Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Try your vet for the GHRH gene shot

Why go to all the bother of growth hormones? Why mess around with that Chinese stuff, when you can never be sure it's any good? Chemical athletes who know their stuff have a better way of getting their growth hormone and IGF-1. The procedure is simple: disguise yourself as a Saint Bernard dog, act like your kidneys have stopped working and call VGX Pharmaceuticals in the US. [Website]

Researchers for the company did anabolic gene tests on dogs with cancer a while ago. This time they've published the results of study on thirty cats and dogs with malfunctioning kidneys in BMC Biotechnology. The animals were given a single injection of new GHRH genes. The dogs got dog genes; the cats got cat genes. The researchers injected the genes into a muscle and then gave the animals electrical pulses to increase the uptake of the synthetic genes in the muscle cells. The photo below shows the instrument they used for this.

Try your vet for the GHRH gene shot

Fifteen cats and twelve dogs were given no treatment, and functioned as a control group. The researchers monitored the animals for 75 days after giving them the injection.

GHRH stands for growth hormone releasing hormone. Normally the hypothalamus manufactures the hormone, which stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete more growth hormone. But if you punch the GHRH gene straight into a muscle cell, the cell itself starts to produce the hormone and secretes it into the blood. It works in pigs – and in the sick cats and dogs in this study as well.

The treatment extended the lifespan of the animals. For example, of the dogs in the control group, 17 percent were still alive on day 75. In the group with the new genes, 70 percent of the dogs were still alive after the same amount of time.

The new genes increased the production of growth hormone, and therefore also the IGF-1 production. The figure below shows the effect of the treatment on the dogs' IGF-1 level.

Try your vet for the GHRH gene shot

The dogs in the control group lost weight during the experiment, but the animals that had been treated with GHRH genes put on weight. The increase in bodyweight of these dogs was 23 percent.

The dogs' quality of life also improved through the treatment. The researchers had feared that the animals would develop antibodies in response to the GHRH injection. That happens sometimes in experiments where animals are given new EPO genes. It even happens sometimes to humans who inject EPO genes in the old-fashioned way. But the researchers found no antibodies in the animals in the experiment. Apparently introducing GHRH genes is safer than introducing EPO genes, they conclude.

So, all of you who aspire to be top athletes, you know what to do. Chuck some protein-rich supplements into your suitcase, get your shots and take a plane to the US. You’ll find your ticket to the gold medal at 2700 Research Forest Drive, Suite 180, The Woodlands, Texas.

BMC Biotechnol. 2009 Jan 16;9(1):4. [Epub ahead of print].