Why do bodybuilders take insulin? Have you ever wondered if insulin helps at all with muscle gain? If so, then this article is for you. Scroll down to see the side effects, pros, and cons of using insulin to bulk up or bodybuild.
What is Insulin
Let’s start with a recap on insulin, what it is, its uses and side effects, and if it’s right for you.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter into the body’s cells. When you eat carbs or sugar, your pancreas senses that and produces insulin into the bloodstream. The insulin acts like a key to open your cells to receive the glucose. When the cells are full the glucose gets stored away as fat for later use.
Sometimes people’s bodies don’t produce insulin, and this can lead to Type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease. Someone with type 1 diabetes doesn’t have the key to letting the glucose into its cells, and it just builds up in the bloodstream leading to a host of problems.
Another problem can come when the body gets too used to eating a lot of carbs and sugars, especially if you aren’t burning the sugars off. Sometimes our bodies can become insulin resistant, which can lead to pre-diabetes, or type 2 diabetes. In this case, people are either producing too little insulin amounts, or they produce the right amount but the body doesn’t know what to do with it, and it doesn’t work right. These people have a broken key that also doesn’t let glucose into cells.
People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin. Type 2 diabetes can often be helped with diet and exercise, but sometimes people with type 2 diabetes need to take insulin as well.
Why do bodybuilders take insulin?
Some bodybuilders also take insulin because as well as unlocking the cell to take glucose and storing it for later use, insulin is also an anabolic hormone meaning that it stimulates growth and muscle mass. There is a debate going on about whether taking insulin can help you get ripped or not. There are some pros to taking insulin while bodybuilding, but there are also cons and some risks to taking it.
Pros of taking insulin
- Insulin is an anabolic hormone and is anti-catabolic. It helps build muscle mass and strengthen muscles. It increases endurance and stamina and helps with energy, and prohibits the breakdown of muscle. In fact, it is one of the most anabolic hormones, and that is why many bodybuilders use insulin- because it builds muscle.
- Insulin can be paired with other anabolic steroids and can be part of supplements such as the HGH, etc.
- Insulin allows glucose into your muscle tissues.
Cons of taking insulin
- Insulin is meant to be taken primarily by people whose bodies don’t already produce insulin. Adding in extra insulin in addition to the insulin your body already produces can make it more possible to become insulin resistant and get type two diabetes.
- Too much insulin presents a risk for hypoglycemia, a condition where you have a deficiency of glucose in the blood sugar. Hypoglycemia may result in seizures, unconsciousness, and needed emergency care.
Taking insulin for bodybuilding
If you decide to take insulin while bodybuilding, here’s what you should know.
There are some short-acting insulins and insulins that take a longer time to go into effect. Short-acting insulins are much more common when it comes to bodybuilding. You want your muscles to quickly absorb nutrients and this type of insulin has a quick onset time of anywhere from 5- 30 minutes after taking it. It usually can last for up to 8 hours.
The best way to take insulin is all about timing. Injecting insulin right after a workout is the best way to go, and eat 10-15 grams of simple easy to digest carbohydrates per every IU unit of insulin you take. The amount of carbs you eat affects your blood sugar levels, so make sure that you are eating the right amount.
It would be a very smart idea to also purchase a glucometer to keep track of your blood sugar.
And finally, be aware of hypoglycemia and its effects. Make sure you know what to do when you start experiencing its symptoms and can catch the early signs of it. NEVER take insulin before bed because you wouldn’t be able to tell if you are hypoglycemic.
Hypoglycemia early warning signs and symptoms:
Early signs of hypoglycemia can include:
- Tiredness or exhaustion
- Blurry vision
- Slurred speech
- Clumsiness or jerky movements
- inability to eat or drink
- Irritability or moodiness
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Fast heartbeat
- Inability to concentrate
If your blood sugar is lower than it should be you are at risk of getting hypoglycemia. It’s important to eat something that will raise your blood sugar back up to a normal level, and seek medical attention if needed.
Is it worth the risk?
Using insulin with bodybuilding presents some risks. There are some pros to taking insulin, but there are also some cons as well. Is the risk of taking insulin worth the rewards? Are the rewards worth the risk? It is up to you to decide. Insulin helps build muscle and can be beneficial to bodybuilders, but it is very dangerous and there are many risks and side effects that also come into play.
It is important to be aware of the risks and be knowledgeable about what you are doing. If you are a very experienced bodybuilder and you are very conscious of the risks, pros, and cons of insulin then it may be something you consider taking. Just use it with caution, and use it in moderation.
If you aren’t as experienced in bodybuilding and aren’t as knowledgeable as to what insulin does to your body, maybe putting in more research and getting more opinions would be the best way to go.