Health & Fitness » Ephedra Dieting Risks Too High For Black Men

Ephedra Dieting Risks Too High For Black Men

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Ephedra While women are often fully aware of their overall aesthetic appearance, men tend to be a bit more casual when it comes to gaining and losing weight. A little bulk is good, and a slight bulge around the belly is normal, right?

There are a number of important factors to consider when looking at weight gain in Black men. Genetics, age, activity levels, and diet all play a role in how guys hold their weight. As we get older, our metabolism slows and weight gain is more probable. We may also be predisposed to slower metabolic levels due to family genetics.

But there are men who fight the battle of the bulge on a daily basis and some may be tempted to seek assistance from drugs or other substances. During the turn of the millennium, Ephedra - an ancient plant used by the Chinese for a variety of medicinal purposes, became very popular due to its ability to suppress the appetite and stimulate the thyroid gland (which further stimulates metabolism).

From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Dietary supplements that contain ephedra have been banned in the United States since April 2004. FDA banned the products after it determined that ephedra posed an unreasonable risk to those who used it. Ephedra, also called Ma huang, is a plant or herb that contains ephedrine, a substance that is regulated by FDA as a drug when created chemically in the lab. As such, it is subject to strict federal standards for safety and effectiveness. However, ephedra has generally been marketed as an ingredient in dietary supplements, which are not bound by the same strict standards as drugs. Nevertheless, under a 1994 law, FDA can remove a dietary supplement from the market if it creates an unreasonable risk of illness or injury.

FDA has long regarded ephedra-based dietary supplements as potential health hazards. Substantial evidence of harm emerged in 2003, when a major study reported more than 16,000 adverse events associated with the use of ephedra-containing dietary supplements, including heart palpitations, tremors and insomnia. The study also found little evidence that ephedra is effective in boosting physical activities and weight loss -- as claimed by its promoters. FDA subsequently determined that ephedra presents an unreasonable risk of illness or injury. On April 12, 2004, the agency's final rule prohibiting the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra went into effect. Black men, and African-American men in particular, should be keenly aware of the risks of using Ephedra as a dietary supplement. The herb stimulates brain activity, constricts blood vessels (increasing blood pressure), and increases heart rate.

All of these effects may be detrimental to men who are already at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

For more information about developing an effective dieting plan, talk to your doctor or nutritionist about safe supplements to take along with diet and exercise.

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