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Old 08-03-16, 11:00 AM
What's The Big Deal About Meldonium?
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by Anthony Roberts

The biggest doping story of 2016 is Maria Sharapova failing a drug test at the Australian Open. Most of the general public was shocked at her testing positive – but within my crowd (read: steroid-people), the shock was at the actual compound itself: Meldonium.

Meldonium (alternately known under the trade name Mildronate) was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances in January of 2016 – and by March, Sharapova had tested positive, admitting that she’d been using the drug for the past decade on her doctor’s orders.

Drugs make their way onto WADA’s prohibited list by meeting at least two of the following criteria:

1. It has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance
2. It represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete
3. It violates the spirit of sport

The first one is obvious – if a drug is performance enhancing, thats a strike against it. The second criteria applies to almost every prescription drug in the world – most drugs will have a potential side effect that could be considered a risk to an athlete’s health. And the third criteria is totally nebulous – basically, this is the most arbitrary of the three and allows WADA to ban any drug if th even if it doesn’t enhance performance.

This is why even drugs that don’t improve performance (MDMA, etc…) are on the list. But simply meeting two of the criteria (thyroid medication ***link to my thyroid article here***enhances performance and has potential risks) doesn’t mean a drug will be prohibited. As someone who has been intimately familiar with WADA over the course of the past decade, I will unequivocally state that they’ve got little idea what the spirit of sport actually is, much less the competence to effectively codify it.

Meldonium is used to treat a lack of blood flow to various parts of the body and is indicated for use in heart failure and coronary heart disease. The manufacturers claim that the drug “improves the physical capacity and mental function,” even in healthy people (although they also make the baffling claim that it does not alter athletic performance. However, it’s not a tremendous leap of logic to deduct that something that improves blood flow could conceivably improve performance. Its mechanism of action is thought to be primarily through increasing the size of blood vessels.

In this case, WADA claims to have found evidence that it was being used by athletes to increase performance through providing additional oxygen to the cardiovascular system and skeletal muscle. Allegedly, 17% of Russian athletes and 2.2% of global athletes are or were using the drug.

If those figures are correct, they offer the most compelling evidence for meldonium being a performance enhancer. The Russians are currently in possession of the most advanced doping program on the planet, and if 17% of their athletes are using it, then I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they’ve accumulated enough relevant data to justify its use.

With that in mind, I have to admit that I don’t know anyone who’s experimented with this stuff. It’s never made an appearance on the black market (that I’ve seen), and it’s not an FDA approved medication, so nobody is out there trying to convince their (American) doctor to write them a prescription. That plus the fact that it’s only manufactured in Eastern European countries means very few athletes in the ‘States have experimented with it. I have a suspicion that it works, and probably very well – but as it stands, it’s detectable, difficult to obtain, and therefore unlikely to make an appearance on the black market.
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Old 02-09-17, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Bouncer View Post
With that in mind, I have to admit that I don’t know anyone who’s experimented with this stuff. It’s never made an appearance on the black market (that I’ve seen), and it’s not an FDA approved medication, so nobody is out there trying to convince their (American) doctor to write them a prescription. That plus the fact that it’s only manufactured in Eastern European countries means very few athletes in the ‘States have experimented with it. I have a suspicion that it works, and probably very well – but as it stands, it’s detectable, difficult to obtain, and therefore unlikely to make an appearance on the black market.
Hi there ...

I just stumbled across your 2016 comments here while gathering links regarding meldonium to forward to a bodybuilding acquaintance of mine.

I've personally been doing mildronate cycles (generally for about two months and with a month off) for about 5 months now and have found it to be surprisingly effective as a endurance/recovery enhancing supplement.

I trail run avidly and also strength train quite seriously.

I've already written a great deal about my experiences with Mildronate/Meldonium on Bodybuilding.com and so I'm going to copy some of my comments (in quotes) here so you can read.

My main take from the drug is that it quite positively effects post exertion recovery and has a remarkable and completely non stimulating impact on focus and overall attention (to the point of subtle, mental euphoria). And I can't emphasize enough the non stimulating effect; there has been nothing at all bothersome or negative associated with it's use (unlike just about all over the counter "pre workout" powders I've used which, pretty much across the board, make me feel like I just mainlined 20 grams of meth. Not that I've ever done meth but you get the point: I simply can't tolerate all the stimulants.

Anyway ... here are a few of my comments from my mildronate thread at Bodybuilding.com. I'll post the link the bottom because my thread generated quite the response there (both positive and negative):

Quote:
Personally, I have found meldonium to be beneficial in a couple of different ways:

On one hand, meldonium seems to be an undeniable energy enhancer and mood elevator, while also greatly improving focus. And I mean just in a day to day living type regard. An hour after the dose, in the morning, I notice the effects; it is not overwhelming or overly intense (I'm very sensitive to such) but is undeniable. Coupled with my regular caffeine dose in the morning, it's really quite wonderful.

On the other hand, when strength training, I was quite literally taken aback with the increase in stamina, recovery time and overall strength. And again, very acutely, a massive increase in focus and attention. I consistently added 5 pounds to everything and consistently saw myself easily completing 2 to 3 more reps than typical. I am not a social trainer and have only spoken to people at the gym a total of about 10 times in the past 4 years; which is more so to say that I'm there to focus and push myself and that it's a very personal process than to say that I'm a creepy anti-social weirdo (although the last point is debatable depending on how you ask) (LMFAO!).

I train from 330am to 500am and cram as much as I can in to that hour an a half and I am completely intimate with my personal strength/stamina levels and generally will do the same exercises for at least six months before rearranging things. I say that to indicate that my sensitivities to any change in my personal levels of performance are very refined and easily observed. And without a doubt, and unlike any other supplement I've used (think typical pre workout stimulant type stuff) ... I saw a ridiculously positive change in my first week of training in the gym (in both physical strength and mental coherence).

Further, post work out (and in fact, post each exercise) I saw recovery times dramatically affected in a positive way ... and my cardio days (trail running) were similarly effected though it's more difficult for me to judge as I can pretty much run non stop without really even getting winded for upwards of 6+ miles... meldonium or not.

Lastly, I have noticed no untoward effects from meldonium; the energy increase is not harsh or uncomfortable as so many "pre workout" supplements are to me (can't stand most of them because of the ridiculous prickly skin effect or the overdose of caffeine they flood your system with) ... it's simply a general increase in energy and a marked decrease in regular daily fatigue. My sleep has not been affected in any way either, which is of vital importance to me (though, as per typical instructions, I only take my dose first thing in the morning). Further, my appetite is unchanged and therefore so my diet...

I can see now why professional athletes use the drug.
... and later ... after more trials, I added:

Quote:
My 4 week trial with Meldonium was perhaps the most interesting experiment with any training supplement I've ever tried. The positive effect on my overall physical performance levels was rather dramatic; as per everything you will read about Meldonium, the primary effect was a very noticeable increase in stamina and *especially* post exertion recovery. A very noticeable, positive effect without any feelings of being "high" or "tweaking" or any other way I might describe the effects of countless "pre workout" type substances I've used, the vast majority of which I simply can't use because they are far too powerful in their stimulant effects (the bottled drink "Redline" for instance is something I can't do because it's too strong and I literally feel like I'm "on drugs" when I've tried it and other, similarly powerful energy supplements).

Meldonium has no such disconcerting effects in my experience; it's simply a mild "uplifting" of positive physical attributes. And further, perhaps why it is so popular on the whole "Nootropics" scene, it had a pronounced and uplifting/positive effect on my general mood and mind set throughout the day. Really amazing, actually.
...

Hope that's informative.
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