The effect of growth hormone on heart hypertrophy

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The effect of growth hormone on heart hypertrophy
The effect of growth hormone on heart hypertrophy

Find out what is the most important and dangerous side effect of growth hormone for athletes who use it on a regular basis. Sports pharmacology and the heart is a complex topic to consider. Today, almost all health problems of athletes are usually associated with steroids or growth hormone. In this case, most often no evidence is provided. We will try to answer the question of how growth hormone and heart hypertrophy are interrelated.

Growth hormone side effects

The pumped body of an athlete
The pumped body of an athlete

You should start by describing the possible side effects of this drug. It would be foolish to deny their existence. Since a synthetic substance is completely analogous to an endogenous one, the body most often perceives it perfectly. With the correct use of the drug, side effects practically never appear. The risks of their development increase dramatically in situations where athletes violate the rules of application.

Unfortunately, today there is little reliable information about the proper use of sports pharmacology. And this primarily concerns the CIS countries. In the West, this issue is somewhat different and there is a fairly large amount of specialized literature. Today's article will primarily be useful to sports fans.

It's no secret that getting steroids or growth hormone is now quite simple. But with the correct use of these drugs, the situation is completely different. However, let's still consider the most likely side effects of growth hormone:

  1. Tunnel Syndrome - pain and numbness of the limbs. With the growth of muscle tissue, peripheral nerve endings are compressed. This side effect does not pose a serious health hazard and can be easily eliminated with the help of special drugs.
  2. Accumulation of excess fluid in the body - not all athletes consider this a side effect. Growth hormone does not contribute to severe water retention. To minimize this phenomenon on the course, it is necessary to give up alcoholic beverages and limit the use of salty foods.
  3. Increased blood pressure - everything returns to normal after a decrease in the dosage of somatotropin or the start of the use of special medications.
  4. Suppression of the thyroid gland - growth hormone practically does not have such an effect. However, pro-athletes using high doses inject thyroxine into the growth hormone course.
  5. Hypertrophy of internal organs - possible only when using high dosages.
  6. Feeling weak in the morning - this is how the body can react to antigens, which indicates the low quality of the drug used.
  7. Increase in the size of the abdomen - there is no hard scientific evidence yet. Sports medicine experts believe that a side effect is possible when high dosages of growth hormone are combined with insulin. This is how this drug is used by professionals.

Perhaps the most serious side effect of growth hormone is its effect on insulin concentration. These hormones are antagonists in the body. They are able to accelerate the synthesis of protein compounds, but have the opposite effect on the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Since the body has a mechanism for regulating the synthesis of hormones, there are no problems.

However, after the introduction of an exogenous substance, the rate of oxidation of carbohydrates decreases and fats are actively used as the main source of energy. This leads to the fact that after injection of growth hormone in the body, hyperglycemia or an increase in the concentration of glucose in the blood develops. Again, this is most pronounced at high dosages. Athletes use insulin to treat more serious side effects.

Growth hormone myths

Athlete close up
Athlete close up

There are three side effects that are impossible in practice:

  1. Slowing down the synthesis of endogenous hormone. A study was conducted with the participation of more than one hundred people. None of the subjects had a similar problem. However, it should be agreed that after the course, the process of producing your own growth hormone can hardly be called normal. Any course lasting more than 30 days can be compared to hormone replacement therapy. Remember that after the first course of the drug, the body will never synthesize the substance in the same quantities.
  2. The development of tumor neoplasms. Growth hormone is capable of causing rapid division of any cell structure. It does not matter for the substance whether the neoplasm was malignant or not. As a result, scientists became interested in the question of whether a course of growth hormone is capable of causing the development of oncological ailments. As a result, the answer was negative.
  3. Potency and erectile function. By analogy with steroids that affect the reproductive system, many believed that growth hormone also has similar effects. However, in the course of research, this has not been proven. Actually, the growth hormone in the body is designed to solve other problems.

Is heart hypertrophy possible after using growth hormone?

Heart Rate Line Plot
Heart Rate Line Plot

If you are interested in the answer to the question about the relationship between growth hormone and heart hypertrophy, now you will find out. A large-scale study was carried out, which we will describe in detail. Its results indicate that a solo course of growth hormone is not able to cause hypertrophy of the heart muscle. But the combination of steroids with growth hormone can lead to this result.

