[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/CaptainAmerica http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/serum.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:And be sure to drink it all, because sometimes the good stuff is on the bottom.]]
->'''Victor Mancha''': Wait, back up. Your secret origin is drugs? Doesn't that kinda set a bad example for little kids?\\
'''[[ComicBook/CloakAndDagger Cloak]]''': ''I am not your ROLE MODEL!''
-->-- ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}''

A hero who doesn't have his powers or abilities naturally, but has to get them from a process of digestion or injection of a specialized compound. For obvious reasons, depictions of this took a nosedive due to MoralGuardians, as depicting heroes taking what seemed to be drugs became a strict no-no.

Heroes nowadays may get such treatments only once, often involuntarily (due to [[PlayingWithSyringes evil experimentation]]) or as formal medical treatments. You're most likely to see this being done by villains, with an {{Anvilicious}} [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything addiction metaphor]] in effect.

PowerUpFood is the case when the abilities come from common foodstuffs. Applied to enough people at once, and it becomes a MassSuperEmpoweringEvent. If (as in the case of CaptainAmerica, pictured right) only one person gets it, it's a DisposableSuperheroMaker. A SuperhumanTransfusion (especially if it's from someone who drank Super Serum) usually has the same effects.

Compare PsychoSerum and BottledHeroicResolve. See also PowerSource and HigherUnderstandingThroughDrugs. For a similar trope in commercials, see CerealInducedSuperpowers.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/EighthMan'' was a CyberPunk SuperHero who recharged himself (and his powers) through special ''cigarettes''. His were the only [[CyberneticsEatYourSoul cybernetics that didn't eat ones soul]] in the series. The {{OVA}} {{revival}} ''Eight Man After'' used plain old experimental Super Serum -- in contrast to the PsychoSerum all the ''other'' cyborgs had to use.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': Although his abilities don't center around them, Chouji's food pills can increase his chakra supply dramatically, allowing him to use more powerful attacks more often. These leave him burnt out afterwards at best, in critical condition at worst.
** As do Kiba and Akamaru's battle pills, which had been mostly abandoned by the ninja corps due to the side effect of ''not being able to move for three days'' after a ten-minute dose.
* OsamuTezuka's superhero Big X (best known in the West for various cameo appearances he put in in various ''Anime/AstroBoy'' productions) got his powers from a SuperSoldier serum his father was forced to develop for the Axis Powers during WWII. The drug was injected & came in two stages, one shot to make him NighInvulnerable & another turned him into a giant. In the anime this was changed to a pendant that emitted special EM waves due to MoralGuardians' concerns about the similarity to the then-emerging Heroin epidemic.
* ''Manga/OnePiece''. There are badass normals everywhere, and they can frequently match up against the likes of the super powered individuals just fine. But after consumption of a Devil Fruit, you get some sort of super power. Logia allow you to control and turn yourself into an element, Zoans give you shapeshifting and increased physical abilities, and Paramecia grant random, often strange powers such as the [[HeartIsAnAwesomePower ability to produce wax or soap bubbles]]. But occasionally extremely powerful ones like Whitebeard's Quake Quake fruit show up as well.
** The Fishman Island arc has the FantasticDrug, Energy Steroid. One pill doubles the user's strength but cuts years off their life. [[spoiler:That last part is quite literal: constant abuse ages Hody's crew from their prime to old men within a day.]]
* The origin story of the hero of ''CityHunter'' is a bizarre instance of attributing cool powers to an actual illegal drug. According to the story, Ryo was born in poverty in Central America, and ended up [[PlayingWithSyringes used as a test subject]] and injected with a form of LSD. Rather than screwing with his mind, this instead gave him superhuman reflexes and a [[LovableSexManiac heightened sex drive]], including GagPenis.
* [[spoiler:Ako's artefact]] as revealed in chapter 304 of ''MahouSenseiNegima''.
* The drugs used by the Extended in ''GundamSEED'' and ''GundamSEEDDestiny'', which also double as a PsychoSerum. It has profoundly negative effects on the user, including fatal withdrawal symptoms.
* In ''Literature/{{Kurozuka}}'', the blood of the immortal vampire Kuromitsu can give both immortality and SuperStrength to those who take it--''if'' they survive, which most don't.
* ''BakiTheGrappler'' has X-4, a super steroid that increases muscular growth and overrides the effects of over-training. It turn's Jack Hanma from a stick of a person to a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2dytcbHTR0 monster of a human.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the MarvelUniverse:
** Puny Steve Rogers became CaptainAmerica thanks to the Super-Soldier serum, and [[NoPlansNoPrototypeNoBackup failed attempts to recreate it]] are common plot points in both the regular and [[UltimateMarvel Ultimate]] universes.
