All About Ephedrine
By: Good Looking Pharmacist (w/ Good Looking Loser)
Although this blog post was written by a pharmacist, it is subject to our medical disclaimer and not to be considered medical advice nor the suitable replacement for advice from a physician.
Speak to your doctor before using any dietary supplements.
Forward by Good Looking Loser
I remember the day I discovered Ephedrine.
I was 18, still in high school and wandering around GNC at Montgomery Mall in my hometown (Potomac, MD.).
In the middle of the store there was a lock-and-key plastic display case that contained a few bottles of stuff I had never heard of.
Hydroxycut, Ripped Fuel and Xenadrine.
What were these things?
The GNC idiot that was on duty at the time said -
Those are so addictive and hardcore, they can kill you, that's why we keep 'em locked up!
I went home and did some research and found the issue wasn't so black or white.
They were strong products, they were highly effective supplements, used responsibly - these products were the very best legal dietary supplements for energy, fat loss and appetite suppression.
I picked up a bottle of Hydroxycut, jogged 5k every morning while watching WWF (now WWE) Wrestlemania videos (old school - Rick Martel, Demolition - Ax/Smash, Mr. Fuji, Jake 'The Snake' Roberts) and got extremely ripped. I was early to school every morning and scored a record amount of goals (31 in 16 games, as a defenseman) in Spring league hockey.
(I even won 'best body' in my high school class!)
Obviously I didn't retain a lot of muscle. I was 18 years old, completely natural and didn't really give a damn.
What is Ephedrine?
Ephedrine is a potent stimulant, closely related to methamphetamine (don't get the wrong impression, most effective stimulants are), although possessing less profound effects. It is an alkaloid, being a sympathomimetic responsible for inducing activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Ephedrine has been used for centuries in China, and has well documented effects including use as an anti-asthmatic and decongestant. However, as you may have guessed, thanks to its powerful stimulatory and sympathomimetic effects, it is a very effective fat burner and performance aid, making it a vital part of cutting cycles.
Uses of Ephedrine
Ephedrine has real medicinal value, being important in treating many health maladies. It can be effectively used as;
- Anti-asthmatic[i]- Ephedrine, being a sympathomimetic, is able to cause release of epinephrine and nor-epinephrine, as well as result in relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle. Stimulation of Beta receptors, among other effects, leads to relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle.
- Decongestant- Ephedrine, being a potent vasoconstrictor, is highly effective for treatment of nasal congestion resulting from the common cold.
Who Uses Ephedrine?
As of today, the status of Ephedrine is tightly controlled, and as such only patients who demonstrate a need for the drug will be in possession of it.
However, thanks to its potential for fat loss, bodybuilders will always use it as part of pre contest prep.
Ephedrine is also extremely effective for athletes who participate in endurance athletes since it improves respiratory capacity and lung volume.
How Will Ephedrine Make You Feel?
Being a stimulant, many of the effects of Ephedrine are highly sought after. Taking in a dose of Ephedrine will most likely result in;
- You being more focused and improves concentration
- Your heart rate will increase as the body tries to dissipate heat faster
- Your metabolism increases (sweating, perspiration)
- You fatigue less easily
- Strength increases modestly via nervous system stimulation
- Your appetite will crash as many sympathomimetics frequently cause
How Should Ephedrine Be used?
The first point to make note of in regard to Ephedrine is its half life; it is extremely short. Being between 3-6 hours, this means that at the least, this drug needs to be taken every 3-6 hours to maintain effect over the course of the day. However, a better practice is to take half the dose, at half time intervals. So, for example, a typical dose of Ephedrine is 20 mg, every 6 hours. However, a much more appropriate dose would be to take 10 mg every 3 hours. This ensures there is adequate blood levels of the drug throughout the day, and will eliminate the crashes associated with its usage. This practice can greatly improve your experience and results from usage of Ephedrine.
A typical Ephedrine cycle will last between 8-12 weeks, since receptor down regulation is inevitable. To alleviate this, you can try a Benadryl 50 mg capsule nightly before bed, as this slows down the speed and extent to which the desensitization occurs.
Good Looking Loser's Ephedrine Experience (Several Thoughts)
As I mentioned, long before I ever started using steroids - I would use an ECA stack every morning between January - March to get absolutely shredded for Spring Break and the Summer months.
I'd usually go from about 205 lbs to about 170-175 lbs (6-7%).
I looked like a male [fitness] model.
I probably looked my best then.
Ephedrine/ECA Stacks made it fairly easy. Cardio was a breeze. My appetite was nill.
I would lose a ton of muscle because I didn't know about BCAA's or that a No Fat, No Carb, High Protein diet wasn't the best way to preserve lean mass.
Ephedrine also helped me in hockey, the focus from REAL Ephedrine is very close to ADHD medications such as Ritalin.
Talking to girls was easier too, I was always one-step ahead (somewhat like I mention for Modafinil) - the downside is during the "crash" when it sometimes gave me anxiety. I don't suggest using either compound to simply encourage pro-social behavior however.
Combined with Phenibut (upward of 3000mg - taken in increments throughout the day), it can provides for a totally awesome "God Mode" day.
