Monday, March 17, 2008

Wall Street Journal: HGH No Rocket Fuel

According to a Wall Street Journal article, scientific evidence goes against the idea that an HGHed up Roger Clemens would result in an increase in fastball velocity, strength and rage associated with its PED cousin, the anabolic steroid. It will, however, let your body recover like a radioactive Peter Petrelli, but it would seem that is not a point of interest.

What if Roger Clemens did take human growth hormone? It’s not clear his fastballs got any hotter because of it — at least not according to the scientific literature.

Stanford medical school researchers, their curiosity piqued by the brouhaha around athletes using HGH, recently tried to determine if the folks alleged to have used HGH were practicing evidence-based medicine. Do the data demonstrate any benefit for athletes? Little, if any, according to the results published in the current issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

The Stanford researchers found 27 past randomized, controlled studies, with a total of 303 participants, that tested the physiological effects of injections of growth hormone compared with a placebo in healthy people. The studies were also double-blinded, meaning the patients and researchers didn’t know whether they got the HGH or not.

Participants in the studies did seem to show an increase in their lean body mass, which is generally associated with more muscle. But in the two studies that looked at muscle strength, HGH users didn’t show an improvement. One possibility is that HGH is causing fluid retention, Hau Liu, the study’s lead author, tells the Health Blog. It’s hard to differentiate between muscle and fluids, he explains.

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