Anti-doping center

Human growth hormone

What is human growth hormone?

Human growth hormone (hGH) is also sometimes known as somatotrophic hormone or somatotrophin. It is produced by the pituitary gland and is essential for normal growth and development. Human growth hormone is anabolic, meaning it accelerates protein synthesis and also aids the metabolism (breaking down) of fat stores.

Medical uses of human growth hormone

The uses of human growth hormone are limited in a medical setting:

• dwarfism and replacement therapy in growth-deficient children; • Turner's syndrome (a chromosomal condition where the second X sex chromosome in females is either absent or deformed; this causes growth and development problems); • renal insufficiency (kidney failure); • HIV (to treat muscle wasting).

Effects on performance

Athletes involved in powerful, strength demanding sports and events (weightlifting, body building, American football, etc.) are most likely to use human growth hormone due to its perceived anabolic effect:

• increased muscle mass; • decreased fat stores; • accelerated muscle recovery.

Many small studies however, have shown no increases in muscle size or strength following injection with human growth hormone. A common practice among body-builders and weight-lifters is to combine human growth hormone and anabolic steroids, with recent research demonstrating beneficial effects.

Side-effects of human growth hormone

The side-effects of human growth hormone are vast and serious:

• gigantism in younger athletes (or pituitary gigantism or giantism; refers to abnormally excessive growth in height, considerably above average); • acromegaly in adult athletes (a condition where the pituitary gland produces too much human growth hormone, resulting in the growth and swelling of body parts, typically hands, feet, nose but can progress to brow and jaw protrusion and swelling of internal organs); • hypothyroidism (low production of the thyroid hormone which disrupts metabolic rate and protein production); • cardiomyopathy (disease of the cardiac muscle, increasing the risk of arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death); • cardiac failure; • hypercholesterolemia (presence of high levels of cholesterol in the blood); • ischemic heart disease (a lack of blood to the heart often due to coronary artery disease); • myopathies (neuromuscular diseases affecting the function ofmuscle fibres); • arthritis; • diabetes; • impotence; • osteoporosis; • menstrual irregularities in women; • CJB (Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or mad cow disease; this is only possible when the human growth hormone is maintained from cadavers (corpses) rather than synthetic production).


Chorionic gonadotrophin


Insulin-like growth factor

S0. Non-approved substances

S1. Anabolic agents

Anabolic androgenic steroids

Other anabolic agents

S2. Peptide hormones, growth factors and related substances

S3. Beta-2 agonists

S4. Hormone and metabolic modulators

S5. Diuretics and other masking agents 


Other masking agents

M1. Manipulation of blood and blood components

M2. Chemical and physical manipulation

M3. Gene doping

Substances and methods prohibited at all times 

Substances and methods prohibited in-competition

Substances prohibited in particular sports