Nutrition & Health OnLine Magazine: Questions & Answers on Weight Loss and Fitness
By Davey Dunn
Q.  I was surprised to see how high you ranked the products that contain MaHuang because I would think you would know how dangerous such products are. The FDA has issued warnings about these products because you can die from them. Don't you think you should tell people the truth?
A.  We are very interested in telling people the truth which is why we ran the article called The Ephedra Debate: Do You Know the Truth? In that article we cover in detail the actions of the FDA in trying to limit the sale of products containing Ephedra and how they were soundly criticized by several members of Congress for practicing "bad science." We left out some details about that "bad science" that we probably should share with our readers in keeping with telling the truth. One of the adverse event reports that the FDA based their recommendation upon concerned a women who the FDA had claimed had died as the result of having used a product containing Ephedra. In actuality the women was killed when she lost control of her car and struck a tree while driving drunk. I think it is pretty generous to call this instance bad science when a better word would be fraud.
The media seems more than willing to partner with the FDA in lying to the public about Ephedra. I have heard many reports as to the dangers of weight loss products containing Ephedra but I hear nothing about popular over-the-counter cold and sinus products that contain Pseudoephedrine like Actifed or Motrin. Are they perhaps confused by the difference in the name or are they just blinded by the large checks they receive from the pharmaceutical companies for advertising?
I am sorry that you have only heard the side of the story that the ruthless large companies want you to hear because there is another side to this story that is based on science and hundreds of research studies done at leading institutions like Harvard and Columbia. If you really want to understand the truth about this issue then read though some of these research studies and I think you will be amazed by what the truth really is in relation to Ephedra.
Q.  I am interested in trying a product to help me lose some weight but I am currently using prescription antidepressants and I was wondering whether I can safely use any of these products with my medication.
A.  Whether or not you can safely use a product with your prescription medication is irrelevant because one of the side effects of this class of medication is weight gain, which will counteract the effect of any weight loss product that you try to use. I contacted to make sure that all such drugs cause weight gain and they responded with the following:
    Dear Davey:
    Thank you for your encouragement. Weight change (gain or loss) is a side effect recognized in the PDR for each of this class of drug. You can go to: and then click on the link for any of the drugs of interest. Scroll to the part of the data sheet describing side effects if necessary. "Weight Gain" was one of the listed side effects for each of the drugs the last time that we checked. Further, we have received numerous reports from users of this class of medications which included "Weight gain" (50 pounds is not uncommon) as one the things that they experienced.
I realize that many people have emotional problems and suffer from depression but what I do not understand is how gaining weight is going to help someone to be less depressed. The best advice I can give you is to find a natural alternative for treating your depression that will not make you gain weight. There are many alternatives to prescription drugs for dealing with depression and is an excellent place to go to learn about natural alternatives as well as how to safely stop using the drugs. Once you have eliminated this detriment to weight loss then you should be able to use just about any product that you choose and you may find that with some dietary changes and proper exercise you will not need to use anything extra to help you lose weight and your mood will also improve dramatically.
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