Wouldn't it be nice to pop a pill, stretch out in a BarcaLounger and incinerate calories like a long-distance runner? That's one of the many statements that manufactures of dietary products claim ephedra can do for someone. Ephedra is an herb which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years and is considered the world's oldest medicine. Ephedra is used as a dietary supplement to help stimulate metabolism and suppress appetite. Over $16 billion spent annually on dietary supplements is devoted to weight-loss aids containing ephedra. Ephedra is a hit with athletes, particularly bodybuilders and the average person wanting to lose a little weight. But the lawful use of ephedra as a dietary supplement has been debated for a number of years. It is a fact that people have died and become sick from the use of the product. It is also a fact that athletes as well as common individuals have used ephedra to lose weight as it is intended without death or any illness.
I believe that the dietary supplement ephedra should be banned in the United States based on the fact that it can cause death, personal illness, and also because the use of ephedra as a dietary supplement is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Ephedra should be banned because the improper use of the product can cause serious illness or even a result in death. In the last few years a couple of well known athletes have died from the use of ephedra, one of which was Steven Bechler, a twenty-three year old starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. Bechler, "... fell ill Feb.16 during a workout at fort Lauderdale stadium in Florida, where he was hoping to be picked up for a second season by the Baltimore...