Last year my article here on Blogcritics talked about how as the media and sports fans became aware that steroids were a part of many athlete’s preparation, the athletes had already moved on to more advance substances. My point was that athletes were using Human Growth Hormone (HGH), had been using it for awhile and had already moved on to the “next generation” substances.
In particular I discussed IGF-1, a hormone that is produced in the liver as a result of the metabolism of HGH, and that had been in use for a while by body builders. This highly experimental drug is believed to be the most powerful growth factor produced by the body – even more powerful than HGH – and has been studied since the later part of the 1990s.
IGF-1 – which stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor – can produce some amazing results.
Despite the fact that much of the IGF-1 research dealt with lab rats, the results of these murine (lab rat) studies did lead to successful human trials that included children. It is unclear whether these studies can be extrapolated to include success with adults for performance enhancement. Even if there are no legitimate studies to determine if IGF-1 is safe and effective in adults, the fact that these results are “out there” means that people will want to use, and are using, IGF-1.
For going on for 60 years, experimental drugs have regularly become part of the “athletic underground” before working their way into the mainstream. Now that the prizes offered by sports success are more lucrative you can be sure this behavior will continue.
All of this brings me back to the Kirk Radomski case. The New York Times reported that along with the usual illicit substances, Radomski’s cache of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) included not only HGH but IGF-1 as well. When you consider that Radomski’s home was raided and searched back in 2005 this clearly indicates that players have been using the next generation PEDs for at least three years.
It’s important to note that synthetic IGF-1 is not stable and any kind of slight trauma – a loud noise, shaking the vial, temperature change – can reduce this miracle of enhancement into an overpriced collection of amino acids. Using IGF-1 is not a simple matter of popping some pills or using an idiot-proof, needle-free injection system as is the case with HGH.
The experimental nature of this drug combined with its volatility indicates that someone is not only supplying major league baseball players with this hormone, but is also providing education as to its use, and perhaps assistance in its administration. Since Radomski has been cooperating with the authorities for about 18 months, we’re sure to learn more about the PED taking habits of major league baseball players.
And don’t for one minute think that the story will end with HGH and IGF-1. There are other more powerful and undetectable substances out there that people are experimenting with for performance enhancement. Among them are Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH), Growth Hormone Secretagogues (to cause or stimulate hormone secretion) and Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides. When you consider that some of these drugs have been tested on healthy adult males, and can be taken orally, you realize that these drugs are being used as you read this.
Many of these drugs are being studied to fight diseases that cause loss of muscle mass, but ultimately these substances will be marketed and used as anti-aging drugs.
Some people may laugh and think that this is all just crazy talk. But remember that back in the early 1980s body builders and other underground types were using human growth hormone that had been harvested by grinding up the pituitary glands of the dead that had been turned into an injectable form. Twenty years later, just about anybody can get a hold of the synthetic version of this substance.
Stay tuned and be prepared to be amazed.