Growth hormone doping: a review
Ioulietta Erotokritou-Mulligan, Richard IG Holt, Peter H Sönksen
Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Division, University of Southampton School of Medicine, The Institute of Developmental Science, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
Abstract: The use of growth hormone (GH) as a performance enhancing substance was first promoted in lay publications, long before scientists fully acknowledged its benefits. It is thought athletes currently use GH to enhance their athletic performance and to accelerate the healing of sporting injuries. Over recent years, a number of high profile athletes have admitted to using GH. To date, there is only limited and weak evidence for its beneficial effects on performance. Nevertheless the “hype” around its effectiveness and the lack of a foolproof detection methodology that will detect its abuse longer than 24 hours after the last injection has encouraged its widespread use. This article reviews the current evidence of the ergogenic effects of GH along with the risks associated with its use. The review also examines methodologies, both currently available and in development for detecting its abuse.
Keywords: performance enhancing substance, GH, doping in sport, detection methods
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