HGH Gut, also known as Bodybuilder’s Gut or Insulin Gut, and Palumboism are all descriptions of the distended stomach, often seen in pro body builders. It is very noticeable. This bulging gut over hanging tiny briefs is surely not the look that these muscle men, and occasionally women are actually going for? It has led to more than one body builder being described as looking like a peanut on legs!
We all know that there are risks to competitive bodybuilding. This sport requires you to use extreme exercise and resistance training in order to build muscle, and although there is nothing wrong with doing this, sometimes bodybuilders just go too far!
Vein popping, muscle rippling, mighty thighs and biceps, many bodybuilders get the bug to create this extreme look and to achieve it, many turn to pharmacology, most notably steroids and hormones in order to achieve results.
There can be numerous side effects to bodybuilding, and HGH Gut and Palumboism are just two visible and very noticeable effects of too much bodybuilding, and just too many drugs! Other names for HGH Gut include Insulin Gut and Bodybuilder’s Gut.
All these conditions are similar but not identical. Both result in a large extended belly, which looks like a muscular beer belly, with Palumboism having the added effect of muscle wasting in the arms and legs at the same time.
So let’s take a look at these potential side effects to body building, and the facts and the myths surrounding HGH Gut and Palumboism.
HGH or Human Growth Hormone is a hormone naturally in the body that stimulates growth and cell reproduction and regeneration, and the body uses this natural hormone predominantly throughout puberty in order to grow. As we age, natural levels of HGH decrease because we cannot keep growing at the same rate as we did when we were teenagers.
However HGH can be made synthetically. As a prescription drug called Somatropin it is used to treat children with growth disorders – most famously the international footballer Lionel Messi, who suffered from this aged 10 and was considered too small to play football at the top level. It is also sometimes used to treat adults with hormone deficiencies.
However the best known use for HGH is as a body building drug, because it is so effective for building muscle.
No! On a molecular level, HGH works very differently in your body than steroids. Steroids cause the increased synthesis of protein so that the muscles grow bigger on all this “muscle food”.
HGH by contrast, causes the cells to divide and make new cells and this means that not only do the muscles expand but the organs and bones expand too.
Because the organs expand and can grow extremely large, it can be very dangerous for health and lead to diabetes, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and even organ failure. The rapid increase in bone size can cause injury and broken bones.
HGH gut is a common side effect. Abdominal growth and the distended stomach is caused in part by the increased size of the colon – some experts have noted that this can be the size of a boa constrictor!
Taking HGH is not the only cause of HGH Gut. There seems to be a combination of reasons.
Many bodybuilders, especially professional bodybuilders, take steroids and HGH injections constantly. HGH is usually paired with insulin, and insulin is known as a contributor to HGH Gut.
Bodybuilding has changed over the years and compared to the champions of yesteryear, today’s bodybuilders carry much more tightly packed muscle, thanks to their greater protein intake.
This protein effect combined with steroids and drugs such as HGH and insulin, means that bodybuilders are bigger than before and also develop a more prominent looking belly.
So although HGH Gut is the most usual name of this condition, HGH is not the sole cause of it.
Palumboism is slightly different to HGH Gut and although it has a name, it is not a disease. It is named after US bodybuilder Dave Palumbo who was first to be seen with this condition. According to some bodybuilding experts, there were a few contenders for this title, such as a body builder known as Big Lenny. We watched a recent video of Big Lenny posing, he still seems to be going strong, and some comments described him as a peanut on legs. Cruel perhaps but it is an accurate description.
Like HGH Gut, Palumboism causes a distended belly, but it also seems to feature muscle wasting in the arms and legs. Palumboism is rare, but the strange thing about it is that nobody really knows the cause. It could be something to do with hormonal issues, such as taking hormone supplements. It could be caused by changes to the body’s hormones in some other way, but there is no real evidence.
What is known is that this condition is only seen in bodybuilders, and there is not enough information about it to classify it as a disease.
This is true. Cases of both HGH Gut and Palumboism are only ever seen in bodybuilders. These conditions are not caused by other factors. Nobody else on the planet apart from bodybuilders, suffer from HGH and Palumboism.
