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Ephedra-free Lipo-6x stacker causes heart attack

After the American government outlawed ephedra slimming supplements as a result of hundreds of fatalities, the supplements industry introduced ephedra-free stackers. Perhaps not as effective as the outlawed ephedrine-based stackers, these alternatives were safer. Unfortunately 'safer' doesn't mean 'completely safe'. Cardiologists at the American Walter Reed Army Medical Center have reported a case of an almost fatal heart attack, which was probably caused by the ephedra-free stacker Lipo-6x.


Ephedra-free Lipo-6x stacker causes heart attack
Lipo-6x, manufactured by Nutrex Research, contains no ephedrine, the active ingredient in the forbidden Ephedra sinica extracts. According to the label, Lipo-6x contains substances related to ephedrine such as synephrine [structure on the right], beta-phenylethylamine, n-methyl-beta-phenylethylamine, tyramine and hordenine. These substances are found in extracts of the legal Citrus aurantium and Acacia rigidula, and they imitate the effect of adrenalin. In addition, Lipo-6x contains caffeine, a stimulatory compound that makes cells more sensitive to adrenalin. It also contains yohimbine and guggulsterones.

The article that the cardiologists published in the Texas Heart Institute Journal describes a 24-year-old man who collapsed at work with chest pain and breathing difficulties. The man had done a 2-hour weight and cardio training session that morning.

The man was a picture of health: not overweight, no diabetes, no high blood pressure, healthy blood values, non-smoker, did not use steroids, drugs or alcohol, had no family history of heart problems. And he was in peak condition: he trained five times a week.

The only risk factor the doctors could find was that the guy took Lipo-6x just before training, twice a week. His dose was 1 capsule. And he'd a capsule the morning he had a heart attack. When the doctors examined pictures of the blood vessels in the man's heart muscle, they saw that an important blood vessel was no longer working. The picture below shows a blood clot that was partially blocking the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery [*]. The distal left anterior descending coronary artery was completely blocked [#].

Ephedra-free Lipo-6x stacker causes heart attack

The doctors did microsurgery to try and clear the blood vessels. They were partially successful, as the photo below shows. The blood clot in the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery disappeared [*], but the distal left anterior descending coronary artery remained blocked [#].

Ephedra-free Lipo-6x stacker causes heart attack

The doctors put the man on aspirin, beta-blockers, statins and ACE-inhibitors. He recovered and was discharged from hospital.

The researchers believe that it was the supplement that caused the man to have a heart attack. Lipo-6x doesn't contain ephedrine, but ephedra-free stackers are not without health risks. "Our case highlights the potential health hazards associated with supplements that contain sympathomimetic compounds similar to ephedra", the cardiologists conclude. "In light of these facts, as well as the empiric risk of synergism in the above-mentioned agents, we believe that performance enhancement use was the precipitant of this patient's cardiac event, and we believe that greater FDA involvement in the regulation of such supplements is warranted".

Tex Heart Inst J. 2009;36(6):586-90.

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