2/05/03 - Thumbs Down for Ephedra? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

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2/05/03 - Thumbs Down for Ephedra?

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Thumbs Down for Ephedra?
By: Wendy Ray

(Cape Girardeau, MO)--Lately, you have probably heard a lot about the benefits of the popular herb ephedra, found in many weight loss and body building supplements. But a new study is giving ephedra the thumbs down. According to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine , ephedra can cause heart attacks and other severe side affects even when it's taken in recommended doses, but not everyone agrees.

Time at the gym is important to 22-year-old Jake Sehnert. "I try to do big muscle groups everyday, so I'll do chest one day, back, shoulders, arms, legs," Sehnert says. He admits he's taken supplements to enhance his work-out. "I've taken ginseng, Ripped Fuel, creatine," he says. Ma-huang, the Chinese name for ephedra, is in the Ripped Fuel supplement Sehnert took. He saw positive results, at first. "I was able to workout longer," Sehnert says. He also says ephedra increased his heart rate, and that's exactly why some health experts are pushing to get ephedra banned.

Researchers with the American Association of Poison Control Centers say their studies found products with ephedra made up 64-percent of bad reactions to herbal products reported in the United States in 2001. In the past, it's been linked to seizures, heart attacks, and sudden death. But the Ephedra Education Council says the herb is safe when taken correctly. The council disagrees with the study, they say only comparing ephedra to other herbs, and not to medications does not give accurate results. The reactions reported to the poison center are also not shown. A lawyer for the ephedra council says the risks could have been exaggerated. Despite seeing benefits, Sehnert's changed his mind on ephedra or any other herbal supplements. "I guess the best way to go is natural," he says. "You got to do what you got to do."

For more information on the study click here: http://www.annals.org

For more information on the Ephedra Education Council click here: http://www.ephedrafacts.com

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