Actovegin in athletic use

Many professional athletes are familiar with Actovegin. We are dealing with a substance that is believed to speed up recovery from injuries and improve performance. Currently, there are reports in social networks that the days of Actovegin as a drug-free drug may be numbered.

Thus, researchers from the University of Copenhagen proved the effect of increasing productivity during the study of this medicine.

Actovegin is an antihypoxant that has three types of effects: metabolic, neuroprotective and microcirculatory.

Actovegin increases the absorption and utilization of oxygen; the phospho-oligosaccharides included in the preparation inositol have a positive effect on the transport and utilization of glucose, which leads to an improvement in the energy metabolism of cells and a decrease in the formation of lactate in conditions of ischemia.

The positive effects of the drug Actovegin, affecting the processes of microcirculation and the endothelium, are an increase in the rate of capillary blood flow, a decrease in the pericapillary zone, a decrease in the myogenic tone of precapillary arterioles and capillary sphincters, a decrease in the degree of arteriovenular shunting blood flow with a predominant blood circulation in the capillary bed and stimulation of the function of endothelial oxide synthase nitrogen, affecting the microvasculature.

In the course of various studies, it was found that the effect of the drug Actovegin occurs no later than 30 minutes after its use. The maximum effect is observed 3 hours after parenteral and 2-6 hours after oral administration.

What is Actovegin?

Actovegin is an extract from the blood of calves, the exact composition of which is not known.

Nycomed, part of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, sells it in form of gels, tablets, and injectable solutions.

The latter category is particularly popular in doping circles. Although Actovegin is not on the doping list, endurance athletes in particular report its effect in improving performance.

According to a 2012 human study at Cardiff University, the performance-enhancing effect of Actovegin is negligible, but this appears to be due to the design of the experiment. Danish researchers conducted another study aimed at clarifying this issue.

The scientists gathered muscle cells from eight overweight, inactive subjects and then weakened the cell membranes.
They then exposed the cells to actovegin at two different concentrations.

Composition and form of release

  • Dragee forte: 1 dragee contains deproteinized hemoderivat from calf blood – 200 mg. Pack of 50 pieces.
  • Solution for injection: 2 ml ampoule contains deproteinized hemoderivat from calf blood 80 mg. There are 25 pieces in a package.
  • Solution for injection: 5 ml ampoule contains deproteinized hemoderivat from calf blood 200 mg. There are 5 pieces in a package.
  • Solution for injection: 10 ml ampoule contains deproteinized hemoderivat from calf blood 400 mg. There are 5 pieces in a package.
  • Solution for infusion 10%, 20% with sodium chloride 250 ml in a vial containing deproteinized hemoderivat from calf blood 1 g and 2 g, respectively.
  • Solution for infusion 10% with glucose 250 ml in a vial contains deproteinized hemoderivat from calf blood 1 g.

Is Actovegin doping or is it not?

According to their own statement, the scientists were able to determine a dose-dependent beneficial effect on mitochondrial function in human skeletal muscle during in vitro administration of Actovegin.

If this improvement can be transmitted into an ergogenic effect in elite athletes, the inclusion of Actovegin in the WADA doping list will need to be discussed again.

As they themselves state and openly admit, the researchers are not 100% sure whether Actovegin will really get in the doping list. They are simply of the opinion that the facts should be reconsidered.

An obvious limitation of the study, of course, is the lack of comparison between the observed increase in mitochondrial respiratory capacity and exercise capacity.

Unfortunately, Actovegin is a banned drug in Denmark, so the researchers were unable to test this comparison in humans.
The researchers also report that they tested the effect of Actovegin on permeable muscle fibers. It is still unknown whether it can actually cross the cell membrane of a living organism and exert its effect on mitochondria.

The muscle fibers used by the researchers in their experiment came from untrained individuals who, unlike competitive athletes, are far from their physiological limit and therefore have great potential for improvement.

Therefore, the possible effect of Actovegin is clearly noticeable here. In order not to lose sight of any potential effect of the drug, the experiment was conducted on untrained test subjects. Thus, according to the Danish researchers, the transfer of results to elite athletes can be challenged.

Final remark
Franck Ribery, headed by Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfarth was treated with Actovegin.
Even if very few of you know, you probably already know one athlete or another who has been treated with Actovegin.

Among them is Franck Ribery, football player of FC Bayern, former national player of the French national team. He missed the 2014 World Cup due to a back injury. Then a dispute broke out in the media, in which the doctor of the French national team sharply criticized Bayern.

According to him, in the German club they try to treat every injury with injections. Dr. Müller-Wohlfarth, the doctor of the FC Bayern team, openly admitted that he treated Ribery with Actovegin, among other things.

