Unfortunately, ephedra has been banned in the United States since earlier this year, so good luck finding any in this country.
Ephedra has been banned, but Ephedrine is still available at every truck stop in the country being sold as a bronchiodialator. Ephedra/Ma Huang was primairly used for the ephedrine content anyway, so at least this way you know exactly how much your dosing. As someone mentioned earlier, Bill Phillips and many others, supports the use of the ECA stack (ephedrine/caffeine/aspirin). This used to be sold by basically every supplement company pre-made, and you couldn't throw a rock in a GNC without knocking over 5-6 displays of it. Post-ephedra ban, you have to concoct your own. You can order the ephedrine product Vasopro from 1fast400.com for $7.00 for 48 25mg doses (Vasopro also contains 200mg of a rather benign ingredient. It does nothing except make it a lot harder for the pill to be used in making methamphetamines). The amount of caffeine usually used is 200-300mg. No-doz (buy generic), guarana, tea and coffee are all good sources of caffeine. A cup of coffee is around 70mg. I wouldn't even bother with the aspirin. This stack is normally take 3x per day, although you may want to spend a couple days gauging tolerance. The EC stack is great in weight loss, mostly because of the appetite suppression. It makes dieting MUCH easier. Most appetite suppressants, like gacinia cambogia (the one in trimspa) and citrimax are barely more effective than placebo. In fact, in my experience, Citrimax makes me hungrier. The metabolic effects of EC are generally exaggerated. The most you can hope for is a 3-5% increase in metabolic rate which amounts to around 70 calories or so, allowing you to safely add a half can of Coke (or a whole can of C2...
) to your diet. As far as the safety issue, it was greatly blown out of proportion. If you look at the numbers, ephedra caused a negligible increase in heart attack risk for the general public (I can't remember the figure, but it was something like .01%). The big problem with it was idiots that don't read the label. If you have a heart problem, don't take ephedra, or ingest large amounts of caffeine, or run as hard as you can for an hour, or constantly cram cholesterol in your mouth. The other main cause of problems was people taking a considerable amount over the recommended dosage. After taking ephedra/ephedrine regularly for about 2-4, the stimulant effects are far less noticeable. This leads many irresponsible people to increase their dosage to well over 200mg/day. To try and put this into perspective, this would have the same stimulant effect of about 15 cups of coffee. Just about every other weight loss supplement on the market is crap, or caffeine (disguised as guarana) packed into a pill with 30-40 other herbs with cool names but do nothing so you can lose weight naturally. The only ones things I can think of on the market that actually show results, are Yohimbine and Synephrine. Yohimbine is basically useless unless you're already rather lean (<12% body fat) and on a low-carb diet. Synephrine is basically a less effective Ephedrine. Going back to the original post, if you're trying to lose weight low carb can be quite effective if done properly. The Atkins approach is rather impractical though. Unless you're under 15% body fat already, and a restricted calorie diet that did include carbs, your just depriving yourself of a good chunk of foods for no real reason. Atkins "works" (especially in heavier people) because when you take away soda, candy, potato chips, corn chips, Cheetos, ice cream, pretzels, pizza, and basically all fast food you've removed a large portion of the calories people have been eating. Emotional and triggered foods are among these. A craving for chocolate/sweets is often triggered by depression/stress. Many people eat crap like potato chips while watching TV. Foods high in protein and fat also blunt appetite more effectively than carbs, so that also causes less total caloric intake. Most people stay on Atkins because they lost weight rapidly right after the bat. Dramatically decreased carb intake, leads to rapid water loss, which usually accounts for some ungodly percentage (~85%) of the weight lost during the first 2 weeks on Atkins. Yet another problem, is it slows down kidney function, so should you ever eat carbs again, not only does your body pack on all that water you lost, but doesn't know how to handle all those carbs and metabolizes them inefficiently. My advice, is cut calorie intake to about 1800-2000 calories per day coming from fairly balanced amount of the calories coming from carbs, protein and fat. Protein is particularly important. As far as supplements, start with a good multivitamin. If appetite is/becomes a major problem, try EC. If weight loss stops for a few weeks, cut off another 150 calories. Cardiovascular exercise will help, but pace yourself, and try to get at least 30minutes in each session. Weight training can also boost your metabolism, as well as help maintain muscle mass through dieting. If you get to the point where your below 15% body fat and can't seem to shed a pound no matter what you do (or you just like torturing yourself), check out a book titled Ultimate Diet 2.0
by Lyle McDonald. If you can actually tolerate the (painful) training routine and extreme dieting, it will work. Plus, you get to spend a day each week eating basically as much as you can. Definitely not for inexperienced dieters though. Hmmm... I think that's enough for now.