hGH – HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE
hGH, produced by the pituitary gland, spurs growth in children and adolescents. It also helps to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism.
It is used to treat Turner’s syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects a girl’s development, Prader-Willi syndrome (an uncommon genetic disorder causing poor muscle tone, low levels of sex hormones, and a constant feeling of hunger), Chronic kidney disease and hGH deficiency or insufficiency.
hGH stimulates many metabolic processes in cells. hGH affects protein, fat, carbohydrate and mineral metabolism. The major role of hGH is to stimulate the liver to secrete Insulin-like Growth Factor-I (IGF-I). IGF-I stimulates production of cartilage cells, resulting in bone growth and also plays a key role in muscle protein synthesis and organ growth.
hGH is prohibited both in- and out-of-competition under section S2 of WADA’s List of Prohibited Substances and Methods.
Some of the effects attributed to hGH, which may explain the attraction for its use as a doping agent, especially in power and endurance sports, include the reduction of body fat (lipolysis), the increase in muscle mass and strength (anabolic effect), as well as its tissue-repairing effects (recovery) on the musculo-skeletal system. The anabolic actions of GH are mostly mediated through IGF-I and include increases in total body protein turnover and muscle synthesis. hGH also appears to be used synergistically with other performance-enhancing drugs, thus having an effect, albeit indirect, on muscle anabolism and athletic performance.
Commonly reported side effects for hGH abuse are: diabetes in prone individuals; worsening of cardiovascular diseases; muscle, joint and bone pain; hypertension and cardiac deficiency; abnormal growth of organs; accelerated osteoarthritis.
hGH can also lower life expectancy.