The following article was written by SoulSearcher from UK Muscle
Background to the Constituent Components
The scientific bit: Ephedrine indirectly promotes the release of norepinephrine at sympathetic synapses which activate alpha 1 and 2 receptors and to a lesser extent various beta receptors. This gives you the characteristic buzz associated with Ephedrine.
Ephedrine is derived from plants of the Ephedra genus which are commonly called in various global cultures: Ma Huang (Chinese traditional), Jointfir, Joint-pine and Mormon-tea (USA), and sometimes Sea-Grape (Europe).
Ephedrine is used in conventional medicines as a decongestant, and is most commonly found in the over the counter (OTC) medicine Do-Dos Chest-Eze (more on this later)
In the USA Ephedrine is highly regulated. Purchasers may be asked for their names and addresses. Sales of Ephedrine based products are limited to 3.6g per day, and 9g per month. Strangely Ma Huang has been banned as an additive to any supplements, but is still allowed to be sold as a tea.
In the UK Ephedrine is classed as a P level substance, and as such can only be dispensed from a licensed pharmacy in the presence of a registered pharmacist.
Ephedra and its derivatives is on the IOC banned list, which is always a good sign.
Probably the one of the three we think we know the most about. Think Red Bull, Pro Plus, your daily cup of Joe. But here is a little more on the world’s most common pick-me-up.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and the most widely consumed. In the USA over 90% of all Americans consume caffeine everyday. It is present in both tea and coffee, along with many and varied soft and sparkling drinks.
Caffeine is found in a wide variety of plants, both in the main parts and seeds. These include: the cherries of the coffee plant and the leaves of the tea bush, kola nut (the original caffeine on Coca Cola), yerba maté, guarana berries, and yaupon holly. In nature it acts as a pesticide, disabling and killing certain insects that feed on it. There was a great study on the effects of various drugs on the ability of spiders to produce webs – the one for caffeine was most disturbing and genuinely worth a visit.
Caffeine has been shown to help athletic performance, endurance and recovery.
Aspirin, or to give its correct name Acetylsalicilc Acid is a non-steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAID), a group of pain relief medications which also includes Ibuprofen.
Aspirin was originally derived from the bark of the Willow tree and also the meadowsweet. It is used as a primary pain killer for headaches and migraines, however when compared to Ibuprofen is more toxic to the gastro-intestinal tract, and has been shown to cause ulcers when taken in high doses. Additionally aspirin in low doses is used by a growing number of people who have either recovered from heart attacks, or who are at risk of heart attack, as a preventative medicine. This is due to the effect it has on reducing the clotting action of platelets in the blood. Aspirin can also act as a vaso-dilator which counteracts the vaso-constriction effects of Ephedrine.
Enough of the components, how do they work together?
The ECA Stack
It has been shown that Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirin work synergistically – that is the end effect is greater than the sum of the elements together. Kind of like 2+1+1=5. There is no doubt as to the effect of ephedrine on its own as it has been used for a long time in body building, and was part of the daily supplementation used by a certain Arnold Schwarzenegger during his training due to the increased energy and focus it gave him.
So what does the caffeine and aspirin actually do? Through the few studies that I can find, it would appear that the caffeine and aspirin inhibit the bodies natural purging action on the Ephedrine, thus increasing its effectiveness and longevity in the body. Debate rages on this on several forums and articles, however I can vouch that over the years (between body building eras) having done Eph, Eph + Caff and ECA, the ECA was much the best of them, and gave me the geratest weight loss. Now I am back training I only use ECA, or one of the variants listed later.
There are a couple of views on the ratios of the three, but boil down to 1:10:10 and 1:10:4. Personally I use the latter, having noticed no difference between the two ratios, but not wanting the additional stress on my gut of the higher aspirin dosage.
As with any stimulants it raises both heart rate, and blood pressure, so people with pre-existing heart conditions or a family history of heart problems should probably not take stimulants such as Ephedrine in any form. Due to the presence of aspirin it can cause gastro intestinal problems including ulcers. Additionally it can cause an increase in anxiety, and psychological issues. People with any history of mental problems, even panic attacks should steer clear of ECA.
ECA can also have a detrimental effect on libido.
Additionally your body becomes more tolerant of ECA the longer it is used. Rather than increasing the dosages, it is much safer to cycle it. There are several varying views on this – 8 weeks on 2 weeks off, 2 weeks on 2 weeks off, and most in between. Personally I have used upto 4 weeks on and 4 weeks off and while I get a much bigger hit when I get back on it again, the effects noticeable wear off during week three. So I would suggest 2 on and 2 off to be optimal.
Although Ephedrine is a controlled or banned substance (depending where you are), there are several ECA stacks available out there on the internet, often cleverly disguised – so read the labels. Below are two of the more common combinations that can be found, variously with additional extras – which I have also attempted to explain.
A typical web sold ECA stack – this appears with many different labels, personally I have used this from Apha Labs, where it is called ECA 30+.
- EPH: 30mg – this is normally Ephedra, rather than pharma Ephedrine – so will have a lesser effect.
- Caffeine: 210mg
- Aspirin: 25mg
- Naringin: 100mg – from Grapefruit, has wide ranging claims around cholesterol lowering and also may multiply the effects of caffeine in weight loss.
