published in May in The International Journal of Obesity also showed that the combination of Ephedra and caffeine in healthy, overweight subjects produced significant weight and fat loss. Data reviewed by Cantox International Health Services in 2000, based on the results of 19 clinical trials, further affirmed that Ephedra is safe in doses of 90 mg a day.

Source: PRNewswire.

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