What Is Clenbuterol?
Clenbuterol is a fat-burning drug that raises your metabolic rate. Even though it is not approved for use in the U.S., some athletes and bodybuilders use clenbuterol to help them reach their fitness goals.
Here’s what you need to know about this powerful and risky medication.
Clenbuterol is a drug that is not approved for human use in the U.S. In some countries, it is available by prescription only for people with asthma or other breathing problems. Since 1998, the FDA has allowed clenbuterol for treating horses with asthma. It is not allowed for animals that are used in food production.
Clenbuterol is a substance that has steroid-like effects and is classified as a beta2-adrenergic agonist. This means that it stimulates the beta2-adrenergic receptors in your throat. The medicine helps relax your muscles and lungs, making it easier to breathe if you have asthma or another respiratory condition. It can stay in your body for up to 39 hours after you take it.
Clenbuterol for Bodybuilding
However, clenbuterol — also called clen — is abused by athletes and bodybuilders for its ability to burn fat. The same receptors that are activated when taking clenbuterol for asthma also help to burn off fat and increase lean muscle mass. Athletes who use clenbuterol daily typically take 60 to 120 milligrams per day. Normally this is taken in combination with other performance-enhancing drugs or anabolic steroids.
Clenbuterol increases your body temperature through a process called thermogenesis. Once your body temp is up, your metabolism is then primed to burn off more calories. Since fat is stored in the body as energy, your body can use the calories that you already have stored. This can decrease your body fat and lower your overall weight.
Because clenbuterol is a bronchodilator, it opens up your airways when you take it. This is helpful for those with asthma. For athletes, this allows them to increase their stamina by having more airflow moving around the body. More oxygen is available, so you can perform harder and better.
Even though it isn’t legal in the US, athletes and bodybuilders continue to abuse clen to help them cut weight and increase muscle mass. Many see it as an alternative to anabolic steroids — the drugs that typically come to mind when you think of performance-enhancing substances. It has the reputation of being a “non-steroidal steroid” due to its ability to mimic steroids. Since it isn’t technically a steroid, some athletes saw clenbuterol for bodybuilding as a more “natural” approach to building muscle.
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Benefits of Using Clenbuterol
Even though it is illegal and has several side effects, many athletes still abuse clen.
Fewer androgenic side effects. It’s thought that clenbuterol is more popular than anabolic steroids with female bodybuilders because there are fewer androgenic side effects. Steroids typically cause side effects like an increase in facial hair or the deepening of your voice. Clenbuterol is not known to cause these.
Rapid weight loss. As noted, clenbuterol works by raising your metabolism, helping you to burn off fat. One study involved two groups of overweight men who were put on the same strict diet. One group was given clenbuterol and one wasn’t. Over ten weeks, the group who received clenbuterol lost an average of 11.4 kilograms of fat and the control group lost 8.7 kilograms of fat.
Appetite suppression. Many bodybuilders rely on clenbuterol before an upcoming performance or competition to trim off extra fat. A secondary effect of this drug is that it helps curb your appetite so that you take in fewer calories. Not every person experiences this effect, however.
Risks and Side Effects
Many athletes and bodybuilders use clenbuterol for its benefits — but there are several dangerous side effects to be aware of.
Some of the most common side effects include:
Increased heart rate (tachycardia)
Lowered blood potassium (hypokalemia)
High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
Feeling hot or warm
You are more likely to have these side effects if you take higher doses of clenbuterol to achieve its weight loss effects. Since this drug stays in your body for quite a while, you could have side effects anywhere from one to eight days. Studies show that more than 80% of people abusing clenbuterol who had serious side effects had to be hospitalized.
New users of clenbuterol are more likely to experience side effects than people who have previously taken it. If you experience any of these side effects after using clenbuterol, it’s important to immediately stop using it and to get help from a doctor.
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Clenbuterol is a compound that belongs to a class of drugs called beta2-agonists. Drugs in this category can cause dilation of the bronchial muscles. Beta2-agonists are often used to treat asthma.
In addition to being used to treat asthma, clenbuterol has become popular as a weight loss supplement. That’s because of its effect on muscle growth and fat reduction.
Read on to learn more about the usage, safety, and side effects for this medication.
The FDA hasn’t approved clenbuterol for use in humans. A liquid form of the drug is approved by the FDA for treatment of airway obstruction in horses.
Outside of the United States, clenbuterol is available by prescription only for the treatment of asthma. It’s also sometimes prescribed for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clenbuterol isn’t a steroid, but it has some properties similar to those of anabolic steroids, such as promoting an increase in muscle mass. Due to these properties, clenbuterol has been used in livestock to increase the amount of lean muscle.
The drug can still be found in the meat of livestock after it has been butchered, and this has led to illness in Europe and Asia. Because of this, the United States and Europe monitor tissue samples from livestock in order to detect the presence of clenbuterol.
Clenbuterol has also recently been observed as an additive in street drugs, such as heroin.
Weight loss and performance enhancement
Clenbuterol has been observed to both increase muscle mass and reduce body fat. Additionally, it remains in the body with an active effect for up to about six days after consumption (detectable traces can remain longer). Because of these properties, it’s often used as a weight loss supplement or to enhance athletic performance.
People taking clenbuterol for weight loss or performance enhancement often use anabolic steroids or growth hormones as well.
Studies on the efficacy of clenbuterol as a weight loss or performance enhancer in humans are quite limited, although many studies have been performed in animals and livestock:
ResearchersTrusted Source have observed that clenbuterol stimulates muscle growth and repair while preventing atrophy in mice and rats.
StudiesTrusted Source in livestock have indicated that the increase in muscle growth occurs at the expense of fat tissue. This is part of a process referred to as repartitioning.
A studyTrusted Source in horses found that long-term administration of high doses of clenbuterol increased the expression of genes related to various muscle components and fat metabolism.
Despite the fact that there is minimal evidence for clenbuterol as a performance-enhancing drug, it’s listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List.
Dosage and administration
When clenbuterol is taken to control asthma symptoms, the recommended dosage is between 0.02 and 0.03 milligrams per day. The medication comes in tablet or inhaler form for asthma treatment. Like many bronchodilators used for asthma treatment, you should use it as needed — up to the recommended dosage as opposed to regular daily use.
Clenbuterol used for weight loss or performance enhancement can be acquired as a tablet, liquid, or injection. People using clenbuterol for this purpose typically use between 0.06 and 0.12 milligrams per day, which is higher than the recommended dosage for asthma treatment.
Clenbuterol isn’t approved by the FDA for use in humans. Outside of the United States, it can be used to treat asthma or COPD. The drug is often used off-label for weight loss or to enhance athletic performance.
Clenbuterol is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List. Professional athletes testing positive for this drug can be disqualified from participating in competitive sports.
Clenbuterol can have negative side effects when overused or misused.
It’s important to strictly follow all dosage guidelines when using clenbuterol.