No Magic Pill

Knowledge + effort + time = success

Another magic pill gone bad?

Posted by Ben on Sunday, May 3, 2009

The thermogenic craze of a few years ago may have just officially come to an end. Caffeine wasn’t enough, and actual steriods (rather than all the stuff lumped into the “steroids” category by fearmongers and moralists) were/are really illegal and really dangerous in the hands of people who didn’t do their homework on how to properly use them. Enter the so-called metabolism boosters. Ephedra, yohimbe, even green tea extract, all marketed to make you think that you could still sit on your ass all day and still burn extra fat (to the exclusion of other tissues) just by taking these pills. As of Seven-Minute Abs wasn’t lazy—er, efficient enough, now exercise was completely unnecessary altogether. Pop a pill and RRRAAAAAAAWWWRRRR WATCH THE FAT MELT AWAY GET RICH GET LAID NOW!!!!1!11!!1!1 Or something along those lines.

Caffeine continues to be legal, embraced, and marketed in ever-growing fashion as the world’s most widely-consumed stimulant despite its addictive qualities identical to some narcotics. Yohimbe remains legal as the only non-Viagra variant shown to help treat impotence, which carries tremendous weight in public policy *rolls eyes*. Guarana is making a muted comeback in various forms after fizzling out from PepsiCo’s short-lived Josta drink. Ephedra is illegal in the US based on scant research, correlation interpreted as causation, and simple ignorance—yes, ephedra can CONTRIBUTE to heart problems… if you take SEVERAL TIMES the recommended dosage, fall into dehydration, and attempt to exercise intensely in hot, humid weather, but I digress. Spanish Fly is also illegal for similar correlative reasons. That literally leaves caffeine, which like alcohol is just as dangerous as other “sin” products, yet the moral majority has decided that this particular vice is okay (I won’t even get into the marijuana discussion here, but you can imagine where I stand on the issue). Energy drinks are now just a hodgepodge of caffeine, sugar, maybe some B-vitamins, and who knows what in those “proprietary blends.”

Hydroxycut has (finally) been officially recalled by the FDA. Of course, that means very little considering the “evidence” used to make that decision. Are you ready for this? Twenty-three reported cases—over the past few years—of liver problems and one—ONE—death only POSSIBLY linked to Hydroxycut usage out of over nine MILLION packages sold LAST YEAR ALONE. No causation has been publicly shown (to my knowledge), only correlations based on anecdotal evidence. Awesome. A friend of mine quipped, “Don’t forget that eight million of those nine million are frat boys. Drinking in excess isn’t the best thing for liver support in the first place.” Probably a little too generalized, but a good point nonetheless.

I’ve never used the stuff, but I have used ephedrine, a couple thermogenics from Biotest, and even Stacker. Hey, I was young(er) and naive, and while these things did literally give me some warm fuzzies and maybe a heart skip here and there, not only did I learn to minimize strenuous activity for a few hours after taking this stuff (talk about seeing stars), I also started with the recommended dosage and adjusted according to my reaction (at one point, I was taking one-quarter doses because I didn’t like how full or half doses made me feel), stayed hydrated since that was a suggestion on the product packaging, and otherwise eased myself into usage.

No reaction from Anna Nicole Smith’s estate so far. Rawr.

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