Growth Hormone in Sport? When it comes to building strength, speed and recovery, growth hormone (GH), and more known human growth hormone (hGH), is often called as one way to be the best. Athletes, however, should remember the risks associated with it from a health and clean sport future.
What is growth hormone?
Human bodies naturally produce growth hormone, which controls how the body grows and behaves in childhood and in adulthood but doesn’t directly affect on the muscles and bones. When growth hormone is produced by the pituitary in the brain, it circulates in the blood and stimulates the generation of a protein called IGF-1 from the liver. The IGF-1 protein is what ultimately stimulates the growth of muscle, bones and other tissues.
Growth hormone levels are highest in childhood and decrease with age. While adults can still produce growth hormone, but the levels are much lower than in adolescents and children.
Is growth hormone prohibited in sport?
Yes it is. On the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List growth hormone is in the category of Anabolic Agents and is prohibited for all levels of athletes at all times, including masters-level and junior athletes. Even if doctor prescribed you growth hormone for one of the conditions mentioned below, it is still required an approved Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for you to use it in sport.
Why would someone be prescribed growth hormone?
It may only be legally prescribed for a small number of situations. Doctors can prescribe it for a child to treat:
- Prader-Willi syndrome,
- growth hormone deficiency,
- idiopathic short stature (if a child is smaller than normal but there is no clear reason),
- Turner syndrome,
- growth failure (if child borned small who don’t catch up by the time).
Also it can be prescribed for adult to treat:
- radiation therapy,
- growth hormone deficiency (in case of pituitary disease),
However, the medical use of GH is very complex because specialists can not always determine the right time to give the medication. Also figuring out can be subjective who will actually get benefit from it. GH does not always cause a measurable growth rate or development.
What about the growth hormone from wellness or anti-aging clinics?
The use of GH for “another” use (not approved by the Food and Drug Administration) is unlawful and a felony under the Drug, Food and Cosmetic Act. According to a statement by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), growth hormone that is sold for anti-aging purposes or wellness is “distributed, marketed and illegally prescribed off-label to aging adults to reverse age-related bodily deterioration and replenish declining human growth hormone (hGH) levels.”
Some anti-aging or wellness clinics can also prescribe drugs that cause the body to revael more GH, such as growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) and other factors. Many substances that are advertised to have all these effects are new drugs that are not yet approved by the FDA. Under the WADA Prohibited List, GHRH are prohibited at all times.
Every athlete should check the anti-doping status of any medication he is prescribed. It can be done on GlobalDRO.com before using it in sport.
Dietary supplements to boost growth hormone?
Dietary supplements that to contain GH or that advertise to cause the release of growth hormone should not be used by athletes. And ofcourse any medication of dietary supplement is at the athletes’ own risk .
What are the health risks of using growth hormone?
Sometimes these side effects can be met from the use of growth hormone. Such as:
- increased blood pressure in the brain,
- irritation at the injection site,
- damage to the growth plates in the femur,
- damage to the vision and retina in people with diabetes,
- faster progression of scoliosis,
- swelling or stiffness in the arms and legs,
- generalized pain.
Long-term, the use of GH may cause the body to downregulate the growth hormone pathways or to stop producing its own.