Metabolife, Metabolift, Metabo-death!

This is going to be lengthy.  I want you to understand the potential benefits and the potential perils of these NEW Fat Burning supplements.

Several years ago a research study was conducted and published in the Journal of Obesity.  It tested the weight loss value of a drug combination.  The drugs tested against a placebo were caffeine and ephedrine.  The group taking the actual drugs lost more weight, and that's where this whole thing began.

Today, years later, I can tell you of the 39-year old woman who took her fat burners just as her trainer recommended . . . and died.  Heart failure.  I can tell you of Dan Duchaine, the "steroid guru" who earned a name for himself selling "Ultimate Orange," a drink mix targeting bodybuilders with promises of explosive energy.  It's "secret" ingredients, caffeine and ephedrine.  Dan suffered a stroke from ephedrine several years ago and in the year 2000 died of . . . natural causes?  I can also tell you of the new drug addicts.  These are athletes and dieters alike who can no longer function without their three-a-day doses of their caffeine and ephedrine formulas.

Let's take a look at the mechanisms of these drugs so we can understand why they became massive sellers.  Caffeine, as we know, is a stimulant.  It also has a slight diuretic effect.  Ephedrine is a bronchodilator.  It used to be sold over the counter as an asthma medication.  It is also a stimulant.  When you put the two drugs together, they increase norephinepherine production decreasing appetite.  They elevate your heart rate measurably.  They cuase you to excrete more water.  Will you lose weight?  Of course!  You're appetite is reduced so you're eating less.  Your heart is beating more times so you're burning more calories.  You find yourself eliminating more water.  These drugs also combine to slightly increase body heat which further increases caloric burn.  Does that mean you're burning fat effectively and enhancing your metabolism in the long term?  Absolutely not!

The power of the product sales lies in three areas.

First . . . marketers have done an incredible job.  In fact, one of the newest thermogenic formulas, Zymax, is sold through direct mailing of a bogus magazine entitled "Plastic Surgery."  The fake magazine plays up the miraculous virtues of this new supplement.  It uses obviously computer retouched photography to show miraculous before and after results and then leads people right to a call to action . . . Order Zymax!

Secondly, the pounds lost on the scale lead users to believe "it's working." 

Thirdly, there's an addictive property to caffeine.  There's also an addictive property to ephedrine.  Put the two together and you're dealing with an addictive compound quite adept at causing your natural adrenal production to be compromised.  When users develop a tolerance to the raciness of the drugs, frequent and increased dosages lead to a dramatic loss of "energy" when the drugs aren't taken.  It's classic addiction . . . except . . . it's 100% legal and sellers are making a fortune.

Just so you know what products I'm referring to, I'll give you a partial list.  Hydroxycut, Thermadrene, Thermocuts, Metabolife, Xenadrine, Metacuts, and scores of other "thermogenic formulas" are all very simply combinations of caffeine and ephedrine.

The side effects of caffeine and ephedrine range from headache and tremors to stroke and death.  While the great majority of users will not die, some people will.  In fact, some of the most likely individuals to be lured into using these products are obese individuals with tendencies toward hypertension . . . and these are the people at the greatest risk!

I want to take a moment to say something that might surprise you.  I'm not 100% opposed to the sale and use of these products.  I am, however, in favor of truth, and if they're being sold as safe, natural, or miraculous, honesty is being passed over to sell products.  I've worked with many athletes who have used caffeine and ephedrine in the weeks leading up to a competition to shed additional fat.  I'd always encourage these athletes to use the products sparingly, never more than 50 mg of ephedrine in a day, never more than three consecutive days of use, and never more than four weeks of use without eight weeks of recovery time to follow.  Most users of these thermogenic products would find those dosages ridiculously low in comparison to the amounts they're using.  By passing the point of tolerance, not only are most people lessening the potential benefit, but they're increasing the associated risks.

Despite my openness to controlled use of these products with knowledge, I find that most users haven't any true need for these products.  If they'd only learn to eat supportively and exercise effectively they could achieve far greater results than these products could ever promise.

Another public mistake is the belief that because they're sold in stores legally, they must be safe.  The manufacturers often put the words "herbal" or "natural" on the labels to further propagate this mistaken belief.  Drugs come from herbs!  Cocaine comes from an herb.  Morphine comes from an herb.  Caffeine can be extracted from guarana, Kola Nut, and Green Tea.  Ephedrine is a derivative of Ma Huang or Ephedra.  If the ingredients are standardized versions of those herbs, the active ingredients are . . . you know by now . . . caffeine and ephedrine.  Let me point out one incident that might have you re-thinking the "if they sell it it's safe" idea.

A Story From Deep in the Heart of Texas

Short Version:  The state of Texas banned the sale of ephedrine. Well . . . they were about to anyway. Supplement manufacturers pulled some political and financial moves and all of a sudden Texas backed off. Ephedrine sales in Texas continue.

The longer version of that story will no doubt prove eye-opening:

It was 1997. Texas Governor George W. Bush appointed a new health commissioner, Reyn Archer. After several ephedrine related deaths and over 1,000 reported health problems tied to this substance, Archer moved to restrict sales of supplements containing ephedrine. A few months after the "firm" decision, Archer met behind closed doors with some supplement manufacturers. It seemed, out of the clear blue sky, he was suddenly wide open to implementing new rules which gave pretty close to free reign to ephedrine sellers.

Archer is a physician, and appeared to be taking a bold stance fueled by health issues. Isn't it odd that he all of a sudden became an ally of those who sell that substance he was protecting his public from?

The publicly released "rumor" was that the ephedrine industry threatened legal action and they had some evidence to support its safety. Interestingly enough, there's an odd coincidence. You've seen Metabolife by now. It's everywhere. You've probably seen the stores or the kiosks in the shopping malls. The President of Metabolife is a 46 year old San Diego businessman by the name of Michael Ellis. Thanks to aggressive marketing, he built his ephedrine based empire into a company that did $600 million in sales last year! Stop for a moment and think about that. $600 million! Selling an addictive stimulant! Are you starting to get a sense that Reyn Archer's flip in policy might have had something to do with . . . not safety . . . but . . . money? Then we're on the same track. This gets even better.

10 years ago Ellis was making money. No, not $600 million, but quite a nice amount. He was arrested in the process of generating this money. You see, his path to wealth, at the time, was the operation of a methamphetamine lab! He was manufacturing and selling a highly addictive illegal stimulant . . . using . . . guess what . . . as the raw material. Did you guess . . . ephedrine? Ding! (That's the sound of the "you're correct bell.)

So, here's the actual sequence of events. Archer makes his decision public. Ellis spends some money to retain some lawyers who are pretty well connected in Texas government and some lobbyists who contribute a good amount of money to Bush's campaign fund. Would it surprise you if I told you that Michael Ellis is now a significant Bush contributor? Would it surprise you if I told you that Ellis, the lawyers, and the lobbyists all now stand to gain significantly by the sale of ephedrine, that they, en masse were responsible for over $40,000 being funneled to G.W. Bush, and that shortly after, ephedrine got the AOK from the Texas health commissioner who was sternly opposed to its sale?

So, while these products may have some value, random use and overuse are not only risky, they're going to backfire and the only ones who will benefit are those money making moguls who are cashing in on the public's inability to separate truth from marketing.  

I'm glad you found the Fitness Truth.  Consider yourself protected.

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