Incidentally, Müller-Wohlfahrt also was a doctor of Usain Bolt, a Jamaican sprint star who is more or less unrivaled today in the 100m and 200m. However, it cannot be definitively determined whether he was also treated with Actovegin.

Also, the first report was made at the end of 2016 in the form of a contribution from Actovegin. Accordingly, the editors of the Munich Report have a previously unpublished study, the results of which should show that the substance significantly promotes myoblast proliferation and muscle cell growth.

Dr. Müller-Wohlfarth declined to be interviewed, but another doctor, whose practice is opposite the treatment rooms of the former FC Bayern team doctor, provides additional information.

“Actovegin”, according to the Munich doctor, increases strength, strengthens the immune system and promotes healing, but the use of the drug should not be criticized.

Dr. Martin Bidlingsmeier concedes that the substance may have had an effect, but he does not think it matters from a doping point of view, as the effects have not been proven in humans. The levels of testosterone and cortisol that the new Actovegin study shows in the drug itself should also be characterized as too low, according to the Munich scientists. In Salzburg and Nuremberg you see it differently: prof. Fritz Sorgel, for example, refers to the WADA Code, according to which regenerative processes must not be started to gain an advantage.

It is clear: if you regenerate faster, you will play faster again.

DOCTOR After all, it was Müller-Wohlfarth who did it. He is pleased with the new study as Actovegin has now been proven to work. He also rates the detection of a low concentration of testosterone in the substance as too low to have any systemic effect. However, in a specially written textbook, he previously wrote that, according to WADA, no growth factors or hormone-like components could be found in Actovegin, which now seems to disprove current experiments. According to critics, in fact, it’s not a small amount of testosterone in the drug, but only that you need to openly declare what exactly it contains. It was also determined that testosterone, even in small doses, should not come from outside!

Recommendations for use in sports

  • Acceleration of recovery processes after loads aimed at developing endurance.
  • Prevention and treatment of dystrophic variant of chronic physical overstrain of the cardiovascular system (especially when training in mid-altitude conditions).
  • Maintaining a high level of performance in conditions of high-altitude ascents.
  • Achillodynia and muscle tears.
  • Traumatic brain injury.
  • Boxer cerebral insufficiency syndrome.
  • Frostbite in representatives of winter sports.
  • Increase in body weight.
  • Prevention and treatment of sports pseudonephropathy.

Actovegin for athletes

Actovegin has a number of very useful properties:

  • stimulates regeneration processes;
  • promotes the healing of almost any wounds and injuries, both on the skin and on the mucous membranes of various organs;
  • significantly improves the transport of glucose and oxygen into cells;
  • helps to increase the energy resources of cells and reduce hypoxia;
  • activates metabolic processes.

I must say that Aktovegin is better known to athletes under its other name – Meldonium. So, at the end of 2000, this drug was added to the doping list, but very soon it was excluded from it, since its doping effect was never proven.

How is Actovegin useful for athletes?

The benefits of “Actovegin” in general, and for athletes in particular, are due to its unique properties, so the use of the drug in question contributes to:

  • increasing the transportation and accumulation of such important “participants” of metabolic processes as oxygen and glucose – we are, in fact, talking about an insulin-like effect;
  • activation of the process of blood supply to tissues and organs;
  • reduction of ischemic tissue damage;
  • acceleration of intracellular metabolic processes;
  • improving energy and muscle contractility, preventing the accumulation of lactate in the latter, which provokes the occurrence of respiratory disorders and muscle pain.

All the listed properties of Actovegin injections and tablets allow athletes to achieve better results, and, consequently, to achieve great success in sports.

“Actovegin” is a drug that began to be used in the sports field relatively recently. Despite the short period of use, the drug ended up on the IOC doping list, and then withdrawn from it. Actovegin affects performance, therefore it is popular in sports disciplines of a cyclic nature, including swimming, athletics and cycling.

Recently Actovegin began to be used by athletes from bodybuilding, as well as fitness enthusiasts.
Modern research in the field of medicine also calls into question the effect of the drug on the performance process in sports disciplines with a cyclic specificity.

There is an opinion that the substance does not have a pronounced effect on all athletes.

Some athletes note that taking “Actovegin” improves tissue oxygen supply and increased blood circulation. This helps to achieve higher performance in sports.

Of course, in comparison with other similar drugs, the substance is not as effective, so its use by professional athletes is not a frequent occurrence. In the course of a medical study of Actovegin, the ability of the drug to improve cerebral circulation has been proven.

Due to this feature, the drug is used to accelerate the recovery processes after injuries received from blows and in martial arts. Also, the drug supports the proper functioning of the heart, affects the restoration of the cornea and sclera of the eye, and has a beneficial effect on the metabolic process in the cells of the epidermis.

How to use Actovegin correctly?

