One of the fat loss agents I’ve kept in my toolbox for many years is the popular asthma treatment Albuterol.
It’s a powerful fat-burning agent in select bodybuilding circles.
You may balk at this idea as you’ve seen or had direct experience with Albuterol through an inhaler.
But make no mistake about it: If you’re a highly advanced individual who wants to get rid of pockets of stubborn fat and reach single-digit body fat, you’re sorely missing out.
Therefore, this article will be the Jay Campbell treatment on how to use Albuterol for weight loss.
What Is Albuterol?
Since Albuterol was never intended to be a fat loss drug, I won’t spend too much time on its background and what it was initially intended for.
Albuterol (a.k.a. Salbutamol for non-USA residents) is a bronchodilator (i.e. relaxes/opens up the airways and makes breathing easier) that is primarily used to treat asthma, bronchospasm, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
It has a long rich history, dating back to the 1960s thanks to pharmaceutical chemist David Jack:
“He appreciated the importance of delivering asthma treatments directly to the lungs by inhalation to produce a more rapid effect and to have fewer systemic side effects than drugs given by mouth.
Working with Roy Brittain, he recognised the advantage of developing selective activators of β2-receptors to avoid cardiovascular side effects from stimulating β1-receptors that were seen with the non-selective inhaled β-agonist isoprenaline.
This led to the discovery of salbutamol (Ventolin), the first selective β2-receptor agonist, which was launched in 1969″
How selective? About 29 times more:
“Salbutamol is a short-acting, selective beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist used in the treatment of asthma and COPD.
It is 29 times more selective for beta2 receptors than beta1 receptors giving it higher specificity for pulmonary beta receptors versus beta1-adrenergic receptors located in the heart. “
This makes a significant difference given the unique locations of each receptor:
“Beta1 receptors are located mainly in the heart. When stimulated with a medication, heart rate increases and the heart pumps more blood.
Beta2 receptors are located in the breathing tubes and in the blood vessels (arteries) that provide blood to muscles in the arms and legs. When stimulated with a medication, the muscle that wraps around the breathing tubes relaxes allowing more air to go in and out of the lungs.”
As it turns out, there are numerous types of bronchodilator treatments and each of them has its respective place in addressing symptoms of respiratory diseases.
Here’s where Albuterol serves its role as a fast-acting agent:
“Doctors often call short-acting bronchodilators rescue or fast-acting inhalers because they treat symptoms that come on suddenly, such as wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Short-acting bronchodilators work quickly, usually within a few minutes. Although they work fast, the therapeutic effects generally only last 4–5 hours. Short-acting bronchodilators treat sudden symptoms, and people do not need to use them when they are symptom-free.”
Hence the need for asthmatic patients to carry their inhalers everywhere they go… while an agent like Albuterol stops immediate symptoms, long-acting agents like salmeterol keep the airways open for several hours and ideally prevent asthma attacks from happening.
You’ll find numerous brand names for generic Albuterol, with Ventolin being the most common one used in the United States when it received FDA approval in 1980.
So how can we use Albuterol for bodybuilding if it is commonly used as an asthma treatment?
How Does Albuterol Work For Fat Loss?
If you paid attention to the previous section, you may have seen the word “adrenergic” come up:
“[drugs] that mimic or interfere with the functioning of the sympathetic nervous system by affecting the release or action of norepinephrine and epinephrine. These hormones, which are also known as noradrenaline and adrenaline, are secreted by the adrenal gland, hence their association with the term adrenergic.
“…they constrict blood vessels (vasoconstriction), which increases blood pressure, and accelerate the rate and force of contractions of the heart. Adrenergic drugs that produce or inhibit these effects are known as sympathomimetic agents [stimulate the sympathetic nervous system] and sympatholytic agents [inhibit sympathetic nervous system activity], respectively.”
And seeing as Albuterol is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, this piqued curiosity about its potential role in fat reduction.
There is ample research to support it, some of which I highlight in my book The TOT Bible:
“…Beta-2 receptor agonists are known to accelerate fat burning, especially when they are in a low insulin environment (typically produced during the end of a long fasting window, roughly 14-20 hours in).”
Because Albuterol is a beta-2 receptor agonist, it will slowly downregulate the beta-2 receptors over time441. This means that its fat loss effects are lessened, and eventually fat loss from Albuterol will stall.”
This was back in 2018, and the now-larger body of literature supports the beta-2 receptor as a therapeutic target for the treatment of obesity:
“Individuals with obesity also have lower abundance of beta2-adrenergic receptors in adipose tissue and are less sensitive to catecholamines. In addition, studies in livestock and rodents demonstrate that selective beta2-agonists induce a so-called ‘repartitioning effect’ characterized by muscle accretion and reduced fat deposition.
