Here we go again. Stop shooting yourself in the foot.
You mention that there are a lot of negative side effects. The side effect profile of ephedra is very similar to the side effects other stimulants.
You also make the claim that you don't know anyone that has taken it. So you make it very clear you don't have much feedback about this product. You heard something on the news about it or someplace else. I have personally taken it, know many people that have taken it, and heard even more feedback off of bodybuilding web sites. It is safe as long as you don't take way too much of it. Keep in mind it is still available over the counter (for some purposes) for a reason, if it was so dangerous, it wouldn't be available at all.
You mentioned its banned by the IOC and WADA. You have people competing with one another, it can be used to cheat, thats why they have banned it. Read your own words closely:
What long term damage can it cause to your metabolism?
As I mentioned earlier, you should not take this drug if you have certain pre-existing conditions. Diet and exercise only are the way to go for any beginner.
Originally Posted by Templar
There are a lot of negative side effects. I don't personally know anyone who has had issues either (even though I don't actually know anyone who has taken this stuff), but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen and that it is safe for normal use.
Numerous studies in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Annals of Internal Medicine have shown a higher incidence of these adverse side effects when using this garbage. Due to the risks, it's also a banned substance in the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency. Not to mention the potential long term damage you're doing to your metabolism and other functions by taking this stuff.
Why take the risk? Even if somehow all of these studies are just lies, why still take that risk? I wouldn't recommend taking this, and neither should you. You don't know the current fitness level of the OP. A lot of people who are overweight (not all) have some sort of other issues, high BP, heart issues, etc. I can't believe people would actually recommend to put this garbage in your system... Me personally, not being a doctor (even if I was, I didn't examine the OP as a patient), I wouldn't recommend taking any drug. I wouldn't even recommend a stringent workout regime without recommending he see a doctor first to make sure he can handle it.
IMO, if you can't lose weight without some sort of gimmick (that risks your life), then you're just lazy.