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Baseball Reporting Of HGH Is Confusing

News reports on HGH and baseball can be misleading and confusing to the public.  The following are excerpts, highlighted in blue, from ABC7Chicago.com on 03/01/07. Explanations that clear up the confusion follow in black.

Major League Baseball officials want more information on allegations the Los Angeles Angels outfielder received human growth hormone from a pharmacy that's part of a widespread steroid investigation."We're looking into it," baseball spokesman Rich Levin said Thursday. "I know our people are going to contact the Albany district attorney."

The problem with this lead paragraph is the unintended link of human growth hormone and steroids.  It's use is not permitted by Major League Baseball.  But HGH is not a steroid.  It’s like any other prescribed drug.  If you have a prescription it’s not illegal to own or to use.  This same pharmaceutical substance is contained in all homeopathic preparations and is perfectly legal for over the counter sales as its been allowed in this form by the FDA.  Many athletes are using homeopathic oral spray for this reason.  There is no test for it so baseball players need to be caught actually spraying the substance or admitting to it’s use.

Four more people are expected to surrender in Albany, N.Y., on Monday as part of the investigation into an illicit steroid distribution network that may be responsible for Internet sales of performance-enhancing drugs nationwide. Though Matthews, former baseball star Jose Canseco and former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield were reportedly among the customers, district attorney P. David Soares has repeatedly said physicians and distributors, not users, are his focus.

DA Soares is targeting “physicians and distributors” which is an excellent idea.  Internet sales of illegal steroids is a menace to society and dangerous to the health of humans in general.  Realistically, he won’t have any success stopping doctors, unless they are handing out HGH prescriptions illegally.  But he will be able to stop HGH distributors, especially online vendors.

An Albany County grand jury also has indicted the two owners of Applied Pharmacy Services in Mobile, Ala., according to the Times Union of Albany, which first disclosed the investigation. Matthews, Canseco and Holyfield allegedly were on Applied Pharmacy's customer list, the Times Union said. And SI.com reported that Matthews was sent Genotropin, a brand of synthetic growth hormone, in August 2004.The drug, which came from Applied Pharmacy, was sent to the address in Mansfield, Texas, of one of Matthews' former minor league teammates, according to the Internet site. Matthews has declined to answer specific questions about the allegations."

Again, Genotropin which is pharmaceutical HGH that is injected, is not illegal unless the pharmacy sent it out without a doctor’s proper and legal prescription.  It’s the same thing as if the pharmacy was shipping out narcotics to people without prescriptions.  The linkage that human growth hormone is as bad as steroids or even narcotics can be easily and wrongly associated by the general public.  This is true as well for the over the counter and perfectly legal homeopathic oral sprays.

HGH is a rarely prescribed drug whose legal uses have to be specifically approved by the Health and Human Services secretary. But it's become popular on the black market with people looking to gain strength or reverse the aging process.

The Health and Human Services secretary has approved human growth hormone to treat dwarfism and other obscure diseases.  But doctors often prescribe all kinds of drugs to cure diseases or other illnesses that particular drugs are not specifically approved to treat.  This is common practice.  Many doctors in private practice have set up anti-aging institutes that prescribe human growth hormone therapies with carefully controlled protocols for their clients.  There have been over 1700 studies done on the effects of injectible, pharmaceutical, human growth hormone and yet the FDA has never approved the hormone for anti-aging.  It’s only “black market” if HGH is not prescribed.  Homeopathic HGH oral sprays do not need prescriptions as they are allowed by the FDA for over-the-counter sales.  They only achieve 60%-80% of the rise in IGF-1 levels that injections achieve, but the cost is far lower and the Feds won’t be beating down your door.

The Albany case -- along with a similar investigation by federal prosecutors in Rhode Island -- are a shift in the fight against doping. Testing may expose athletes who cheat, but it does little to deter those who make, market and distribute performance-enhancing substances. Stopping the flow of drugs requires punishing the sources -- something sports agencies can't do.

Those reading this article might assume that human growth hormone is “dope” or that it is part of the steroid family.  It’s not.  The inclusion of HGH in this grouping is misleading to the public.  And whether human growth hormone enhances performances or not is something that remains to be proven.  But pharmaceutical HGH injections, properly prescribed by a licensed physician, is not illegal.  Currently there is no test that shows human growth hormone in the system although the above paragraph implies that there is.  There are tests for steroids and narcotics. 

Just as pharmaceutical HGH is several steps away from steroids and narcotics, homeopathic oral sprays are several steps away from pharmaceutical injections.  All homeopathic remedies, whether they be for allergies, flu symptoms, menopause or what-have-you, are extremely safe and gentle on the system. So it makes sense that many athletes are turning to it as an edge in their performance particularly since it is perfectly legal to purchase over the counter at any health food store or online provider.

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