Facebook Pixel

What are ‘Stackers’ and Will They Help Us Lose Weight?

Rate This

Stackers, also known as the ECA stack, are a drug combination that is used as both a stimulant and a way for people to lose weight. The “ECA” portion stands for ephedrine, caffeine, and aspirin, and since the three drugs are taken at once, or “stacked” together, they have earned the nickname of stackers. They apparently decrease the appetite and help keep food cravings under control. With the combination of ephedrine and caffeine, it seems stackers also rev up your energy and metabolism, which may also lead to weight loss.

From my research, it seems like stackers are definitely a “good news/bad news” type of product. The good news? Studies indicate that they might actually work to help you lose weight, which is a relative rarity in the world of diet pills. The bad news?
The main ingredient in stackers, ephedrine, comes with a pretty hefty laundry list of dangers and potential side effects, especially those involving the heart.

First, let’s look at the research. Placebo-based studies have found that ephedrine taken in combination with caffeine can lead to fat loss. Also, plain supplements with just ephedrine and no caffeine have shown the same result. A meta-analysis, which is when researchers look at a bunch of similar studies all at once, concluded that using ephedrine in some combination leads to an average weight loss of about one kilogram more a month than just a placebo. Just as a side note, some ads for stackers claim that they will help with your athletic endurance too, but this has not been proven in medical studies.

Again, this weight loss can definitely come at a price. Ephedrine has been shown to be especially dangerous for people who have pre-existing heart problems and heart disease. But it can also cause heart attacks and other problems in young people who had no previous health conditions.

Most people who use stackers taken them two to three times a day in a ratio of one part ephedrine to 10 parts caffeine and 10 parts aspirin. In order to avoid sleep problems, many people take their stackers before mid to late afternoon. Some people buy them already stacked, so to speak. And others make their own, purchasing each ingredient separately and then combining them when they take each dose.

Have you ever used stackers to lose weight? If so, were they effective in helping you shed pounds? What about side effects? Did you suffer any ill effects from taking them or did you do just fine? Personally, I’d be wary of taking anything that has a potential damaging effect on the heart but I could also see someone saying “yeah, but being overweight puts strain on the heart too.” I suspect there are some strong feelings on either side when it comes to stackers—I look forward to reading what you have to say!




Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I was introduced to stackers in 2000. Having been really healthy for most of my life. I lost 2 and a half stone in weeks. My head was buzzing like pins and needles. I was shaking , couldn't sleep, couldn't sit down was on the go all the time. The sweating was really bad too. I stopped taking them after 6 months after I was stood in a pool of sweat and realised this wasn't good. I then put on 3 stone and was tired all the time, sleeping lathagic and more. Two years later I was diagnosed with an under active thyroid and after scan ion my throat it showed I had scarring that you would get only from having been over active. I know these tablets caused my thyroid to go over and then under.. and I've been so unhealthy since. I would never recommend them

July 20, 2017 - 2:57am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Weight Loss

Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!