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Ephedra and eating disorders

Abstract: Ephedra is not at all safe, it has many dangerous side effects.

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Ephedra and eating disorders

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Question(s): 
Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 07 Aug 2008.

Is it safe to use ephedra for patients with eating disorders?

I am a 17 year old girl with bulimia nervosa. A friend of mine recommended the natural Ma Huang (Ephedra) to me. Is it safe to take ephedra together with zoloft for depression?

Answer:

You might see a lot of dangerous advertisements on the Internet or in other media promising all kind of positive effects with "natural" supplements or treatment options. Ephedra is not at all a safe alternative... As a matter of fact some severe side effects and even deaths of people (taking ephedra for weight reduction or stimulation in sports or body building) have been reported in the last years.

Ephedra has a stimulant effect on the nervous system. So it may cause you a significant change of your heart functions (increased pulse and blood pressure) but also a lot of other changes.

While it might suppress or reduce appetite for a while ephedra will cause severe problems for patients with an eating disorder. The perception of hunger and satisfaction is very often one of the major problems of patients with an eating disorder. Ephedra manipulates the awareness of normal body signals and may cause severe disturbances and a major negative influence on the course of your eating problem.

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