NASCAR to allow continued Ephedra use

NEW YORK CITY, NY - Over the weekend NASCAR announced that its competitors could continue the use of ephedrine based products, but "advised all NASCAR participants to seek guidance from their individual physician prior to taking any supplement ...

NEW YORK CITY, NY - Over the weekend NASCAR announced that its competitors could continue the use of ephedrine based products, but "advised all NASCAR participants to seek guidance from their individual physician prior to taking any supplement labeled as containing ephedra/ephedrine, including Ma Huang, Chinese Ephedra and Sida Cordifolia."

NASCAR consulted the US Department of Health and Human Services Rand Corporation study to make their decision and promised to follow the breaking news on the drug and report back to competitors any new information.

NASCAR does currently perform drug testing, but ephedrine is not one of the substances it looks for. Stacker 2, which is the primary sponsor on the No. 23 Bill Davis Dodge of Kenny Wallace, manufacturers two fat loss stimulants one with ephedrine and one without; although Wallace admits he does not use the product.

Stacker 2, however, has enjoyed a healthy sales boost due to its relationship with NASCAR.

"They have told me that racing has just put them to another level," Kenny Wallace said. "The commercials we've done have been a lot of fun because people react to them. And our sport is about selling product."

The use of ephedra in professional sports came under fire after the tragic death of 23-year-old Baltimore Orioles minor-leaguer Steve Bechler. It was reported that Bechler was using Xenadrine, an ephedra based supplement to promote energy. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader and League of Fans urged professional sports sanctioning bodies to outlaw the use of ephedrine and review individual supplement policies.

"Our citizens should never be used as guinea pigs for dietary supplements with no guarantee of product safety," Ralph Nader said. "How many more ephedra-related seizures, strokes, heart attacks, and deaths have to occur before our leaders take action?"

While NASCAR has chosen not to ban ephedrine-based derivatives for its racers, Major League Baseball has banned the substance for its minor divisions; The International Olympic Committee, the National Football League, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and the U.S. Armed Forces also outlaw it.

Over-the-counter herbal products containing ephedra are marketed in the United States as dietary supplements claiming to promote weight loss, increase energy, and enhance athletic performance. Ephedrine is an amphetamine-like product that potentially has powerful effects on the coronary and nervous systems.

Like prescription amphetamines or "uppers", ephedra stimulates the nervous system increasing heart rates while decreasing the appetite. Supplements such as Stacker 2 and Xenadrine are widely used in the United States as weight loss agents.

"Serious side effects reported in ephedra users include nausea and vomiting, psychiatric disturbances such as agitation and anxiety, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and more rarely seizures, heart attack, stroke, and even death," reports the American Medical Association.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Automotive , NASCAR
Drivers Kenny Wallace