Human growth hormones: are they really a "fountain of youth?" - abc27 WHTM

Cumberland County

Human growth hormones: are they really a "fountain of youth?" Part II

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Much like medicinal marijuana, human growth hormone is controversial. Here is the conclusion to an abc27 in-depth report on HGH.

Using HGH in athletics is banned from pro-cycling to hockey. The NBA will test for HGH in players at the start of the 2014 season.

This is the first year Major League Baseball will test players for HGH throughout the season. Last year, MLB only tested players during spring training.

The NFL and its NFL Player's Association are currently working out details of an HGH testing program.

Local bodybuilder Chris Bohonyi likes to see such a strong stance on illegal substances.

"I think it's smart they are testing for HGH because you don't want younger kids [to get involved]… it's not good to take at a young age."

Bohonyi is a sponsored athlete and is all about pushing the envelope. However, he said, there would never be a reason to inject himself with HGH.

"I don't think there's enough research out there to really know," said Bohonyi. "I would just stick to eating clean, getting a good workout plan, doing your cardio and getting your sleep."

Easy to say when you're young, Rose pointed out.

Medical research reveals when men turn 30, naturally produced HGH drops 25% every 10 years. So, at age 55, Rose believes HGH injections only replace what you've lost.

"It just seems certain parts of the community that are against it don't seem to be using it or don't have the answers."

But that's just it. Everything about HGH is inconclusive. Because the FDA banned all off-label use of HGH in 1998, medical research on benefits for those without hormone deficiencies are viewed as unethical. So most medical experts warn risks of damage outweigh the potential benefits.

"If that means that I don't climb to the highest levels in my fitness career, I'm ok with that because I don't know about long-term effects."

Dr. Cayce Onks with Penn State Hershey Medical Center's Camp Hill location warns anyone who may be enticed to try over the counter pills and creams: don't. Onks explains those products do not contain actual HGH, nor do they have the same impact as injections.

"It's not well regulated," said Onks. "It hasn't been proven to be needed or do anything when you are taking it. And so my advice to anyone asking me is save your money."

All medical experts do agree on this; there is one natural way clinically proven to boost HGH levels in your body—exercise.

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