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Growth Hormone Enhances Body Composition in Athletes

Last Updated: May 04, 2010.

Giving growth hormone to recreational athletes -- alone in women and alone or with testosterone in men -- results in increased sprint capacity and changes in body composition, according to a study in the May 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

TUESDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Giving growth hormone to recreational athletes -- alone in women and alone or with testosterone in men -- results in increased sprint capacity and changes in body composition, according to a study in the May 4 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Udo Meinhardt, M.D., of the Centre for Pediatric Endocrinology in Zurich, Switzerland and colleagues randomized 96 recreational athletes (63 men and 33 women; mean age, 27.9 years) in Sydney, Australia, to an eight-week regimen consisting of: for men, either 2 mg/day growth hormone, 250 mg/week testosterone, placebo, or a combination treatment; for women, either 2 mg/day growth hormone or placebo. At baseline and eight weeks, the researchers measured the subjects' fat mass, lean body mass, extracellular water mass, body cell mass, endurance, strength, power, and sprint capacity.

Both sexes who were given growth hormone had reduced fat mass, increased lean body mass, increased extracellular water, and increased body cell mass, but the change was greater in men also taking testosterone, the investigators found. Testosterone alone resulted in the same effects. Compared with placebo, changes from baseline with growth hormone were greater for fat mass in women and in the combined men-women group, and for lean body mass and extracellular water in all the groups. In addition, the authors found that, compared to placebo, growth hormone increased sprint capacity by 3.9 percent in men and women combined and by 8.3 percent in men also getting testosterone, gains that disappeared within six weeks after discontinuing treatment.

"Growth hormone supplementation influenced body composition and increased sprint capacity when administered alone and in combination with testosterone," the authors write.

Medication used in the study provided by Novo Nordisk and Organon.

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