Misuse of Ephedra Grabs Media Attention
What is new and negative in the media? The tragic death of an overweight major league baseball player has implicated ephedra-containing products once again as a hazard to public health. Is it the product or the public who poses the hazard?
Nature’s Sunshine Products has safely sold millions of doses of ephedra (12,283,853 doses) in the past year with very few side effects (128 reported) and certainly no deaths or serious health complications. How can NSP sell products with a good safety record while the FDA is reprimanding other companies in the form of warning letters?
The answer: safe and effective use of natural products. It is our belief that ephedra herb should not be combined with caffeine. In almost every case where ephedra has been associated with more serious adverse reactions, it was combined with caffeine.very large doses of caffeine. Consumers often exceed label recommendations and misuse the products (they are designed for respiratory support or as a weight management aid). Misuse of ephedra, poor formulating, and poorly labeled products may end up costing U.S. consumers their right to use this naturally occurring herb that has been used in China for 5,000 years. If you look at the sales of NSP products, the two largest selling ephedra products are split evenly between weight management and respiratory support (MetaboMax® and Sinus Support®). This indicates that not only do NSP distributors know how to use ephedra products, but they also know how to use them safely and effectively.
Ephedra should be used according to label recommendations. Ephedra should be used for respiratory support and for weight management. Children under the age of 18 years of age should not use ephedra-containing products.
The dose of ephedrine alkaloids (the active ingredient in ephedra products) in healthy adults should not exceed 100 mg in 24 hours. People with any type of health condition should not take ephedra. Pregnant or lactating women should not use ephedra products. Ephedra should not be taken concomitantly with any other medications.Based on the pharmacology of ephedrine, ephedra should not be used in combination with caffeine, pseudoephedrine, synephrine, or octopamine. These other natural ingredients can have a synergistic effect with ephedra. Ephedra should not be used for weight training or any other activity where enhanced physical endurance is sought.
In summary, ephedra has been safely used by millions of people since the inception of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994. While tragic events related to ephedra continue to be portrayed in the media, they should not tarnish its reputation as a safe, effective weight-loss and respiratory system supplement when properly used.
by Nature’s Sunshine Health Sciences Division