In humans, beta2-agonists dose-dependently increase resting metabolic rate by 10–50%. And like that observed in other mammals, only a few weeks of treatment with beta2-agonists increases muscle mass and reduces fat mass in young healthy individuals.
Beta2-agonists also exert beneficial effects on body composition when used concomitantly with training and act additively to increase muscle strength and mass during periods with resistance training”
Read closely… those same receptors also happen to be located in our fat cells!
To dive into the mechanism more intimately, here’s how Albuterol triggers fat loss at the cellular level:
“…salbutamol acts by activating adenylate cyclase and, after a sequence of reactions by stimulating the activity of hormone sensitive lipase, which promotes the degradation of triglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerol, providing substrate for beta-oxidation (metabolic pathway that oxidizes the fatty acid into acetyl-CoA).
Furthermore it is also a thermogenic compound (increases the rate of basal metabolism) and anorectic (appetite decreases) which makes it a “fat burner” very efficient. Its effect on fat burning is shown”
We see an increase in fat oxidation and energy expenditure happening with other beta-2 adrenergic agonists, but what about Albuterol?
In one small study with 9 lean male subjects who received Albuterol, the following observations were noted:
- Energy expenditure increased by 13% [i.e. higher metabolic rate]
- Fat oxidation increased by 19%
- Free fatty acid levels in the blood increased by 57%
The last point is especially important as it confirms the fat loss mechanism I just described and allows the fat to be burned off as fuel.
Even more so for stubborn fat at low body fat percentages, since it is typically located in “low blood flow” areas of the body like lower abdominal areas for men and glute/ham tie areas for women.
(BTW – this article is an excellent read on the inner workings of stubborn body fat)
It’s no wonder that as early as 2009, people were attempting to create an oral slow-release formulation of Albuterol and make it the next blockbuster drug for obesity!
Scientific Evidence Supporting Albuterol For Fat Loss
Having spoken in a more general matter about drugs like Albuterol, I want to briefly show you the literature for Albuterol and weight loss.
In a randomized, double-blind, crossover study examining 8 healthy men and women (18-50 years old), energy expenditure was almost 5 times higher with 100 mg caffeine and 4 mg albuterol compared to 100 mg caffeine on its own. [NOTE: this website simplifies the study findings into easy-to-read bites]
In a study of twelve lean and young healthy men who engaged in quadriceps exercises, leg oxygen consumption (an indirect measure of metabolic rate) was nearly 2-fold higher for Albuterol compared to placebo prior to exercising, while also being higher after exercising.
Combined with what we learned in the prior section, we have another mechanism to explain the connection between Albuterol and weight loss.
In both healthy men and women, the same group of researchers found that short-term or chronic administration of 12 mg Albuterol per day increased maximal anaerobic power, regardless of training status.
In a 2005 study examining Albuterol use (16 mg/day) in weeks 2-3 of a 14-week resistance exercise program, the drug lead to greater strength gains and a higher lean body mass compared to placebo.
A 1997 literature review of performance-enhancing drugs dug up the following studies on beta-2 agonists:
“Martineau et al.  examined the effect of 14 and 21 days of treatment with salbutamol 8mg twice daily on strength in 12 healthy men… there was a significant improvement in strength for the hamstring muscle and quadriceps muscle but not for hand grip muscles… the average strength improvement was about 10 to 15%”
“Caruso et al.  examined the effect of albuterol 16 mg/day or placebo ingested for 6 weeks. Participants were placed on a 9-week isokinetic strength training programme for the knee extensors. Most measures of strength showed a greater increase on the drug than the placebo.”
“Bedi  found that aerosol salbutamol 180 mcg improved cycling sprint time following a 1-hour ride in 3 of the 15 individuals tested. Participants had different levels of training, including highly trained cyclists, triathletes, untrained individuals and recreational athletes. The amount of improvement ranged from 4 to 178 seconds over that of the placebo. If the outliers were discounted, the difference between the placebo and the drug was not significant.”
“Signorile et al.  reported that albuterol 180mcg inhaled resulted in an increase in peak power during sprint cycling in nonathletes.”
In a 2000 study involving eight recreational male athletes, short-term use of oral Albuterol use at 12 mg per day “improved performance during intense submaximal exercise.”
And in another 2000 study where nonasthmatic men took 4 mg of oral Albuterol prior to exercising, their mean endurance time and peak torque greatly improved.
Anabolic (Muscle-Building Properties)
One study involving 65 patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy saw muscle volume increases in those who took 16 mg of Albuterol orally per day for 26 weeks.