It all comes down to the life style and habits of bodybuilders who habitually misuse drugs like HGH, other steroids, and insulin while bulking up on protein. Competitive professional body builders often maintain a regime of constant steroids, high protein, and HGH and insulin injections without ever taking a break.
Some people claim that steroids are not a contributory cause, and it is simply the result of the overuse of protein over the years.
However the incidence of HGH Gut has spiralled since the 1990s, and coincides with the rise in use of HGH and insulin injections.
Bodybuilders have abused steroids for years without growing an HGH gut. Once HGH and insulin injections came on the scene, the incidences of HGH Gut escalated.
Dave Palumbo was a well known name in 1990s US bodybuilding – giving his name to the condition. Other celebrated competitors include Dorian Yates, Phil Heath, Mr Olympia Kai Greene, previous champions such as Ronnie Coleman, YouTube sensation Big Lenny… the truth is that these days many pro bodybuilders these days also have an award winning gut! It seems to have become the new normal.
It is over simplistic to say that HGH Gut is only caused by HGH injections. Insulin is also a contributory factor. Insulin combined with HGH helps build bigger muscles, and many bodybuilders combine the two drugs for enhanced results. Some people refer to HGH Gut as Insulin Gut.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, and its role is to allow your body to use the sugar in your food (glucose) for energy or for storage for future use. Insulin boosts glycogen, which provides stamina. With an increased glucose intake, it also enhances the muscle cell take-up of glycogen. Insulin can also cause increased fat behind the stomach, and is a very strong contributory cause to the condition.
Many bodybuilders pair insulin injections with HGH injections, and there is no information available to say whether the distended gut is caused by one or the other.
People who are outside the world of professional body building are usually amazed at just how much the bodybuilders eat. Many eat over 10,000 calories a day and with the high protein diet, much of this will stay in the stomach for longer causing it to become distended.
Some experts attribute the high intake of protein and carbs as a powerful contributory factor. Eating 10 meals a day and forcing this bulk into your stomach will cause it to become distended, but in most cases this is not the only reason for the noticeable HGH Gut.
There can be far reaching and dangerous side effects to the professional bodybuilder’s regime, including liver failure, diabetes, and even death.
However HGH Gut does not seem to be an irreversible condition. Once you stop taking the HGH injections, the Insulin, and the other unhealthy lifestyle practices, your distended gut should go back to normal. Many of the bodybuilding stars of the 1990s such as Mr Universe winner Dorien Yates and Phil Heath now have stomachs that appear to have returned to normal size.
There is not enough information about Palumboism to assess the long-term risks. That said Dave Palumbo is still going strong, and these days is the CEO of a supplements company. Whether he has any noticeable side effects is unknown.
The various bodybuilding websites and forums discuss the use of HGH and insulin at great length, and everyone seems to have a personal theory. Some builders use HGH, others use insulin, and most seem to use a combination.
According to experts, if you are committed to using HGH injections, you should keep doses low – at no more than 10 IUs a day, and only use for around 4 months at a time.
There are herbal products on the market that claim to yield the same effects, though we have yet to see a shred of evidence.
If you have taken HGH and insulin in low levels, you may not get HGH gut. Women are less susceptible, and this could be because they simply take lower doses.
However there is very little scientific proof or evidence. In addition the gut size condition can be made up from a range of contributory factors, rather than just one reason.
It would be nice to think that you could avoid steroids, HGH injections, Insulin, and the rest of the junk, and still be a professional bodybuilder but it seems that you cannot. We researched the professional game and it seems that it runs on illegal substances, and all the winners have achieved results via a combination of training, diet, and illegal drugs. HGH Gut is simply a symptom of this substance abuse.
Substance abuse is nothing new, but HGH is a symptom of new trends. It seems that until bodybuilders just cut down on protein and go back to old fashioned steroid abuse as was popular in Arnie’s day, HGH Gut is here to stay.
Yes you can and keeping it clean is a sure fire way of preventing HGH Gut, Palumboism, and any of the drug related side effects. There are body builder events/competitions that are specifically drug-free. In the USA the World Natural Bodybuilder Federation (WNBA) runs competitions and contests, and “provides a drug free platform for bodybuilding and physique athletes.”
In the UK there is the United Kingdom Drug Free Bodybuilding Association (UKDFBA) which does much the same thing. Most countries have similar drug free platforms and associations.
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