Is human growth hormone an ergogenic aid?

Drug Test Anal. 2009 Sep;1(9-10):412-8. doi: 10.1002/dta.58.


Growth hormone (GH) was first isolated from the pituitary gland in the 1940s. It is believed that athletes have been abusing GH for its anabolic and lipolytic effects since the early 1980s, at least a decade before endocrinologists began to treat adults with GH deficiency. Most of our knowledge about GH abuse is anecdotal but a number of high-profile athletes have admitted using GH. Despite its widespread abuse, there is debate about whether GH is ergogenic. Indeed most scientific studies have not shown a performance enhancing effect. This review will address why this discrepancy of opinion between athletes and scientists exists and why the author believes that the scientists are wrong.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Athletic Performance*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / drug effects
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Doping in Sports / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Human Growth Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Metabolism / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Human Growth Hormone