Can Insulin Boost Athletic Performance?

Insulin is a hormone which is produced by the pancreas to regulate the level of glucose – a simple sugar that provides energy – in the blood.

Diabetes is the body’s inability to produce insulin (Type 1), or the cells’ inability to respond to insulin produced by the body (Type 2). In either case, glucose is unable to get into the cells, and glucose levels in the blood become too high. Eventually, these high glucose levels can cause serious health complications.

Athletic performance and insulin use

Diabetic athletes may use insulin as part of their treatment plan. However, insulin use is banned from use by non-diabetic professional or amateur athletes.

This is because misuse of insulin may enhance endurance, promote muscle mass development and speed up muscle recovery. And that’s just the beginning. 

Insulin misuse and health problems

Apart from the legal and ethical issues surrounding performance-enhancing drugs, insulin misuses present serious health risks. For one, athletes ay experience hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to seizures, or loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, hypoglycemia can cause brain damage, and can even be fatal. Insulin misuse may also cause insulin resistance, insulin allergy and other serious health complications.

Source: Mayo Clinic