*** For instance, the 1950s impostor Captain America used a Nazi German variant of the formula to enhance his body. However, he learned the hard way that is not enough; the subject taking the serum then has to have it activated and stabilized in his body by a radiological treatment using "Vita-Rays" in order to take it into his system safe. Without the stabilizing agent, the serum caused mental instabilities, including paranoia; in the imposter's case, fueled by the RedScare propaganda of that era, it caused him to see Communist enemies of America everywhere, leading to his being put on ice ([[HumanPopsicle literally]]) by the U.S. government and his fan-given nickname of "Commie-Smasher Cap".
*** Omega Red was a failed Soviet attempt at making the serum as well as giving Red tendrils in his arms made of carbonadium (an alloy intended as a more feasible substitute for the astronomically expensive and rare adamantium). While Omega Red did gain most of Caps powers, he is constantly dying and has to drain the life-force of others in order to live (fortunately for him his mutant powers along with his tendrils can do just that). Apparently something called the "Carbonadium Synthesizer" will cure him of his condition.
**** Some issues have it that instead of (or alongside) life-draining, he has a "death spore virus" that will eat him alive if he doesn't transmit it to others. It's his best weapon - your average opponent can't even ''try'' to fight him. Super-powered individuals can usually be allowed to box with him via {{Handwave}} about how whatever giving them their power making them partially resistant. A prolonged battle against his tentacles in a Spidey-vs-Doc-Ock sorta fashion? ''Only'' {{Wolverine}} has the HealingFactor to be up to that. However, he considers himself BlessedWithSuck (despite being the type who would not pick a different career if cured ''or'' feel bad about the fact that he must kill to survive.) and seeks the c-synthesizer, as carbonadium is the only thing that can neutralize the virus. However, it's hard to know if he was born with that or if that's part of what was done to him.
*** Interestingly, in ''[[ComicBook/AvengersTheInitiative Avengers: The Initiative]]'', the original doctor who created the Super-Soldier Serum discovered similar results could be achieved with a perfect diet and an extremely specialized exercise program, which resulted in his grandson Michael Van Patrick having the same peak physical condition naturally. The research was not classified or ever used by the military because they wanted a quick fix; the natural super soldier would take a lifetime of dedication to produce. [[spoiler: Unless you get your hands on one and just clone him over and over.]]
** TheSentry is a metafictional send-up of many ComicBookTropes. Not only did he get his powers by taking "the Professor's secret serum", but comics-that-never-happened from the 1980s showed it blossoming into a full [[GRatedDrug addiction metaphor]]. Later, it's revealed that he originally drank it hoping to get high.
** Patriot (Elijah Bradley) from ''YoungAvengers'' is the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, the [[{{Retcon}} "first"]] Captain America, but his mother was conceived before Isaiah was experimented on, so he did not inherit his grandfather's powers. When Iron Lad came to recruit Elijah's brother, Elijah claimed to have gained superpowers through an emergency blood transfusion, but really was gaining powers artificially with MGH (Mutant Growth Hormone), an illegal street drug that causes brief periods of super-human abilities. Once discovered he stopped taking the MGH but went into battle anyway, was grievously wounded... and got an emergency blood transfusion from his grandfather, thus gaining superpowers.
** Vintage Heroes Comicbook/CloakAndDagger were phased out for a while because their back story involved pharmaceutical testing (of the extremely involuntary kind). This is [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] brutally in [[RunningGag every scene]] they appear in when they make a comeback in the ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'' series. Every time they explain their back story another character says "So you got your powers from drugs, I bet the [[MoralGuardians parent groups]] love you" to which Cloak usually declares that he is [[AntiHero not supposed to be a role model]]. This is brought up again later where a modified version of the drug that gave Cloak his powers is mixed with mutant growth hormone and sold on the black market as the drug Darkforce, with the slogan "You wanna go night flying?" Superpowers are quite the buzz, apparently.
** A recent {{Retcon}} in ''[[UltimateXMen Ultimate X-Men]]'' is that [[spoiler:this version of Colossus needs the mutant enhancement drug "Banshee" to be able to so much as move his limbs in his organic steel form.]]
** More in the superpower-causers-equalling-drugs: There was an article in one issue of Year In Review, a tongue-in-cheek in-universe magazine, about Pym poppers, kids who took Pym particles to shrink and grow. This always backfired.
** As far as anyone at this point is able to understand, everything in the UltimateMarvel universe involving superpowers are derived from attempted recreations of Captain America's Super Serum. Which in turn was reverse engineered from [[spoiler:Wolverine, in the same experiments that created mutants.]]
* The various [[NormanOsborn Green Goblins]] and Hobgoblins from SpiderMan comics used a serum that involved this trope mixed with a little bit of PsychoSerum since the Goblin formula increased a person's strength and intellect but also made them AxCrazy.
