An ECA stack is a combination of ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin tablets. When taken together, these ingredients are said to promote weight loss and boost athletic performance.
- Ephedrine is derived from the Ephedra plant. It’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is also referred to as “ma huang.”
- This extract stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) through the release of a compound called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is used to get the body ready for action and activity.
- This makes it an important part of the fight-or-flight response during times of high stress.
- Ephedra also raises heart rate and can also cause constriction of blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure.
Caffeine is also a stimulant of both the CNS and the cardiovascular system. It’s commonly found in coffee, tea, and soft drinks. Caffeine consumption can increase feelings of alertness, effectively reducing fatigue.
- But when taken in large doses, caffeine can also cause:
- increased heart rate
- elevated blood pressure
Aspirin is a pain reliever. When taken as part of an ECA stack, aspirin prevents norepinephrine levels from decreasing. In other words, it helps maintain the stimulation effects that the caffeine and ephedrine help provide.
Long-term use of aspirin, even in small doses, has been associated with an increased risk of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Using ephedrine alone or in combination with caffeine may cause:
- change in mood
- heart palpitations
The bottom line
If you’re seeking more energy on a daily basis, these are likely better changes to make:
- improve yoursleep routine and habits
- increase your intake of fruits and vegetables
- treat iron or vitamin B deficiency
- exercise during the first half of the day
- try anelimination diet
If you’re aiming to lose weight, talk to your doctor about a safe and effective way to do so. Although ECA stacks may be a quick way to drop a few pounds or feel alert, they can wreak havoc on your overall health. ECA stacks provide stimulation or fake energy. They can mask the real underlying reasons for low energy.