In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that 39.8 percent of American adults were obese, meaning that they exceeded the healthy weight for their height. And unfortunately, the organization predicted an increase in that statistic in the coming years.

If you count yourself or someone you love in that ever-growing population, you’ve probably heard that there’s no magic pill to shed pounds. A balanced diet and regular exercise is all you need, right? Well, sometimes that’s not enough. Even though you know what you should do, you lack the momentum to start exercising and watching what you eat. You need a little extra energy to push you across the starting line such as ephedra. Ephedra actually might become that thing to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

If the suggestion of adding ephedra to your diet and exercise regimen gives you pause, it’s probably because of the erroneous assumptions that have recently circulated about this supplement. Here are four fantastic facts about ephedra that will set the record straight about its status, history, effects, and benefits.

Ephedra is NOT Illegal When Offered as an Extract

Much has been written debating the legality of products containing ephedra, so trying to determine whether an ephedra-based product is an option for you can be frustrating. Luckily, the folks at NetNutri, a leading provider of supplements and health products, offer a clear explanation of ephedra’s history, composition, and legality.

According to NetNutri, ephedra (the plant) is distinctly different from ephedrine alkaloids (a synthesized drug). In 2004, the Federal Drug Administration banned supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids. However, today’s ephedra products simply contain extracts of the ephedra plant — including leaves, roots, and other parts that do not contain ephedrine alkaloids — and are perfectly legal as they do not contain the banned alkaloids.

Ephedra Extract Products Contain Natural Plants

The ephedra plant is a shrub-like evergreen that has been grown and used in central Asia and Mongolia for more than 3000 years. The plant is sometimes referred to as Chinese ephedra, Ephedra sinica (the Latin name), or ma huang. Although some plant species contain elements found in ephedrine alkaloids, the ingredients in today’s ephedra extracts are carefully selected from the natural, non-alkaloid components. Most extracts add more natural ingredients such as caffeine and other herbs to increase effectiveness.

Ephedra is Fast Acting, Long Lasting, and Super Effective

When you need quick energy, where do you turn? Most people immediately think of coffee because of the well-known energy-improving benefits of caffeine. But sometimes it takes several cups throughout the day to keep that energy going. With ephedra, however, one dosage will quickly provide enough energy to get you through your workout or workday and beyond. An added bonus of ephedra is an incredible increase in concentration and focus, which also lasts for the long-term.

Ephedra Supplements Accelerate Weight Loss and Enhance Athletic Performance

It’s well-known and clearly understood that to lose weight, you must incorporate a well-balanced diet filled with natural, plant-based meals and fewer processed foods and increase daily exercise to burn more calories. These healthy habits are accelerated when supplemented with ephedra. Not only will the previously described benefits give you more motivation and energy to begin your workout, walk, or weightlifting session; if taken as directed, your ephedra energy will outlast your exercise. And all the while, ephedra is accelerating your body’s fat-burning processes, truly speeding up your ability to lose weight.

To learn more about ephedra and its benefits, read these ephedra reviews and order your own ephedra supplement to gain energy and focus and jump-start your weight loss.