The downsides from Ephedrine are typical of any strong stimulant -
- It can mess up your sleep schedule if you take it too late. (take it first thing in the morning)
- It can make it hard to get a lasting erection.
- Sometimes there is a "crash" and you will get anxiety. (even if you aren't prone to anxiety)
- You won't have much of an appetite. (this can be a good thing too)
- It can make you sweat a lot, especially if combined with T3.
- You may crave cigarettes.
What is The ECA Stack?
The ECA stack came into being seeking to improve upon the effects of Ephedrine alone, and boy did it deliver! The ECA stack contains, in addition to the Ephedrine (E), caffeine (C), and Aspirin (A). By taking all 3 of these drugs together, fat loss beyond what would be achieved normally is possible[ii]. The other two drugs help out by;
- Caffeine- promotes lipolysis, prevents storage of new fat and acts as a stimulant as well
- Aspirin- the main use of the aspirin in the cocktail is to prolong the action of the elevated sympathetic amines (such as epinephrine and norepinephrine). By preventing the breakdown of these amines, fat loss was maintained for a longer period of time.
Having used the ECA stack quite a bit, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the side effects of the 3 taken together are in no way worse than that of Ephedrine alone.
The ECA stack can be taken 4 times daily, at a dose of 20mg Ephedrine, 200mg caffeine and 81mg [baby] aspirin.
(taking it 2 times a day is more realistic for most trainees)
Will Ephedrine Give Me a Heart Attack?
Not if you don't have a PREEXISTING heart condition and use it as directed.
If you take massive amounts of it, combine with large amounts of recreational drugs or have cardiovascular problems - you might have problems.
Are Ephedrine and Ephedra Two Different Things?
For some reason, a lot of people do not understand the difference between Ephedra and Ephedrine.
Lets clear that up.
Ephedra, is basically the name of the plant from which Ephedrine is extracted, Ephedrine being an alkaloid. The Ephedra plant is known to the Chinese as Ma Huang.
The vast majority of dietary supplements available for purchase are “Ephedra” based; which means they have Ephedrine, just not the super-potent alkaloid.
They still work quite well in our opinion. I have no idea why people say otherwise.
Legal Status of Ephedrine
Due to different laws getting passed (and later revoked) and misinformation from pencilnecks in the media/Internet forums there has been a lot of confusion about where Ephedrine stands.
The FDA approves both Ephedra and Ephedrine to be sold in the United States, but both are tightly controlled by the DEA.
- They are both legal to possess and purchase in the United States as of October 2014.
Still, some states have their own restrictions on Ephedrine sales -
* California apparently allows Ephedrine sales. (Curious George, GLL Forum)
Despite its legality, very few mainstream supplement companies are willing to sell supplements with Ephedrine HCL due to the potential for class-action lawsuits and general heat from the DEA.
It’s a shame because throwback supplements such as Twin Lab’s “Ripped Fuel”, Cytodyne’s “Xenadrine” and even Muscletech’s “Hydroxycut” were awesome.
The original 'Ultimate Orange' created by Dan Duchaine, dubbed "Tang with Ephedrine" or "Orange Crack Rock", was a favorite of so many bodybuilders.
It was very close to a 5-10mg dose of Adderral with an even more significant energy kick.
What About the New "Ephedrine Free!" or "Just As Good As Ephedrine!" Formulas?
When Ephedrine was temporarily banned in 2003, a lot supplement companies shamelessly decided to release new Ephedrine free formulas under nearly identical names as their original product to capitalize on the brand name.
Ripped Fuel became "Ripped Fuel Extreme".
Xenadrine became "Xenadrine EFX".
Hydroxycut became "Hydroxycut HaRdCoRe".
The new names suggested that products were improved and even stronger.
In reality, green tea extract, "more caffeine" or [something else that does nothing] was substituted for Ephedrine.
Needless to say, the new Ephedrine free formulas are a complete joke compared to the ECA stacks/anything.
Since bodybuilders and athletes are well aware of this, the marketing is directed at "normal people"/total idiots without a fitness IQ -
Are Its Derivatives Legal?
Some are, such as synephrine, while others, such as pseudoephrine and phenylephrine are moderately controlled as well. Though those two may be purchased over the counter, the purchaser is still required to sign in a register as there is a maximum allowed per week. The DEA is concerned about people making methamphetamine with the Sudafed.
So Where Can I Get Ephedrine?
Since I know I'll be asked, I'll just tell you now.
It's completely legal and there's no risk whatsoever so long as abide by the rules and don't order a ridiculous amount (intent to distribute).
If you are in a state that sells Ephedrine (see map above), you can sometimes find it at gas stations or truck stops, especially in convenience stores that are next to a major interstate. Both are popular among truckers who drive long hours.
[ii] Paul G. Shekelle, MD, PhD; Mary L. Hardy, MD; Sally C. Morton, PhD; Margaret Maglione, MPP; Walter A. Mojica, MD, MPH; Marika J. Suttorp, MS; Shannon L. Rhodes, MFA; Lara Jungvig, BA; James Gagné, MD "Efficacy and Safety of Ephedra and Ephedrine for Weight Loss and Athletic Performance: A Meta-analysis"JAMA. 2003;289:1537-1545