* In TheDCU:
** Franchise/{{Batman}} villain ComicBook/{{Bane}} (who also appeared in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'') got his superhuman strength from Venom, a steroid-like chemical derived from Miraclo. In a ContinuityNod, it later appears in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond'' as a street drug and future-Bane has become a wheelchair-bound invalid due to the damage a lifetime of Venom use wrought on his body. In the comics, he also suffered severe problems from continued Venom use, but eventually got himself clean and now relies solely on his (considerable) natural strength. Or at least he did, and he was forced back into it. He tries not to use it as much, though.
** B'Wana Beast used a mystic elixir from somewhere in Africa. His mask-slash-helmet allowed him to control animals, though the elixir allowed him to [[FusionDance fuse two animals into one]]... which he could control with the helmet.
** Also ComicBook/TheCreeper got his strength and agility from a super serum, later [[RetCon changed]] into nanocell serum. In ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' his powers came from the very same acid bath that created the Joker, combined with a blast of the Joker's very own laugh gas.
** Slade Wilson, aka Deathstroke the Terminator, received increased strength, speed and endurance through an experiment conducted by the US Army. In the TV version (Arrow), he received these same enhancements through an experimental drug called Miracuru (The Miracle).
** ComicBook/ElongatedMan gets his stretchy power from a substance called Gingold -- usually fatal in its pure form, Elongated Man's [[SuperPowerfulGenetics metagene]] fortunately allowed him to drink it as much as he wanted.
** {{Hourman}} got his powers from the "miraculous vitamin" Miraclo, which gave those who took it superhuman strength and speed for exactly one hour. Miraclo turned out to be addictive, and both the Golden Age Hourman and his son who [[LegacyCharacter took up his mantle]] had to fight the addiction. (He currently takes a non-addictive "homeopathic" version of Miraclo.)
** Johnny Quick, The MirrorUniverse EvilTwin of ComicBook/TheFlash, uses an extract of his [[LegacyCharacter predecessor's]] ''blood'' to give him super-speed powers.
** [[HeroicDog Rex the Wonderdog]] got one suspiciously similar to that received by Captain America, complete with Nazi attack destroying the rest of the serum and killing the inventor. It made him strong and smart enough to win medals during the war (among other increasingly ludicrous accomplishments), and then survive for ''forty years'' naturally (after that, he drank from the Fountain of Youth and lives unnaturally).
** ComicBook/{{Static}} and the rest of the Dakota Bang Babies recieved their powers from being exposed to an experimental mutagenic gas during a massive gang fight. The police thought was tear gas meant to track the gangs to capture them later.
* The French ''{{Asterix}}'' books concern a Gallic town which fends off Roman domination by use of a magic potion which grants superhuman strength. In one entry, Asterix entered the (original Greek) Olympic games, only to be penalised for use of the potion (rather like steroid use in the modern Olympics, which is sort of funny since the original Olympics ''encouraged'' the use of performance enhancing drugs since it made for more interesting competitions). [[spoiler:He finally won a race by tricking all opponents into using the potion previously mixed with a blue food colorant.]]
* The TopTen comic series, which is a {{Homage}} to comic book tropes to begin with, has a whole subculture of power-granting drugs, such as "goose juice" that gives SuperSpeed.
* {{Bamse}} gets his super-[[FunnyAnimal ursine]] strength from "dunderhonung", thunderhoney, which is disqualified from being PowerUpFood because it is not just regular honey, but has to be mixed correctly with various herbs and spices (the working ingredient is appearently a rare flower that only grows on a single island in the Aegean, guarded by a seven-headed monster). However, something like Ralph Dibney's metagene above must also be involved, since most people just gets three days of stomach cramps from eating dunderhonung, and it seems to run in the family.
* One of the ongoing plot threads in ''ComicBook/{{Empire}}'' centers around discovering the secret of the production of Eucharist, a highly addictive substance that supercharges the abilities of those who take it. People under its influence can dodge bullets, and the high is described as being "BetterThanSex."
* DanielClowes CaptainAmerica parody "The Battlin' American" has horrible addiction problems requiring him to take regular doses of the super serum. [[spoiler: The street thugs who steal it from him find this out the hard way.]]
* In the comic prequel to ''DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'', [[MadScientist Doctor Horrible]] makes a super-serum using [[JerkJock Captain Hammer's]] DNA. However, while he does gain Hammer's SuperStrength and endurance, his intelligence is reduced to his level as well, resulting in a mindless series of {{Megaton Punch}}es, until Horrible takes the antidote, becoming smart again but also scrawny and weak.
* Nedor Comics character the Liberator was a chemist who discovered an ancient Egyptian potion called "Lamesis", which grants super-human strength and speed when ingested. Naturally, he also figured out how to make more.
