Ephedrine: Everything You Need To Know


If you’ve spent a lot of time in the gym, you’ve probably heard of Ephedrine.

Bodybuilders swear by it, claiming that it’s the most effective fat-burning substance there is.

Then again…

Some people say that Ephedrine is harmful and the potential benefits aren’t worth the risks.

If you’re considering using Ephedrine, or at the very least want to learn more about it, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll examine the research behind Ephedrine, in order to determine just how effective of a fat-burner it is and whether the risks outweigh the rewards.

This is everything you need to know about Ephedrine…

What Is Ephedrine?

the ephedrine molecule drawn by hand

Ephedrine is stimulant fat-burner which can directly increase your metabolic rate (amount of calories you burn) and can potentially enhance physical performance as well.

Thus, it’s one of the most sought after weight-loss drugs out there, but also one of the most controversial.

It’s found in an herb called Ephedra sinica.  This is why Ephedrine supplements are sometimes labeled Ephedra.

Various other species of Ephedra have been analyzed for Ephedrine content, including:

  • Ephedra monosperma
  • Ephedra fragilis
  • Ephedra foeminea
  • Ephedra alata

So far, though, sizeable levels of Ephedrine have only been found in Ephedra sinica.


Ephedrine was banned by the FDA in 2004, allegedly over concerns that it may pose long-term health risks.

It can be also be used to make Methamphetamine (another reason the government doesn’t like it much).

Although Ephedrine is banned for use in dietary supplements in the US, it remains extremely popular as a fat-loss agent.  That’s probably because nothing seems to burn fat quite like it.

There are some legal supplements which can help facilitate fat-loss–we’ll talk about those a little later on–but nothing is as going to be as effective as Ephedrine.

How Does Ephedrine Work?

women pulling on her wasteband, showing how much fat she lost

Like the popular fat-loss drug, Clenbuterol, Ephedrine functions as a beta-receptor agonist.

That means it directly stimulates lipolysis.

Lipolysis is the the first step in fat-loss, where stored fat is broken down and fatty acids are released into the blood stream.

Research shows that increasing lipolysis tends to increase the amount of fat you burn.

Your body has two types of receptors that regulate Lipolysis in fat tissue:

  1. Beta-receptors – Trigger Lipolysis
  2. Alpha-receptors – Stop Lipolysis

By directly binding to and activating beta-receptors (especially beta-2-receptors), Ephedrine increases the amount of calories you burn at rest (resting metabolic rate), a lot of which is fat.

Why Do People Use Ephedrine?

man holding ephedrine pills in his hand

The primary objective for most people who use Ephedrine is fat-loss.

Ephedrine accomplishes this in a few ways:

  1. Increasing the amount of calories you burn (metabolic rate)
  2. Suppressing your appetite
  3. Boosting energy levels

Now, the obvious question here is…

How much fat-loss are we talking?

Alone, Ephedrine is capable of increasing your metabolic rate by 5-10%, all else equal.

You’ll lose maybe 2 pounds a month.

Combined with Caffeine, however, it’s more like 4 or 5 lbs per month.  Now that’s actually pretty significant, especially if we’re talking mostly fat.

How is this possible, you ask?

Caffeine triggers the release of Catecholamines–a group of fat-burning chemicals including Dopamine and Noradrenaline–which have inherent fat-burning properties of their own.

Ephedrine turns on the fat-burning furnace and Caffeine adds fuel to the fire.

That’s why this particular combination has been studied so much…

It works!

Caffeine + Ephedrine = more fat-loss than Ephedrine alone.

Caffeine is also a known exercise performance enhancer on its own.

So naturally, most people combined the two in the first place.  I mean, why lose 2 pounds of fat per month if you could lose 5 pounds a month, right?

What’s The Clinically Effective Dosage For Ephedrine?

spoon with two supplement pills in it

Studies regarding pertaining to fat-loss tend to dose Ephedrine in 20mg or 25mg increments.  Some studies use doses as low as 20 or 25mg.

When paired with Caffeine, it’s usually in the range of 20mg to 200mg of Caffeine but some studies have used doses as high as 150mg/day, with Caffeine.

So, dosing is pretty much all over the board with Ephedrine.  Perhaps that’s why there’s been deaths linked to intoxication and why the FDA felt the need to ban it.

Perhaps if we could identify an effective, but safe dose, rather than jumping from 20mg/day to 200mg/day and ODing, some studies could investigate a  few doses in the middle of that rather broad range.

After all, there’s a lot of different dosing options between 20mg and 150-200mg.  Who thought it was a good idea to go that high?

I personally have never used Ephedrine, so I can’t offer any sort of anecdotal advise on this one.  

What I will say though is that it is always better to start with a low dose of any stimulant, see what it does, then consider bumping it up if you think you need to.