- Dicalcium Phosphate: 55mg – wasn’t sure on this one so looked it up – used in some medicines to reduce body odour – given the amount you sweat on this stuff when working out – probably not a bad thing!
When taking this blend I add in a cup of strong black coffee to get the ‘C’ part up to EPH x 10, and a junior Aspirin (85mg) to get the ‘A’ part up to about 3.5 – 4 x EPH.
This one worked really well for me, and wile I am not taking it right now – will be going back to it.
The following blend appears as Malice from Chaotic Labs and Methyl Ephedra ECA by Sports One:
- Ephedra extract: The E part
- Caffeine: The C part
- White Willow Bark: The A part (Aspirin was originally derived from Willow)
- Yohimbine HCL: Another great stimulant, and can help increasing libido
- Phenylethylamine HCL: Another stimulant, potentially with psychoactive effects
- Hoodia 20:1: A diet supplement famously used by Oprah
- Green Tea extract 98%: Another metabolism increasing agent
- Theobromine: Similar effects to caffeine, and a vaso-dilator
- Chromium 10%: Shrouded in debate, but various claims to reduce carb cravings and help wit insulin resistance (something that blights us over-40s!)
I am currently taking Malice and results have been bloody superb, and get such a rush from it.
Finally there is a home-brew ECA stack that is very popular, based on Chest-Eze as mentioned before. This is normally dosed as follows:
- 1 x Chest-Eze (18mg): The ‘E’ part
- 3 x pro-plus (150mg): The ‘C’ part
- 1 x junior aspirin (75 or 85mg): The ‘A’ part
This gives a ratio not far from the 1:10:4 that I use, and in some people’s view is the best as it contains medical grade Ephedrine. The only issue here is obtaining the Chest-Eze. If you go in looking in the peak of health, and clearly a lifter they may well refuse to sell it to you. Get your skinny wheezy chested mate to go buy them for you!
Dosing Times for ECA
I have been carrying out very non-scientific ‘research’ as to the dosing of ECA and the effects on sleep, based on dosing times and also number of doses. This has been done with Malice, so your effects and experiences may vary.
When on an ECA cycle my first dose is always on waking at 5:45am (with or without an alarm). During the week this is prior to working out @ Muscleworks Bethnal Green at 7am. Then normally I will take a second dose at around 6pm – if on a big fat loss push this is about 1.5 – 2 hours prior to a pure aerobics session on the bike and treadmill.
This gives me maximum push at the gym and great fas loss, but allows me to get to sleep at about 00:30 – giving me my normal 5 hours – can’t seem to sleep more than this with or without ECA – and the amount gets less the more I train. However do sleep very, very deeply.
When running 2 doses a day I would recommend that the last does is a MINIMUM of 6 hours before you want to go to sleep.
Additionally I tried adding in a third dose at mid-day, however taking three doses in a day seemed to have a cumulative effect and I couldn’t get to sleep until about 3 am. I repeated this a number of times, at different times and intervals. It would seem that if taking more than the normally recommended 2 doses per day then you will need to leave 8-9 hours before you are going to get to sleep – so for those of you that need the full 8 hours then 2 doses is probably all you are going to manage in a day, without potentially increasing the risks, and not without getting seriously p155ed off when you can’t sleep.
The three doses route may be useful if you are off out on the town for a long night, however if you are a recreational drug user – particularly anything amphetamine based (speed, Es – MDMA etc), ECA will multiply the effects for you – so be VERY VERY careful.
Note in Comparison to Clenbuterol
People often want to compare ephedrine to Clenbuterol. This is fine as long as you realize that they act in different ways. Clenbuterol is a specific beta-2 adrenergic agonist. As such, Clenbuterol interacts directly with beta-2 receptors on muscle and fat tissue. Ephedrine, on the other hand, is not a direct beta-2 agonist. In fact, ephedrine is a poor ligand for the beta-2 receptor. Instead, ephedrine stimulates the release of noradrenaline from sympathetic nerve terminals. The noradrenaline then goes on to interact with muscle and fat cells as a nonspecific adrenergic agonist. This simply means that noradrenaline activates beta-2 receptors, but also other beta-receptors as well as alpha-receptors. So to compare ephedrine and Clenbuterol you must take into account their differences. More data on this available here.
ECA is a great tool to the toolkit of anyone wishing to lose fat, or gain a real focus in the gym – particularly if like me you train early morning. It is not going to give you the same fat lost as something like Clenbuterol, or combination products like ROHM Thermo-Lipid, and certainly not DNP. But conversely you are also less likely to die! 😀
It has directly helped in my fat loss over the last 3 – 4 months. I have lost close to 35lbs of fat in this time (based on weight and BF% calcs), and know that the loss is higher by about 20% when on ECA, than when off.
It does have side effects, and a very small number have died taking it, either through heart attack or stroke. These however have either, I believe, had pre-existing conditions or had massively overdosed the recommended amounts.
Like all drugs, research your subject thoroughly before you start, and if you are prone to anxiety attacks or have a pre-existing heart condition please seek medical advice before starting ECA.
I use firstname.lastname@example.org – they stock pharmaceutical grade Ephedrine. Shipping to the UK usually takes 1-2 days and they do ship internationally too. Just send them an email explaining that you got their email address from this website and ask for a price list and they will send over a full list of products and prices.