* The comic ComicBook/{{Fly}} is about a drug that gives people super powers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* Juicer from [[http://fanfiction.wikia.com/wiki/Hottie_3:_The_Best_Fan_Fic_in_the_World Hottie 3: The Best Fan Fic in the World]] gains SuperStrength from a super steroid, as well as [[GetterRobo Getter Ray]] treatment.
* ''FanFic/ChronomistressOutOfTime'': Sassafrass syrup, also known as "chronoserum". For most ponies it's just alcohol, but the Royal Order of Timekeepers knows meditation techniques which make it work as a CaffeineBulletTime-inducing SuperSerum.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* The lead character in the film ''Senseless'' gained SuperSenses through a regimen of injections given to him as part of a pharmaceutical test.
* The protagonist John Grimm of the ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' [[Film/{{Doom}} film adaptation]] injects himself with a [[LegoGenetics 24th chromosome]] which boosts his physical capabilities enormously, enabling him to plow his way through a building full of ravenous mutated monsters.
** To be sure, those monsters also have the chromosome. Apparently, said chromosome mutates you into a horrible monster if you're a bad person and turns you into a SuperSoldier if you're a good person. Oh, and they first tested it on a convicted murderer.
* In 2008's ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk'', the source of the Abomination's powers is a double dose of the Marvel Universe's fabled Rebirth Project super-soldier serum , combined with a blood transfusion from Bruce Banner. This appears to have been done as part of an effort to provide visible ties between Marvel Studios' adaptations of their canon characters - in this case, laying groundwork for the ''[[Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger Captain America]]'' film.
** Actually, even Banner's mutation into the Hulk in the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse is due to his experimentation with the original serum. A combination of the fact that he didn't know what he was doing (the military had told him the work was for radiation resistance) and his replacing [[TechnoBabble Vita-Rays]] with Gamma radiation led to his transformation.
* In the Bowery Boys movie ''Hold That Line'', Sach mixes a bunch of random chemicals together and drinks down the mixture. The potion turns Sach into a super-athlete. Inverted later in the movie when Slip tries to replicate the formula. Slip gives the potion to the college Dean, who [[spoiler: shrinks in size]].
* In the 2011 movie ''Film/{{Limitless}}'' the main character uses a drug to become super smart.
* After defeating his arch-nemesis Metro Man, WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}} decides to give Metro Man's superpowers to a random guy who would become the next champion of Metro City. He extracts Metro Man's DNA from some dandruff on his cape and accidentally injects it into [[spoiler:Hal the cameraman]].
* In ''Film/BigTroubleInLittleChina'', Egg Shen gives the heroes a potion just before the final showdown that will make them more heroic. It seems to work. Wang, at least, is able to jump superhuman distances.
* In ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'', Dr. Jekyll keeps several vials of his serum that allow him to temporarily turn into Hyde. One vial is stolen by TheMole and copied by the BigBad in order to allow him to create a whole army of Hydes. One of his lieutenants drinks a lot of the stuff and turns into a huge monster that even Hyde has trouble fighting. Ditto for Skinner's blood, which is used to recreate the formula for Griffin's invisibility serum. Presumably, Mina's blood is used to figure out how to turn people into vampires.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Jokes]]
* The mother of a [[AcceptableTargets Tour de France cyclist]] wheezes and pants as she brings a tomato the size of a pumpkin to the table. She looks at her son and says, "I thought I told you to stop pissing in the vegetable patch!"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* In the ''{{Literature/Alterien}}'' series, Theseus, a chemical genius, developed a serum through his company that produces enhanced soldiers. The Alterien businessman called it the Superion Serum. He worked with the British military to begin the Actualized Augmented Soldier Programme. The Actuals, as they're called for short, receive impressive enhancements to their senses, muscles, organs and tissue. The serum makes them as powerful as other super soldiers such as the SABERs of the US or the Red Hammers of Russia. However, they require regular monthly injections in order for them to remain at top level performance.
* ''CaptainUnderpants'' didn't have superpowers initially, but gained them after drinking some literal Super Serum off of an alien spaceship in book three. This simply complicated things further, naturally.
* ''WildCards'' plays the "SuperSerum = drugs" thing for all it's worth with Captain Trips, a genius biochemist, "the world's last hippie," and one of the most powerful Aces on the planet. He manages to bring each of his "friends" ([[SplitPersonality alternate personalities]] each with [[PersonalityPowers their owns set of superpowers]]) out with "special concoctions" he makes himself. His first accidental transformation was primarily fueled by his first hit of acid.
* Melange, or [[SpiceOfLife spice]], drives the ''Literature/{{Dune}}'' series-- it not only extends lifespans, but in large doses, triggers [[PsychicPowers precognition]] which allows for FTLTravel to be done safely (without it, you end up inside a planet or star one out of five times).
