Meldonium is a potent medication with cardioprotective, metabolism-stimulating and anti-ischemic effects. Due to its nootropic effects Mildronat (a trade name of Meldonium) is widely used by the athletes of the former USSR countries (where it was actually developed). Despite this the drug is not approved by the FDA and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
How does Meldonium act?
The mechanism of action of Mildronate is based on its inhibition of carnitine biosynthesis. Carnitine takes part in the metabolic processes by transporting long-chain fatty acids to mitochondria where they are oxidized to produce energy. Reducing the quantity of carnitine, Mildronat activates glycolysis (a process of producing energy from carbohydrates) in the cells. The process of glycolysis requires less oxygen, which lets the cells be properly oxygenated preventing cell hypoxia and enhancing the energy supply.
Clinical trials on Meldonium effects are not trustworthy enough as they were held mostly on animals. No tests involving humans were durable enough to confirm or deny Meldonium performance enhancing effects. That is one of the reasons why the drug is not legal in the United States and Europe. Nevertheless, the number of sportsmen using it is rather big, so one may come to the conclusion that Mildronate effects for athletes are quite significant. Among them are:
- Acceleration of reaction due to improved nerve conduction;
- Enhancement of metabolism;
- Increase of stress resistance;
- Bettering of muscle tissue oxygenation;
- Reduction of fatigue and endurance improvement;
- Heart protection;
- Significant shortening of time for recovery after active workouts or performance.
The use of Meldonium makes the workouts more efficient and gives a possibility to perform better in aerobic sports (like cycling, skating), which demand stamina for covering long distances. The preparation is also popular among powerlifters and bodybuilders whose bodies are subjected to tremendous loads, especially during the periods of getting ready for competitions. It helps to prevent ischemia and saves the heart from overload.
What are the dangers of taking Mildronate?
Speaking about potential problems connected with Meldonium intake, we may distinguish two main kinds of troubles an athlete may get together with these pills:
- Problems with World Anti-Doping Agency, possible disqualification and loss of a medal;
- Various health issues connected with some side effects of the medication.
The first trouble is completely clear as Mildronate is on a doping-drugs list, yet the adverse reactions one may experience need some specification. To the frequently reported unwanted effects of the drug belong:
- Allergic reactions to Meldonium or some inactive ingredient of the medication;
- Headache, tremor, vertigo, tingling or numbness of skin;
- Respiratory infections;
- Nausea, loss of appetite.
An individual may develop tolerance to Meldonium if it is taken longer than recommended. However, making a gap of at least 4 weeks fully restores susceptibility of the human organism to the effects of medication.
In animal studies no dangerous Meldonium long term effects were revealed. However, people with liver and kidney disease are recommended to avoid the drug intake or take it with caution.