Ephedrine & ECA (Thermogenics)
As the name suggests, thermogenics has to do with temperature; these supplements raise your body temperature, and the number of calories burned. Thermogenic fat loss products have proven to be effective helping people lose weight; however not indefinitely. The most potent on the market are those collectively labelled ECA stacks. ECA is Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirin. This is a synergistic mix gives a multi-angle approach to fat loss:
Ephedrine (EPH) is an alkaloid derived from a shrub in the family Ephedraceae, commonly known as ephedra. It is closely related to methamphetamine. The traditional Chinese herb ma huang (ephedra sinica) contains natural ephedrine, as does Sida cordifolia.
Ephedrine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system, and is widely used for fat loss. It has powerful effects on the cellular mechanisms that control fat release from fat cells. Some of these effects include contributing to the release and blocking the re-uptake of the neurotransmitter noradrenalin. This gives noradrenalin the ability to continuously stimulate receptors in your body, causing fat cell “flood gates” to open and facilitate fat loss. Ephedrine is a non-specific agonist for all three beta-receptors found on lipocytes (fat cells). By stimulating any one of these beta-receptors the fat cells breaks down (lipolysis); ephedrine attacks all 3 sites and is therefore a potent fat burner.
Ephedrine is banned by the FDA and is a class ‘C’ drug here in the u.k.
Some of the more common ephedrine side effects people experience from taking the drug are: nervousness, dizziness, tremors, rapid heart rate, headaches, jitters, palpitations, insomnia and increased blood pressure. Most of the serious injuries associated with ephedrine involve high blood pressure, as this can cause bleeding in the brain, a stroke or a heart attack.
The second key thermogenic ingredient, caffeine, is a methylxanthine that stimulates hormone-induced fat burning. The caffeine in the ECA Stack usually comes from kola nut and green tea extract. Caffeine works by increasing free fatty-acid concentrations and adrenaline levels. This results in greater lipolysis (oxidation of fats for energy), which can drain your fat stores over time. This change in a muscle’s utilisation of energy substrates can have a profound effect on fat loss. Caffeine also heightens mental alertness (stimulant effect), which can positively affect your motivation to exercise and create the caloric deficit needed to lose body fat.
Aspirin is the popular name for salicylic acid. It raises the body’s internal “thermostat,” so that the increased production of heat, which is typical of ECA products, does not set off alarms in the body. This allows the ephedrine and caffeine to work in your body for a longer period of time, giving you the maximum fat-burning potential. Aspirin also helps keep blood ‘thin’ which aid the circulatory system (see Aspirin section).
Studies have shown thermogenics to effectively reduce fat when used for less than five to six weeks, after which time, the effectiveness begins to disappear over the next four to five weeks. With over eight weeks of continual use, tolerances establish and you see very little weight loss improvements. At this point, you should stop using such a product since it’s not going to do you much good. If you continue using thermogenic products, it is recommended you take some time off to reduce your tolerance level and then continue at a reduced dose.