Insulin has widespread use among bodybuilders

The bravado of the experimentation with insulin among bodybuilders is extreme!


Use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) is common among strength-trained individuals, and a growing concern is the misuse of insulin.

A 99-item Internet-based survey was posted on discussion boards of various fitness, bodybuilding, weightlifting, and anabolic steroid Web sites between February and June 2009. A case series of 41 nondiabetic insulin users is described.

The typical insulin user was 30.7 +/- 9.2 years old, male (97.6%), and Caucasian/white (86.8%) who classified himself as a “recreational exerciser” (47.5%).

The average insulin user also used anabolic steroids (95.1%) and practiced polypharmacy by incorporating 16.2 +/- 5.6 PEDs in his or her yearly routine.

Hypoglycemia was reported by most of the subjects (56.8%), and one individual reported unconsciousness.

Insulin was obtained most commonly from local sources (e.g., friends, training partners, gym member/dealer; 40.5%) and community pharmacies (37.8%), with most (80.6%) finding it “easy” to acquire their insulin.

Strategies aimed to prevent insulin misuse are needed.

Ip EJ, Barnett MJ, Tenerowicz MJ, Perry PJ. Weightlifting’s Risky New Trend: A Case Series of 41 Insulin Users. Curr Sports Med Rep 2012;11(4):176-9.

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