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
- 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
"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.