is a key component to the fat-burn products you see (or used to see) on the shelves. Some try to pass of the new formula as somehow improved by putting flashy "Now Ephedra Free!"-stickers on them, as if they were selling fat-free pizza, but the truth is a lot of the potency is out the window. In all fairness, the small but existing risk associated with ephedra-based products went away at the same time, but in my opinion it seriously undermines the whole idea behind the product. Why would I buy a multivitamin that proudly proclaimed: "Now Vitamin A, C and D Free!"?
So why is everybody scrambling to drop one of the two most important ingredients of their flagship product? I'd say lawsuits on one hand, ignorant politicians on the other. A greedy lawyer can milk millions out of someone hitting his thumb with a hammer, so just imagine what kind of a field day they can have with a "mysterious" herb that is already suspect enough to require a warning label the size of a billboard poster on each container.
Ephedra is already banned in Utah, California follows suit in Jan 2004 and your state may be next. Add up the two and you see why the manufacturers - correctly - realizes it's bad business to stick their necks out for a shrinking market. It's sad, but there's nothing to do about it except tell your local politicians to resist the pressure to ban ephedra. Failing that, make room in your cabinet and get ready to stockpile.
NOTE: Ephedra is not for everyone and I strongly advise you to read the instructions on the label CAREFULLY before using. That said, I'd also like to point you to some interesting scientific studies on the effects of ephedra:
Cantox Health Science International report on ephedra
St.Luke's Hospital/Columbia University Study: An Herbal Supplement Containing Ma Huang-Guarana for Weight Loss
Greenway Article: The Safety and Efficacy of Pharmaceutical and Herbal Caffeine and Ephedrine Use as a Weight Loss Agent
Pennington Study: Safety and Efficacy of an Herbal Dietary Supplement Containing Caffeine and Ephedra for Obesity Treatment
Background Incident Rate Analysis: "Summary of Incidence of Seizures, Strokes, and Myocardial Infarctions in the Population and Estimations of Risk in the Population from Ephedra Products."