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When it comes to sports and performance enhancement, it’s a vicious circle. Athletes and companies are always on the lookout for the next big thing in the market to enhance performance, before the anti-doping agencies, ban the substance. Once, the ban is on, they start looking out for the next chemical breakthrough.

The sport of bodybuilding is the experimental lab for all these drugs. Worse, the experimentation has percolated down to gyms, where youngsters, under the guidance (or should I say mis-guidance) of their local coaches, use these drugs extensively, often leading to disastrous outcomes.

The target today is a new stimulant drug in the market called AMP (Adenosine Monophosphate). Though, not a new drug as such, but for sports it is.

Before we begin to understand the entire science behind AMP, I would like to say one simple thing: “If you are using AMP, or intend to use, or some stupid trainer or supplement dealer has recommended it to you, just STOP”. AMP comes in the league of a lot of such dangerous substances which have simply no place in sports. Read on to know why ….


Adenosine is a chemical present in all the cells in the body, which facilitates essential functions in human biology and physiology.

Acc. to Prof. Paul May, the 1997 Nobel prize for Chemistry has been awarded to 3 biochemists for the study of the important biological molecule, adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

All living things, plants and animals, require a continual supply of energy in order to function. The energy is used for all the processes which keep the organism alive. Some of these processes occur continually, such as the metabolism of foods, the synthesis of large, biologically important molecules, e.g. proteins and DNA, and the transport of molecules and ions throughout the organism. Other processes occur only at certain times, such as muscle contraction and other cellular movements.

Animals obtain their energy by oxidation of foods, plants do so by trapping the sunlight using chlorophyll. However, before the energy can be used, it is first transformed into a form which the organism can handle easily. This special carrier of energy is the molecule adenosine triphosphate, or ATP.

(Mitochondria are the human body’s “furnaces”, responsible for producing the energy necessary for all movement and biological processes. These powerhouses, located within cells, convert carbohydrates (glucose, in their most elemental form) to adenosine triphosphate (ATP).)

Chemically, ATP is an adenine nucleotide bound to three phosphates. An abundance of potential energy is stored within the bond between the second and third phosphate groups; this energy can be harnessed to fuel chemical reactions. When ATP breaks down (hydrolysis), it releases large amount of energy, which fuels the cellular reactions. ATP is hydrolysed to ADP in the following reaction: 

ATP+H2O ⇋ ADP+P+energy

Even more energy can be extracted by removing a second phosphate group to produce adenosine monophosphate (AMP).

Like most chemical reactions, the hydrolysis of ATP to ADP is reversible. The reverse reaction, which regenerates ATP from ADP and P, requires energy. Whenever a cell needs energy, it breaks the phosphate bond to create adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and a free phosphate molecule. A cell stores excess energy by combining ADP and phosphate to make ATP. Thus, the ATP molecule acts as a chemical ‘battery’, storing energy when it is not needed, but able to release it instantly when the organism requires it.

Prof. May suggests that, “the fact that ATP is Nature’s ‘universal energy store’ explains why phosphates are a vital ingredient in the diets of all living things. Modern fertilizers often contain phosphorus compounds that have been extracted from animal bones. These compounds are used by plants to make ATP. We then eat the plants, metabolise their phosphorus, and produce our own ATP. When we die, our phosphorus goes back into the ecosystem to begin the cycle again.”

AMP can be produced from ADP:


Or AMP may be produced by the hydrolysis of one high energy phosphate bond of ADP:

ADP + H2O → AMP + P

AMP can also be formed by hydrolysis of ATP into AMP and pyrophosphate:

ATP + H2O → AMP + PP


Adenosine Monophosphate or AMP, is a substance which is produced continuously in your body, throughout the day, as a part of normal metabolic processes. Acc. to a study, AMP is considered as an intermediary substance formed during the body’s process of creating energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Adenosine monophosphate is basically a nucleotide. A nucleotide, is an organic molecule, which is the building block of DNA & RNA in the body. They also have functions related to cell signalling, metabolism, and enzyme reactions.

AMP is one of the possible products of the hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and is therefore important in the transfer of chemical energy during anabolism. Cyclic AMP, a very close structural relative of AMP containing an additional ester linkage between the phosphate and ribose units, can act as a secondary messenger for several hormones. It also plays a role in the transcription of some genes.

AMP has been used externally as a medicine in the medical community, since the 1950s. Adenosine Monophosphate Injection is a potent vasodilator to increase the flow of blood to cardiac and skeletal muscles.

AMP is taken by mouth to treat shingles, erectile dysfunction, and a blood disorder called porphyria cutanea tarda. AMP is given by injection into the muscle (intramuscularly) for treating venous stasis ulcers, bursitis, pain and swollen tendons (tendonitis), itchiness, multiple sclerosis (MS), nerve pain, shingles (herpes zoster infection), cold sores (herpes labialis), and poor blood circulation.

In adults, infection by the virus herpes zoster can cause a condition known as shingles. The initial shingles attack generally abates in a couple of weeks, but symptoms can go on to become chronic. This condition is called post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN). People with persistent shingles-related pain may have low concentrations of AMP in their systems, and that boosting these AMP levels through intramuscular injections can promote faster clearance of the shingles virus–and faster relief from pain. AMP can also be administered intravenously by a doctor; in this case, it is mixed with saline and slowly allowed to drip into your system.