* ''The39Clues'' series is all about gathering 39 ingredients, or "Clues", to [[spoiler:create a Super Serum that gives you the abilities of each of the four "branches" of the family searching for it - the cunning of the Lucians, the intelligence of the Ekaterinas, the strength of the Tomas, and the artistic talent of the Janus]] - feasibly allowing you to rule the world. These Clues include all kinds of ingredients, from harmless ones you can find in a grocery store such as [[spoiler:honey, salt, and mint]] to highly toxic substances like [[spoiler:mercury, lead, and king cobra venom]].
* One of the first things Penny does in ''Literature/PleaseDontTellMyParentsImASupervillain'' is create the "Super Cheerleader Serum," which her friend Claire uses to get athletic enough to join the cheer squad. Her friend Ray drinks the rest, gaining a much larger boost in his physical powers, to the point that he's at roughly ComicBook/CaptainAmerica's level despite being thirteen. Penny explains that enhancing musculature is actually easy, it's just that most villains insist on adding aggression and combat skills and whatnot, which always [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes horribly wrong]].
* The {{Literature/Blackcollar}} trilogy has several of these used to create the titular Blackcollar commandos, the most important one being "Backlash," which vastly enhances reflexes and motor control.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Forrest used this initially.
* Late in the third series of ''Series/TheFortyFourHundred'', the Government trained up a squad of [[SuperSoldier superpowered soldiers]] through a programme of injections of promicin, the [[AppliedPhlebotinum neurotransmitter]] that gives the 4400 their abilities.
* A subplot in the second season of ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' involves a drug called "Mirakuru", which was developed by the Japanese during WorldWar2 in order to create an army of {{Super Soldier}}s. [[spoiler: It ends being what grants both [[Comicbook/{{Deathstroke}} Slade Wilson]] and Solomon Grundy their powers]].
* A live TV example would be the sixties show Mr. Terrific - essentially Hourman again (not related to the comic book Mr. Terrific). A government agency came up with a pill that made 99% of humans sick, but gave nerdy Stanley Beamish the buffs (BFS - [[FlyingBrick bulletproof flying strongman]]). Whenever a secret mission came along, Stanley would be given the 1 hour main pill and 2 15 minute boosters - one of which he would need [[OnceAnEpisode in every episode]] due to power cutout.
* By Season 3 of ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' [[spoiler:Mohinder has developed a serum that gives people powers and used it to give himself SuperStrength.]]
* In ''TheSecretWorldOfAlexMack'', Alex is doused in the chemical GC-161, which not only gives her the power to melt, levitate things and shoot lightning bolts, but also sets the CorruptCorporateExecutive to hunting her down.
* The [[MeaningfulName Henshin One-Shot]] in Series/KamenRiderFaiz's [[TheMovie movie]] ''Paradise Lost'' allows the user to be able to use [[TheRival Kamen Rider Kaixa's]] [[TransformationTrinket Rider Gear]]. But, like it's name states, it's only good once. [[OhCrap After that,]] [[spoiler:it causes the Kaixa Gear to dissolve into dust]].
* An episode of ''Series/{{The Invisible Man}}'' had a scientist rob a sperm bank full of sperm of geniuses and make a serum out of it that gives anyone he injects with it enormous intelligence. It turns out that people weren't meant to be so smart, as all of them end up burning out within days.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'': The enzyme Wraith inject into their human victims during the feeding process actually makes the human much stronger. Lieutenant Ford begins taking the enzyme on a regular basis (and gathers his own group of human soldiers to take it, too) to help him fight the Wraith.
* The Centipede serum from ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', which is a cocktail containing Chitauri metal (from ''Film/TheAvengers''), Gamma radiation (from ''Film/TheIncredibleHulk''), the Super-Soldier Serum (from ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'') and Extremis (from ''Film/IronMan3'').
* The Source Blood in ''Series/{{Sanctuary}}'' is a vial of pure vampire blood (the vampires having been destroyed millennia ago) that the Five use to create a serum that gives each one different powers. Helen Magnus becomes TheAgeless, [[JackTheRipper John Druitt]] becomes a [[TeleportersAndTransporters teleporter]] (agelessness may also be included in the package), [[SherlockHolmes James Watson]] becomes a super-genius, Nigel Griffin becomes the [[{{Invisibility}} Invisible Man]] (the only one of the Five that appears to pass his core power to his offspring), and NikolaTesla becomes a vampire with electric powers. Later, the Source Blood is stolen by the [[AncientConspiracy Cabal]] and used to [[spoiler:make Helen's daughter Ashley and several "blank slate" humans into SuperpoweredMooks]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* ''Radio/TheElysiumProject'' has the eponymous Elysium formula, which grants those exposed to it [[RealityWarper the power to manipulate reality in accordance with their desires]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''{{Rifts}}'' [[TabletopRPG pen-and-paper RPG]], the "Juicer" character class gain their superhuman abilities from a constant feed of intravenous drugs. The drawbacks are addiction, permanent organ damage in two years (making removal problematic), and death within seven. As most are shock troops and mercenaries, many die in combat long before that.
