Clenbuterol is a performance enhancing drug that is not a steroid like Dianabol or Anavar. Rather, this is a drug that is commonly used by performance athletes and particularly long-distance runners. Increasingly however, it is also being used as a weight loss aid, owing to its ability to increase the metabolism for rapid ‘lipogenesis’.
But how precisely does this drug work? And is it something safe that you should consider using?
What Is Clenbuterol?
Clenbuterol is a sympathomimetic amine which acts like a decongestant and a bronchodilator. As a bronchodilator, this means that it increases the volume of oxygen that you can utilize when breathing and particularly during intensive exercise. It achieves this by widening the vessels that the oxygen travels through. As a decongestant it also thins the blood, leading to reduced blood pressure.
Immediately then, using Clenbuterol will increase your endurance when running or working out. This in turn can help you to burn more fat and to improve your fitness further through cardio activity.
What’s more, Clenbuterol is also a beta-2-agonist. For anyone who has ever suffered with anxiety, this is essentially the opposite of a beta blocker. Whereas beta blockers prevent the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline, beta-2-agonists increase their production – effectively triggering a fight or flight mechanism. This is actually what causes the bronchodilation and it also drives up the metabolism leading to rapid fat burning as well as excitability, nervousness, drive, energy and determination.
Essentially, Clenbuterol is similar to an amphetamine such as speed and can have similar impacts on a training regime. It additionally appears to have some positive effects on muscle gain, though the mechanisms of action that cause this are not fully understood.
Athletes taking Clenbuterol will normally do so by cycling between on and off periods. This means they will use it for two days and then take two days off to recover, or perhaps they will use it for one week, followed by one week of recovery. Dosages are normally between 40-160mg daily.
Clenbuterol can be taken orally or injected, with each having specific individual risks and downsides. Injectable forms are far less common and run the risk of getting a trapped air bubble as well as leaving scars and exposing you to potential infections. On the other hand, tablets place a little more strain on the liver and are slightly less potent. That said, liver toxicity is not one of the major risks when using this substance (unlike with steroids).
But when it comes to risks and side effects, Clenbuterol has lots worth mentioning…
As a beta-2-agonist, Clenbuterol exerts effect on the catecholamine neurotransmitters. This includes dopamine, which we also know as the reward hormone. Dopamine is often thought to be the primary mover of addiction in general and as such, this makes Clenbuterol potentially highly addictive.
At the same time, Clenbuterol offers all the same unwanted side effects of amphetamines, including anxiety, jitters, shakes, anxiousness, headaches and sweatiness.
The most alarming danger of Clenbuterol though is that it can potentially cause long term negative effects on the heart. Increased heart rate and dilation can lead to ‘cardiac hypertrophy’. This is the abnormal growth of the heart, which can potentially lead to heart attack and eventually death.
Add to all this the fact that Clenbuterol is an illegal substance. Using this can get you banned from competitions and there is zero regulation meaning you’ll never be quite sure what you are using.
For all these reasons, it is strongly advised that you don’t experiment with Clenbuterol. While it can give competitive athletes an edge, it is a risk that’s not worth taking for the rest of us – and especially as there are other more effective ways to get into shape out there.