The use of the drug is simple. Actovegin is used before meals, one or two tablets three times a day. In the case of using the injection form – from 250 ml in the form of a dropper. As a rule, the cycle of actovegin consists of 10-20 infusions, but such methods are not observed in the direction of bodybuilding.

What is the reason for the use of Actovegin in sports?
First of all, Actovegin for athletes is indicated to prevent oxygen starvation of tissues. The development of hypoxia negatively affects the general condition of the body, does not allow achieving good results, and slows down progress.

Using Actovegin in sports makes possible to improve the supply of tissues with blood, and hence oxygen.
This leads to an acceleration of metabolic processes, reduces the intensity of ischemia, and reduces the number of cells dying from it.
This is complemented by an improvement in energy, an increase in the rate of muscle contractility, and a decrease in the volume of lactic acid in the tissues.

A few more positive effects of using Actovegin in sports:

  • development of maximum endurance;
  • acceleration of body recovery after exercise;
  • prevention of overstrain of the heart muscle, which is especially important when exercising in mid-
  • mountain conditions or at altitude;
  • maintaining high performance;
  • prevention of muscle tissue ruptures, acceleration of their recovery;
  • treatment of craniocerebral injuries;
  • fight against frostbite in persons involved in winter;
  • accelerated and better muscle building;
  • prevention and treatment of varicose veins;
  • combating cerebral insufficiency syndrome in boxers.

Thanks to it’s properties, Actovegin allows people to achieve better results in sports, while minimizing the severity of negative manifestations. This makes training more rewarding, less dangerous, more fulfilling, and more rewarding.

Does the use of antihypoxant Actovegin put athletes in an unequal position?

Actovegin is rarely used in professional sports, pharmacology offers a lot of more effective means to purposefully improve results. Today it is not a doping product, although it was considered as such for several years. The drug is not a blood derivative due to the use of an extract freed from a significant portion of the protein.

The biological composition does not in every case give a stimulating effect. Despite the fact that the tool increases strength endurance and allows you to extend the training time, it does not provide any benefits in sports.

Special instructions for the use of Actovegin in sports

When including the use of any form of the Actovegin product in the training schedule, it is important to remember that this is not a dietary supplement, but a medication based on biologically active substances.

Violation of the rules for the operation of the composition minimizes its positive effect on the body, creates the risk of developing adverse reactions.

Rules for the use of the solution “Actovegin” in sports:
before starting systematic injection therapy, it is necessary to make sure that the composition is tolerable. To do this, 2 ml of the solution is injected intramuscularly as a test for one minute;

To dilute the drug, you can use only saline and 5% glucose;
1. Intramuscular administration of the Actovegin solution is performed slowly – the maximum speed is 5 ml of liquid per minute;

2. The dosage form of the drug, the method, schedule and scheme of its use are recommended to be agreed with a sports doctor or therapist.

Actovegin in the form of a solution represents a transparent liquid with a yellowish tinge of varying degrees of intensity.

The effectiveness and concentration of the drug do not depend on the brightness of the color.
If the product becomes cloudy, its use is prohibited.
After opening the ampoule, the composition should be used immediately; it is not subject to storage for the purpose of subsequent use.

How is the drug used in bodybuilding?

Studies have not revealed anabolic properties in the drug, thanks to it’s ability to stimulate metabolic processes.
By itself, the product cannot cause a rapid growth of muscle mass, but athletes still actively use Actovegin in bodybuilding.

Due to the insulin-like effect provided by the composition, an increase in the level of glucose in the blood is achieved, including at the time of its oxidation. This stimulates muscle nutrition and tissue oxygenation during exercise. Potentiation of tissue trophism makes it possible to load muscle fibers to the maximum, increasing the level of load.

Actovegin side effects
Dosage forms of the drug “Actovegin”, intended for external use, rarely provoke negative reactions. In isolated cases, an allergic response occurs, which looks like dermatitis or urticaria.

Immediately after applying the mass to the problem area, local soreness may occur. This consequence is caused by tissue edema and is not a sign of intolerance to the composition. Unpleasant sensations should pass on their own within half an hour. If this does not happen, you should seek medical attention.

The reaction of the body to the use of a solution or tablets “Actovegin” is individual. In most cases, all forms of the drug are well tolerated, but there is a possibility of an allergic response up to anaphylactic shock.

Most often, the negative effects are limited to skin rashes, itching, tissue swelling, and fever. Even with a mild severity of such symptoms, it is better to refuse further use of the composition in sports or consult a doctor.


Before starting the use of Actovegin in sports, it is recommended to consult a therapist. Despite the biological origin, the drug has a number of contraindications for use. Some of them are not obvious and are often present even in apparently healthy people.

Actovegin is prohibited under such conditions:

  • stagnation of fluid in the body, swelling of tissues;
  • hypersensitivity to the components of the product;
  • increased sodium and / or chlorine in the blood;
  • heart failure in the stage of decompensation;
  • pregnancy, breastfeeding.

