T Nation

TT maybe you can answer this for me

While I was trying to fall asleep at three in the morning and my mind was running a mile a minute(thinking about what else but training) I was thinking about ephedrine.
Is it possible that ephedrine could help recovery?? Before you dismiss this as irrational 3 am thinking I will state mt case.
When lifting weights damage is done to the sarcolemma. At this point growth factors(FGF,IGF-1,TGF) are released within muscle cells. These growth factors leave the cell due to increased permeability and stimulate the satellite cells. These satellite cells proliferate, differentiate, and after differentiation they fuse with exsisting muscle cells and donate their nuclei for protein sysnthesis. So for all these things to happen certain things have to be present in the blood stream I believe.
This process is occuring continuously over a period of something like 48 to 72 hours after damage has occured. Sooooooo after all this my thinking is, if ephedrine increases heart beat, it must also increase blood flow, which means provided you are eating enough extra calories to make up for the metabolic increase of the ephedrine extra nutrients are being shuttled to the muscle at a faster rate(increased blood flow)which would mean the above process could be happening quicker ona constant basis, meaning better recovery!!!
Longest. Run on. sentence. ever.
Am I crazy or does this make sense to anyone else??
:slight_smile: Groove

Ephedrine is a vasoconstrictor. From what I know of it it would have the opposite effect and decrease blood flow to the extremities. I believe this is why the morons who chronically ingest huge quantities stroke out from it.

While I’m not Tampa Terry, maybe I can offer some insight.

I don’t know if I can say ephedrine enhances recovery. Obviously ephedrine can increase work capacity. You have more energy and thus can work out harder than normal. The downside is that it wears on the body after a while (adrenals, thyroid, etc). My opinion would be it’s the exact opposite. You’re working your body harder than you normally could function at, and this would make you more prone to overtrain. Look at it this way…if you’ve ever done an ephedra cycle for an extended period of time, how do you feel when you come off? Generally like stir-fried sh*t for a couple weeks until your body normalizes again.

To support this school of thought, this is a primary reason why some of the experts (DiPasquale, CP, Serrano)recommend adrenal tonics and immune system enhancers after prolonged ephedra usage (tyrosine, echinacea, reishi mushroom, ginseng, ashwaghanda etc).

My two cents, anyway.

Good points guys. I did not no that it was a vasoconstrictor. To me that seems kind of weird because of the increased heart beat.
TeddyKGB, I understand what you are saying but what I was thinking was if you took it not before exercise but maybe a couple hours after, once proper pw nutition was taken. Either way if it is a vasoconstrictor it wouldnlt work I suppose.
Thanks guys,
:slight_smile: Groove

One thing about ephidrine is that the reason it burns calories is because it raises the body tempatue a little. That causes the pituitary to release a chemical that can cause muscle lose. That’s the reason you always see some form of asprin in the stack. The asprin prevents the chemical release. With that in mind I doubt it would be useful in recovery.

Try some tryptophan for recovery, if nothing else it will cut down on those 3 am sleepless nights.

Another negative would be the increase in Cortisol levels with ephedrine- a “stress” stimulant.


Thanks guys, I did not know alot about ephedrine and I am learning so this is good. I was basically just rambling and wondering if this idea would work. The popular answer sems to be no!
:slight_smile: Groove

Groove-Thang: I first off would like to commend you on a real nice summary of the chemotactic events and response to weight training, involving autocrine/paracrine responses, IGF-1 (and other growth factors) and satellite cells. This, in and of itself, would provide a very interesting discussion.

As far as ephendrine, I was going to mention the same thing JP did. You have to realize that the catecholamines (i.e. norepinephrine and epinephrine) have different binding sites in different tissues. There are both alpha and beta receptors, with subtypes of each.

For example, increased heart rate is due to sympathetic stimulation of beta-1 receptors on cardiac muscle. However, in peripheral tissues, norepinephrine is a potent vasoconstrictor by binding to alpha receptors. This would cause a reduction in blood flow.

Dude. You need to lay off ephedrine for a while. Maybe you’ll stop tahkigg liqe thisd.

