Life Without Ephedra!

Filling the shoes of this thermogenic powerhouse will be difficult, but several ingredients are ready to step up to the plate. Let's take a look to see if any are ready for the fat incinerating task at hand.
For those who aren't aware, ephedra was recently banned (i.e., sales of this supplement have ceased). Filling the shoes of this thermogenic powerhouse will be difficult, but several ingredients are ready to step up to the plate. Let's take a look to see if any are ready for the fat incinerating task at hand.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea is high in both caffeine and something called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Both may work synergistically to increase metabolism, reduce food intake, and decrease body weight. One study showed that taking a green tea extract supplement could significantly increase resting metabolic rate when compared to those taking a placebo.

While the research in this area is in its infancy, green tea extract shows promise. Regardless of thermogenesis, green tea has been shown beneficial for various other health parameters as well, so drink up!

Citrus aurantium (AKA bitter orange or synephrine)

Synephrine is a "chemical cousin" to ephedra and ephedra alkaloids. Synephrine is purported to increase metabolism sans the jitters and side effects of ephedrine. The studies that have been conducted used products where synephrine is just one of several ingredients, making it impossible to extrapolate the findings to synephrine alone.

Other studies have shown some positive effects on metabolism in animals, so if you are an overweight golden retriever, in search of the neighborhood lassie, synephrine may be for you. A recent review stated synephrine may be the best current substitute for ephedrine, but did call for more research.

Know that synephrine is also under the radar in terms of a potential ban; use caution if you have high blood pressure or any preexisting heart condition.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

CLA is an umbrella term for various forms of this fatty acid. It is found in meats and dairy products. Studies show human ingest approximately 150-200mg/day; the typical dose in most dietary supplements is around 3-4grams/day.

Unfortunately the evidence from short term human studies suggests CLA does not reduce bodyweight or body fat. While some speculate that different chemical structures of CLA may be more beneficial than those previously tested, only time will tell if the efficacy of this supplement pans out.


We've known for years that calcium is good for the 'ol bones, but research over the last few years has demonstrated it may be good for something else too-weight loss. Several studies have shown an inverse association between calcium intake and body weight or body fat. It seems to be particularly important during weight loss.

While there have been some studies actually supplementing with calcium to enhance weight loss, dairy sources of calcium exert greater benefits than supplemental or fortified sources of this mineral. Knowing calcium is good for the body anyhow, it's important to consume sufficient amounts of dairy products; particularly during caloric reduction.

Coleus foshkohlii

Coleus foshkohlii is a relatively new weight loss ingredient on the scene and is an Indian plant. This plant has several aliases and its herbal extract, forskohlin, is also often included in many products, such as Therma Pro Ephedra Free, by Prolab. Forskohlin stimulates the enzyme adenylate cyclase, which could potentially stimulate lipolysis (fat burning).

Without delving too far into the biochemistry, understand that the mechanism for this ingredient is there and it has potential; however, there is currently no peer-reviewed research on this ingredient to date. There is one current study underway, however, until it and others are out, the only thing to rely on is the manufacturer's word that this ingredient will turn you into a metabolic machine.

Worse yet is that there is the potential for this herb to interfere with cardiovascular disease as it may cause vasodilation and significantly lower blood pressure. Therefore, while it's utility as a fat loss agent shows promise (at least in a biochemistry book), until more research is conducted its use is not scientifically supported.

Dietary supplements may aid with weight loss; however, it's important to get to the root of the situation, rather than only cutting down the weeds. A sound program of moderate caloric reduction and increased exercise are most important when trying to lose weight and body fat. Dietary supplements should not be the foundation of a program, but rather an adjunct to a nutritionally sound one if necessary.

Be sure to also check out:
Making Sense Of Supplementation!