Pros And Cons Of Synthetic Enhancement

1401 words - 6 pages

Since recent scandals involving athletes and performance enhancing drugs, it has brought about the debate on what should and shouldn't be legalized. Steroids on one hand, have been proven to effect athletic performance, but also have been proven to have many negative effects to liver function, reproductive system, the cardiovascular system and other physical and observable side effects. Human growth hormone (HGH), on the other hand, has also been proven to enhance athletic performance but has not been studied enough to prove any long term negative effects though there are some reported negative side effect in healthy mature patients after taking HGH. In regards to taking HGH it is the decision of the individual whether the rewards are worth the potential risk of taking HGH.
HGH is produced by samatotropes in the pituitary gland of the human brain. Samatotropes make up more than 50% of the pituitary gland and growth hormone is by far the most important hormone produced there. The acronym HGH refers to the synthetic version of a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain; it is normally secreted in bursts, with the greatest amount released during sleep. The hormone stimulates the development of the muscles, bones, kidneys, liver, heart, and immune system during childhood and adolescence, and helps maintain muscle and keep body fat in check in adulthood.
In the 1999 April issue of "HARVARD HEALTH LETTER" there is an article about HGH that says, "Administered by injection and costs $15,000-$20,000 annually, can worsen glucose tolerance and high blood pressure and exacerbate arthritis. Some researchers even worry that it may raise cancer risk, although this has not been proven. Also hGH is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an "anti-aging" therapy. Although it bulks up muscles, studies have found that hGH has surprisingly little effect on muscle strength, function, or exercise tolerance." This is one of the arguments one might bring up when discussing the negative side-effects of HGH but in the same article says, "Researchers led by a team at the Medical College of Wisconsin reported data on 12 men age 61-81 who injected themselves with hGH three times a week. After six months, the men experienced changes that the authors suggested were akin to turning back the clock 10 to 20 years--they had an 8.8% increase in lean body mass, a 14.4% decrease in fat mass, and a 7.1% increase in skin thickness. (With normal aging, the skin becomes progressively thinner and more fragile, increasing the likelihood of bruising and tearing.)... Subsequent reports indicated that hGH's effects on body composition weren't limited to men. In a 1994 study of 27 healthy women age 62-82 who received hGH or a placebo substance for six months, those on hGH experienced an 11% decrease in fat mass; those on the placebo lost none. Although hGH did not significantly affect the women's muscle mass, it did appear to...

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