Growth hormone is for sprinters
Powerlifters, weightlifters, sailors and endurance athletes probably do not benefit from doping with growth hormone, but for sprinters the situation may be different. This is the conclusion reached by Australian growth hormone expert Ken Ho at the University of New South Wales, in a review published in the Archives of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Growth hormone is doping
Growth hormone may be on the doping list, but how strong are the scientific indications that growth hormone actually makes athletes perform better? Ho wanted to answer this question in his review, and collected all human studies with healthy and fit test subjects.
In almost all studies, subjects only received growth hormone. In real life, this is not the case. Pharmacological athletes almost always use growth hormone in combination with other performance enhancing agents such as anabolic steroids, insulin or thyroid hormones.
In the studies that Ho used, subjects received 15 to 180 micrograms per kilo of body weight per day for a maximum of 12 weeks.
Does not work
Studies have to date found no evidence that growth hormone increases the strength [Am J Physiol. 1992;262(3 Pt1):E261-7.] or aerobic endurance [Growth Horm IGF Res. 2017;34:38-44.] of athletes.
However, there is a study in which the administration of growth hormone increases athletes' anaerobic exercise capacity of athletes by 3.8 percent. [Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(9):568-77.] The dose that the athletes received was 2 milligrams of growth hormone per day. That is 2-3 times more than a young adult creates daily.
The administration lasted 8 weeks.
"When translated to proportionate time reductions, the 3.8 percent could equate to an improvement of 0.4 second in a 10 second sprint of 100 m or of 1.2 seconds in a 30 second swim of 50 m", the researchers write.
"In fit people, growth hormone in doses used in ethically-supervised studies does not affect muscle strength or aerobic capacity but improves anaerobic capacity," the researchers conclude. "The evidence suggests that growth hormone is unlikely to benefit power or endurance sports but likely to benefit sprint events."
Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2019;63(6):576-81.
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Growth Hormone & IGF-1