* Part of the extensive, complex, long and dangerous process of creating TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} SpaceMarines is being steadily injected with a serum derived from the gene-seed of the chapter's Primarch- in turn derived from [[PhysicalGod The Emperor]] himself (the other steps include bionics, numerous organ implants, and TrainingFromHell).
** In JamesSwallow's ''[[Literature/BloodAngels Red Fury]]'', Rafen and his company come up against foes who inject themselves; Rafen is familiar with BottledHeroicResolve, and explicitly aware that this is far more. For one thing, they rise up from apparent death with them.
** Chaos Space Marines of Slaanesh and the Dark Eldar also have access to a variety of combat drugs which can boost their stats temporarily... or kill them.
* TableTopGames/{{Pathfinder}} has the Alchemist, which trades almost exclusively in super serums, with their JekyllAndHyde Mutagens, as well as many beneficial infusions (spells in potion form).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Galerians}}'' centered around a [[{{Tykebomb}} boy]] named Rion, who had powerful latent psychic abilities he needed to consume drugs to use. His addiction caused him to waste away slowly.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'''s [[SuperSoldier SOLDIERs]] were "infused with [[MinovskyPhysics Mako energy]]"-- which gave them strength enough to lift their favoured [[{{BFS}} BFSes]], as well as GlowingEyesOfDoom, a hallmark side effect. Other side-effects involve the hearing of voices and general loss of sanity.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'', [[spoiler:Wesker]] needs a frequent and ''precise'' dose of the virus running through his body in order to keep his superpowers and still stay [[BishonenLine (relatively) human-looking]]. [[spoiler:This becomes the major gimmick of the penultimate boss fight, where the protagonists give Wesker [[PhlebotinumOverload an intentional overdose of the serum]], and send him into a VillainousBreakdown.]]
* In ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' the enemy group The Freakshow are cyberpunks powered by a drug called Excelsior, the {{Troll}} gang by massive overdoses of street drug Superadyne (or superdyne, or just 'Dyne), and with the release of the Superscience booster pack, players can change their costume by way of emotes that have them either drinking a potion from an Erlenmeyer flask or shooting up in the arm with a vial of the titular trope.
* [[SuperMarioBros Mario's]] Fire Flower.
** And by extension, all other items that Mario characters can get upgrades from, from Super Mushrooms to Feathers to ''Doki Doki Panic'''s Hearts.
* VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'s Super Soldiers get their superhuman abilities from being injected with a strain of TheVirus that has beneficial properties and none of the downsides.
* ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' has the Combat Potion made from Harralander herbs which can improve your strength and reflexes but most of all the herb in general has energy stimulating properties.
* ''InazumaEleven'' has Aquas of the Gods (Ambrosia) is the SuperSerum drink final bosses use to [[AGodAmI power themselves up to ''god'' level]] by making them able to uses skills without costing TP. This cranks up even more in the anime as they were almost invicible themselves without that drink.
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' has "physiopharmaceutical" augmentation for the Men in Black, which among others makes them seriously SuperTough.
* In ''FreedomForce'', the Domain's secret weapon is Energy X, which they have used to conquer all dimensions except this one. In order to have some fun, Lord Dominion decides to give Energy X canisters to Earth's worst criminals and watch them tear apart the planet. An alien named Mentor steals the ship containing the canisters and takes it to Earth, hoping to give it to good people to defend themselves and the others. The ship is shot down in orbit, and the canisters fall all over Patriot City and other parts of the world (Bullet is exposed all the way in Vietnam). Both good and bad people get hit with Energy X and transformed into superheroes and supervillains, respectively. Apparently, a super's blood can also act as super-serum, as Liberty Lad gets his powers from a transfusion of Minuteman's blood.
* "The Tyrany of King Washington" DLC for ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedIII'' shows an AlternateHistory where GeorgeWashington got his hands on a Piece of Eden and, after the power went to his head, declared himself king and forced his army of "bluecoats" to subjugate the land. After Connor's mother (still alive in this reality) tries to steal the artifact, Washington is determined to destroy the Frontier and enslave or kill its inhabitants. The village elder decides to make tea from the boughs of the Great Willow in order to imbue its warriors with strength to resist the king's army. Connor's mother is against this, as the tea has some nasty side effects. Later, Connor drinks the tea and, after a vision quest, is imbued with the spirit of the wolf. He gains the ability (CastFromHitpoints) to become virtually invisible in plain sight and can also summon spirit wolves to attack enemies. It's implied that different people get different abilities from the tea. The tea is not mentioned in the original game, nor is the Great Willow present there, implying it's AllJustADream.
