Maria Sharapova had her reasons for taking Meldonium. The 5-time Grand Slam winner had been taking the drug for 10 years when she first tested positive for it in 2016. In her defense, Sharapova claimed Meldonium helped her overcome magnesium deficiency and a family history of diabetes.
Her admission of taking Meldonium, and the two-year ban that followed, once again put this performance-enhancing drug in the spotlight. Not because she was the only elite athlete taking this drug. Far from it. A 2015 report found that 2.2 percent of elite athletes had it in their system.
Instead, Meldonium has been attracting headlines because it has been the go-to PED for professional athletes, bodybuilders, and weight lifters for decades. Anyone serious about boosting their exercise performance is aware of its potential to help them achieve their exercise-related goals.
Why is that the case? That’s what we aim to find in this article. In the following paragraphs, we’ll discuss what Meldonium is, how it works, and its benefits to the body. We’ll also reveal the Meldonium dosage you can safely take to smash your fitness-related goals.
What Is Meldonium?
Meldonium – marketed as mildronate – is a performance-enhancing drug. It was originally developed to treat ischemia, a condition in which body tissues suffer from low blood supply. This drug also helps treat various cardiovascular diseases. It can boost stamina and endurance, too.
Meldonium is manufactured by the Latvian pharmaceutical firm Grindeks and is available over the counter in Russia and some eastern European countries. This drug is so popular in the countries where it’s licensed that it has become one of Latvia’s biggest medical exports. [R]
However, despite its massive popularity, the drug isn’t licensed for use in the US. The FDA is yet to approve Meldonium for any kind of use. The World Anti-Doping Agency added it to its ‘Prohibited List’ in 2016, claiming that elite athletes use it to enhance performance. [R]
Overview of Benefits and Effects
Before we take a look at what researchers have to say about Meldonium, let’s have a glance at its benefits and side effects.
- Treats Various Heart Problems
- Improves Exercise Performance
- Enhances Mood And Cognitive Ability
- Increases Rate of Recovery
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- … And Many More
- Metallic Aftertaste In The Mouth
- Headache, Shakiness, Nausea
Most studies do not link this drug to any severe side effects.
History of Meldonium
After its invention in Latvia in 1970, one of Meldonium’s early uses was in animals. Agricultural workers gave this drug to boars to increase their sexual performance and sperm quality. The drug also successfully raised the animals’ sperm quality and the concentration of their testosterone. [R]
After its license was expanded to humans, its manufacturer shipped large quantities of Meldonium to Soviet soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. It’s claimed that the drug increased the soldier’s endurance, helping them carry large backpacks in oxygen-reduced air in mountainous terrain. [R]
In the subsequent decades, the institute that developed Meldonium demonstrated its ability to treat heart failure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and arrhythmia. External studies, meanwhile, proved that the drug increases oxygen intake, boosting its users’ stamina and endurance. [R]
Fast forward to 2015, and a testing center set up by USADA in the German city of Cologne found that 182 of 8,320 athletes who gave urine samples tested positive for Meldonium – a rate of 2.2%, compelling WADA to ban the drug within six months of the tests’ results. [R]
How Does Meldonium Work?
Meldonium works as a fatty acid oxidation inhibitor. It inhibits the production of a substance called carnitine, a nutrient that the body cells need to burn fat to produce energy. With the cells not getting enough carnitine to burn fat, they switch to burning glucose, which gives more energy.
This explains how Meldonium would help build endurance. By switching the body cells’ energy source from fat (which produces less energy for a given amount of oxygen) to glucose (which produces more energy for a given amount of oxygen), the drug helps boost stamina. [R]
That might also explain why the drug is beneficial for angina patients. Angina patients’ heart cells do not get enough oxygen on their own. By switching the cells’ energy source to glucose, the drug might help the heart cells get more oxygen than if they were still burning fat.
