What Is An ECA Stack and How Can You Use It To Burn Fat and Build Muscle?

ECA Stack
ECA stacks are known as the original pre-work and supplement used to burn fat. In this article we’ll talk about what the ECA stack is, how it can help you with weightloss and working out, along with it’s legal status and everything else in between that you need to know.

What is the ECA Stack?

ECA is an acronym for Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirin. These three compounds are believed to be synergistic when it comes to fat loss and neural stimulation. Ephedrine – a natural stimulant found in the Ephedra sinica plant – is isolated and put into ECA supplements for its purported fat-burning effects. 

What’s in an ECA stack?

The ECA stack is a combination of Ephedrine, Caffeine and Aspirin which is widely used for fat loss. 


Ephedrine is the primary active ingredient, while caffeine enhances its efficacy. Ephedrine is derived from the Ephedra plant, which has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, also known as “ma huang.” It acts on the central nervous system to release norepinephrine, an important part of the fight-or-flight response during times of stress.  It is a key component of the ECA stack for weight loss, however caution must be taken by new users due to its potential toxicity when combined with other compounds like caffeine.


Caffeine is found naturally in coffee, tea, and soft drinks, and when taken in small doses can reduce fatigue and increase feelings of alertness. 


Aspirin prevents blood clots and helps to improve ephedrine’s signal transduction. Some have chosen to replace aspirin in their stacks with Fish Oil or White Willow Bark for additional organ side effect protection.  Aspirin is a pain reliever which is also included in the ECA stack for fat burning. It prevents norepinephrine levels from decreasing, helping to maintain the stimulation effects of caffeine and ephedrine, while also acting as a blood thinner that helps reduce the risk of clotting associated with higher heart rates and blood pressure caused by the stack.

Does the ECA Stack Work?

20 trials found ephedrine to be effective for weight loss.  Combining ephedrine or Ephedra-containing supplements with caffeine has been shown to be slightly more effective for weight loss purposes, helping participants lose an average of two pounds more per month than those who only took ephedrine or Ephedra-containing supplements. Not much is known about ephedrine’s impact on athletic performance. Some studies have suggested a modest short-term improvement, however more research is needed to determine its ultimate effects.

Is it safe to use?

A review of 52 controlled clinical trials on ephedrine usage revealed that there were no serious adverse effects reported.

Is the ECA Stack Legal in Canada?

In Canada products that contain ephedra can be bought as nasal decongestants. You can learn more about the legal status of the Ephedrine in this article.

Is the ECA Stack Legal in the United States?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ban the sale of Ephedra-containing dietary supplements in 2004. However, ephedrine itself is still legal in the United States. The sale of ephedrine is highly regulated, with customers needing to present a valid photo ID and signing for their purchase. Additionally, there are limits on how much ephedrine can be bought in any 30-day period; this amount varies by state but typically does not exceed 9 grams.

How to Use an ECA Stack For Weight Loss – Step-by-Step Process

A traditional ECA stack dosage, based on research studies, is typically divided into three servings of the following: 
  • 72mg of ephedrine (24mg per serving),
  • 600mg of caffeine (200 mg per serving) 
  • 81mg of aspirin (27mg per serving).
Before taking the full dose, it is highly recommended to start with a small serving and gradually work your way up according to your tolerance. ECA stacks should not be taken for more than eight weeks; a beginner’s cycle may consist of four weeks on followed by four weeks off.

How does the ECA Stack Aid Weight Loss?

Separately, each ingredient in the ECA stack has little to no effect on weight loss. However, when combined, the ephedrine and caffeine components produce a synergistic effect that can lead to weight loss. ECA can:

Increase the Metabolic Rate

Thermogenesis is the process of heat production, and this cases your body to burn more calories when you are resting.  Over 24 hours you may increase your energy expenditure by 8% – or an extra 100-200 calories that you would not otherwise burn. 

Lean Mass Loss is Prevented

Studies show that users of ephedrine and caffeine lose less muscle when compared to control groups. Retaining lean mass also maintains your metabolic rate, which means that again you burn more calories than when you are resting. 

Decreases Appetite

ECA stack is known as an appetite suppressant – that’s the role ephedrine and caffeine plays. You don’t get as hungry as you usually would, meaning it’s easier to stick to your diet plan – helping with weight loss. 

ECA Stack: The Bottom Line

Before considering using an ECA stack for weight loss and energy, it is important to ask yourself why this option is appealing to you and what benefit you are trying to gain. There are healthier alternatives you can take before resorting to an ECA stack, such as improving your sleep routine and habits, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, treating iron or vitamin B deficiency, exercising during the first half of the day, and even trying an elimination diet. If you are still determined to use the ECA stack for weight loss, it is highly recommended that you consult with a doctor first in order to create a safe and effective plan. Though it may be a quick-fix for losing a few pounds or getting more alertness, taking ECA stacks can have serious consequences on your overall health. Stimulants such as ephedrine and caffeine found in these stacks provide fake energy which can mask the real underlying reasons for low energy. In general, healthy eating and regular exercise remain the safest ways to lose weight and keep it off. With the help of a qualified doctor or dietitian, they can work together with you to devise an individualized plan that fits your needs.

ECA Stack References: 

Astrup A, Breum L, Toubro S, Hein P, Quaade FThe effect and safety of an ephedrine/caffeine compound compared to ephedrine, caffeine and placebo in obese subjects on an energy restricted diet. A double blind trialInt J Obes Relat Metab Disord.(1992 Apr) Toubro S, Astrup AV, Breum L, Quaade FSafety and efficacy of long-term treatment with ephedrine, caffeine and an ephedrine/caffeine mixtureInt J Obes Relat Metab Disord.(1993 Feb) Astrup A, Toubro S, Cannon S, Hein P, Madsen JThermogenic synergism between ephedrine and caffeine in healthy volunteers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled studyMetabolism.(1991 Mar) Haller CA, Jacob P 3rd, Benowitz NLEnhanced stimulant and metabolic effects of combined ephedrine and caffeineClin Pharmacol Ther.(2004 Apr)

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