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      FITNESS TIPS FOR 6/15/2000                  

ECA Supplement Stack For Muscle Growth and Fat Loss
by Stimulating the -Agonist System - The Role of Ephedrine, 
Caffeine, and Aspirin 
By Michael C. Prevost Ph.D.

The role of the -agonist (beta agonist) pathway in controlling
the body's fat stores, muscle hypertrophy (growth), the body's 
response to exercise and even muscle fiber type has been 
brought to light in the last 10 years through the efforts of 
hundreds of scientists with literally thousands of papers 
being published on the subject. Clearly, the -agonist pathway 
is one of the most important signalling pathways in the body. 
To understand how the -agonist pathway works and what role 
Caffeine, Ephedrine and Aspirin plays in the system one must 
first understand what a -agonist is and what they do.

On the surfaces of many of the cells of the body (for our 
purposes the most important tissues are muscle and fat cells) 
are located b receptors. These b receptors bind b-agonists 
(adrenaline and noradrenaline). When a -agonist is bound 
to a b receptor, the receptor initiates a series of chemical 
reactions that results in the production of a chemical 
messenger called C-AMP. This C-AMP then activates 
enzymes that phosphorylate proteins. Why is thisimportant? 
Well, many of these proteins are enzymes and 
phosphorylation activates some enzymes and de-acitvates 
others. In fat cells enzymes are activated that induce 
lipolysis (fat breakdown). In muscle cells enzymes are
activated that increase metabolism and cause a host of 
other important reactions which control muscle growth, fiber 
type and enzyme concentration. So, how do ephedrine, 
caffeine and aspirin fit into this pathway? Ephedrine
enhances -agonist production and even acts as a 
-agonist itself. Caffeine inhibits the breakdown of C-AMP. 
Aspirin inhibits the negative feedback loop that would 
reduce -agonist production. So taken together these 
agents enhance three to four different steps in the -agonist 

Ephedrine's role as a lipolytic agent (one that breaks down 
body fat to be used as energy) has been known for some 
time. It has been shown that ephedrine when taken in 
therapeutic doses is mildly effective in the management 
of obesity. The problem was that the initial lipolytic effects 
of ephedrine were soon diminished as other steps in the 
pathway were reduced in a negative feedback cycle. In an 
effort to enhance these steps that were being 
downregulated due to negative feedback, scientists added 
caffeine and aspirin to the regime. The result was a very 
effective combination in the management of obesity 
(dosages given were 20mg ephedrine, 300mg caffeine, and 
80mg aspirin, roughly equivalent to one typical ephedrine 
tablet, a cup of coffee and one aspirin). In fact, not only 
did the results (lipolysis) not decrease over time as with 
most drugs, but they actually increased with time. The 
effects of the combination of ephedrine, caffeine and 
aspirin were categorized into desirable and undesirable 
effects. The desirable effects were lipolysis and protein 
sparing (subjects on the drug combination retained
more muscle mass while dieting than the subjects on 
placebo). Again, these desirable effects did not diminish 
over time. The undesirable effects, increased heart rate 
and muscle tremors, lasted only a few days and never
returned. In fact, after 1 year of supplementation subjects 
were experiencing no side effects but were still 
experiencing the desired effects of lipolysis and protein
sparing. To date it has not been determined if the ephedrine, 
caffeine and aspirin combination can enhance muscle 
growth and fat loss in healthy, exercising adults. However, 
based on what we know about the -agonist system, it is 
certainly possible. It is important to note, however, that a 
small handful of subjects among the large subject pool 
had to drop out of the study due to an intolerance to the 
supplementation regime. So it appears that most
people can use the ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin 
combination with no problems, while a small handful of 
people may be intolerant. A consultation with a
physician is suggested before beginning this ECA 
supplement regime.

The -agonist pathway may effect processes other than 
muscle sparing and fat loss. In fact in chickens -agonists 
were shown to be stronger growth promoting agents than 
steroids (believe it or not but poultry science folks are
doing a lot of research trying to produce more muscular 
chickens since the muscle is the meat that we eat). In fact 
-agonists seem to produce muscle growth without the 
stimulus of exercise, something steroids have failed to 
do. However -agonists are not as effective in rats and 
the effects on humans is unknown. The -agonist 
clenbuterol can cause slow twitch muscle fibers to
be converted to fast twitch fibers. It can also prevent 
muscle atrophy due to disuse. Other studies have shown 
that b-antagonists (agents that block b-receptors and 
prevent them from functioning) cause muscles to shift 
from fast twitch to slow twitch and cause muscle atrophy 
(muscle wasting or breakdown). These studies indicate 
that -agonists might play an important role in the 
maintenance of fast twitch muscle fibers and in maintaining 
and perhaps increasing muscle mass. It may be no 
coincidence then that large amounts of -agonists 
(adrenaline and noradrenaline) are produced during
high intensity training sessions. Perhaps these 
-agonists are necessary in initiating the muscle growth 

It is important to note that some -agonists can be 
dangerous (for example clenbuterol and cocaine) and
 illegal and these substances are not recommended. Also, 
as mentioned earlier, although the -agonist combination 
of caffeine, ephedrine and aspirin appears to be safe (and of
course legal) a small number of people are intolerant and 
consultation with a physician is suggested. Everyone 
should visit there doctor prior to using any of these 
substances for a clean bill of health. 

Note: Many fat loss products available are based
on these studies. We suggest a natural herbal stack 
suck as Hearbl Fat Melter. For more info on this product 

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