The ECA stack is made up of three components – ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin. On their own, these three components have very little impact on weight loss – but, when combined together, they form a potent concoction that can speed up the metabolism by as much as 10%, leading to increased fat burn and better dieting results. It’s often used alongside other supplements as a pre-workout to help give you more energy and better performance.
It’s an extremely popular supplement for those looking to speed up their fat loss, and the various effects it has can make the core aspects of weight loss much easier. It will help suppress appetite to make it easier to stick to your food intake goals, it will give you more energy to help push you further with your workouts, and it can increase the amount of fat your body burns while at rest.
This article will examine the supplement, explaining what it does, when it should be used, the potential side effects of ECA use and how much of it should be taken at a time for the best results.
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What is ECA?
ECA contains three ingredients – ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin.
Ephedrine is one of four active ingredients found in the herb ‘ephedra’. It affects the body in two ways: firstly, it causes the body to burn larger amounts of fat for fuel and energy, and secondly, it increases the base temperature of the body, causing a metabolic increase as high as 5% in some people.
Caffeine, an extremely popular stimulant found in drinks like coffee, stimulates and intensifies the effects caused by ephedrine, causing increased amounts of fat burn. The two compounds combine to cause a metabolic increase as high as 10%.
While ephedrine hasn’t been shown to significantly alter the effects of caffeine, the opposite has been shown to be very much true.
Aspirin, the final component, helps prevent blood clotting (a side effect of ephedrine use) while increasing prostaglandin inhibition in the body which, in turn, increases the effectiveness of ephedrine. Many people simply use a combination of ephedrine and caffeine and skip the aspirin, which is fine, but it can be useful to include it.
What Do ECA Fat Burners Do?
The stack causes a massive metabolic increase in the body. Studies have shown that it can cause a metabolic increase as high as 10%, leading to a significant amount of extra fat being burned. One study found that ECA can lead to an extra 1kg/2.2lb of fat being burned per month of dieting – http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/289/12/1537.
Additionally it can also act as an appetite suppressant for many people, curbing hunger pangs for long periods of time. Removing those cravings can help with diet compliance, making the core component of weight loss far more straightforward.
Suggested ECA Stack Dosage
The supplement is designed to be taken on 6-8 week cycles with 4 week breaks in between. Dosages should be ramped up slowly over time, eventually reaching 3 a day.
Ideally, one dose should contain 24mg of ephedrine, 200mg of caffeine, and 27mg of aspirin. This means that three would equal 72mg of ephedrine, 600mg of caffeine, and 81mg of aspirin per day. It’s important not to exceed these amounts as side effects like increased blood pressure, heart palpitations, and decreased insulin resistance can occur in rare cases.
If you’re feeling the side effects are a little too strong, cut down the dose until you feel more comfortable and monitor it from there.
When Should It Be Taken?
Ideally it should be taken along with meals, and it should be avoided later in the day as the stimulants can have a negative impact on your sleep. Aim to take your last dose no later than 8 hour before you plan to go to bed. Any later and you may find you have trouble sleeping, and not getting a good night’s rest can have a negative influence on your fat loss.
The stack is useful when dieting/cutting as it causes the metabolism to increase, causing more fat to be burned as energy. Its appetite suppressing effects also make it easier to stick to a diet, which can be useful when working with a particularly strict eating plan.
It is one of the only supplements scientifically proven to aid in weight loss, and it can be a huge advantage for those looking to lose a few pounds of fat in the most efficient way possible.
ECA Stack Side Effects
We’re dealing with a stimulant here, so there’s a number of common side effects which may be experienced when using the supplement.
The main things people are likely to notice are the increased heart rate and energy levels, as well as an increase in focus and concentration. As long as you stay within the recommended dose then this shouldn’t be too overwhelming, and those who exceed the recommended intake should be extremely careful when it comes to high intensity cardio and hydration levels.
Ephedrine has very few side effects, outside of a slight increase in blood pressure and an increase in certain blood parameters such as glucose an insulin. These should subside when you stop taking the supplement.
Caffeine is very well studied and with just about everyone using it there’s a lot of potential side effects which have been documented. The chances of all of them affecting you are slim to none, but there may be a few which you experience initially. The more common side effects include trouble sleeping, increased heartbeat, irritability, nervousness and dizziness, but these can occur in vastly different levels of severity. If you’re a coffee drinker, chances are you’ll not notice a huge difference when taking ECA.
Aspirin can also cause some side effects, but they are rare at low dosages. The more common ones can include indigestion and an increased risk of bleeding, but less than 10% of people taking aspirin are likely to experience any side effects at all.
ECA Stack Results
Like any supplement, you’re not going to get results without a proper diet and exercise routine. When combined with a caloric deficit and regular resistance training, it has been shown to be extremely effective when it comes to improving fat loss.
This study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8384187) shows a significant improvement in weight loss for those given ECA over the placebo group, including one participant who lost 66kg over 13 months.
Alongside the tested results, a quick search online shows hundreds of people who have tried and had success using ECA to help with their fat loss. The increased energy levels make it really easy to get through a workout, the appetite supressing effects make it easier to stick to a diet, and the increase in metabolic rate helps speed up the progress.