All in all, Meldonium works by reducing carnitine levels in the body. This provides its users with sudden energy bursts, boosting their stamina & heart health. It also expedites their post-exercise recovery and improves their mood. Plus, meldonium can also lower high blood pressure. [R] [R]
Benefits of Meldonium
Meldonium improves heart health and treats various forms of heart disease such as arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, heart failure, and angina pectoris. This drug also helps elevate mood, improve athletic performance, and assist in weight loss by boosting metabolism.
A Chinese study group tested Meldonium to research its effects in treating ischemic stroke. The researchers concluded that the drug was as effective in treating acute ischemic stroke as cinepazide, one of the most well-known medications doctors in China use to treat stroke. [R]
Here are the major benefits of Meldonium:
- Treats Various Heart Diseases
- Improves Athletic Performance
- Treats Brain Disorders
- Improves Mood
- Enhances Cognitive Ability
- … And Many More
Let’s expound on these benefits.
1) Treats Various Heart Problems
Human clinical trials have found that Meldonium successfully treats various heart problems. They include angina (chest pain or discomfort caused by lack of oxygen-rich blood supply to the heart muscle), myocardial infarction (next stage of angina), and many others. [R] [R]
Meldonium can help reduce the symptoms of arrhythmia, as well. Arrhythmia is a condition in which the heart beats with an abnormal rhythm. An animal study has found that taking 100mg/kg meldonium daily for 28 days reduced both the duration and frequency of arrhythmia. [R]
2) Improves Exercise Performance
As stated earlier, Meldonium inhibits carnitine synthesis, forcing body cells to burn glucose instead of fat to produce energy. This helps with exercise performance because glucose is a smaller molecule than fat and requires less oxygen for its metabolism.
As a result, your heart will have to supply less oxygen to burn glucose and produce energy. Research predicated on anecdotal evidence confirms that this helps build your endurance, stamina, and exercise performance. It also decreases the time you need to recover after a grueling workout.
For even more enhanced muscle building and stamina improvements, consider combining Meldonium with some of the best SARMs on the market like Ostarine, RAD 140, or even Ligandrol for a good bulking stack.
3) Treats Brain Disorders
Research has shown that meldonium helps treat various brain disorders. This drug has been found to treat cerebrovascular ischemia, a brain injury where the affected part isn’t getting the required oxygen supply. If untreated, this condition can lead to permanent disability or even death. [R]
Meldonium might help treat cerebrovascular ischemia. A human trial involving 38 patients found that those who used this drug had improved symptoms than members of the placebo group. Consequently, the researchers recommended meldonium for the treatment of cerebral circulation disorders. [R]
4) Improves Mood And Activity Levels
Human trials have shown that meldonium helps improve the patients’ mood. That’s not all. This substance also helps users get more active. It even contributes to the reduction in their motor dysfunction (if any) and reduces the symptoms of dizziness and nausea. [R]
By improving your mood, meldonium provides you with several secondary benefits. They include an increase in self-confidence, which, in turn, will help you gear up to overcome challenges in the way of your goals. This, in turn, will make you feel good about your life and your body.
5) Enhances Cognitive Ability
According to animal models, meldonium possesses the ability to enhance cognitive functions. It can improve multiple mental skills, including learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision making. This drug can also help you think more clearly and enhance your attention spans. [R]
Meldonium is capable of offering all these benefits because it can cross the blood-brain barrier. It can permeate the network of blood vessels and tissues that prevents harmful substances from getting to the brain. As a result, you can count on this substance to boost cognitive functions.
6) Treats Diabetes
Researchers have conducted various studies on rats to determine whether meldonium has what it takes to treat diabetes. All these studies followed different models. Yet, they have all reached the same conclusion: meldonium can treat type-2 diabetes and improve insulin sensitivity. [R]
Meldonium can treat diabetes because it reduces glucose levels in the blood. It does that by making sure that your cells metabolize carbohydrates instead of fats. Since carbohydrates are made up of glucose, their metabolism decreases glucose levels, potentially treating diabetes.
7) Boosts Recovery Rate
Health experts state that taking meldonium before exercising has various benefits. It decreases oxidative stress (imbalance between beneficial antioxidants and harmful free radicals) and cellular damage, while also helping your body use energy more efficiently.
