Human Growth Hormone

Growth hormone (GH) is a peptide hormone. It stimulates growth and cell reproduction in humans and other animals. It is a 191-amino acid, single chain polypeptide hormone which is synthesized, stored, and secreted by the somatotroph cells within the lateral wings of the anterior pituitary gland. Somatotrophin refers to the growth hormone produced natively in animals, the term somatropin refers to growth hormone produced by recombinant DNA technology and is abbreviated "rhGH" in humans.

This hormone is used clinically to treat children's growth disorders and adult growth hormone deficiency. In recent years, replacement therapies with human growth hormones (HGH) have become popular in the battle against aging. Reported effects include decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, increased bone density, increased energy levels, improved skin tone and texture, and improved immune system function. At this time HGH is still considered a very complex hormone and many of its functions are still unknown.

In its role as an anabolic agent, HGH has been used by competitors in sports since the 1970s, and it has been banned by the IOC and NCAA. Traditional urine analysis could not detect doping with HGH, so the ban was unenforceable until the early 2000s, when blood tests that could distinguish between natural and artificial HGH were developed. Blood tests conducted by WADA at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece primarily targeted HGH.