Oh, boy, there, grooveless. Heavy stuff. And though I’m not as smart as you seem to think, I have a pretty comprehensive library that bails me out when people like you come along with those deep, thought-provoking questions. (wink)

Let me share a resource of mine with you. Daniel Mowrey wrote a book, “Fat Management! The Thermogenic Factor” on controling BF by manipulating thermogenesis. It’s a text for the layman as well as product manufacturers who are embarking on the design, compounding and production of thermogenic agents and compounds.

Having shared the source from which I draw, I have something pretty exciting to share with you, and I will quote, “The combined effects of norepinephrine and adrenaline on beta-2 adrenoceptors probably enhance the thermogenic action and also result in another beta-2 mediated event – the stimulation of protein synthesis which helps counteract any tendency towards loss of lean body mass as might occur during a calorically restricted diet; the research indicates, in fact, that these effects help in the accumulation of lean body tissue to help replace the loss of white fat.”

So whether by growth factor or by protein synthesis – and who could argue that the two weren’t related – I think you’re on to something.

Additionally, and I quote again, “Certain alpha adrenoceptor actions are also stimulated by norepinephrine and adrenaline, including the activation of thyroxine deiodinases that lead to the conversion of the main thyroid hormone, T4 to the metabolically active form T3, whose influence would enhance adrenoceptor sensitivity to the thermogenic effects of NE.”

So not only does a good thermogenic enhance protein synthesis (which does aid in recovery), it upregulates thyroid production and metabolism as a result.

My research in this area leads me to believe that there couldn’t be any more potent fat-loss combo than Biotest’s T2 (the “old” formula) and a good ECA stack.

What’s really important, groovelss, is to use a properly formulated ECA stack. Doing so eliminates cardiovascular negatives, jitteriness, etc., and allows one to enjoy all of the benefits; i.e., appetite suppression, brown adipose tissue (BAT) stimulation, enhanced T4 to T3 conversion, and increased safety and effectiveness.

Good question, there, grooveless, but do me a favor and start taking some melatonin before bedtime. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up with your NEXT 3 a.m. question. (grin)

Well TT just brought up some interesting points which I never even though of so I decided to bump this back up and see if there are anymore takers or anyone who cares to comment on this new info. Thanks TT,
:slight_smile: Groove

Nice job TT. And thanks for bumping this back into attention Groove :slight_smile:

After my knee-jerk initial reaction- posted above, agreeing with others here that Ephedrine for recovery would not be a good idea, TT’s research led me to do a bit more reading myself :slight_smile:

Groove, I think your original theory on the “growth factor blood flow” stimulus for muscle growth may be going down slightly the wrong track.

However, you’ve brought up a great topic of conversation anyway. Ephedrine is definately (via adrenaline and norepinephrine)a potent stimulator of beta 2 receptors, both in fat, and muscle (and other) tissues of the body. Not as potent as say, Clenbuterol, but this is in some ways a good thing, as down-regulation of receptors occurs much quicker with too potent an agonist. i.e. the body’s response to Clenbuterol will be more rapidly attenuated vs Ephedrine, allowing a shorter time effectively “on” with the former.

A simplified description of Ephedrine’s actions appear to be: increased lipolysis in fat cells; increased muscle preservation in muscle cells. An interesting study involved Obese women taking a Caffeine/Ephedrine stack, or placebo for 8 weeks (NON-EXERCISING)(1). The treatment group lost significantly more fat, kept significantly more muscle, and their metabolic rate remained higher than the placebo group, with the same hypocaloric diet given to each.

But can beta 2 agonists actually increase muscle accretion (synthesis)? - TT suggested that the beta 2’s would work in this manner. -This indeed would be great news as far as your “aiding recovery” theory is concerned, Groove. However as far as I can see, the jury is still out. In chickens, this appears to be the case- beta 2 agonists DO stimulate muscle hypertrophy. In fact, many new drugs are being developed for precisely this role in this species. However the results in rats are equivocal, and in humans not enough has been done to comment authoritatively- protein/muscle retention, yes; but actual protein synthesis?.

