East Texans React To Ephedra Ban - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/30/03 - Longview

East Texans React To Ephedra Ban

Thousands of Ephedra users in east Texas will soon have to give up the supplement. The federal government is taking the herbal weight loss supplement off the market. The FDA announced the ban Tuesday.

They say scientific evidence proves it raises blood pressure and has been linked with serious heart problems, strokes and so far 155 deaths have been associated with Ephedra.

Rod Keischenick is a body builder. At age 50 he's been using Ephedra for 8 years. "To give me energy. To give me that boost when I'm working out. Helps curb the appetite," says Rod.

Rod says he's healthy with no heart problems. He believes the only people who have problems with the supplement are unhealthy to begin with, or those who abuse it. "This is isolated instances one, or 3 or 4 people who have died over it. Most the time they were out there in heat, in sweats; they were overweight, and they were probably taking more than they should," says Rod.

Roslyn is a manager at Jack's Natural Foods in Longview. She also says Ephedra is a safe product when taken properly. But she's careful when selling the supplement. "It has it's place and it is a good product. If they don't take it the way it's recommended then it's abused and we don't sell it to anybody under 18," says Roslyn.

Biff Speer with Vitamin's Plus says his customers will miss Ephedra. "There's nothing out that's going be quit as good as Ephedra that's gonna have the effect of Ephedra the alcaloids don't seem to work as well. They do work it just takes a lot longer for them to work," says Biff.

For Rod and others who love the product it may be around way after the government orders it off the shelves. Ephedra suppliers say a mass run on the product has already begun.

Many supplements have already removed Ephedra from their products. But a few still contain it in some form including "Metabolife", "Stacker 3", "NaturalTRIM", "Metab-O-Lite", "Truckers Luv It" and "Yellow Jackets". The final ruling on the ban will be released within a few weeks and would take effect 60 days after that.

Amy Tatum reporting.

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