Don’t exercise, eat what you want and still lose 30 pounds in 30 hours. Ask me how! Part 2

Posted by Lloyd on October 25, 2011
Under the Microscope

This synergistic drug combo of pure ephedrine + caffeine (E+C), derived from synthetic sources, has been the subject of numerous weight-loss studies. The results are convincing: E+C, when taken in appropriate doses, produces measurable decreases in body weight, body fat, appetite, and may “spare” the loss of calorie-burning muscle tissue, an almost unavoidable consequence of WEIGHT loss achieved through dieting (3,4). Despite the thermogenic effects of E+C, the majority of the weight loss is due to the appetite suppressing effects, not to increases in metabolism (you’d have to spontaneously combust to burn enough calories AND lose significant weight!). The appropriate doses fit this description: 20 mg of E + 200 mg of C, taken three times daily. This 1:10 ratio enjoys the lion’s share of validation by clinical research studies.

“Appropriate dose” studies have all been conducted under the supervision of a physician. For many subjects in these studies the first few days to weeks of taking E+C in these doses are quite memorable: irritability, “wild horse” nervousness, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, insomnia and irritability are not uncommon. In essence, you can feel like a skittish poodle that’s trying to jump out of its fur. However, after those first few weeks the adverse side effects subside (4). What we know much less of is the evidence of safety and effectiveness behind E+C derived from herbal extracts.

In comparison to the numerous studies done with synthetic E+C, only one study using herbal source E+C has been published in a professional biomedical journal (5). The product used, Xenadrine®, was compared to placebo over an eight-week period. Xenadrine has 20 mg:200 mg (1:10) E+C ratio plus an extract derived from bitter orange, containing a synephrine (heard of the nasal spray Neo Synephrine®?). Twenty-five overweight subjects (mostly men) completed the two-month study, requiring a calorie restricted diet and a 3x/week exercise program. Both groups lost weight, but the Xenadrine group lost more: 6.9 pounds vs. 4.5 pounds. Using a modestly accurate method to measure total body fatness (skinfold thickness at seven sites on the body), the Xenadrine group lost more fat. Both groups lost muscle mass (fat-free mass) in the study, but the Xenadrine group lost less. No significant side effects were described, but the subjects in the study were fist evaluated after four weeks of using the product, which may have allowed them to adapt to the “hyper hummingbird” effects of the E+C product.

One other study has shown similar results with herbal source E+C mixtures. This study was presented at a very large annual biological sciences meeting (Experimental Biology 99®, Wash., D.C.) in April of 1999 (6). Over double the number of subjects as the Xenadrine study were enrolled in this safety and effectiveness examination of Metabolife 356®. This product sports an E:C ratio of 1:3.3 (72 mg of ephedrine: 240 mg of caffeine as the tested daily dose), a departure from what the research says works best.

Just like the Xenadrine study the Metabolife 356 results showed it to be superior to placebo: 8.7 pounds vs. 1.8 pounds after eight weeks. The Metabolife group also lost significantly more body fat. Unlike the Xenadrine study, the Metabolife subjects displayed side effects that were intolerable, forcing them to stop before finishing the study: one developed high blood pressure while four experienced heart palpitations early on in the study. Later in the study six more dropped out: two had heart palpitations, one irritability and one with increased systolic (the top number) blood pressure. In the Metabolife group 24 subjects did finish the eight-week study. Dry mouth, heart palpitations, blood pressure increases and insomnia were far more common for them than those in the placebo group.

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