If before all the debates on the influence of sports pharmacology on the structure of the heart muscle were theoretical, now everything has changed. The experiment, which will now be discussed, involved 20 bodybuilders using sports pharmacology. Note that discussions on this topic in the scientific world began in the eighties. Actually, it was at this time that somatotropin began to be actively used by professional builders.

In some sports disciplines, the active use of steroids caused an increase in the size of the left ventricle. Recall that this section of the heart muscle is the beginning of the great circle of blood flow. Through the left ventricle, oxygen-enriched blood is carried throughout the body. With excessive hypertrophy, arrhythmia develops, and the worst result can be death.

In 2001, a group of scientists from Australia found that a similar problem exists in natural bodybuilding. At the same time, they proved that this does not in any way affect the health of athletes. Of course, the scientists did not intend to stop there, and two years later a new study was conducted. Actually, his results confirmed what had already been established by the first research group.

Now we turn to the experiment, which was discussed above, and its results will give us an answer to the question of the relationship between growth hormone and heart hypertrophy. The study involved 20 bodybuilders. Since steroids are not legally sold in most countries, the drugs they used were purchased on the black market. In the course of the laboratory analysis, it was found that the drugs are of good quality.

16 athletes used only AAS, and drug dosages ranged from several hundred milligrams to one gram. The remaining four athletes used steroids in combination with growth hormone. The dosage of growth hormone was from two to four units with a course duration of 4–6 weeks. Growth hormone was administered every other day, and the doses of steroids they used were 1.3 times higher than the number of drugs in the first group.

After completing anabolic courses, scientists conducted a study of the heart muscle of athletes. The control group consisted of fifteen young men leading an active lifestyle, but not using strength training. We summarized the results obtained, where the first number is an indicator in the control group, the second is when using AAS, and the third is when using AAS + GR:

  • Heart rate, beats / min - 66/65/65.
  • Systolic blood pressure, mm Hg pillar - 131/131/130.
  • Diastolic blood pressure, mm Hg pillar - 77/76/89.
  • The mass of the left ventricle, gr - 167/257/342.
  • The ratio of the mass and length of the left ventricle, g / mm - 93/141/192.
  • Relative wall thickness - 0.37 / 0.42 / 0.53.
  • E / A ratio - 1.66 / 1.72 / 1.29.

As you can see for yourself, serious changes in the heart muscle occurred only in athletes who underwent a combined course using steroids and growth hormone. In athletes taking only AAS, only diastolic blood pressure increased. Most often, when talking about the high danger of steroids, it is on this point that they focus attention.

However, in cardiology, the most important is the E / A ratio. With its help, the efficiency of the heart muscle is determined. During the study, no significant changes in the E / A ratio were recorded. All this gives us the opportunity to say that steroids do not have a serious negative effect on the heart.

But in the second group of athletes, everything is much more serious. If you wanted to know about the relationship between growth hormone and heart hypertrophy, then it exists and we cannot please athletes. You can see the results for yourself, but unfortunately, the bad news does not stop there. Today we are interested in the relationship between growth hormone and heart hypertrophy. Scientists stated the fact that in the case of the combined course, it is straight.

Compare the mass of the left ventricle and everything will become clear - it has doubled. In addition to all of the above, we note that over time, after a course of growth hormone in combination with steroids, the negative consequences decrease. This became known after 237 days after the completion of the combined course, scientists again measured the parameters of the heart muscle.

Of course, the results of this study cannot be absolutely accurate and the only true. However, they allow us to draw the following conclusions:

  1. Steroids do not damage the heart muscle as much. As is commonly believed.
  2. The combination of growth hormone with AAS leads to serious changes in the heart, including left ventricular hypertrophy.
  3. The side effects of the combination of growth hormone and steroids are partially reversible.

In conclusion, I would like to remind once again that having decided to use sports pharmacology, the athlete should approach this issue with the utmost responsibility. It is very important to provide the body with sufficient time to recover from the courses. Especially, according to scientists, this is true for athletes over 30 years old.

You will learn more about growth hormone from the lecture of Professor Seluyanov: