What comes to mind when you think of a drug that most body builders use? Most likely the answer is steroids, but in today’s body building competitions a new substance has surfaced known as Synthol (75% oil). This compound was initially introduced for filling in wrinkles and breast augmentation, but is now being used to enhance the cosmetic appearance of muscles all over the body (Journal of Medical Case Reports).
Synthol is injected into the muscle an individual wishes to cosmetically enlarge and over the course of many treatments the muscle appears to have grown in mass.However there is no increase in muscle performance or overall strength according to the Journal of Medical Case Reports. Since oil is being injected into the area that surrounds the muscle it appears bigger. The muscle itself does not grow and become stronger, therefore in a hypothetical situation a body builder may lift as much weight as a person half the size, who does not use Synthol. Essentially, this substance is only beneficial to those who compete in visual body competitions. The following video was uploaded by Mo lbr and depicts synthol leaking out of a man’s shoulder during a competition.
In many of the cases where bodybuilders inject oil into their muscles there have been many negative side effects. The workouts become more painful as the amount of oil injected into the body increases and in some patients the muscle has to be amputated in parts to cause the severe pain to subside, such as the example in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. In other words, by injecting oils into specific muscles in order to enhance their appearance some bodybuilders end up losing their muscle a large portion of their muscle mass as a negative side effect. If too much oil is injected and/or injected incorrectly leads to deformed appearance in muscle (Academy of Dermatology). The only positive side effect is enhanced muscle appearance in a competition where you are judged on the size of your muscles and by using Synthol you are cheating (in my opinion, others may feel differently). In summary, some of the negative consequences include painful workouts, muscle deformation, and surgery to remove a large portion of the muscle. Yet, some bodybuilders go so far and inject over 1500 mL of oil into their body over a three month span according to the Academy of Dermatology.
Image from Flirckr uploaded by snowlepard
Personally, I think the natural muscle definition looks better. Hard work and dedication may take longer to show the effects but there are virtually no negative side effects to building muscle normally. The all natural method allows for non-painful workouts and is much cheaper than purchasing oil and syringes constantly over time. To end with a well-known quote, “no pain, no gain”.