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Are Ephedra Diet Pills Legal in the United States?

Ephedra diet pills are one of the most confusing issues in the entire weight loss supplement industry regarding what is legal and what is not.  Depending on the site you click through any good search engine query results, you may discover articles, statements, and product descriptions that claim that the ephedra ingredient is legal, illegal, or only allowed within certain quantities or types. 

The fact of the matter is that ephedra diet pills of all kinds, no matter the quantity of the ingredient, are illegal for manufacture, sale, and purchase in the United States.

If you’ve been searching for this information for a while, then you may be relieved to know that this is the true story of the legal process regarding ephedra diet pills, including the final results that have brought us up to the present day bans.  By understanding this information, you will be able to avoid any number of scams and very dangerous results, not to mention accidentally taking part in illegal purchases.

Before 2004, ephedra diet pills were legal for sale in the United States.  However, within that year, the FDA declared the ingredient to be a dangerous herb that was hazardous to the health of the product, making it illegal to manufacture or sell it in any form.

During the following year, 2005, Nutraceutical Corporation challenged the legality of the FDA’s ruling, and the Utah judge that oversaw the case decided in favor of NutraCeutical.  What that decision said was that because the FDA had not demonstrated that the use of ephedra alkaloids was hazardous within quantities smaller than 10mg, its sale in that quantity should remain legal.  It should be noted that before the ban, the majority of ephedra diet pills contained 20 to 25mg of the alkaloids.

Regardless, after that time, the FDA continued to declare products containing that alkaloid to be illegal and maintained its bans.  Equally, manufacturers of those pills continued to make and sell the products – though in the lower quantity of 10mg or less.

Finally, in August, 2006, the 10th US Court of Appeals decided once and for all that the production, sale, and purchase of ephedra diet pills was illegal, and that the FDA was correct in labeling the alkaloid a harmful substance.  This is the ruling that continues to exist today.  Though Nutraceutical Corporation did attempt to appeal the decision in October of that year, they have been unsuccessful.

 

Ephedra diet pills are currently not recommended as a "safe" means for achieving weight loss for most people.

On April 14, a federal Judge in Utah Case #(0.26 0.60 282107 7) reversed the short-lived ban on Ephedra. Also known by its Chinese name “Ma-huang”, ephedra burns fat while you sleep and gives you the energy of a teenager. The Ma-Huang supplement is now back on the market.

Ephedra (also known as Ma huang, Chinese Ephedra and epitonin) is the worlds oldest medicine. The Chinese discovered ephedra more than 5000 years ago. Research has shown that ephedra increases metabolism and helps promote weight loss, relaxes the air passages in the lungs to help treat asthma and cough, promotes perspiration to help a person recover from a minor cold and helps promote urination to help relieve edema.

In 1993, ephedra diet pills became popular in the U.S. too. Overweight folks were losing 5-8 pounds per week, without dieting, and that was unheard of at the time. Many common diet pills were not being used as much. Ephedra diet pills were the most effective for many that were having problems losing weight, even though there were many other so called fatburners on the market.

But this unparalleled weight loss concerned some people. Ephedra was so powerful, its safety was questioned. When the controversy peaked in 2004, ephedrine was taken off the shelves for further testing.

Ephedra has been widely researched for its thermogenic (fat burning) properties. Research has show that ephedra helps promote the loss of fat while helping spare lean muscle tissue, a highly sought-after property that prescription diet medications still have not been able to reproduce.

Since then, it’s gone through rigorous tests – and passed with flying colors. According to last month’s ruling in Utah, there was never any basis for banning doses of 10 milligrams or less. As a result, ephedra has once again been approved for public consumption.

There have been several websites offering ephedra diet pills since April 14th.

There are three billion servings of ephedra consumed yearly, an extremely popular stimulant contained in diet pills and sports drinks. Due to its classification as a food, ephedra is exempt from FDA regulation despite adverse side effects of ephedra received since 1994, linking the supplement to chest pain, myocardial infarction, hepatitis, stroke, seizures, psychosis, and death. The FDA has now collected reports of over 100 deaths due to the use of ephedra-containing products, and consumer advocates and doctors are outraged that the supplement has not yet been banned. Public Citizen consumer group petitioned to have ephedra banned in September 2001, and the decision to instead review all scientific reports on ephedra's safety before ruling on the petition prompted the group to label the HHS and FDA as "cowards" for not taking a more deliberate stance.

The nation's largest selling ephedra-containing product, Metabolife, is now under criminal investigation to determine if Metabolife International and former Metabolife president and co-founder lied when telling the FDA they had not received any reports of adverse Metabolife health effects. The FDA has been trying to collect reports from Metabolife as far back as 1997 but said the company "refused and resisted us every step of the way". A pharmacologist hired by the FDA in 1995 to analyze the sudden increase of deaths and heart problems in teenagers whom had taken ephedra was surprised after he reported his findings to the FDA when the agency did not move quickly to restrict ephedra and largely attributes this to the FDA being "under pressure from the powerful ephedra industry".

Ephedra diet pills are currently not recommended as a "safe" means for achieving weight loss for most people.

 

 


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