I would definitely not recommend starting at the higher end of the clinical range, even if it’s been shown to be safe.  You don’t want to find out the hard way that you have a low Ephedrine tolerance.

What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Ephedrine?

man holding chest after consuming too much Ephedrine

Like most drugs that work, Ephedrine has a fair amount of potential side effects that come with it.  The minor side effects include:

  • Dizzyness
  • Rapid Heart Beat
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Irritability

The more serious side effects include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Death

Of course, the more Ephedrine you take, the more likely it is that you’ll experience side effects.  The same goes for any stimulant.

That’s yet another reason why it’s good to start with a low dose!

So yeah, Ephedrine is a serious stimulant.  It definitely works, but like any good drug, bad things happen sometimes if you take too much.

Is Ephedrine Legal?

pills spilling onto prescription drug pad

Like I said earlier, Ephedrine was banned for use in dietary supplements in 2004 by the FDA.  It would be illegal to sell it as a dietary supplement or as an ingredient in a dietary supplement.

It is legal for pharmaceutical companies to use in cold medications, but due to the meth epidemic, alternative routes are being explored.

In 2005, the Bush administration passed the Combat Of Methamphetamine Epidemic Act which placed a ton of restrictions and regulations on the sale of Ephedrine.

Needless to say, that’s kind of what made the supplement industry back off.

On the next stimulant!

That ended up being DMAA, which is still either in the process of being banned or unbanned…

Not really sure what’s going on with that.

The point is that while it’s not illegal to possess or use Ephedrine, it’s difficult to get it reliably.  You have to order it off shady research chemical websites or international online pharmacies.

You’re not going to find it on Amazon, that’s for sure.

Legal Ephedrine Alternatives (Supplements)

man holding two bottles of supplements in each hand

As with most drugs, there are legal supplements that serve as alternatives.  Needless to say, no supplement is going to be as effective as it’s pharmaceutical counterpart, but they also tend to come with less risk.

So, if you’re someone who cares about you’re health (hopefully you are), you should consider going with a less risky, still moderately effective alternative.

You can easily construct a fat-burning powerhouse by combining a few simple supplements.


Synephrine is considered by many to be the next best thing to Ephedrine.  In many ways, it is.

Like Ephedrine, Synephrine is a beta-receptor agonist which has been shown to increase metabolic rate

Just not as much as Ephedrine.

There’s no doubt that Synephrine is less effective than Ephedrine, but it also has a stronger safety profile.  No deaths have been attributed directly to Synephrine.

In fact, it’s pretty mild in terms of the stimulant effects.


Like Synephrine, Higenamine is a  beta-receptor agonist, but the stimulant properties are more noticeable.

For this reason, it serves as a key ingredient in many high-stim pre-workout supplements.  On it’s own, the stimulant properties are definitely noticeable, especially once you start to work out.

They may be further enhanced by combining Higenamine and Rauwolscine.  You could combine Higenamine with Synephrine as well, but they basically do the same thing so that may just be over-kill.


Caffeine forms the basis for pretty much every fat-burning supplement.  There are some that don’t contain it obviously, but some Caffeine would make them better without a doubt.

The truth is, Caffeine is pretty useful for burning fat, especially if you haven’t developed a tolerance yet.

It triggers the release of Catecholamines, a group of fat-burning hormones which are also responsible for the feelings of mental altertness and mood enhancement that first-time Caffeine use is known to induce.

In fact, many of the studies on Ephedrine were in combination with Caffeine, and it’s quite clear that Caffeine + Ephedrine burns considerably more fat than Ephedrine alone.

So if you’re trying to construct the ideal fat-burner from individual ingredients, Caffeine definitely deserves a spot.

Depending on your tolerance, doses of 100-400mg/day are okay.  Just test out a lower dose first if you’re not a habitual Caffeine-user.

My Personal Opinion On Ephedrine As A Fat-Loss Solution

Like I said, I’ve never used Ephedrine, the reason being that it just doesn’t seem worth it to me.  Sure, Ephedrine can help you lose a few pounds a month (maybe even 5 lbs or so if combined with Caffeine), but so can making simple adjustments to your:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Lifestyle

It’s always best to start with the basics before considering any kind of drug.  It may be faster, but make no mistake:

There are risks and potential side effects.

You’ve been warned!

The Bottom Line On Ephedrine

Lean, muscular women with her hands around her waste

Ephedrine is far from the magical weight-loss supplement/drug that it’s often made out to be.  In fact, Clenbuterol is probably stronger and carries similar risks.

The combination of Caffeine and Ephedrine, however, is definitely one of the most powerful fat-burning duos there is.

There do appear to be some potential risks involved though, so you should weight those risks with how bad you want to achieve a lean, shredded physique.

The truth is, it’s possible to get super ripped without drugs, it just takes longer.


Have Anything To Add About Ephedrine?  Personal Experiences You Wouldn’t Mind Sharing?  Comment Below…

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