How much does growth hormone enhance athlete’s performance?

January 01, 0001

How much does growth hormone enhance athlete’s performance?

Growth hormone is widely abused by athletes, frequently with androgenic steroids. These Australian authors sought to determine the effect of growth hormone alone or with testosterone on body composition and measures of performance in a randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study of 8 weeks of treatment followed by a 6-week washout period. Participants were 96 recreationally trained athletes (63 men and 33 women) with a mean age of 27.9 years. Men were randomly assigned to receive placebo, growth hormone (2 mg/d subcutaneously), testosterone (250 mg/wk intramuscularly), or combined treatments. Women were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or growth hormone (2 mg/d).

They found: "Body cell mass was correlated with all measures of performance at baseline. Growth hormone significantly reduced fat mass, increased lean body mass through an increase in extracellular water, and increased body cell mass in men when coadministered with testosterone. Growth hormone significantly increased sprint capacity, by 0.71 kJ (relative increase 3.9%) in men and women combined and by 1.7 kJ (relative increase, 8.3%) when coadministered with testosterone to men; other performance measures did not significantly change. The increase in sprint capacity was not maintained 6 weeks after discontinuation of the drug.

The authrs concluded: "Growth hormone supplementation influenced body composition and increased sprint capacity when administered alone and in combination with testosterone."

This study funded by the World Anti-doping Agency goes a long way toward demonstrating how much edge athletes can get by illegal use of these performance enhancing drugs.

For the full abstract, click here.

Ann Intern Med 152(9):568-577, 4 May 2010
© 2010 to the American College of Physicians
The Effects of Growth Hormone on Body Composition and Physical Performance in Recreational Athletes-A Randomized Trial. Udo Meinhardt, Anne E. Nelson, Jennifer L. Hansen, et al. Correspondence to Dr. K Ho: [email protected]

Category: T. Endocrine/Metabolic/Nutritional. Keywords: athletes, athletic performance, growth hormone, testosterone, body composition, performance enhancing drugs, randomized controlled trial, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Linda French, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 25 May 2010

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