The same applies to Clenbuterol, a common component of bronchodilators and medications used to treat asthma.
Why would bodybuilders want to use a bronchodilation medication to benefit physical performance enhancement or muscle bulking gains?
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Bodybuilder and athletes wanting to increase muscle mass games and physical performance turn to anabolic steroids, growth hormone, or growth factor promoting drugs.
But Clenbuterol is not an anabolic steroid.
It’s a sympathomimetic amine, and a prescription-only drug often recommended by physicians in the treatment of asthma.
It is typically used in the form of Clenbuterol hydrochloride, which differs slightly in regard to its molecular formula but produce the same results.
As a sympathomimetic amine, Clenbuterol is an agonist that triggers a number of sympathomimetic functions inside the body.
Its main mechanism of action is its ability to bind to beta-2 adrenergic receptors which are commonly found inside the bronchial tubes’ smooth muscular tissues.
This mechanism of action enhances release of adenyl cyclase, an enzyme involved in the conversion of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into cyclic adenosine monophosphate or cAMP.
This action is related to metabolism and creation of energy.
Because of this potential, Clenbuterol has an ability to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (a component of the central nervous system) that controls and influences blood pressure, heart rate, and thermogenic effects.
Because of this capability, it is known to provide anabolic benefits while at the same time reducing catabolic (damaging) effects on muscle tissues.
Bodybuilders use Clen mainly in bulking phases or cycles, but it’s also used to promote weight loss.
As a weight-loss supplement, it is not very efficient for individuals who are overweight, but is most effective for those who already have a relatively lean physique and only need to drop a few pounds.
In general, Clenbuterol doesn’t have much of an effect on bodybuilders in regard to anabolic functions such as increasing muscle size.
But it does have an influence on striated muscular skeletal tissue due to its ability to link to beta-2 adrenoreceptor agonists.
A bodybuilder might use Clenbuterol at the end of a cycle or just prior to competition to also encourage fat burning (lipolysis) due to its ability to react to fat (adipocytes) beta3 adrenal receptors.
Is clenbuterol safe? In most cases, yes. However, when used in high doses Clenbuterol can be toxic and cause a number of side effects.
One 2007 study reported ventricular tachycardia and atrial fibrillation.
In another report (2016), rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of damaged muscle tissue excreted in the urine, which turns a dark color) presented in an athlete using Clenbuterol for muscle mass gains for several days.
Even patients using Clenbuterol on supervised treatment plans are carefully monitored by physicians to reduce potential for side effects and adverse reactions. Even low doses of Clenbuterol can cause toxicity.
In animal studies (rabbit), Clenbuterol was noted to induce a number of cardiovascular issues including cardiac asystole (aka ‘flatline’), atrioventricular block, and hypotension.
For non-medical use, is clenbuterol safe? It depends on numerous factors including age, weight, overall health status, dosage, and dosage frequency as well as length of use.
Individuals taking Clenbuterol for non-asthma related benefits in regard to its mechanism of action in the body (muscle building or weight loss) are taking a risk with overall health and wellness.
Using a drug when you don’t need it physically can contribute to a number of unexpected and alarming issues for numerous body systems.
When it comes to dosage recommendations for Clenbuterol usage, bodybuilders may take as much as 160 mcg a day (tablet form).
The recommended medical dosage for treatment of asthma conditions averages 20 mcg daily. The potential for side effects depends on dosage.
One of the most common side effects associated with Clenbuterol include a slight increase in body temperature due to its thermogenic effects.
More severe side effects associated with Clenbuterol that can indicate overuse or overdose include:
Because of its short half-life, individuals may tend to take Clenbuterol more often throughout the day than recommended to maintain its thermogenic effect.
The same applies to length of use. Bodybuilders are cautioned against taking Clenbuterol for more than six weeks. It is recommended to give the body a rest before starting it again.
Is clenbuterol safe? Not always. Just because it’s not an anabolic steroid doesn’t mean that it won’t harm bodybuilders or athletes.
Always be aware of what you’re putting into your body and how the components of that drug or substance can alter otherwise normal body functions and activities.