The New York Times recently published an article announcing a new anti-doping test for HGH. This gives us an opportunity to write a Q&A post, so that you’ll all be experts on HGH doping and HGH testing.
I’m half-serious, by the way. The quality of reporting on doping issues is so terrible, you can read this Q&A and you’ll know more about doping than 95% of the journalists who make a living writing about doping. (There are exceptions. I love you, Bonnie Ford!)
Q: What is HGH?
A: HGH is “human growth hormone”, a substance secreted by the pituitary gland that promotes growth in children and adolescents. HGH works by stimulating the body’s production of “insulin-like growth factor I” (IGF-1), and IGF-1 triggers the growth of bones and body tissues. This is well-known, basic, Wikipedia stuff.
Q: Why would an adult athlete want to take HGH?
A: Depending on who you believe, HGH may make adults bigger and stronger.
Q: You mean, HGH works like steroids?
A: Well, it’s not exactly clear. Some sources report that HGH works like anabolic steroids and testosterone to help build muscle. However, there’s no proof that HGH actually increases athletic performance.
Q: That doesn’t make sense. HGH MUST enhance athletic performance if it helps make you bigger.
A: That’s the strange thing. The studies seem to indicate that HGH might promote muscle gain, but HGH doesn’t seem to make you any stronger.
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