A Brazilian bodybuilder’s obsession to become the real-life “Incredible Hulk” spiraled into a deadly addiction. Romario Dos Santos Alves, 24, of Caldas Novas, is lucky to be alive after oil, painkillers, and alcohol left him facing a series of health issues. The married dad of one almost had both of his 25-inch biceps amputated when all his arm muscles turned to rock from synthol injections.

Alves became obsessed with the drug three years ago after noticing the big guys at the gym in Goiânia. They introduced him to synthol and he got excited about the results to the point where he lost control. Synthol, a site enhancement oil (SEO), contains 85 percent oil, 7.5 percent lidocaine, and 7.5 percent alcohol. It’s commonly used among the bodybuilding community because of its ability to create the illusion of a developed muscle. It helps to hide a lagging body part that is not responding well to training and is often injected in the calves, deltoids, biceps, and triceps.

The oil is so powerful, however, Alves's arms became solidified to the point where he couldn’t even inject them because “they were full of rocks.” In despair, the bodybuilder resorted to needles used on bulls to get his synthol fix. Eventually, Alves told Barcroft TV, “I decided to fix my ways and I never again wanted to take any drugs. We went through a really hard time and almost starved."

Frequent injecting led to several health scares, including constant pain, near kidney failure, and almost an arm amputation due to the toxins in the oil. “I remember the doctor told me that they would need to amputate both arms. They said everything in there, all my muscles, were rock,” he said. “And then thank God the doctor told me that they did not have to amputate — they could instead remove the synthol rocks which had formed in my arms.”

Alves' story is similar to Brazilian bodybuilder Arlindo de Souza, who has grown 29-inch biceps — the biggest in Brazil. De Souza admitted his biceps are fake and produced by synthol, which can be bought online or under-the-counter shady pharmacies. Doctors won’t operate on his massive arms because he “did it to himself,” according to de Souza.

Like Alves, de Souza is still tempted by the drug but admits he’s been clean and warns others to stay away from it.