For these reasons, meldonium could reduce recovery time after workouts. It isn’t only the health experts who are touting this potential benefit. Various animal studies, as well as several low-quality trials, have also reached the same conclusion. That meldonium could increase the rate of recovery.
According to its manufacturer, the normal course of Meldonium treatment ranges between four and six weeks. Keep in mind that this course is designed for ischemic patients. The manufacturer states that the ischemic patients can repeat the course up to three times a year. [R]
For athletes and bodybuilders, the suggested dosage is 15 – 20 mg of Meldonium per 1 kg of body weight. This means that if you weigh 80kgs, you might want to take 1,200 – 1,600 mg Meldonium per day. The best time for taking Meldonium is 30 – 45 minutes before the workout starts.
The Meldonium bodybuilding course lasts between 45 to 90 days. Beginners would do well to stick to the lower period of the course. After completing the course, take a break of at least 30 days. This is necessary to allow your system to return to its normal functioning.
Keep in mind that meldonium capsules have a half-life of between 4 – 16 hours. The half-life is between 2 and 6 hours for meldonium injections. Half-life is the duration a drug remains in your system. As a result, if you’re going to participate in a competition, discontinue using this drug 1-2 days in advance. [R]
Meldonium Side Effects
There aren’t many human studies on this substance’s safety. The lack of published research on meldonium’s adverse effects is one of the key reasons it hasn’t been approved anywhere outside of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, where it’s sold over the counter.
Various studies in rat models give users a ray of hope that this drug might be safe and cause zero long-term effects on the liver function of humans. The case of Miss Sharapova, who took it for a decade without any apparent side effects, further raises the hope. [R]
People who regularly use Meldonium report a metallic taste after taking meldonium. This might not be a cause of concern, given that many other drugs leave an aftertaste in the mouth. Users also regularly report headaches and shakiness after taking meldonium.
Most studies we’ve looked at do not link Meldonium to any severe long-term effects. Perhaps that’s because this drug is risk-free. Or it could be the case that further research is needed. That’s why we recommend you consult your doctor for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why has WADA banned Meldonium?
WADA looks at three things when deciding whether to ban a drug. Is it detrimental to the health of an athlete? Will it boost their performance? Is the drug against the ‘spirit of the sport’? To be banned, a drug must fail at least two of the three tests. [R]
Meldonium appears to have failed the last two tests. WADA has determined that it enhances performance and is therefore against the ‘spirit of the sport’. This conclusion convinced WADA to put Meldonium on its banned list alongside long chain fatty acids in January 2016.
Is Meldonium legal in the US?
According to the US Anti-Doping Agency, meldonium isn’t available in the US. The FDA has classified it as a non-specified substance and placed it in the class of ‘Metabolic’ Modulators on its Prohibited Substances List.
However, you can buy meldonium in the US for research purposes. You can possess it without a license or prescription as long as you aren’t buying it for consumption.
Is Meldonium safe?
Various long-term human trials and animal studies have shown that meldonium is safe for ischemic patients. However, we’re yet to see any study analyzing the long-term safety of this drug in healthy users, unlike that of anabolic steroids or fatty acids whose long-term safety profiles exist.
Can you buy Meldonium?
You can buy Meldonium for research purposes from Science Bio, one of the most reliable and trusted supplement vendors out there. All of Science Bio’s products are backed by publicly available lab reports. They also come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 30-day moneyback guarantee.
Meldonium is one of the most popular performance-enhancing drugs on the planet. The drug attracted headlines when Russian tennis superstar Maria Sharapova admitted to using it for a decade. Since then, the drug has been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
However, that hasn’t deterred bodybuilders from using it for muscle building. It increases the body’s glucose uptake to enhance athletic performance, boost stamina and endurance, and shorten the recovery time after workouts. This substance has also proven to stimulate the body’s metabolism.
Best of all, various long-term trials, as well as animal studies, are yet to link any severe effect to meld onium’s use. Sure, the lack of evidence doesn’t mean that none exists. But for its current and potential users, it gives them a good reason to use Meldonium.