The human growth hormone, also known as HGH, is a highly controversial drug that is becoming more and more prevalent in the athletic community. The rumors are that it can make you faster, stronger, leaner, and an overall better competitor. However, recent studies are beginning to show that may not be true.
The human growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. The human growth hormone is responsible for growth spurts in puberty, as well as the growth of muscle and organs. A synthetic human growth hormone was developed to aid those who suffered from an underdeveloped pituitary gland or other related medical problems.
Athletes began using HGH because it was thought it would increase the rate of muscle growth as well as stamina. It seems that the use of HGH is only growing more widespread in the world of athletic competition. One of the main concerns of HGH use is that though HGH does increase cell growth rate in healthy cells, it could also facilitate the growth of unhealthy or cancerous cells, making it very risky to use.
Studies on the effects of the human growth hormone in athletic performance have been going on for at least two decades. These studies have two groups of athletes, one given HGH, the other given a placebo injection. The results were (and continue to be) somewhat surprising.
According to a compilation of various studies on HGH done in The Annals of Internal Medicine, the athletic prowess of the two groups showed little to no difference. This may lead many to believe that the human growth hormone has no purpose for athletes. However, it’s very clear that many athletes do use HGH. The question is why.
While it seems clear that the human growth hormone doesn’t directly affect performance, it may have a very prominent indirect effect. HGH’s main appeal to athletes is that they can increase the amount and difficulty of their training. By taking the human growth hormone, athletes are able to train more and take on a heavier load than without it. Therefore, their abilities increase due to the extra training they can do.
Not only does it seem that HGH can increase the difficulty and duration of the training and practice that athletes can accomplish, it also speeds up recovery time from a big event or an injury. In November of 2003, Outside Magazine enlisted journalist and ultra-endurance cyclist Stuart Stevens to actively search out and take HGH as part of an undercover investigative article. He reported that after biking 200 miles, the very next day he felt hardly any soreness, despite being extremely sore after biking that distance in previous outings.
While there is still much to be learned about the human growth hormone and its effects on athletic performance, it is still illegal to use HGH for any purpose other than an FDA approved medically necessary situation. Athletes still seem to find ways to get HGH either from disreputable doctors or on the black market. Whether human growth hormone works for athletes or not, there is still a lot of investigation to be done about it.