|HGH has become a Favorite in Sports|
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on June 03, 2009
And as far as the Fountain of Youth aspect goes, there may even be some truth to it.Â HGH is a hormone produced naturally by the body -- especially during the developmental phases of growth.Â It helps the body develop muscle, decreases body fat, and helps bolster the immune system and aid recovery from injury as well as providing the body an energy boost.
Initially the use of HGH was limited to children who suffered from a lack of the natural hormone, and its use allowed them to achieve what was considered a more normal size and developmental pattern.Â It did this by stimulating growth and cell reproduction.Â By definition that makes HGH an anabolic agent (anabolic -- to build up, or more literally to throw upward).
It seems to have broken upon the athletic scene in the 1970s, long before a synthetic version of HGH existed.Â Â At that time the only source for HGH was the pituitary gland of cadavers and the cost was extremely high.Â Those two factors combined to make the use of HGH a very rare drug even in the ultra competitive world of sports.
That all changed with the creation of cheaper synthetic version of the hormone as recombinant DNA technology back in 1985.Â That opened the door for treatment of other diseases with HGH including life threatening diseases such as chronic renal failure and AIDS.Â In those cases the hormone is used to help maintain muscle mass despite the wasting nature of those diseases.Â
That anabolic effect would be enough to make HGH of interest to ballplayers but the truth is that the limits of what HGH can do is still being widely debated, leaving it in a quasi-legal state when used as treatment for other conditions such as enhanced weight loss, reversal of the signs of aging and increased healing factors, all of which make HGH even more attractive to athletes.
Huge salaries in baseball and the much lower cost of HGH made the hormone much more accessible during the 1990s and players definitely took advantage of it.Â Fueled by knowledge gleaned from both reliable and unreliable sources (like many internet sites), HGH appears to be a panacea for all the aches, pains and injuries that go with being a professional baseball player. That created a demand for it, especially since many players knew it wasnâ€™t technically considered a â€śsteroidâ€ť and so many people claims about its safety have been made.
But the truth is that no one knows all of the health risks associated with HGH.Â The knowledge on side effects and long term effects has lagged even as drug sales, legal and illegal, have surged.Â That has lead to a vacuum of information and many people including Radomski have some to the conclusion that this is a safe drug -- one which perhaps shouldnâ€™t be banned or illegal without a prescription.
That may be the truth -- or it may not be -- but it is on the list of banned substances in MLB, the Olympics and almost every other sport.Â Â But HGH has the advantage over other PEDs in that a reliable urine test for it has not yet been developed, thus rendering it invisible to baseballâ€™s drug testing program. Right now that probably makes it the performance enhancing drug of choice in the sport today.