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Which Diuretic is Best?
You’ve lost all the necessary fat for a show, or photoshoot, or for fun, and now you need to lose the subcutaneous water. Which is best? I’ll cover natural and prescription options. As a disclaimer, this is all for entertainment purposes, I am not a medical professional, speak to your doctor about any prescription medications. Prescription medications in the USA are illegal to take without a prescription from a licensed medical doctor.
Dandelion root plus caffeine pills can be a powerful combo for the natural bodybuilder or regular guy dieting for a wedding. Following a typical water loading protocol of 2-3 gallons per day during “peak week”, one day out go for 1-2 gallons before 2pm and 3g dandelion root and 600mg caffeine spread out every 4-6 hours through the day. That equals approximately 1000mg at 6am, 12pm, 6pm and 200mg caffeine at 6am, 12pm, 6pm. Then just sipping as little water as you can from 2pm to your event the following day. Sweating is a useful tool as well. I prefer hot immersion baths ~12hours out of your event.
Loop diuretics like Lasix (Furosemide) work on the kidney’s nephrons’ Loop of Henle. By blocking the sodium, potassium, chloride transporter, you effectively don’t let water to be reabsorbed back into the body after it’s been filtered by the kidney. This, obviously, leads to excreting lots of water. Lasix is active for about six hours (lasts six hours hence Lasix). The pitfall of this medication is that you are at risk of low potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is another common side effect, not something a bodybuilder wants when they’re very depleted. Low potassium can cause heart issues. Low calcium and magnesium can cause seizures at its worst. If using this, adding in some potassium and calcium might limit the adverse side effects.
Thiazide diuretics like Hydroclorothiazide (HCTZ) work on the kidney’s nephron’s distal convoluted tubule. By blocking the sodium chloride transporter here, you also don’t let water be reabsorbed and will excrete it. This is different than loop diuretics because you’re not at as much of risk of losing calcium, but you still lose a lot of potassium and some magnesium. Consider supplementing potassium and magnesium with this medication. Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is another common side effect like with loop diuretics, which actually might cause weight gain.
Potassium-sparing diuretics like Aldactone (Spironolactone) and Dyazide (Triamterene-HCTZ combo) are unique because they target Aldosterone (normal hormone that causes water retention) receptors and block them at the kidney’s collecting tubules. This leads to increased water excretion. Worth nothing for Aldactone is that it, in turn, blocks androgen receptors like testosterone. This is not something that bodybuilders want. Additionally, you might lose too much sodium this way called hyponatremia, and this condition can turn things for the worst pretty quickly.
As you can see there are various risks associated with prescription diuretics including loop, thiazide, and potassium-sparing. There is no one size fits all regimen. Every person is different in how they react and what kind of results they might get.
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Nick Trigili is a respected IFBB Pro bodybuilder and trainer. Check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more informative content. Also make sure to visit his official personal training website – World Class Trainers.