Is Human Growth Hormone Dangerous or Should We All Take it?The injury announces itself with a pop. Patients who tear an anterior crucial ligament, or ACL, say they hear winstrol nausea sound before they feel pain. The diagnosis is a different kind of blow. After surgery and months of a long rehabilitation process, most patients never regain their full pre-injury strength. To improve the odds of the nearlyhuman growth hormone joint repair a year who injure their ACLs, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan is investigating insights that may be gained from a controversial but potentially medicinal substance, human growth hormone, or HGH.
MedSport Studies HGH for ACL Repair | Medicine at Michigan
The injury announces itself with a pop. Patients who tear an anterior crucial ligament, or ACL, say they hear the sound before they feel pain. The diagnosis is a different kind of blow. After surgery and months of a long rehabilitation process, most patients never regain their full pre-injury strength.
To improve the odds of the nearly , people a year who injure their ACLs, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan is investigating insights that may be gained from a controversial but potentially medicinal substance, human growth hormone, or HGH.
Because of its status as a performance enhancing drug, HGH is rarely studied in sports medicine. As a result, surprisingly little is known about its biological effects.
In a new double blind trial, U-M researchers are administering HGH to patients just before and after ACL surgery, to see if it can stave off muscle loss to give athletes a more complete recovery. Bedi and his colleagues had to overcome a series of hurdles just to begin studying the hormone.
We are not looking in any way at performance enhancement. HGH is a hormone that stimulates cell growth and cell regeneration. In its synthetic form, HGH is available only by prescription and only for a short list of approved indications, including childhood growth disorders and wasting disease. In a legal gray area, HGH is sometimes prescribed for supposed anti-aging effects, which are not well-documented. It does shrink fat and cause muscle tissue to absorb water, improving definition, or tone.
Despite the bans against it, however, HGH may not enhance athletic performance when taken on its own. Instead, HGH prevents the degradation of muscle and helps protect tendons and ligaments. So part of the reputation is that people who are taking anabolic steroids are taking growth hormone with it. Mendias became interested in HGH as a possible therapy years ago.
He read about a study from the University of Copenhagen, where muscle atrophy was induced in healthy men. Subjects in their 20s were fitted with a hip-to-ankle cast for two weeks. Half of the men self-administered daily HGH, the other half a placebo. After the casts were removed, the group that took HGH had lost less muscle than the placebo group. And after six weeks of exercise, the group that took the hormone was able to regain full leg strength, while the placebo group never did.
Research funding can be political. The study had to get additional approval by the U. The human knee is made up of three bones.
Four major ligaments hold them together while allowing movement, like a set of perfectly threaded rubber bands.
The ACL, which crosses the inside of the knee diagonally, is vulnerable to snapping apart, especially in sports that require quick stops and changes of direction, such as soccer, football and basketball. About half of all ACL tears involve injuries to other parts of the knee as well. Patients who tear an ACL usually spend a few weeks resting and icing the knee to resolve swelling before surgery.
When a patient with an ACL tear is enrolled in the new U-M study, he undergoes strength testing and high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging of both knees. The high-resolution imaging is performed by Jon Jacobson, M. Despite all of the bans on HGH, its performance-enhancing effects are not well documented.
Patients in the study self-administer the HGH — or, in half of the patients, a placebo — by subcutaneous injection, twice a day. Treatment begins one week before surgery and continues for six weeks. In addition to periodic MRIs and strength testing, to gauge recovery, each patient has regular visits with an endocrinologist. Fellowship , professor of internal medicine, has studied HGH for other uses, and joined the research team to help determine dosing. Barkan, as well as Joel Gagnier, N.
D, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and epidemiology, and Troy Henning, D. The outpatient surgery is performed arthroscopically. The torn ligament has frayed ends, like the fringe of a mop, that make it unsuitable for repair. Instead, a rope of hamstring or patellar tendon is harvested as a graft from the patient. Holes are drilled into the tibia and femur. The graft is laced through the holes and fixed into place. Then the long work of rehabilitation begins.
Bedi says that despite his scientific curiosity about this research topic, he did feel some personal concerns to study HGH research because of its clouded reputation and ban in sports.
Bedi has a long resume of treating elite athletes. In sports medicine, he says, reputation is paramount. Pain medications, for example, are critical to cancer care and post-operative pain management, despite the fact that some people abuse them.
He added that the potential benefit is enormous. Bedi performs — ACL repairs each year. Bedi adds that ACL surgeries are likely to become even more prevalent, as youth competitive participation in cutting and pivoting sports continues to grow.
Patients who have had ACL reconstruction are more likely to experience arthritis in the decade following surgery. By restoring strength after the injury, HGH could help to prevent the onset of arthritis.
Jonathan Gumucio, a Ph. And the trial could have implications beyond knees. While the researchers are focusing on ACL tears for homogenous data, a similar problem pervades everything from Achilles tendon ruptures to hip fractures.
Even if the study results are positive and can be replicated, the researchers foresee another chain of hurdles before the treatment could be used. Physicians would have to reconsider a widespread perception of HGH as a doping agent. Surgical recovery would have to be approved as an indication for HGH prescriptions.
And athletic organizations might have to revise their anti-doping policies regarding HGH. Skip to main content. By Lily Raff McCaulou.