** The second episode of the DLC introduces another power granted by a second sip of the tea. This one allows Connor to literally turn into an eagle and fly to any ledge/branch/enemy in the vicinity. There are three episodes, so the third may bring yet another spirit power.
** The third episode has Connor gain the power of the bear with the ability to GroundPound. The end reveals that it was all a shared vision between Washington and Connor who both touch an Apple that a Templar has given to the general. Horrified, Washington has Connor get rid of the Apple (by tossing it in the ocean) and, later, gets angry when someone (supposedly) suggests that he declare himself king.
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'''s Berserk Pack grants the Marine [[HealThyself full health]] and [[QuadDamage ten times more damage]] when using his fists for the remainder of the level. It also makes his eyes bloodshot, tinting the player's screen red for about 20 seconds.
* In addition to ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'''s smorgasbord of experimental drugs to military-grade combat enhancements, certain varieties of [[BlandNameProduct Nuka Cola]] deliver a fair bit more than a carbonated sugar rush.
* In ''{{Starcraft}}'', Terran infantry have access to stimpacks, drugs that increase movespeed and attack speed at the cost of 10 hitpoints (and have long-term effects in the novels). When they had no way of healing their troops, this was slightly risky (Marines only have 40 HP), but Brood War introduced medics that made them pretty much mandatory. In the sequel, the much tougher Marauders get them as well ([[GameBreaker though not in the campaign]]), allowing them to do horrible things to enemy vehicles and structures.
* The Goblin Alchemist from ''WarcraftIII'' has an ability called Chemical Rage which greatly empowers his Ogre ride.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Most of the heroes from HeroesInc, a popular webcomic that makes use of public domain Golden Age characters, have taken serums that give them various powers and slow down their aging process.
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', the [[SuperSoldier Jägermonsters]] are the result of humans drinking a concoction first created by the Heterodyne family, brewed from the waters of a strange river that they built their castle over. The resulting "Jägerdraught" killed a significant number of the humans who drank it, but those who survived became nearly unkillable, immortal soldiers.
** The water of the river itself can also grant superhuman strength and stamina, but it's even more likely to kill anyone who bathes in it, let alone drinks it.
* ScaryGoRound: The VitRx potion makes you big, strong, and attractive, even if you are an [[http://scarygoround.com/sgr/ar.php?date=20070208 animal]]. Mayor Davies's body was too old to handle it, so instead of improving his musculature, it made him prone to outbursts, and barely intelligent enough to communicate.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Several characters from the ''GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' gained their powers through one of these. Most noable would be [[TheCowl Achilles]], leader of the titular superteam, and Alloy, a [[ChromeChampion shiny metal]] supervillain with superhuman strength.
* Every single character in ''SurvivalOfTheFittest'' Evolution that takes part in the game gets their power via an injection of chemicals. Some of the powers are... questionably useful, though.
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', one of the major ongoing plot threads deals with [[spoiler:Cauldron]], a manufacturer of these. The Serum is [[spoiler: derived from pieces of the corpse of [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien a dead Cthulhu-like alien god]] ]].
* ''Roleplay/WeAreOurAvatars'': As part of his training to be a Feccian Bladesman, Zeke was given alchemical infusions that increased his strength and durability (and, by proxy, a certain degree of his other physical attributes) to preternatural levels. Both were already heightened by the training itself, however, with his infusions simply raising the bar further.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''RogerRamjet'' got his powers from "Proton Energy Pills".
* Super Chicken, in his segment on ''GeorgeOfTheJungle'', had even more fun with this. The hero drinks a concoction known as Super Sauce... [[PowerUpFood from a martini glass]]. Whether it really gives him any powers is also up for debate.
** The double-strength and triple-strength varieties of Super Sauce definitely have ''some'' effect. They cause the mild mannered Henry Cabbot Henhouse the Third to ''explode'', hospitalizing him and any schmuck who happens to be standing at Ground Zero with him.
* As ''WesternAnimation/{{Underdog}}'' tells us, "The secret compartment of my ring I fill / With my Underdog Super Energy Pill." The film, naturally, opted for the FreakLabAccident origin.
** Sometimes, Underdog says "Energy Vitamin Pill" instead of "Super Energy Pill." This may have been an exhortation for children to take their daily vitamins. Then, perhaps because the notion of popping pills for speed and strength became bad, later broadcasts omitted the pills and had Underdog spontaneously (without explanation) recovering his superpowers.
* One episode of ''MightyMouse'' ends with the titular hero contently smelling a flower. Some over-zealous Self-Appointed MoralGuardians, however, asserted that the Mouse was snorting opium poppies, and this eventually snowballed into the urban legend that Mighty Mouse gets his powers from cocaine (!).
