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Diablo’s ECA “fire caps” are dietary supplement pills that emulate the effects of the common bodybuilding “EC stack”. Many forms of this supplement include aspirin, but Diablo’s fire caps do not have this on the label, suggesting that their brand name is not quite correct.
Fire caps are manufactured by “innovative laboratories”, a large-scale supplement manufacturer that produces a variety of ephedra extract pills from pre-workouts to fat burners and beyond. As with fire caps, these supplements are all marketed with the same ‘hardcore’ approach and it seems that we’ll be spending a lot of time cutting through hyperbole in this review!
ECA stacks have a long history of use within bodybuildling circles: the combination of ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin is believed to be synergistic. Ephedrine and caffeine are stimulants, associated with decreases in appetite, increased metabolic function and improved feelings of energy and awareness. Aspirin reduces the possibility of migraines, high blood pressure and other side-effects, whilst also improving general mood. These are the main reasons for the consumption of ECA: it is primarily a tool to enhance the resting metabolism whilst mitigating the effects of caloric surplus, especially by improving focus and “energy” during exercise.
Ephedrine and Caffeine are stimulants – with ephedrine being considerably more powerful than caffeine and having some different mechanisms for the facilitation of weight loss. However, the general trend for these two ingredients is the effect of the sympathetic nervous system on fat lipolysis, as well as the possible altering of stubborn “white” fat tissues . This means that the combination of the two will have some positive effects on burning fat and increasing the chance of adhering to a diet.
There is no doubt that the combination of these ingredients is effective. Both individually and in combination, caffeine and ephedrine have been repeatedly shown to improve resting metabolism, reduce sensations of hunger, fat lipolysis and exercise performance – in addition to the possible innervation of stubborn fat deposits [1, 2, 3, 4]. The magnitude of this effect can be modulated by the individual’s tolerance for stimulants, resting metabolism, diet and absorption of these compounds into the body (depending on the form and source for Diablo’s ECA).
Whilst the effectiveness of this product does not seem unlikely, our greater concern here is the safety of stimulants – there are various reports of the negative effects associated with the consumption of stimulants and Ephedrine is relatively strong compared to most daily stimulant intakes (considering the average individual’s intake of low-level stimulants such as caffeine). Ephedrine has been considered by some to be an excessively risky compound, a concern that has reduced the availability of research on the topic due to ethical concerns . The FDA has placed regulations and bans on the use of ephedra, primarily due to concerns over concerns for increased risks of heart failure and other complications, as well as a variety of common side-effects such as dizziness, nausea, fainting and digestive discomfort.
There are disputes over the health effects of ephedrine and its inclusion in dietary supplements, with some contesting that the effects are manageable, and there may be some truth to this. Individual differences for the tolerance of stimulants is considerable, with some receiving considerably greater side-effects than others, and an equal variation can be expected in the results that an EC stack may involve.
However, the problem with Diablo’s ECA stack are beyond the simple problems that may be associated with Ephedrine by itself. The problem is the synergistic effects of the numerous stimulants in the product. If Ephedrine and Caffeine were not sufficient, this product also contains various other psychomotor stimulants, such as synephrine (in various forms) and yohimbine HCL. The overall stimulant-load of this product does nothing to reassure us – it may increase the likelihood of effectiveness but it is far from safe for many individuals: the chances of negative side effects are incredibly high. Each of these ingredients, in supplementary doses, has been associated with consistent side-effects – the combination of these ingredients into a single supplement strikes us as an unnecessary ‘overkill’ approach.
Aside from the FDA’s general warning and regulation of ephedrine, they led a serious investigation into the content of Diablo’s ECA and discovered several ‘off-label’ ingredients that are incredibly harmful to health . These include a further, more severe stimulant called sibutramine. This ingredient is included in a number of “fat burner” products in order to boost effectiveness, but can increase the likelihood of severe heart complications from roughly 10% to 11.5% – this may seem low but this is a significant increase and means that 1-2 in every 100 customers are likely to experience severe and life-threatening complications.
In addition to sibutramine, there are various carcinogens included in the off-label ingredients, primarily phenolphthalein. Clearly, this is unacceptable – whilst there are many organic compounds in food which can have negative effects on cancer risks, the inclusion of a direct carcinogen in a dietary supplement seems absurd and totally unacceptable. The trade-offs are unthinkable: there is no calculation in which weight loss is a sufficient reason to consume this product – the risks far outweigh the benefits!
The main concern with these off-label ingredients is the fact that they are undeclared and do not give customers sufficient information about the product they are consuming, independent of the life-threatening effects that they may have. The FDA report on Diablo’s ECA describes this at length, but the important thing to note is that the various ingredients found in Diablo may negatively interact with a variety of prescription medicine in life-threatening ways. Whilst we don’t approve of the inclusion of these ingredients in any product, the greatest threat is the fact that individuals may consume this supplement, unaware of the fact that it will cause serious health problems and they could not have known otherwise due to the company’s failure to inform them.
In light of the FDA’s report on the supplement, we are concerned to look at the implications of this for the company and the product within the market. Firstly, there is no “value for money” in a product that has severe health risks because the value it adds to your life is in the negative! However, these capsules are expensive with a list price of around $90 – a price that is surely so high due to the content of banned, life-threatening stimulants and carcinogens. Not only will innovative laboratories increase your chance of a painful death, but they’ll actually charge you $90 for this product.
Across the various reviews we’ve performed so far, the average price point for a healthy “fat burner” Is around $30-60. The obvious point is this: there is no value for money because the NET effects of Diablo’s ECA are seriously negative (there are more problems than benefits) and the price point is far higher than the market competitors. Again, it is key to note that these market competitors are both cheaper and less likely to cause severe heart complications!
We are sceptical of stimulant-based supplements in the first place – whilst caffeine is a single example, the ingestion of stimulants to induce weight loss is generally misguided and seems to have a NET neutral or negative effect. The reductions in sleep quality/quantity can easily account for the benefits gained , the health effects are generally negative  and they are wholly unnecessary. This final point is key: weight loss is a natural and relatively simple process that does not need to be forced along at a higher rate than normal. The reduction of bodyfat should be a concern for health and fitness – consumption of supplements like Diablo’s ECA is the exact opposite of this and should raise serious concerns for the state of the supplement industry.
In light of this, we’d raise serious concerns about the legitimacy and trustworthiness of Innovative labs’ other products. Despite the hardcore titles and grimdark marketing approach, they are ultimately peddling poor-quality, overpriced supplements to unsuspecting consumers who cannot possibly know the risks (because they’re not informed as to the ingredients). A company that is willing to do this to their clientele has no genuine concern for their wellbeing and should be avoided at all costs.
We cannot possibly recommend this product: whilst we are sure that it will be effective for weight loss, this is not a healthy weight loss supplement and we are more concerned with the negative side effects than we are with the ability to facilitate fat loss. The clinical evidence shows 2 things about this product: firstly, it works – the consumption of high-dose stimulants does seem to cause weight loss generally and fat lipolysis more specifically. Secondly, however, the clinical research shows that these same stimulants are incredibly unhealthy (both physically and mentally) and are associated with life-threatening problems. The ingestion of dangerous, banned stimulants to treat body composition is wildly irresponsible and should be discouraged at every turn. As such, we give this product a 0/5 and a strong warning for customers to avoid it!
Amanda is a gym instructor and a diet and nutrition fanatic that has reviewed 100s of supplements for the benefit of consumers. She struggled with obesity 7 years ago and after losing more than 30lbs, dedicates most of her time in helping others achieve similar results and transform their lives. You can contact her via the "About Us" page.