In a study, researchers gave intramuscular injections of adenosine monophosphate (AMP), three times/week for up to four weeks for acute herpes, to 32 adults. Adenosine monophosphate moderately reduced the pain soon after the start of treatment, and promoted faster healing of the skin than placebo treatment. Adenosine monophosphate treatment reduced cleared the virus faster than in placebo-treated subjects.

At the end of the initial four-week treatment period, 88% of AMP-treated patients were pain free, as opposed to only 43% in the placebo group. No recurrence of pain or lesions was experienced from three to 18 months after the end of treatment. Adenosine monophosphate, a natural cellular metabolite, showed no side effects or toxicity during and after the treatment.

A study, evaluated the effects of adenosine monophosphate (AMP) alone or its combination with L-Arginine on female rabbit suffering from sexual dysfunction. The results showed that, AMP induces a beneficial effect on rabbits suffering from sexual dysfunctions. They also show that L-Arginine and AMP can potentiate each other and that a synergistic effect can be obtained by their combined use.

Today, adenosine supplements have been developed, which are used to boost the adenosine stores in the liver and other organs. Adenosine supplements usually come in two forms: ATP and AMP.

Just like L-Arginine, citrulline malate etc. AMP also is potent vasodilator, and is being used by humans for various medical reasons, as we have read above.

One of the most common use of AMP in injectable form is in animals, especially athletic animals like horses. There are various websites on the net selling an injection called AMP-5. The websites claim various benefits of this injection:

“AMP-5 is a potent natural vasodilator which produces a marked increase in blood circulation to both skeletal and cardiac muscle. AMP-5 increases blood, nutrient & available energy supply to muscle tissues.

Vasodilation improves removal of wastes to delay fatigue and cramping. AMP-5 may help prevent heart strain during and after strenuous exercise.

By producing a marked increase in blood supply to muscles and heart, AMP-5 increases the oxygen and essential nutrient supply to these areas during hard work, and improves the efficiency of removal of waste products such as lactic acid, to delay the onset of muscle fatigue. Because of its potent vasodilation effect on cardiac muscles, AMP-5 is effective in treatment and prevention of heart strain and exercise induced “T Wave” changes in horses.

The average dosage recommended for horses is 2.5ml per 100 kg bodyweight by intramuscular injection, 24 hours and again 4-6 hours before hard work.”

In Oct 2018, Times of India, published a story of a 21-year-old bodybuilding enthusiast, from Najafgarh, Delhi, a son of a police officer, who started using AMP-5, in injectable form as a pre-workout. He said, that his gym trainer advised him to take 1ml of AMP-5 daily before workout, to get a more intensive exercise, or what these dumb trainers often label to as the ‘pump’.

Of course, a drug used on horses, would work wonderfully on humans to (there is no difference in a human drug or an animal drug, they work the same way in the body). This the same way when stupid people start taking extreme pre-workouts, which are filled with high amount of caffeine, and then eventually get hooked on to the high they get from it. Slowly, it becomes like a drug for them, and they are unable to workout without using their pre-workout.

In a lot of pre-workout supplements, caffeine is well over 400-500mg in a single serving. How much is that? Well that’s like having 4-6 big cups of strong black filter coffee together, or having almost 5-6 cans of Red Bull in one shot. Do you think, once you have had that a high amount of hit in your brain, you would be ever able to workout on a normal cup of black coffee as a pre-workout?

Now, imagine something like AMP, which is used on horses given to you. You would of course get a phenomenal high, and your workout capacity will shoot up.

Now, the problem with all these stimulants is not just addiction, but also adaptation. Your body will start getting used to the drug eventually, and to get the same hit, you will now have to increase your dosage. This is a vicious cycle you get stuck into.

You want a high, but now you cannot get it from a normal dose of your pre-workout or AMP, and you keep increasing your dosage, until something disastrous happens to you medically and you have to perforce stop it completely.

The same thing happened with the boy. He, started getting used to the 1ml dose of AMP-5 injection and started increasing his dose to up to 4ml/day to get better results. Now, as we read above, the recommended dosage of a horse is app. 2.5ml per 100kg of bodyweight. Let’s say the body weight of this boy was 75kg. now, imagine taking 4ml/day for that weight, almost double to what is recommended by for a god damn horse.

The side effects became well visible to the parents of the boy, who had to admit him in Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, where they complained that their son slept through the day and was always depressed and irritable when he didn’t take the AMP-5 injection. The boy was put on anti-depressants and other medication.

AMP has lately become the new go-to pre-workout. It can be used both intramuscular or intravenously, but a lot of bodybuilder take to IV to get insane and instant pump. Some websites and weight loss clinics are also using AMP as a weight loss and appetite suppressant agent. Though I haven’t found even a single study supporting AMP as a fat loss agent.

The problem with drugs like AMP is not that they don’t work. But that they work wonderfully well. Despite of being a banned substance in sports, it is being rampantly used. A basic question is, do you really need to inject a stimulant for just a workout session. Did world class sportsmen, in the history of humanity, ever did so?

And in case you are not able to workout without an artificial stimulant as strong as AMP, then you really need to check your lifestyle habits.