A bodybuilder who obsessed over his body image nearly killed himself by pumping his biceps with artificial fillers.
Romario dos Santos, 25, admired the oversized physiques of the other bodybuilders who worked out at his gym. The bodybuilders shared their secret with the former bodyguard: they were injecting synthetic oil into their muscles.
Dos Santos quickly developed an addiction to the oil. He was thrilled with the results and he searched for other substitutes fillers to make his muscles even bigger. He soon began injecting a concoction of oil, alcohol and painkillers into his muscles.
“If you take it once, there will definitely be a second time — it’s addictive,” dos Santos told Barcroft.
Dos Santos said the artificial fillers soon calcified into huge rocks inside his biceps. The calcifications caused his muscles and ligaments to harden.
Doctors told dos Santos he would need to amputate both of his arms to save his life.
The married father of one couldn't kick his habit. He even enlisted his wife Marisangela Marinho, 22, to inject the substances into muscles he couldn't reach.
But she stopped when she saw his health deteriorating.
“She told me that if I start using it again or anything like it, she will leave me because of what she went through.
“I was hospitalized in a clinic and my wife was six months pregnant — it was just me and her, no friends or family,” he said.
To complicate his addiction further, dos Santos was hooked on the attention he received from total strangers on the street.
“Sometimes kids will come up to me and say that I look like the Incredible Hulk and hug me and have their photo taken with me," he told Barcroft.
Dos Santos finally kicked the habit after doctors told him they could save his arms by removing the calcified rocks.
Now dos Santos warns others about the risks involved in injecting substances into their muscles.
“I want other people to see the dangers, I could have died all because I wanted bigger muscles. It’s just not worth it.”