Very often, a primary goal of resistance training programs is hypertrophy. To achieve this, many people lift weights and follow a sound nutrition program. However, some seek to fast-track these traditional methods by using more synthetic means. A recent study published in The American Journal on Addictions (2010; 20, 9–13) stated that 1 in 10 experienced male weightlifters, aged 18–40, uses human growth hormone (HGH). The study included 231 men who participated in an anonymous survey; the study’s focus on performance-enhancing drugs was not disclosed to participants. The authors also learned that 100 of those men were self-described “lifetime” users of anabolic-androgenic steroids.“

In summary, our preliminary observations suggest that illicit HGH abuse has become common among young American male weightlifters, and is often associated with polysubstance abuse, embracing both performance-enhancing and classical drugs,” stated the authors. “Escalating abuse of HGH may eventually pose significant health problems, given the evidence that long-term supraphysiologic levels of HGH may be associated with elevated morbidity and mortality.”

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