Albuterol was observed to enhance muscle cell growth during the proliferation stage of skeletal muscle cells, and one experiment conducted on senescent rats saw an increase in skeletal muscle weight for both old and young rats.
Iron Magazine puts forth a possible explanation for why these observations have taken place:
“Beta-2 adrenoreceptor agonists, such as clenbuterol and albuterol, have been shown to activate cyclic-Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP). cAMP then activates calpistatin, which inhibits calpain. Calpain degrades protein in muscle tissue. By inhibiting calpain, beta-2 adrenoreceptor agonists have been shown to be anti-catabolic.”
While I would not categorize Albuterol as a muscle-building agent, you can see how theoretical Albuterol weight loss results would lead to more lean tissue preserved.
Blood Glucose Partitioning
In older mice with Type 2 diabetes, chronic Albuterol treatment improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance after 8 weeks of exercise… plus the effects were still there ~5 weeks after exercising!
This same result was also noted in a different study after mice ate a high-fat diet that induced diabetes.
Albuterol Dosage For Weight Loss
After years of using this agent successfully, here is the best Albuterol dose for weight loss:
3-6 mg taken once per day for two weeks straight (ideally in the early morning before fasted cardio), followed by a two-week “off” period.
This dosage stays the same for me whenever I want to shed body fat, but it does come with some caveats:
Go for the lower dosing range if you’re below 200 pounds, and the higher dosing range if you’re over 200 pounds
Albuterol’s ability to mobilize stubborn fat tissue is best when used during its short half-life of 4-6 hours, hence why I recommend timing it in the morning before fasted cardio and before eating to maximize absorption (additionally, a high-fat diet inflames the airway of asthma patients)
Albuterol also functions best in a low insulin environment, so ideally you want to be 15% body fat or lower when you start using it (fat people have impaired “beta(2)-adrenoceptor-mediated increases in thermogenesis” and “local lipolysis“)
The “two week on, two week off” cycle is recommended because the body quickly develops a tolerance to Albuterol (i.e. Albuterol down regulates the beta-2 receptors and thus its effectiveness decreases over time)
Albuterol can be found as an oral pill, research chemical liquid, or an inhaler… since you need numerous puffs from an inhaler to reach the needed daily dose (each puff has ~100 mcg of Albuterol), the latter two are best. Plus, the oral formulation was most extensively studied in humans for its benefits on metabolic rate and exercise performance.
You’ll notice on most forums that many people use Albuterol at 2-4 mg per dose for a total of 3-4 doses per day (6-16 mg total per day) — this is FAR beyond what I have ever used, so it’s up to you to experiment and see what works best for you.
Finally… there’s a notable thermogenic effect when Albuterol is combined with coffee and/or nicotine, which may give biohackers an idea in creating an “Albuterol weight loss” stack.
Feel free to experiment with combining to see what gives you the desired effects without the side effects I’m about to mention.
Albuterol Side Effects & Safety Profile
If you follow my dosing and cycling recommendations, the side effects when using Albuterol for fat loss are both mild and rare.
Some of the most commonly reported Albuterol side effects include:
- Involuntary shaking of hands/feet
- Muscle aches
Watch out for undesirable drug-drug interactions with Albuterol, such as diuretics, beta-blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and other short-acting bronchodilators.
Two precautions you may want to take are the following, as suggested by other performance enhancement enthusiasts:
- Ketofin supplementation — 1-2 mg of this anti-histamine drug alongside Albuterol for 7 days reportedly up regulates beta-2 receptors when they are down regulated, allowing for extended use of Albuterol (although you should never use it for longer than 8 weeks)
- Taurine supplementation — regular Albuterol use reportedly leads to loss of taurine, which may cause excessive and/or severe muscle pumps. 3-5 grams of Taurine per day is recommended to fix this issue.
One of the largest Reddit threads on Albuterol provides a good balance of benefits and risks associated with using the agent for bodybuilding purposes, so I’ll summarize the main takeaways below:
- Works as promised for fat loss
- Muscle preservation with a slight anabolic effect
- “Pre-workout like effect” that translates to more energy during a workout and new PRs
- Shakiness / jitters
- Anxiety attack
- Slight increase in heart rate
An Important Note For Professional Athletes
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has very clear rules in place about the use of Albuterol:
“Inhaled albuterol (also called salbutamol): maximum 1,600 micrograms over 24 hours in divided doses, not to exceed 800 micrograms over 12 hours starting from any dose, as long as it is not used in conjunction with a diuretic or masking agent
**Effective January 1, 2022, the daily dosing time interval for albuterol (salbutamol) will be reduced to 600 micrograms over 8 hours (the maximum daily limit remains 1,600 micrograms).