There have also been hypotheses to the effect that bursts of adrenaline/norepinephrine, as occuring post-high intensity training might actually be a NECESSITY in initiating a muscle hypertrophy stimulus. (The mechanism as yet unknown). If such a mechanism were to be discovered, it would further support your theory for a benefit in recovery Grooveless.

TT also focuses (as is her main interest I think) on the thermogenic and fat loss effects of ephedrine. It would be very interesting to look deeper into hypertrophy possibilities using ephedrine.

Specifically, I am wondering if one were to GREATLY increase calorie/protein intake, then one would counteract the increased metabolism effects of ephedrine- i.e. burning off a lot of the energy you are taking in above maintenance, whilst still allowing increased protein synthesis in muscle to occur?

BUT, Ephedrine appears to be much more effective for FAT burning on a LOW carb diet. This seems to be due to the antagonism between insulin (energy storage) and ephedrine (energy utilisation). Ephedrine appears to be less effective for lipolysis in the presence of high Insulin levels, which inhibit fat burning enzymes.

-Now, does this interaction between insulin and ephedrine also affect protein synthesis in muscle? We could explain the reduction in muscle breakdown on a hypocaloric diet vs actual muscle synthesis (gain) by the fact that there simply isn’t sufficient energy in that situation to create new muscle tissue. However, on an “average” bulking diet -HIGHER in energy (and carbs), will ephedrine and insulin effects just cancel each other out in regards to muscle protein synthesis?

On the same note, by using the intermittent CARB REFEED, could one get the best of both worlds? -i.e. as long as one remained hypercaloric overall, could one get the muscle synthesis effects of ephedrine, combined with the energy storage (and indirect muscle synthesis effects) of Insulin to combine to good effect? Would this be a way in which some people do actually claim to lose fat and gain LBM simultaneously?

Another interesting property of Ephedrine to add here is it’s active 1/2 life is only 4 hours (compare to Clenbuterol- around 24 hours). The FAT burning effects of Ephedrine appear to be mediated by several metabolic chain-reactions- as TT mentioned, e.g. Thyroid hormone stimulation. This would mean that the 1/2 life was slightly less relevant to longer term fat-burning action in the body, as other compounds produced take over this role until the next dose is administered. In contrast, the effects on MUSCLE are relatively specific, -noradrenaline acting via the beta 2 receptors on muscle cells. What does this imply? That probably to get the best out of Ephedrine’s MUSCLE activities, one should take it at a minumum every 2-3 hours? …-But wouldn’t this inevitable high dose in the body have further adverse consequences for the bulking bodybuilder with regards to excess stimulation of the metabolism over the course of the day? AAAGGHHH…

Many points of discussion here. I think my bottom line here (if anybody has got this far with me!!) is that I agree with TT in the fact that Ephedrine (ECA stacks) appear to make a lot of sense to aid recovery during the CUTTING phase of a BB cycle, where the body needs all the help it can get to preserve LBM, and thus, indirectly, also recover the body more quickly for the next training day.
However for the dude who’s still on a GROWTH/BULK cycle, there seem to be just too many negatives counteracting the positives of LBM retention. SRS


  1. Astrup et al,1992, Metabolism, 41(7):686-688.

SRS, good stuff, this is exactley the type of discussion I was hoping to get by bumping it back up. I think by bringing up the points you did that it seems like in terms of a buliking cycle you would just be going around in circles and maybe not acheiving anything significant either way.

Oh yah and TT as far as I know melatonin isn;t available in Canada so look for future 3 am discussions to come :slight_smile:

:slight_smile: Groove

To Groove-

Glad you got the gist of my discussion-It seemed to be long-winded even for me!

Anyway thanks again (and to TT) for bringing up the topic, and giving me the opportunity to think again. SRS

Don’t forget the appetite decreasing effects of the E. In order for anything to work as a recovery tool, you gotta get the nutrition in there. I have to literally force myself to eat while taking any ephedrine product.

Gary, I think that may be more of an issue with some people than others. For me, I get absolutly no appetite suppression form taking ephedrine. Although I could see how that would affect some people who get more of an effect. Good point.
:slight_smile: Groove