Imodium (loperamide) a Cortisol Blocker?

September 25th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Sometimes bodybuilding supplement science comes from the most unusual places. A few days ago, someone wrote me asking about Imodium (an over the counter anti-diarrhea drug) as a potential cortisol blocker. At first I thought it was a joke, but I actually started searching around and was surprised at what I found.

What is Loperamide?

Loperamide is the active ingredient in the over the counter product Imodium(and a few other brand names). Loperamide is part of the class of opioid receptor agonists. There is no potential for drug dependance or CNS overdose as it only acts on the intestines. However, it can cause dependance and even euphoria at high doses, so caution should be taken.

Why would loperamide be applicable to bodybuilding?

During my research, I discovered study after study where loperamide reduced cortisol levels. Blocking cortisol has become a new fad in the bodybuilding and supplement industry. Cortisol is a nasty hormone and excessive levels cause muscle loss, fat gain(visceral fat), overtraining, and health problems.

Here is the summary of just one study of loperamide on cortisol levels from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 1992.

So what does this mean in laymans terms? For most people, loperamide will lower body cortisol levels significantly. However, it won't help if you have the excessive cortisol levels due to disease cushing's disease or other medical problems of your pituitary.

Final thoughts on loperamide:

Loperamide seems to give the impression of being a potential miracle supplement for bodybuilders. But there are some serious things that will stop it from ever catching on for widespread use. The biggest problem with imodium AD is it can cause dependance and slowing down waste removal in the colon. Slowing the flow of the colon long term, by using something like imodium, would lead to increased risk of colon cancer(a very fast spreading deadly cancer) and other diseases. Not to mention it would be a very uncomfortable experience being more susceptible to constipation.

I don't see imodium AD(loperamide) as a useful cortisol blocker for bodybuilders, at least not for consistent long term use. If it is to be used, it should only be done in recommended dosages for very short periods of time, once in a great while. Of course, also make sure you take plenty of fiber supplements during it's use.

  1. joe on September 24th, 2010

    alright 1 HUGE problem. how does cortisol cause overtraining. lol. overtraining means u trained past ur abilities. it happens during not after training. lol