Growth hormone does not improve sports performance or increase muscle

Garvan's new research on the effects and the detection of growth hormone doping takes the international sporting community one step closer to stamping out drug cheats.
13 June 2007

Garvan's new research on the effects and the detection of growth hormone doping takes the international sporting community one step closer to stamping out drug cheats.

Lead investigator and endocrinologist Professor Ken Ho said: “We were surprised to find that human growth hormone has no effect on muscle mass or sports performance. However when taken with testosterone it does have an effect but cheats who use both drugs are much more easily caught with the promising new tests we have been evaluating”.

This is the first large-scale scientific study to evaluate the effects of human growth hormone taken alone and in combination with testosterone - a combination often used by sports drug cheats. The results of these studies have also helped develop a reliable doping test.

Garvan heads a consortium of five Australian and Japanese research groups (ANZAC Research Institute; Garvan Institute of Medical Research; Kolling Institute of Medical Research National Measurement Institute and Toho University Japan) that has been funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Australian Government Anti-Doping Research Program to develop a robust test for growth hormone doping.

CSIRO and the NSW Institute of Sport collaborated on the study.