Clenbuterol’s Original Use
Clenbuterol is not a steroid, although it is often used in combination with steroids. It is a beta-2 agonist, and, similar to stimulant drugs such as ephedrine and amphetamines, causes increased perspiration, heart rate and blood pressure. Clenbuterol is a bronchodilator, or asthma treatment, used for horses.
It is still used in many countries to treat horses, although horses that are treated with the drug are typically not allowed to be consumed by humans.
Clenbuterol as a Performance-Enhancing Drug
Two sought-after effects of clenbuterol are its fat-burning and muscle-mass increase.
The exact mechanism for these effects is not yet known. However, many athletes and bodybuilders have become avid users of the drug after experiencing these side-effects. In particular, many female athletes and high-profile actresses in Hollywood use clenbuterol because it does not cause the virilization of the body as anabolic steroids are prone to do, which in some cases can be permanent.
As of yet, there has been no research to confirm the safety of clenbuterol as a performance-enhancing drug, though animal studies have shown the drug to effectively bring about fat-loss and increases in strength. Many bodybuilders use clenbuterol during the “cutting” phase of their cycle, when their intent is to burn fat while retaining as much muscle as they can. The drug is banned in most sports and most notably by the International Olympic Committee, and numerous athletes have been suspended from competition due to testing positive for the drug.
The Negative Side-Effects of Clenbuterol
The list of negative side-effects of clenbuterol is long and is the main reason why studies on humans are lacking. Those who are contemplating using the drug for fat-loss and muscle gain should study the drug and its possible side-effects very carefully to fully understand the risks they are taking and how to mitigate them.
Among clenbuterol’s known side-effects are: increased heart rate, increased risk of stroke, increased blood pressure, anxiety, vomiting, tremors, dry mouth, muscle cramps, sweating, headaches, dizziness, and bone fragility.
The Legal Status of Clenbuterol
In many countries including the U.S., clenbuterol is legal for the treatment of asthma in horses. In the United Kingdom and Canada, clenbuterol is legal to buy and use, though in the United Kingdom it is illegal to traffic in the drug. Though in some countries clenbuterol is technically legal, if a person is found to be in possession of significant quantities of the drug, then that person could be prosecuted for trafficking in the drug.
Because of its reputed benefits and quasi-legal status, there is a large black market for the drug. However, there are significant risks to buying the drug in the black market, due to the possibility of buying counterfeit or contaminated drugs.
Clenbuterol is commonly imported into the U.S. from Canada and Mexico, with uncertain origins and standards of manufacture.
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