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Human growth hormone (hGH) is also known as somatotropin and competes with anabolic steroids in the market of tissue-building, performance-enhancing drugs. Growth hormone, produced in the pituitary gland, stimulates bone and cartilage growth, enhances fatty acid oxidation, and reduces glucose and amino acid breakdown.

At first glance, Growth Hormone seems to be appealing because reduced GH secretion accounts for some of the decrease in fat-free body mass (lean body mass) and increase in fat mass that accompanies aging which can be reversed with GH supplements produced by genetically engineered bacteria. Supplementation, however, does not reverse the negative effects of aging on functional measures of muscular strength and aerobic capacity and few well-controlled studies have examined how HGH supplements affect healthy subjects undergoing exercise training. Furthermore, men receiving this supplement have reported hand stiffness, malaise, arthralgias, and lower-extremity edema.

Human Growth Hormone is one of the most powerful anabolic substances known to science. It is part of your normal production of hormones every day. Growth hormone output is critical to athletes, since it is the primary stimulus for muscle growth, muscle strength, skeletal growth, tendon growth, injury repair, and mobilization of fat for energy. This last factor, mobilization of fat for energy, is the reason for its recent resurgence in advertising.

Athletes in power sports, such as weightlifting, football and the field events of track and field competitions, are the most likely to experiment with HGH. Most believe it will provide many of the benefits of anabolic-androgenic steroids such as increased muscle mass, but much more safely. However, most of the information about its use comes mainly from hearsay and brochures distributed through health food stores and over the internet.

Growth hormone is released into the bloodstream by a variety of natural stimuli, including sleep, heat, exercise, food deprivation, hypoglycemia, and certain amino acids and other nutritional manipulations. Use should be prescribed and precise, and must be based upon science, not hearsay. In some cases, if taken orally it will be destroyed by digestion.

Today we see people who are not even getting what they think is growth hormone. Vials are being falsely labeled and some is being "spiked" with other ingredients. It is 100% certain that some people will use excessive amounts and will suffer the side effects of gigantism, including overgrowth of bone ends, hands and feet and skull bones, giving an Ape-man appearance. Especially prominent is the ridge above the eyes and the enlargement of the lower jaw. Additional less visual side effects include insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes, water retention, and carpal tunnel compression.

Medically, children who suffer from kidney failure or GH deficiency receive weekly injections of this hormone to help them achieve near-normal size. In young adults with hypopituitarysim, GH replacement therapy improves muscle volume, isometric (static) strength, and exercise capacity.

This information, coupled with reports of athletes mega-dosing in the range of 20 times the recommended dosage for therapeutic purposes is frightening. The possible dangers of its long-term use in healthy people has not yet been determined.

Why put something into your body that isnít 100% proven by good scientific research? In my opinion it isnít worth the possible side effect risks.

The rationale for trying this kind of stimulant comes from clinical use in deficient patients to regulate anabolic hormones. Research on healthy subjects, (third party, double-blind, randomized, crossover, peer reviewed, published in professional journals) does not provide convincing evidence for a positive effect of oral amino acid supplements like GH on hormone secretion, training responsiveness, or exercise performance.

Certainly the legitimate market for growth hormone is good, as it may have some benefit in treating osteoporosis and obesity, although it has not yet been proven scientifically effective for either condition.

The athletes use of growth hormone is a form of cheating, counter to the quest for physical excellence that sport is supposed to honor. HGH carries the risk to health, and ultimately, its use can be coercive to other athletes. Parents and coaches would not be fulfilling their function as guardians of their children or athletes well being by giving them substances that could harm them. At this point the risks far outweigh any advantage which might be gained by taking a chance.

Author/speaker and an expert in ”Sports Performance Enhancement”. Jack Medina is available for speaking engagements, consultation and personal training of athletes in various sports, professional and amateur. Jack has written a new book, “The Winning Edge: Fueling & Training The Body For Peak Performance” with Dr. Roy Vartabedian, an internationally known New York Times Best Selling Author of the “Nutripoints” program for optimal nutrition. Both books are available online at Jack also has a monthly ezine (newsletter) available free which can be subscribed to on his website. All subscriber’s addresses will be confidential and not sold or given to any other organization or group.

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