The recent suspensions of high-profile major league baseball players has raised a lot of questions about performance enhancing drugs. HGH, or human growth hormone, is one substance that's found its way into the headlines. Mayo Clinic physiology researcher, Michael Joyner, M.D., says HGH is produced naturally in the body. Dr. Joyner says it's there primarily to help children grow, but diminishes in the blood stream as we age. Some have even tried to slow the aging process with synthetic HGH injections. Dr. Joyner says because the hormone can temporarily increase muscle mass and help muscles recover more quickly after intense use, it's become a tempting way for professional athletes to try to gain an edge. Major League Baseball started testing for HGH last year, but Dr. Joyner says it's still one of the easiest performance enhancing drugs to abuse.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Joyner are available in the downloads.
/// Sound Bite JOYNER #1 - HGH HARD TO TEST FOR: (Michael Joyner, M.D., Mayo Clinic Physiology Researcher) “There are pretty good tests for anabolic steroids, testosterone and amphetamines, kind of the traditional performance enhancing drugs, but growth hormone is very, very difficult to test for. “ TRT :11
Dr. Joyner says, unfortunately, many high school and college athletes have an easy time finding HGH products through the black market and Internet. He says unregulated clinics may also inject the hormone "off-label" for people who simply want to look and feel younger, but the quality of the product and the value of the practice are highly questionable.
/// Sound Bite JOYNER #2 - HGH INTERNET/BLACK MARKET SOURCES: (Michael Joyner, M.D., Mayo Clinic Physiology Researcher) “These so-called anti-aging clinics that give people hormones, you might be ahead for a while and people might get themselves a bit buffed up, but there’s not long-term evidence that this stuff works. And who knows what it’s going to do when you’re 70 or 80 years old?” :15
Dr. Joyner says research has shown that a short list of healthy lifestyle behaviors will bring more positive results for everyone, regardless of age or athletic ability. He recommends that we don't smoke, be physically active, control our weight, eat wisely - including eating an early breakfast, and be socially engaged with those around us.