ECA Stack Cycle - What It Is & How To Take It

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: June 20, 2024
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There’s a ton of fat loss diets and workout plans on the internet these days - most of which don’t always work.

Having tried numerous fat loss diets and workout plans myself, I've found that many don't deliver as promised.

If, like me, you've been left wanting more from your weight loss journey, you might be on the hunt for alternative methods.

One method you may want to try is something called an ECA stack.

Today, I’ll be taking a look at this controversial method and analyzing what all the fuss is about.

Quick Summary

  • To effectively shed weight and tone up, consider the ECA stack, a potent combination of ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin, cycled over 8-12 weeks with breaks in between.
  • The ECA stack enhances metabolism, curbs appetite, and boosts energy, making it a popular choice for weight loss enthusiasts.
  • NLM reports that the ECA stack can accelerate fat loss results by up to 100%, with some individuals losing up to 3 kilos within the first cycle.
  • While the ECA stack offers promising results, I keep reminding my clients to approach with caution due to potential side effects; and always weigh the benefits against the risks.

What Is An ECA Stack Cycle?

Different supplement capsules and tablets on a table

The ECA stack, a potent weight loss supplement, combines ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin.

Its effectiveness hinges on the right dosage and cycling.

In my experience, for optimal benefits and minimal side effects, stick to a daily dose for 8 to 12 weeks, known as a cycle.

Start with a single dose at breakfast if it's your first time, to see how you react to ephedrine.

A recommended dosage consists of about 25mg ephedrine, 200mg caffeine, and 80mg aspirin. 

Gradually increase the amount as your body adjusts. Make sure to take your last dose at least 6 hours before bed to avoid insomnia and restlessness.

What Does An ECA Stack Do And How Does It Work?

A close up shot of a supplement and a bottle

The ECA stack, combining ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin, targets weight loss, body toning, and enhanced athleticism.

From personal use, I've found that while it's mainly known for weight loss, its benefits extend further. It not only burns fat but also shows promise in cognitive improvement and other medical uses.

Now, let's explore the vital roles of each component in the ECA stack.

Ephedrine

Red capsules of Ephedrine on a table

The ECA stack is famed for weight loss, but ephedrine's history is key. Originally from the Ephedra plant, it's been used in traditional Chinese medicine for various treatments, predating its modern use.

Ephedrine speeds up metabolism for quicker fat burning and boosts energy. It also suppresses appetite, cutting down on snacking.

Fewer calories mean weight loss is more likely, as your body turns to stored fat for energy.

Caffeine

A top view of coffee beans

The second component is caffeine and is readily available in tea, coffee, and even caffeine pills. Taking caffeine reduces fatigue, increases alertness of the brain, and stimulates the cardiovascular system.

Other benefits of caffeine include raising the body's metabolism rate and increasing body temperature, making caffeine a great fat burner.

Aspirin

Aspirin, easily bought over the counter, maintains body temperature in the ECA stack. This extends the stimulating effects of the other ingredients for hours.

While not a main player in fat loss, aspirin boosts the effectiveness of the stack. It also eases inflammation and muscle soreness, complementing intense workouts.

How Effective Is It For Fat Loss?

A close up shot of a woman with slim body

I've personally experienced significant fat loss with the ECA stack, a result echoed by many studies. According to the National Library of Medicine, besides being a killer pre workout combination, an ECA stack also accelerates fat loss results by up to 100% [1].

It's effective both as a pre-workout and for doubling fat loss.

Ephedrine stimulates the nervous system, enhanced by caffeine and prolonged by aspirin. This combination increases energy, focus, and uses stored fat for energy, making it a top fat burner.

“We conclude, that in analogy with animal studies, the ephedrine/caffeine combination is effective, while caffeine and ephedrine separately are ineffective for the treatment of human obesity.”

- Arne Astrup, Medical Researcher

On average, light exercise with the ECA stack leads to a 2.5 kg loss per cycle, with some losing up to 3 kg. Results typically improve in later cycles. Consistency is key for the full benefits.

What Are The Health Risks of Ephedrine?

A man under the blanket experiencing insomnia

Ephedrine is risky for those with heart, hypertension, or kidney issues. Side effects include appetite loss, mood changes, nausea, palpitations, insomnia, and anxiety, which lessen as tolerance builds.

Overdosing can raise blood pressure and heart rate, with extreme cases potentially leading to stroke or liver damage. Excessive caffeine also causes insomnia and nervousness.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid ECA stacks.

Are There Any Alternatives to ECA?

For those wary of side effects, consider these natural alternatives to the ECA stack components.

Fish Oil

A top view of fish oil supplement

One of the simplest ways of lowering the side effects of ECA is to replace aspirin tablets with fish oil.

Fish oil provides similar effects and also subsides potential unwanted side effects such as headaches and gastrointestinal complications.

Ginseng Root

Ginseng Root

Another great alternative, ginseng root is a natural energy booster. Extracts from the red ginseng roots found in Korea, this ingredient promotes fast energy metabolism and reduces fat accumulation.

It serves as a great supplement alongside proper dieting and can help you shed off a few pounds.

Green Tea Extract

A cup of Green Tea Extract

If you’re opting to skip the ECA stack completely, green tea extract may be a better choice. It contains a compound called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which has a lot of health benefits as well as aids in weight loss.

However, too much intake of EGCG can be harmful, thus one should monitor their dosage of green tea extract to prevent unwanted problems.

Bitter Orange

Slices of bitter orange on a table

Bitter orange is rich in Synephrine - a chemical similar to the one found in Ephedrine.

Taking about 900mg of bitter orange daily will do the trick, but is not as effective compared to an ECA stack.

L-Carnitine Supplement

L-Carnitine supplement on a table

Another common fat-burning element is the L-carnitine supplement. This is an amino acid supplement that helps improve overall metabolism, helping you to shed pounds faster.

Though not very effective, when combined with workout and proper dieting, it does lead to moderate weight loss.

FAQs

What is Another Name for Ephedrine?

Other names for ephedrine include corphedra, akovaz, and EMERPHED (an ephedrine sulfate injection) depending on its manufacturers. It may also be called Ma-huang (ephedra), which is the plant it is extracted from.

Is Ephedrine Safe In Small Doses?

Ephedrine is a safe weight loss supplement in small doses. Its effects on the body are minimal and provide amazing fitness results.

You’ll want to take ephedrine in small doses to increase your system’s tolerance. Once your body gets used to it, up your ECA stack dosage for some serious weight loss.

Is It Legal To Grow Ephedra?

Growing Ephedra for domestic use or even for sale as live plants or seeds is perfectly legal. Some products containing ephedrine extract remain legal up to this day.

After all, the legality around selling and marketing Ephedra sinica as a weight loss supplement is banned. However, this ban does not extend to growing.

What Should You Not Take With Ephedrine?

When taking ephedrine, avoid stimulant drugs and adrenaline-like medications like norepinephrine.

Ephedrine readily interacts with these drugs and can cause an increase in heart rate to the extent of invoking a heart attack or high blood pressure. It is also advised to avoid the use of a pre-workout supplement together with ephedrine to avoid overworking your heart.

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8384187/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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2 thoughts on “ECA Stack Cycle
What It Is & What Dosages Should You Take

  1. Thanks for this. Now, I clearly know how does ECA Stack work.

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