Herbal ephedra/caffeine for weight loss: a 6-month randomized safety and efficacy trial.Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2002; 26(5):593-604IJ
To examine long-term safety and efficacy for weight loss of an herbal Ma Huang and Kola nut supplement (90/192 mg/day ephedrine alkaloids/caffeine).
Six-month randomized, double-blind placebo controlled trial.
A total of 167 subjects (body mass index (BMI) 31.8+/-4.1 kg/m(2)) randomized to placebo (n=84) or herbal treatment (n=83) at two outpatient weight control research units.
Primary outcome measurements were changes in blood pressure, heart function and body weight. Secondary variables included body composition and metabolic changes.
By last observation carried forward analysis, herbal vs placebo treatment decreased body weight (-5.3+/-5.0 vs. -2.6+/-3.2 kg, P<0.001), body fat (-4.3+/-3.3 vs. -2.7+/-2.8 kg, P=0.020) and LDL-cholesterol (-8+/-20 vs. 0+/-17 mg/dl, P=0.013), and increased HDL-cholesterol (+2.7+/-5.7 vs. -0.3+/-6.7 mg/dl, P=0.004). Herbal treatment produced small changes in blood pressure variables (+3 to -5 mm Hg, P< or =0.05), and increased heart rate (4+/-9 vs. -3+/-9 bpm, P<0.001), but cardiac arrhythmias were not increased (P>0.05). By self-report, dry mouth (P<0.01), heartburn (P<0.05), and insomnia (P<0.01) were increased and diarrhea decreased (P<0.05). Irritability, nausea, chest pain and palpitations did not differ, nor did numbers of subjects who withdrew.
In this 6-month placebo-controlled trial, herbal ephedra/caffeine (90/192 mg/day) promoted body weight and body fat reduction and improved blood lipids without significant adverse events.