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Salbutamol (known under Albuterol, Ventolin) is one of the most used medications to manage asthma, COPD, and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. It helps relieve breathing difficulties. It works by helping relax smooth muscles, especially that of the respiratory tract.
It belongs to the pharmacological group of drugs called β2 adrenergic receptor agonist.
To better understand how salbutamol may help sports people, one must better understand its chemistry and pharmacology. As mentioned above that, it is a selective agonist of β2 adrenergic receptors.
It means that it has many properties of the well-known hormone adrenaline. Most people have known the short-term effects of adrenaline. It considerably increases cardiac capacity (heart beats faster), increases glucose supply to muscles, and prepares the body for extreme stress.
When on adrenaline, a person becomes much stronger for a short period. Usually, adrenaline works just for few seconds, and some of its actions may last longer, like an increase in the glucose supply to muscles. Adrenaline also boosts the burning of fats over the long run.
However, adrenaline is not fit for use in sports due to its shorter duration of action and its adverse impact on heart health. And this is where adrenergic medications like salbutamol come into the role. It works selectively on β2 adrenergic receptors and thus does not have that kind of impact on the heart.
Salbutamol helps relax smooth muscles, breath more freely, boost oxygen supply to the blood, enhance endurance, boost glucose supply, promote fat burning. Since it is approved for medical use in conditions like asthma, it also means that it is pretty safe for regular use by most people.
In recent years, sportspeople have discovered many of its benefits. It now has multiple off-label uses. It is often promoted as a fat burner. It is used by those who want to burn body fat faster. It helps by increasing lipolysis, increasing metabolism, and body temperature. It has a mild appetite suppressing effect.
Another way in which it can help is by dramatically enhancing athletic performance. It may increase strength. Even more importantly, it may improve endurance. All this means that it helps people train better, lift more weights, train for longer intervals without getting exhausted. It means that it can finally help boost anabolism, build muscles, and much more.
When it comes to increasing endurance, it is particularly good at improving oxygen supply to muscle tissues.
As already mentioned, it is one of the most used medications to manage asthma and COPD worldwide. These patients use it almost daily without any severe side effects.
Nevertheless, in a small number of cases, it may cause specific side effects, especially when used at very high doses. At higher dosages, it may cause headaches, dizziness, fast heart rate. Its prolonged use may cause low blood potassium.
The above-mentioned side effects are rare and reversible. It means that these side effects disappear on dosage correction or discontinuation of salbutamol. For those having doubts about it, knowing that it is among the 10 most used medications in the US may help.
Salbutamol may be an excellent addition to training for certain population groups. It might be used in combination with other supplements, including steroids.