…Use of an oral (swallowed) form of any beta-2 agonist, such as a tablet or syrup, is prohibited at all times and requires an approved TUE [Therapeutic Use Exemption].”
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has an outright ban on albuterol and other beta-2 agonists, with the following exception:
“Inhaled salbutamol: maximum 1600 micrograms over 24 hours in divided doses not to exceed 600 micrograms over 8 hours starting from any dose”
These rules are in place because the regulators are smart enough to discern asthmatic athletes from the cheaters:
“According to research published in the journal Sports Medicine, this performance-enhancing effect simply doesn’t exist. The authors found that, in 17 of 19 clinical trials involving non-asthmatic competitive athletes, the performance-enhancing effects of inhaled beta2-agonists could not be proved.
All bets are off, however, when an athlete takes albuterol orally or by injection. When administered in this fashion, albuterol has been found to have anabolic properties, which means it can help build muscle like steroids and, according to a 2020 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it can also boost sprint and strength performance.”
And you best believe they have strict testing requirements:
“[Albuterol was] used by more than 90% of Olympic athletes during the four Olympic Games (2002–2008) when it was necessary to demonstrate that an athlete had asthma or AHR [Airway hyperresponsiveness] to be permitted to use an IBA [Inhaled β2 Agonist] at the Games.
The List states that: ‘the presence in urine of salbutamol in excess of 1000 ng⋅mL−1 is presumed not to be an intended therapeutic use of the substance and will be considered as an AAF’ [Adverse Analytical Finding, which can lead to a doping sanction].”
Long story short: DO NOT use Albuterol if you are a competitive athlete of any kind!
Albuterol Vs. Clenbuterol
Before I end this article, I want to make a brief note about the “Albuterol Vs. Clenbuterol” debate and why I will never recommend the latter over the former.
To summarize my stance in one sentence:
Clenbuterol is WORTHLESS unless you want to *POTENTIALLY* damage your heart musculature.
It’s another beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonist just like Albuterol that increases thermogenesis (i.e. fat-burning), but with some big differences:
“Clen has a really long half life (approx 36 hours) and raises your metabolic rate by about 10% per day. On a side note clen does also seem to help increase muscle mass and causes slow twitch muscle fibres to redesign to fast twitch. Clen will allow you to cut harder while maintaining more muscle mass.
Albuterol has a short half life (6 hours) and has the same effects as clen. However, albuterol does seem to be far safer for the heart and has been shown to actually increase the number of “good” lipids (HDLs). This is why albuterol is the drug of choice for copd and asthma patients while clenbuterol got the shaft.
In terms of other side effects, clenbuterol makes you feel like utter shit at high doses (at least for some people) for the day and half of the day after that you take it. While albuterol seems to give more like a high dose caffeine response and you can come off of it closer to bedtime because of the shorter half-life.”
Ironically, due to its superior anabolic properties compared to Albuterol, WADA classifies Clenbuterol as an anabolic agent and not as a beta-2 receptor agonist.
Other nasty side effects of Clenbuterol include decreased strength due to sodium blockage in muscle fibers and sleep disturbance.
Here are some additional articles to read if you’re still second-guessing your decision between Albuterol vs. Clenbuterol:
- Poison.org goes deeper into Clenbuterol’s numerous heart toxicities
- SteroidCycle.org and ThinkSteroids.com provide a scientific overview of Clenbuterol, similar to what I’ve done with Albuterol in this article
- InsideBodybuilding.com and iSteroids.com compare Clenbuterol and Albuterol with additional points not featured in this article
Where To Buy Albuterol
Although you’ll see articles suggesting Albuterol can only be affordably bought on the “dark web”, I’m not going to suggest that.
I have two sources where you can purchase legitimate Albuterol online without breaking the bank…
You’ll have to search for “salbutamol” instead of “albuterol” if you want to find them.
I’m currently in the middle of evaluating vendors for pharma-grade Albuterol in liquid form and will update this article once I’ve chosen someone who meets my high standards of reliability and quality.
Additional Reading Resources For Albuterol
When it comes to how to use Albuterol for weight loss, it is one of the more straightforward drugs I’ve used in my lifetime.
It is highly powerful for its sole purpose of fat loss.
When it is combined with a fully optimized diet and training program, works wonders for anybody who faces a serious plateau in their journey towards a shredded six-pack.
But if you need more information than what I’ve provided you, here are some worthwhile articles to read…
Wikipedia goes deeper into the history and pharmacology of Albuterol, a real treat for the biochemistry nerds.
The Australian Bodybuilding Forum explores the fat loss mechanisms of Albuterol in immaculate detail while also describing the author’s personal experience with using it.
MuscleChemistry.com has a great overview of everything discussed in this article if you want a quicker read.
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