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Most people would be amazed to read about the role of insulin in the bodybuilding. Although, almost every one of us knows this hormone. Its deficiency or resistance is behind the most prevalent metabolic disease called diabetes.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the beta cells in the pancreas. It affects the metabolism of all the macronutrients, that is carbs, fats, and proteins.
Let’s first look at how insulin affects the metabolism of carbs. Insulin is like a key that regulates or opens the doors in the cells, thus allowing entry of blood glucose. If insulin is absent, cells cannot open the door; glucose cannot enter the body cells, thus causing weakness, cellular dysfunction, a slowdown in growth.
On the other hand, a higher amount of insulin helps body cells to intake more glucose, thus improving the energy supply. Skeletal muscles are very sensitive to insulin. It means that insulin can increase exercise capacity, especially if insulin is taken along with a high amount of glucose. Without insulin, only limited amount of glucose can enter cells. Thus if bodybuilder consumes too much of carbs or glucose, it is converted into fats. Insulin can prevent this conversion. Simply said, insulin boosts energy levels if taken with glucose/carbs.
Insulin also normalizes fat metabolism. It reduces the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood. It helps keep heart and blood vessels healthy. That is why people with diabetes are at higher risk of heart diseases. Insulin is good for bulking, increasing body mass.
Insulin is needed for protein metabolism too. It blocks protein break down. It means that it helps protect muscles. Insulin can be used to maintain the results of training.
Insulin also has a direct anabolic effect. It not only helps glucose to enter body cells but also promotes the entry of amino acids into the cells. It stimulates the production of proteins by the liver. It has an anabolic effect on the muscles.
When taking insulin, much care is needed. Unlike steroids, or growth hormone, or other performance-enhancing drugs, insulin can lead to acute complications. High dose insulin can be fatal. If you wrongly inject insulin in a very high dose, it will reduce glucose levels in the blood to dangerous levels causing hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a frequent reason for hospitalization.
Fortunately, hypoglycemia can also be treated quickly. If after insulin you feel shaky, dizzy, weak, it means that you have low glucose. Drinking a glass of sugary drink would help immediately.
In bodybuilding, insulin is used at much lower doses than in diabetes. Because you do not have its deficit, you are taking to increase its levels. Experienced bodybuilders recommend taking 1 IU of insulin for every 10 pounds of body weight. So if you weigh 160 pounds, 16 IU a day will be enough.
Insulin as an anabolic drug is surely for advanced trainers. Although it is a very safe thing, dosing insulin is challenging. To minimize the risk of side effect, always have a high carb diet after taking an insulin injection.