Depending on the specific situation, additional contraindications to the use of the drug in sports may be found. The basic diagnostics carried out by the doctor allows you to identify dangerous moments and reduce the risk of developing negative consequences.

Interaction with other drugs

Actovegin, intended for external use, does not enter into dangerous chemical reactions with other medicines. It can be combined with any drugs for topical use, oral administration and parenteral administration. The only limitation is that external products are not recommended to be applied immediately one after another, at least half an hour should elapse between approaches.

Actovegin tablets and solution also do not interact with other medicines, which allows them to be used as part of various options for complex therapy.

The drug can be used by athletes who conservatively treat chronic pathologies.

It is important to remember that the drug solution cannot be mixed with other liquids in the same syringe or infusion container.

The combination of the product Actovegin with ACE inhibitors, potassium preparations and some diuretics is best done under the supervision of a physician.

The maximum effect of therapy is observed with the parenteral administration of the Actovegin solution. In sports, other types of the drug are also actively used. Any approach must be pre-agreed with the doctor.

The specifics of the use of Actovegin in sports depends on the dosage form of the product, the goals of training, and the specifics of the situation:
*when exercising in the middle mountains at an altitude of up to 3000 m, the agent is administered intravenously or intramuscularly at 80 mg for two weeks.

A similar effect is obtained by taking tablets for 2-6 weeks – 1-3 pieces with a concentration of 200 mg up to 3 times a day;
against the background of sports activities in an intensive mode, one of three schemes is used:
– 1 tablet three times a day,
– 5 ml intramuscularly twice a day,
– 5 ml intramuscularly once a day;
in the later stages after a head injury, course infusion therapy is recommended – 400-800 mg per day for two weeks. Conducted up to 4 cycles with an interval of 3-4 days;

– with post-traumatic encephalopathy cycle lasts 1.5-2 months – 2 pills of medicine up to 3 times a day;
– with inflammation of the Achilles tendon, injections into the tendon muscles are prescribed – 5 ml per day, 2-3 weeks.

The combination of oral and injectable forms of the drug in sports should be carried out under the supervision of a physician. It is very difficult to provoke an overdose of the active substance of the drug, but it is theoretically possible.
The condition will manifest itself in the form of nausea, general malaise, abdominal pain when the pills are abused. Also, such experiments can lead to the appearance of signs of allergies.

A relatively safe medication increases the body’s endurance, speeds up the process of its recovery, and protects against the negative effects of stress. In parallel, it strengthens a person’s immunity, positively affects his performance, improves results in almost all sports.

Popular questions

Why athletes Actovegin?
Experimental studies have shown that Actovegin increases the capture and utilization of oxygen and, as a result, improves energy metabolism and cell resistance to hypoxia.

In order to better fill the muscles with blood during training, sports nutrition manufacturers recommend taking the amino acid arginine (more recently, the “NO” supplement, which, in fact, is the same arginine) before training.
But the problem of blood filling is better, nevertheless, to be solved by pharmacological methods. More precisely – more reliable. To solve this problem, it is worth using such means as Actovegin or Pentoxifylline. The first is more efficient, the second is cheaper.

What does Actovegin do in the body?
“Actovegin” increases the absorption and utilization of oxygen; the phospho-oligosaccharides included in the preparation inositol have a positive effect on the transport and utilization of glucose, which leads to an improvement in the energy metabolism of cells and a decrease in the formation of lactate in conditions of ischemia.

How does Actovegin affect the heart?

Therapy with “Actovegin” leads to an increase in the contractility of the heart muscle, which manifests itself in the form of an increase in the ejection fraction, as well as a decrease in the end-diastolic size of the left ventricle.

How does Actovegin affect the liver?
When modeling lipid metabolism disorders, Actovegin (40 mg/kg) has a hypolipidemic effect, limits structural damage to the liver and reduces the severity of endogenous intoxication.

How does Actovegin affect blood pressure?
The addition of antihypertensive therapy with the neurometabolic drug “Actovegin” does not affect the level of blood pressure, but increases the number of functioning capillaries, reduces latent water retention in tissues and improves impaired cognitive functions.

How does Actovegin affect the brain?
Parenteral administration of “Actovegin” in this group of patients showed an improvement in cognitive functions, primarily memory and attention, a decrease in the severity of affective disorders and an improvement in social adaptation.

Is Actovegin banned by WADA?
Actovegin is not included in the prohibited list of WADA.

What is better absorbed pills or injections?
In fact, both dosage forms are effective. The difference lies only in the rate of absorption of the active components into the blood. After entering the body, the tablet passes through the gastrointestinal tract, and the injection solution immediately enters the bloodstream. The choice in favor of injections or tablets should be discussed with your doctor.