Herbal products association defends Ephedra

- Last updated on GMT

Evidence that the popular dietary supplement Ephedra may be
effective and safe in weight loss arrived recently in the form of
two published studies.

Evidence that the popular dietary supplement Ephedra may be effective and safe in weight loss arrived recently in the form of two published studies. In two separate clinical trials involving healthy adults, researchers found that herbal Ephedra, when combined with caffeine, could aid 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. Taking a defensive stance this week, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the voice of the herbal products industry, said in a statement: " 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 AHPA estimates that over three billion servings of Ephedra, also known as Ma Huang, are consumed each year. In a statement the AHPA added, " Industry has pushed FDA to adopt responsible regulations to guide the manufacture and distribution of these products, but the FDA has failed to respond."

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