Although medonium, also known as mildronate, has been produced lawfully in Latvia since the 1980s, the FDA has not given it approval for use in the US.

What is Medonium used for?

Being an “anti-ischemic” medication, it is used to treat organs—particularly the heart—that do not receive enough blood flow. It is mostly used to treat people with cardiac issues that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. It aids in preventing tissue damage from angina attacks, persistent heart failure, and circulation issues in the brain. It is also advantageous to healthy people and athletes because of its power to enhance oxygen intake, which improves mental clarity, physical endurance, and physical capacity. This is why it was banned by the anti-doping authorities at the beginning of the year and caught out a number of athletes who have tested positive, such as the tennis player Maria Sharapova.

How does it work?

Meldonium reduces the amount of oxygen that is needed to keep tissues alive by changing the way the muscle cells metabolise substances in the blood. It alters the mitochondria to utilise carbohydrates for energy instead of fatty acids, a process which requires less oxygen to carry out. Therefore in people with less oxygen in their blood they can still produce energy in the cells and the tissue and organs remain healthy. In athletes this reduction for the need of oxygen can enhance their performance. During exercise our bodies use oxygen at a faster rate than the lungs can replace it but this drug can reduce the amount of oxygen being used up allowing athletes to work out for longer. Processing carbohydrates instead of fatty acids also means that there is less lactate and urea produced, which would normally cause stiffness and pain in the muscles after a workout and so an athlete can workout out for longer and more frequently. Due to its ability to allow an athlete to work out more efficiently and for longer by altering the way the cells metabolize substances for energy, and diminishing the need for oxygen it has been considered as an unfair advantage over other athletes and has been banned.

There are other benefits

But the medication has more advantages, and when used with other medications, it can help cure diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels because it forces cells to metabolise carbohydrates, which include glucose molecules. Along with improving mood and motor abilities, it can help lessen dementia and improve cognitive function in people with neurological illnesses and circulation issues in the brain.

How can it support an oxygen user?

Patients with respiratory disorders like COPD may benefit from adding the medication to their therapy regimen. These individuals may have extremely low blood oxygen levels, for which they are receiving additional oxygen therapy in an attempt to treat it. As a result of the low oxygen, these patients may have extreme weakness and fatigue. By rerouting oxygen from the cells’ energy metabolism to other areas where it is also required, medonium may enable the body to use less oxygen in the cells. Patients would benefit from having more oxygen in their blood and experiencing less weariness, both of which could slow the disease’s course. Patients are urged to maintain their health and fitness and to engage in as much activity as they can.

Reference TechInsider