* The ''GummiBears'' are a target for all number of villains because their magical Gummiberry juice temporarily grants [[CerealInducedSuperpowers superhuman strength to humans who drink it]]. (The juice allows the bears themselves to bounce much like Tigger from ''Franchise/WinnieThePooh''.)
* Parodied in the fourth season episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'', "Less Than Hero", where an alien "Miracle Cream" temporarily gives Fry and Leela super powers.
* An explosion of "meta-gas" during a gang feud on ''StaticShock'' gave Static and a bunch of other troubled teenagers in Dakota different powers. One TeenGenius MonsterOfTheWeek learned how to control it, and could grant himself different short-term powers through short-term exposure.
* Parodied in the classic [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes Bugs Bunny]] WartimeCartoon "Super-Rabbit", among other places.
* It's not technically SuperSerum, but Popeye gets his powers explicitly by eating a can of spinach. Why no one else tries is this is unknown.
** The movie implies that the ability to get super-strength from spinach was a family trait. In the original comics, the Sea Witch ''does'' try it on Alice the Goon. It's uncertain if it actually worked, partly because Popeye added milk to his spinach diet to make himself even stronger and [[spoiler:partly because the Goon [[HilarityEnsues fell in love with Wimpy]] shortly after, leading the way to her sympathizing with Popeye and the gang. The last fight she has with Popeye breaks up rather quickly, as he sees the Goon has a child and won't hit a mother.]]
** There actually was one episode where after Bluto starts sobbing about how he Popeye always beats him up, Popeye responds by feeding Bluto some of his spinach, causing Bluto to power up, and he immediately launches into a song about what a great guy Popeye is, while pausing to clobber him at every pause in the Melody.
*** Furthermore, there are cartoons where OliveOyl and a mouse each eat spinach (accidentally in the latter case). Olive instantly develops feminine but obvious bulging biceps and promptly uses them to bring the squabbling Popeye ''and'' Bluto to heel: the mouse ends up jamming Popeye into its hole in the wainscotting and takes his bed for the night.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry'' episode ''Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse'', Tom tries to do away with Jerry by putting various poisonous substances in his milk, but it makes Jerry strong enough to violently body-slam Tom instead.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In their origins, steroids were looked as if they were this: some magic serum that gave new soldiers muscles with no training whatsoever. As it turns out, [[PsychoSerum there is]] [[PowerDegeneration a price]].
* During the WarOfThePacific Chilean soldiers developed a toxic drink nicknamed "La Chupilca del Diablo" (The Devil's Booze), which consisted of a mix of strong Aguardiente and ''black gunpowder''. According to that era's records, the unholy mixture caused the Chilean soldiers to go absolutely ''berserker'' and able to ignore pain or fatigue, but because of the toxic nature of the drink, this SuperSerum was only used on extreme situations. For the record, that war had Peru and Bolivia teaming up against Chile, and Chile ''won that war.''
* Scientists have actually developed a reliable supersoldier serum. However, it [[http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45890174/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/scientists-make-supersoldier-ants/#.TxCQ4G-vLTo only works on ants]].
* The [[NazisWithGnarlyWeapons German military]] from 1938 throughout WorldWarTwo used liberally a compound of the dreaded methamphetamine (then known as [[http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,354606,00.html Pervitin]] and often laced into chocolate to mask its bitter taste), under the hope it would give the soldiers and most importantly airmen superhuman performance. While the effects of meth as an insanely strong stimulant are known, the mild concentration used back then led the troopers to stay awake for weeks, raise themselves from total exhaustion, but it did not grant ''super''human powers.
* Usually performance-enhancing drugs are a technological and biological dead end. They can enhance one ability (stamina, when stimulants like methamphetamine or cocaine are involved, awareness with psychoactive drugs, or lack of inhibitions with marijuana) at great cost, they are addictive, they lose potency over time due to habituation, and, worse, they give a sense of false security. This is the reason evolution never pushed a species in the wild to consume a performance-enhancing plant: two animals fighting to a gruesome death because they lack the feel of pain both lose the possibility to reproduce themselves.
* Adrenaline, used in emergencies by medical professionals trying to stabilize/revive a patient and useful for allowing super human strength performance too. For as long as the stuff holds or until the body burns out anyway.
** It also [[MundaneUtility combats swelling]] (it's easier to run away if the bruises don't kick in yet), hence its use in treating anaphylactic shock. The stimulant ephedrine is chemically similar, which is why ''pseudo''ephedrine is best known as the decongestant Sudafed. Swelling serves a purpose, though, reducing bleeding and closing off orifices from infection; between the body burning out and curtailing those two functions, an adrenaline-based super serum would need to strike a delicate balance to avoid BlessedWithSuck (or need to be supplemented with, e.g., immune-boosting nanorobots).
[[/folder]]

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