Lionel Messi Conquered Bad Diet and Health Condition to Become a World Champion

Lionel Messi accomplished 16 records, 695 club, and 91 international goals, to become one of the world’s greatest soccer players. Despite his hard work and talents  the champion had to overcome a serious health condition and poor diet to reach the top.

lionel messi growth hormone disorder


Diagnosed With Growth Hormone Disorder

Born in Rosario, Argentina, Messi loved playing soccer, the favorite sport of his South American homeland. However, being the shortest player for his age in the local club dashed any hopes of professional success.

At puberty Messi was just over four feet tall—a far cry from the average six foot tall soccer players.

Messi was 9 years old when Diego Schwartzstein, M.D. diagnosed him with a rare disease called growth hormone deficiency (GHD). The condition, also known as dwarfism or pituitary dwarfism, occurs when the pituitary gland produces insufficient amounts of growth hormone, and leads to impaired height and physical development.

It can be a genetic condition or acquired later in life, and be either mild or severe. Treatment consists of daily growth hormone shots. There is no record of the severity of Messi’s condition at diagnosis.

“Lionel made the treatment for a proper time,” Schwartzstein., told BBC News in a recent interview.

He started at 9 years old and finished it at 14 or 15 when he was in Barcelona. “But that was the right time to have a full growth with the help of this hormone.” Schwartzstein said.

Messi’s adult height is 5 feet 7 inches, bringing him eye to eye with the shorter members of his team.

Without treatment, Messi might have experienced health risks that would have made a professional athletic career nearly impossible.

Severe growth hormone deficiency can increase the risk of low blood sugar in young children and affect heart health. It also “can be associated with poor muscle development in some cases,” Perrin White, M.D., professor and chief, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center, in Dallas, told The Epoch Times.

Untreated growth hormone deficiency is linked to reduced lean body mass, increased fat mass, lower bone mineral density, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

“There are reports of lower quality of life related to lower energy levels in adults [for the untreated],” said Molly O. Regelmann, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, in New York told The Epoch Times.

Did Treatment Give Messi an Unfair Advantage?

Growth hormone treatment can be abused by athletes, who may take high doses to increase muscle development.

White warned that the practice is medically risky because high doses may bring adverse effects, such as an increased risk of diabetes.

However, doses can be monitored with a blood test for a protein regulated by a growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).

“As long as IGF-1 is normal for age, the athlete would not have an unfair advantage,” said White.

Studies assessing the effects of growth hormone when used by healthy, young people found no performance benefit. (12)

Messi wasn’t looking for an advantage—he required treatment to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

Messi’s doctor confirmed that the goal was treatment for his disorder—not to provide an edge in sports.

Messi Conquered His Unhealthy Diet

In a 2018 interview, Lionel Messi admitted his diet was very unhealthy and he would regularly vomit during games.

“I ate badly for many years; chocolates, sodas, everything,” Messi told La Cornisa TV. “That’s what made me throw up during games.”

“Now I take care of myself better. I eat fish, meat, vegetables. Everything is organized and in order.”

The man who taught Messi to eat healthy is nutritionist and kinesiologist Giuliano Poser, who told AS.com that he started by eliminating processed foods from Messi’s diet. He then added foods rich in vitamins, cereals, vegetables, fish, and olive oil.

“Also very good are nuts and seeds,” Poser told Mundo Deportivo, a Spanish Newspaper. He warned Messi against sugar, saying it’s the “worst thing” for muscles.

Like many nutritionists, he advises against excessive meat consumption—which can’t be easy for Messi since Argentinians are famous for their traditionally meat-heavy diet.

“The amount of meat normally eaten by Argentinians and Uruguayans is too much, as it is difficult to digest,” he said.

Reposted from: https://www.theepochtimes.com/health/lionel-messi-conquered-bad-diet-health-condition-to-become-a-world-champion_4943774.html

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