HGH and Athletes

Many health-conscious people have long understood the benefits of human growth hormone (HGH) in the quest to remain younger longer. Now a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine has conclusively verified that HGH can improve physical performance.

The study, conducted by the Garvan Institute in Sydney, Australia, found that daily injections of HGH over an eight-week period could cut 0.4 seconds off a sprinter’s time over a 100-meter run. Runners taking HGH improved their sprint times by 4 percent to 5 percent.

Where does HGH come from?

Human growth hormone is produced naturally by the pituitary gland and is essential for growth and the body’s metabolism. Athletes have long used HGH to boost performance, but this study is the first to actually prove that the hormone improves physical performance.

Sprinters sometimes win races by only hundredths of a second, so even the smallest ways of boosting their performance are important.

HGH Study

The study involved 103 randomly selected recreational athletes in good health, all between the ages of 18 and 40 and who had been undergoing athletic training for at least a year. The test was double-blind and placebo-controlled, meaning that neither the athletes nor the researchers knew who was receiving HGH or the placebo, which was plain salt water. Each participant received either the placebo or a daily shot of recombinant HGH produced by drug-manufacturer Novo Nordisk. In addition, 68 of the test subjects received a weekly testosterone injection.

HGH Doses

The HGH doses given to the men were smaller than the amounts normally used by athletes and were administered for a shorter time. Researchers analyzed the physical performance of the athletes using a series of endurance and power exercises before the study began and then again after it had been completed. They also documented hormone levels and body composition.

Sprinting performance almost doubled for the men who received testosterone along with HGH supplements. The performance improvements disappeared six weeks after the study ended and the participants were no longer taking HGH supplementation.

The lead researcher was professor Ken Ho, who heads pituitary research at Garvan and also chairs the department of endocrinology at St.
Vincent’s Hospital.

“We used lower doses of growth hormone than athletes are reported to use, and for a shorter time,” Ho said in press release issued by the Garvan Institute. “We can speculate, therefore, that the drug's effects on performance might be greater than shown in this study, and its side effects might be more serious.” Ho concluded that HGH increases athletic sprinting whether it’s taken by itself or with testosterone injections.

“This improvement could turn the last-place finisher in the Olympic finals into a gold medal winner,” Ho said. Indeed, the gold-medal sprinter in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Usain Bolt, broke a world record with his time of 9.60 seconds. Last-place finisher Darvis Patton from the U.S. flew over the finish line only 0.34 of a second later.

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