Clenbuterol is used as a weight loss supplement or as a performance-enhancing drug. It’s particularly popular with athletes, especially in the field of body-building, and endurance and power sports. Clenbuterol is also known as “clen”.
What is Clenbuterol?
Clenbuterol is a steroid like substance, but not a steroid. It falls into a group of drugs known as beta-2-agonists. Clenbuterol shares similarities with stimulant drugs (i.e. increase heart rate, blood pressure, perspiration, etc.) such as adrenalin (ephedrine) and amphetamines.
Clenbuterol was initially developed as a bronchodilator for the treatment and alleviation of symptoms of equine asthma. It main therapeutic use in many countries is still limited to horses. In the US, animals that have received clenbuterol are banned as food for human consumption.
Clenbuterol for Weight Loss
A “side-effect” of clenbuterol is its catabolic (fat loss) and anabolic (growth of skeletal muscle) properties. It is not understood, why clenbuterol causes fat loss and muscle growth. However, body builders and athletes cottoned on to this effect quickly and use it alone or in conjunction with other substances to help define their muscles and lose weight. Clenbuterol is also popular with female athletes, as it does not produce the androgenic side effects of anabolic steroids (physical, behavioral and functional side effects – e.g. virilization, developments a male body type, deepened voice, hairiness, acne to name just a few of the physical effects, some of which are irreversible).
There is no human research available to confirm clenbuterol’s effectiveness or safety and thus the study of clenbuterol has been limited to animal research. Several animal studies have indeed found clenbuterol to induce fat loss and increase skeletal muscle.
The list of potential side effects caused by clenbuterol is long and perilous and is the reason behind the limited knowledge of clenbuterol’s weight loss properties in humans. Anyone who is considering using clenbuterol as a speedy route to slimming down, must consider the list of clenbuterol side-effects very carefully and decide whether the benefit of weight loss outweighs the risks associated with taking clenbuterol.
Is Clenbuterol Legal?
In the USA, Clenbuterol is clenbuterol is not approved for human use, but only legal for use in horses, in the treatment of asthma.1
However, in the UK and Canada possession and purchase for private use is not illegal, although it is an offense in the UK to supply or have intent to supply clenbuterol. It is important to bear in mind that someone found to be in possession of a large quantity of clenbuterol may be deemed to be intending to supply – and may be prosecuted.
In addition to the legal clenbuterol preparations for medicinal use, there is a black-market in clenbuterol. There is a risk of buying counterfeit clenbuterol, which may have little, if any, active ingredients and, worse, may be contaminated. Often, clenbuterol is illegally imported from other countries such as Mexico and Canada into the US.
Read more: Clenbuterol side-effects