via NY Daily News
Human growth hormone is a performance-enhancing drug that has been banned by the National Football League since 1991 — but the NFL did not start testing for it until 2014.
The use of steroids and human growth hormone for performance-enhancement has been used under the radar for many years. However, many people are unaware of the appropriate uses in which growth hormone is intended for — and it’s not sports.
Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and it helps to promote growth during childhood. It also helps regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function, and maintain tissues and organs throughout our lives.
s we age, there is less growth hormone produced by the pituitary gland. As a result, people who feel they need it often resort to synthetic human growth hormone to avoid the effects of less growth hormone that occur with age such as a decrease in muscle and bone mass.
Synthetic human growth hormone was developed in 1985 and approved by the FDA for specific medical uses in children and adults.
In children, HGH injections are available for treating conditions such as short stature with no known cause. It is also available for treating poor growth as a result of certain medical causes, including Turner’s syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, chronic kidney insufficiency, HGH deficiency or insufficiency, and in children born small for gestational age.
When is HGH appropriate for use in adults?
Adults who have been diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency may be prescribed synthetic human growth hormone by their doctors. This is not, however, growth hormone deficiency that is expected as a result of aging. You must have a clinically diagnosed medical condition.
For other uses of HGH, which happen to be the most common uses, are not approved by the FDA. Some people use growth hormone — as well as other performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids — to build muscle and improve athletic performance. Despite the popular use, there is no sufficient clinical evidence regarding the effects of HGH on athletic performance.
While there are instances in which HGH may be appropriate for use in adults, growth hormone deficiency in adults is actually quite rare. In these cases, it may be caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland or by treatment of the tumor with surgery or radiotherapy.
For the average healthy adult, there is limited evidence as to whether human growth hormone is beneficial for athletic performance.
While there is some evidence that human growth hormone may help increase muscle mass and reduce body fat, it turns out that the increase in muscle mass does not actually mean an increase in strength.
As for the side effects, they seem to outweigh the benefits. They may include carpal tunnel syndrome, swelling in the arms and legs, joint and muscle pain, and gynecomastia (enlargement of breast tissue in men). Human growth hormone may also be associated with developing certain medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.