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Growth Hormones Flex Little Muscle

Athletes Who Take Human Growth Hormones for Competitive Edge Derive Little Benefit, Studies Show

Spotlight on Performance-Enhancing Drugs continued...

The recent release of the Mitchell Report examining performance-enhancing drug use in major league baseball helped shed some light on the issue.

Many of the players named in the report were accused of using steroids and human growth hormones.

The report concluded that there is little scientific evidence linking growth hormone to improved strength in athletes. It also questions the long-term safety of growth hormone use in healthy, fit people.

"As is the case with steroids, human growth hormone is associated with potentially severe adverse effects," the Mitchell Report noted.

In children and adolescents who are still growing, too much growth hormone can lead to a rare condition called acromegaly, characterized by exaggerated bone growth.

There have also been anecdotes linking synthetic human growth hormones to the development of diabetes, hypertension, and even cancer in adults.

"Athletes who take growth hormones are really rolling the dice," Bowers says. "From my perspective, it is better to err on the side of caution if you don't know what the long-term risks are."

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