If there was one substance that could be called the undisputed fat burning champion, it would probably be ephedrine. Ephedrine is a chemical extracted from plants of the Ephedra genus. This plant is known as Ma Huang to the Chinese, and the ephedrine from it has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to cause weight loss and increase Chi (what we would call energy). So what makes ephedrine and its herbal equivalents so great at causing weight loss?
Ephedrine Burns Fat
Ephedrine is able to burn fat because it is structurally similar to adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone that is released during exercise or when we become physically aroused. One of adrenaline's jobs is to mobilise energy stores so that fuel is ready for the skeletal muscles to burn. In this regard, adrenaline is a great fat burner. Because ephedrine is similar to adrenaline it causes the same fat burning effects.
Ephedrine Cuts Appetite
Ephedrine is no one trick pony. Oh no, ephedrine has a number of fat burning secrets up its sleeve. As well as burning fat, ephedrine is able to cause a significant decreases in appetite. In fact ephedrine is so good at inhibiting appetite that many claim this is its primary method of causing weight loss. Ephedrine can reduce the appetite because one of the functions of adrenaline is to switch off eating behaviour and to prepare for physical activity.
Ephedrine Increase Workout Intensity
One of the problems of exercise is that its very inefficient at causing weight loss. This is because most people fail to exercise with enough intensity. Aerobic exercise for example is a very poor form of fat burning. One thing ephedrine can do is increase workout intensity. This is much more likely to stimulate muscle growth which in turn will increase the metabolic rate. And as we know a higher metabolic rate burns more fat.
Ephedrine Prevents Muscle Loss
One of the biggest problems with weight loss is that much of the ‘weight’ lost is muscle. This is bad because it lowers the metabolic rate. The offshoot of this is that fewer calories are needed and weight regain is more likely. Ephedrine can prevent reductions in metabolic rate because it reduces the amount of muscle that is lost when weight loss is occurring. This means that the metabolic rate is maintained and that weight regain is much less likely.
So What’s the Downside?
The downside is that you can't easily buy ephedrine any more in the United Kingdom. It used to be that you could walk into any supplement store and buy ephedrine off the shelf as a fat burner. But then they banned ephedrine and only the herbal form was left. Now, even the herbal Ma Huang has been banned. Some cough medicines do still contain ephedrine, but these are not designed for weight loss and so may not be suitable. It’s a shame, because ephedrine worked brilliantly.