HGH doping scandals are once again front and center. Just recently the sports world was turned upside down over a doping scandal. Federal and state agents were quick to raid an Orlando pharmacy and a less than reputable looking office building located in Jupiter, Florida. One report said a massive illegal distribution network was busted, and that they were a major supplier of performance enhancing drugs and it’s believed the sports world will certainly be impacted by this raid.
Ironically these raids are really quite common and rather than targeting anabolic steroids they target human growth hormone distributions. Then the Feds love to point fingers – baseball players Gary Matthews Jr., Jerry Hirston, boxing champion Evander Holyfield, and pro wrestler Edge and Hurricane, Sylvester Stallone, and more.
To date, the media haven’t done a great job of distinguishing between anabolic steroids and the human growth hormone. After all, let’s be honest, sensationalism sells and if the media was not sensationalizing these busts, even though they involve no steroids, their stories would be rather boring and they’d likely lose readership. However, it’s not right of the media or anyone else to lump together anabolic steroids with HGH, because what it’s creating is the equivalent of the ‘war on drugs’ outside the sports arena.
What’s the Difference Between Anabolic Steroids and Human Growth Hormone
Well let’s look at some examples of the differences. Let’s say a baseball player uses steroid to beef up and improve his overall athletic performance. If that same baseball play used human growth hormone – this would not help the athletic’s abilities at all. The other huge difference is that anabolic steroids have horrible side effects including an increased risk of stroke, or testicular shrinkage. While HGH does have some side effects they are minimal and only become serious when HGH dosages are too high.
So if HGH doesn’t help the athlete’s performance, why bother even taking HGH and why are there rules against it to begin with?
Research and the Effectiveness of HGH
There is a widespread belief in the effectiveness of HGH, that dates back to a 1990 publication in the New England Journal of Medicine. A research team led by Daniel Rudman of the Medical College of Wisconsin gave regular growth hormone injections to a dozen men over the age of 60. At the end of the six-month treatment period, the test subjects had denser bones, thicker skin, less fat, and more lean body tissue. The paper likened these effects to a reversal of “10 to 20 years of aging.”
The Rudman study soon created a mega-industry of anti-aging drug regimens, and rejuvenation clinics. When you are healthy you secrete growth hormone naturally throughout your life. You will produce and highest concentration coming during adolescence. As we age, HGH levels fall off, and by 60-year-olds we generally produce half as much HGH as we did in our 20s.
In 1996, the FDA approved growth hormone as a replacement therapy for adults whose HGH secretions had fallen below normal levels. Since that time, journalists have immerged themselves in writing material that corresponds with the findings of Rudman.
In 2003, a writer for Outside went so far as to claim his eyesight improved, and that it made a scar on his forehead disappear. As well a GQ guinea pig said it filled him with a youthful radiance that lead to a his voice deepening and a renewed interest in online pornography.
Clinical researchers are less optimistic. It doesn’t take a degree to determine there are serious flaws in the Rudman study—For example, no one in the control group received a placebo. A more current review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that since then there have been better studies with similar results: It has been confirmed that if nothing else, HGH helps a person to reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. HGH might not give you longevity, but it can certainly help you look a lot better. For on the benefits of HGH read more here!
HGH Truth or Fiction
So looking better really isn’t beneficial to athletes. Having a leaner body isn’t going to help you throw a punch or hit a baseball. HGH has not been shown to increase the weight lifting ability or do any of the things that anabolic steroid do. So, why would athletes want to use HGH? Well some believe it does help performance but it is too subtle to be able to measure. Yet a tiny difference can be huge for an athlete. Others think that athletes and body builders are getting additional benefits by adding HGH to the mix of other steroids.
Still others believe that athletes aren’t using human growth hormone to beef up. Just about every athlete ever caught with HGH was recovering from an injury and many doctors feel that HGH can help speed up the repair of tissue. The problem is that to date there is no clinical research to support this theory. One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled Increased Mortality Associated with Growth Hormone Treatment in Critically Ill Adults found that human growth hormone actually shortened the lifespan of patients, who were in intensive care.
Even though there is no proof that the human growth hormone improved performance, the major sports leagues have banned the use of HGH, which encourages ideas that there is some tangible benefit, otherwise why would you ban it? Sadly this mentality has led to hysteria among the doping official who to date have not recognized they have created their own feedback loop with no facts to back it.
The WADA code says the use of substances “based on the mistaken belief they enhance performance is clearly contradictory to the spirit of sport.” In other words, if the athlete believes the HGH is giving them an unfair advantage, even when it is not, then they will believe they are cheating, when they really are not.
This twisted logic continues to lead to busts and big campaigns in the news about these busts and the human growth hormone. Any athlete caught with a vial of HGH suddenly becomes a spokesperson for HGH, which perhaps will be beneficial over time. Perhaps soon the media hype will make HGH so popular that it will squeeze out the dangerous anabolic steroids. That would be a good way to clean up the game.
The scandals associated with HGH will continue to occur. Eventually the research will support that while HGH has many excellent qualities, athletes using it should not be accused of doping, because it’s evident the doping authorities still do not understand the role of HGH.