Ephedra Study Shows Dangers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/13/04

Ephedra Study Shows Dangers

Everyone wants to lose weight these days, and fast. That's why millions have turned to weight loss supplements, some containing Ephedra.

But after much debate, the FDA has finally banned the use of the popular dietary supplement Ephedra, calling it dangerous. The concern is Ephedra could lead to heart trouble.

On Tuesday, there is even more evidence of that from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy. Researchers there studied patients taking Metabolife 356, a diet supplement which contains Ephedra, and they found that more than half showed an increase in their QTC, which refers to the timing of the electrical impulses that generate a heart beat.

"What it does in effect is it alters the electrical impulses in the heart, and by doing that, it increases the chances you could have one of these heart rhythm disturbances, and if you have one, it could be very serious. It could lead to unconsciousness or even death," says Dr. Michael White, University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy.

The report in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests Ephedra products pose a possible risk to the heart. But Dr. White says further study is needed to determine if Ephedra is to blame by itself, or if it is the combination of Ephedra and some other ingredient that triggers changes in the heart.

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