Why is Insulin Considered to be a Steroid? (5 Side Effects)

Insulin is not a steroid. However, insulin can often be considered a steroid because steroids are chemically made to resemble hormones produced in the body, similar to how artificial insulin is made and injected.

Steroids, however, fall under the category of lipid group of compounds. On the other hand, insulin is a peptide hormone, which is formed of amino acids. This makes it different from the other hormones that can be made into steroids for the body.

The primary reason why insulin is said to fall under the steroid category is that it helps maintain the muscles in the body. Although insulin is not an anabolic hormone, it still helps some similar hormones/ anabolic steroids to carry out their functions.

Insulin works side by side with other anabolic steroids such as – human growth hormone or testosterone to help with muscle retention. These common steroids help to spawn new muscles in the body.

Insulin is often exploited along with these steroids as insulin assists in the retention of these muscles by preventing their breakdown.

This is why bodybuilders and athletes often use insulin as a steroid to help build lean muscles within short periods. However, this is inadvisable as it can have some drastic effects on the body that can harm one’s health.

Too much insulin and in unmonitored amounts can lower the body’s blood sugar levels and lower them beyond limits. This can be very harmful and, in extreme cases, even fatal for individuals. Therefore, the use of insulin must be carried out on a doctor’s advice only.

Insulin is not similar to how asteroid works as it is not a steroid hormone and rather a peptide hormone. Therefore, combining insulin with your regular steroid for muscle mass and bodybuilding should also be done with care and proper guidance.

What are the side effects of insulin injection?

What are the side effects of insulin injection

Insulin is used to correct the improper production of insulin and the resistant response of the body towards this hormone. It is supposed to substitute the insulin that the body naturally produces in the pancreas.

Diabetic patients can benefit by using insulin injections before and after meals, as advised by the doctors. The doctors also prescribe doses as per your diabetic blood sugar levels.

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It is important to take all prescriptions with care and keep all the rules in mind to benefit from the suggested dosage. In addition, with proper diets and exercise, your insulin can function even better and have a healthier effect.

However, there are certain side effects of this as well. Let us have a look at the side effects of taking insulin injections:

  1. Some common skin side effects due to injections include – dimpling of the skin, redness, irritation, itching, thickening of the skin at the site of injecting, soreness, etc.
  1. If improper amounts of insulin are administered, it can lead to low blood sugar levels. This, in turn, gives rise to other symptoms such as – drowsiness, increased hunger and thirst, dizziness, nausea, paleness, headaches, increased palpitations, fatigue, slurring in speech, blurred vision, anxiety, seizures, unconsciousness, loss of balance, irritability, fluctuations in the mood, tingling or numbing, etc. These are often among the serious symptoms that are experienced. If you notice such effects, you must immediately consult your doctors.
  1. In some cases, insulin can also have effects like weight gain or swelling of arms and legs.
  1. Insulin can also give rise to rashes on the skin or allergies in some patients.
  1. It can also hamper the potassium levels in the blood, leading to constipation, muscle cramps, shortness of breath, weakness, etc.

Due to all these possible negative symptoms, you must be sure to keep all precautions in mind. It is essential to keep monitoring your blood sugar levels and also contact your doctors for any emergencies.

What do bodybuilders use insulin for?

Bodybuilding is a task that needs a lot of maintenance and effort. Starting from heavy workouts, weight and strength training, strict diets, to taking medicines and steroids, bodybuilding is quite a task.

Bodybuilders are always searching for building and maintaining their muscles, and insulin is an agent that helps with this.

Just because insulin resembles the functions of other anabolic hormones, it is also said to fall under that category. However, insulin is not a steroid.

Anabolic hormones play a major role in keeping the body muscled and tough. That is why steroids often have a crucial part to play for bodybuilders.

Apart from anabolic growth and other hormones that help build muscles, bodybuilders also resort to insulin to keep the muscles maintained and avoid break down.

Insulin is a natural hormone produced by the body that helps absorb nutrients from the body. This is prescribed to diabetes patients who have trouble with either insulin production or functioning that causes improper digestion of carbohydrates in the body, raising sugar levels.

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Insulin is given as a medical routine to diabetic patients to ensure that the sugars in the body are absorbed well.

Bodybuilders make use of this insulin for other reasons. It helps them to improve the absorption of nutrients in the muscles faster after workouts. This is primarily why bodybuilders use insulin.

As a peptide hormone, it assists in the quicker absorption of nutrients such as fats and proteins in the body. These are necessary nutrients, especially for fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders.

In addition to this, insulin also prevents or delays the breakdown of protein, fats, and glycogen in the body. This helps in the retention of mass in the muscles. In addition, this helps in muscle protein synthesis.

Glycogen is a carbohydrate stored in the muscles. Retaining this helps to keep the muscles fuller. This is why insulin is taken after workouts to promote glycogen storage.

In addition to this, when insulin is combined with other anabolic steroids and growth hormones, it can enhance their overall performance.

Although muscle gaining by insulin is not a much-recommended process, it can have significant harm on the body if not done with precautions.

Insulin is a pharmaceutical drug that aims to control and lower rising blood sugars in the body. However, over-exploitation or unfamiliar usage of this hormone can lead to lower blood sugar levels that can cause other health risks.

Hypoglycemia is a common effect of insulin abuse where one can commonly experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Hunger
  • Trembling

And so on.

Therefore, insulin must be used in control when aimed at muscle gaining. Otherwise, it can be dangerous or even fatal.

Does insulin make you gain weight?

As we already saw in the previous section, one side effect of insulin is that it can result in weight gain.

This is commonly seen among diabetic individuals who take insulin. Moreover, this is also a serious issue as keeping the body weight under control is a major necessity for diabetic patients.

But how does insulin make you gain weight?

Insulin works to regulate the blood glucose levels in the body properly. The function of insulin is to absorb glucose in the cells of the body. However, the extra presence of glucose in the body’s cells can turn it into fat.

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Too much presence of glucose gradually converts into fat and gives rise to weight gain. But keeping track of your calories and blood sugars can help to reduce these side effects.

Regular activity and exercises not only help to maintain your diabetes but also help with tackling weight gain due to insulin.

The dosages must be done correctly to avoid more such symptoms and promote healthier overall body management. Your healthcare team can assist you with added methods of keeping your body weight stable and under normal margins.

It is all about a careful routine and a healthy lifestyle.

Does injecting insulin build muscle?

Insulin injections in the body are often used for muscle gains. This is said to work and is also thus considered as a supplement for muscle growth.

Injecting insulin in the body assists in the synthesis of muscle proteins. This is what leads to adding more volume to the muscles. Hence, insulin injections are often used by bodybuilders.

On top of this, insulin injections also help retain muscle gains as they prevent the breakdown of these proteins. Therefore, the muscles can be maintained and preserved.

As discussed in the previous sections, insulin helps in the faster absorption of nutrients that help build muscles, such as fats and proteins.

These effects of insulin have been proven by studies as well. However, to include these gains, it is necessary to take all precautions and avoid any potential risks.

Injecting insulin for muscles is a tricky practice and must be done with care and limitations.


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Dr Sharon Baisil MD
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