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Effects of HGH on Athletes

author image Andy Chasse
Andy Chasse is a certified personal trainer who began writing professionally in 2009. He works full time as a freelance writer, specializing in areas of fitness and nutrition. His writing has appeared online at BodyBuilding.com, Muscle and Strength and Elite FTS. Chasse is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from Sam Houston State University.
Effects of HGH on Athletes
A male athlete catching his breath. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images


With the increasing demands of sport, athletes are beginning to look for any way to increase their performance. The athletic arena is overflowing with competitiveness as these athletes strive to become better. HGH, or human growth hormone, is one of the methods athletes are using to boost their success. As the name implies, HGH is a hormone responsible for several aspects of growth. In addition, it has a number effects on athletes of all sports.

Aesthetic Enhancement

One of the qualities many athletes possess is aesthetic in nature--the appearance of the physique. Studies have shown HGH to directly aid in the development of lean muscle mass and the reduction of body fat. One particular study published in the New England Journal of Medicine followed 21 men taking a regular dosage of HGH. Because many of the subjects did experience both an increase in lean mass and a decrease in body fat, it is believed that HGH may have some effect on these qualities.

Performance Enhancement

It is thought that the effect of aesthetic enhancement may also have some benefit on performance. Using football as an example, increased muscle mass may prove to be an indirect benefit to certain positions. As an offensive lineman who is constantly slamming directly against other rock-like athletes, the additional padding may help to reduce the risk of injury. The extra weight may also be considered to enhance performance as it provides a potentially stronger base of support for the athlete. However, it should be understood that no conclusive evidence has been gathered regarding HGH's direct effect on performance enhancement for athletes.

Injury Recovery

As HGH does stand for human growth hormone, it seems safe to assume that it may play a role in injury recovery. There is both theoretical and practical evidence to support this. A Miami Dolphins football player was able to use HGH to reconstruct a seemingly destroyed knee. After undergoing multiple surgeries, Abdul-Karim al-Jabbar turned to HGH. With nearly all of the cartilage in his bad knee gone, it appeared to be his last option. Amazingly, with regular injections of HGH into this area, his problems began to disappear. While this is only one particular case, it is possible that his sudden knee repair was influenced by his use of HGH.

Side Effects

Although both aesthetic enhancement and performance enhancement may sound tempting to the athletes out there, HGH does come with a few possible side effects. Use of HGH has been shown to promote fluid retention which can lead to a host of problems, including both joint pain and swelling. Symptoms of diabetes may also appear during use of HGH. Despite these potentially negative side effects, proper HGH supplementation has been proven relatively safe.

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