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Are Diuretics Safe For Bodybuilders?
WHAT ARE DIURETICS?
Medications of the diuretic class are frequently referred to as “water pills.” Diuretics come in a variety of classes, and they all function differently in the kidneys to assist the body get rid of surplus water and salt. The majority of diuretics assist your kidneys in excreting more sodium through your urine. The salt aids in the removal of water from your blood, so reducing the volume of fluid passing through your veins and arteries and subsequently lowering blood pressure.
Every type of diuretic has an impact on a particular region of the kidneys. Some drugs combine a diuretic with another blood pressure drug, or they combine a diuretic with more than one type of diuretic.
Are diuretics suitable for bodybuilding?
“Holding water” is one of a bodybuilder’s most frequent pre-show complaints. This phrase refers to the loss of muscle definition brought on by an excessive amount of extracellular water. The extra pounds that could be lost through dehydration, rubberized sweat suits, or nonstop spitting are referred to as “holding water” by athletes in other sports, especially ones with weight classes or limits.
These athletes frequently use a class of medications known as diuretics to get rid of the extra water. Diuretic abuse is more common in the sports of wrestling and horseracing (both the horses and riders), as well as the industry of modeling, even if it is most visible in bodybuilding.
Drugs that cause diuresis cause more water to be lost through urination. They are most frequently used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), but they can also be used to treat other illnesses and can be lifesaving medication in emergency cases. Despite the advantages that diuretics provide, there are also clear hazards, such as abrupt death. It is never a good idea to use diuretics without careful consideration.
The judges search for the best-looking bodybuilder who is the biggest, hardest, and driest. Bodybuilders try to add more carbohydrates to their muscles during the last week of training before a competition while also reducing the amount of fluid between the muscles and the skin to get the fullest and driest appearance possible. While on stage, these athletes appear to be in the best possible physical and mental shape, but in reality, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances brought on by a lack of bodily fluids frequently put them in danger of developing very significant health problems.
Since they aim to upset the body’s normal homeostasis of fluid and electrolyte balance and can disturb several bodily functions, they are all potentially harmful to some extent. But the body is an expert at maintaining a healthy equilibrium. Most of the time, it can adapt to this by altering electrolyte balances and retaining exactly the right amount of fluid to continue operating normally. However, diuretic medications are strong enough to overcome the body’s defenses and cause havoc.
TYPES OF DIURETICS
Diuretics come in three primary categories: potassium-sparing, osmotic, and loop diuretics.
- Potassium-sparing diuretics:Despite being modest diuretics, they cause their own set of issues. They lessen the body’s ability to absorb sodium and water again through the kidneys and wash them out. But they make a distinction by leaving potassium(K) in the system rather than flushing it out. Although these are more acceptable and slower-acting, they can nevertheless lead to an excess of K in the body because they prevent flushing and maintain the balance of electrolytes. In the worst circumstances, this can result in cardiac dysrhythmia (irregular heartbeats) and possibly abrupt death.
- Osmotic diuretics:These medications are injectable and work by essentially telling the kidneys to excrete everything they receive. Osmotic diuretics are non-discriminatory, which means that regardless of an appropriate electrolyte balance, they eliminate any water that enters the kidneys. These medications interfere with kidney function and can result in renal (kidney) failure. In bodybuilding, osmotic diuretics are not frequently used.
- Loop diuretics:These are by far the most often used diuretics in bodybuilding and are to blame for the great majority of hospitalizations and fatalities related to the sport. The most popular loop diuretic is furosemide (marketed as Lasix), which is affordable and widely available. In medicine, loop diuretics are used to treat edema, excessive blood pressure, and blood poisoning by clearing the blood of poisons and foreign substances. Another non-discriminatory diuretic that acts directly on the kidneys, is loop diuretics eliminate all fluids that pass through the kidneys. As they essentially drain potassium, sodium, and calcium from the body with any fluid that enters, they have a significant impact on the electrolyte balance. A reduction in blood pressure, thickening of the blood (from a lack of fluids), dizziness, renal failure, severe cramps from electrolyte imbalances, and mortality are some of the side effects (due to muscular cramping of the heart). Given the drug’s tremendous potency and the various water loss strategies used by bodybuilders to prepare for competitions, it doesn’t take much Lasix to have extremely negative health impacts.
SIDE EFFECTS OF DIURETICS
- You might anticipate experiencing increasing amounts of urination, frequently for several hours following a dose, as the water that leaves your body must go somewhere. Take the second dose if you’re taking two doses a day no later than late afternoon so you can sleep through the night without having to get up to use the restroom.
- If you face the risk of becoming dehydrated, merely consuming more liquids might not be sufficient. Call your doctor if you get a severe headache, are extremely thirsty, or have a very dry mouth, your urine is a dark yellow color, you aren’t peeing much, or experience constipation.
- You can feel extremely weak or exhausted. As your body adjusts to the medication, these should diminish. If your blood pressure has fallen too low or you’re dehydrating, you can feel lightheaded or dizzy, especially when you get up.
- Your blood’s chemicals may change. Your body may contain either too little or too much potassium or sodium. It may also cause headaches, muscle cramps, or exhaustion. Rarely, but a severely low potassium level could cause your heart to beat faster than 100 beats per minute or cause you to vomit.
It is a well-known and effective “loop diuretic” that can quickly remove enormous amounts of retained water, giving bodybuilders the “ripped” appearance they work so hard to obtain. It affects the kidney by preventing the return of electrolytes to the bloodstream, increasing the amount of water excreted in the urine by drawing water from the blood and the gaps between cells (interstitial spaces). Interstitial water is what obscures the definition of muscles. When diuretics are used improperly, extra potassium and magnesium are lost, which can result in an erratic heartbeat and untimely death. In a dehydrated person, even low doses of the medication might result in “thickened blood” (a high hematocrit) or circulatory collapse (typically brought on by blood pressure).