Current HGH testing is unreliable because HGH can only be detected for 48 hours and so to date only one athlete has ever been charged with the use of HGH. However, official are excited because this new test promises to be much more beneficial in the war against the use of synthetic HGH and HGH releasers in sports.
The latest test is similar to what is used in cancer treatments and diagnosis. It uses the same science that is used to detect breast cancer and bone cancer. This test is called the Biomarker test and HGH use can be identified for a period of 10 to 14 days past the last date used.
A lab tech takes several milliliters of blood and that is spun in a centrifuge. It’s then mixed with certain chemicals, which cause a reaction to occur. The lab tech then uses an instrument designed to measure the blood’s illumination, which is the intensity of the light.
Mr. David Howman, WADA director, believes the biomarker test will make it harder for the NFL and Major League Baseball to argue that this HGH test isn’t viable. While the current HGH tests are scientifically solid, where they lack is in the time frame that allows for identification of synthetic HGH injections use, which is up to 48 hours from the time it was used. This small window makes identification very difficult.
This new test is also scientifically sound and reliable. The difference is the window of opportunity to identify the use of synthetic HGH is much longer – up to 14 days. In addition, the biomarker test can identify the use of HGH releasers. According to WADA experts
The test creators have clarified that they have set the test results extremely high for a positive. According to antidoping officials, this is similar to other tests that the WADA conducts. Antidoping officials are excited to share this new test method, although make no mistake there are still tons of skeptics that claim these scientific developments are being overstated. However, the creators hold their ground in saying that the advancements of the biomarker test are significant when it comes to HGH testing. This would take the ability to detect the use of synthetic HGH from 48 hours to 14 days. That’s a huge improvement.
The World Anti-Doping Agency officials, which are in charge of the Olympic testing protocols of athletes and professional athletes outside the USA, said that the biomarker test has undergone a decade of research and that it was only months away from being implemented for use on athletes.
When WADA introduces the test, we will likely see the HGH blood testing debate intensify, especially within the NFL and Major League Baseball. The debate recently increased when in England a professional rugby player tested positive for HGH and as a result was suspended. In 6-years, this was the first time an athlete had been suspended for testing positive for HGH use. It also caught the attention of baseball and the NFL officials and their unions.
The NFL and Major Baseball league unions have said they have reservations about the current test that caught this athlete. They were also quick to point out that blood testing for performance-enhancing drugs have not been used in either league.
The HGH debate may continue, but there is no question compared to what is available for HGH testing right now, this is definitely a step in the right direction. WADA general director Mr. Howman says that he feels the biomarker test will make it next to impossible for those in the Major League Baseball and NFL leagues to argue that this is not a viable HGH test.
“The other test is scientifically reliable, and so is the new one,” Howman said. “Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t looked at the science.”
The current HGH blood test can only detect the presence of the synthetic HGH within 48 hours of it being administered. The lab sample is taken and then centrifugation is done. Specific chemicals are added and the luminosity in the blood is determined by an instrument. This light intensity measurement reveals when the hormone was administered. This Biomarker’s test detects certain chemicals in the body, which increase when the synthetic growth hormone levels increase.
Synthetic growth hormone injections are hard to identify. What is considered the current state-of-the-art test cannot detect HGH if more than 48 hours have passed from the last injection. In addition, it is not able to detect pharmaceutical HGH releasers such as Tesamorelin.
Even thought pharmaceutical HGH releasers are on the WADA’s banned substance list, the current HGH test's limitations mean the ban means nothing because there is no way to test them. It’s pretty clear that athletes are aware of this and may even be taking advantage of it.
The current HGH testing was introduced for the Summer Games in 2004 and to date no one has been identified as using synthetic HGH with the exception of the England rugby player that just recently happened. He was the first. None of the USA pro sports leagues are using blood tests for HGH.
HGH expert Peter Sonksen, who is a professor of endocrinology at the St Thomas' Hospital and King's College in London, says you would have to be the dumbest athlete out there in order to get caught with the current testing because of the 48-hour limit.
Since the 1970s, HGH has been used with impunity. It’s readily available to athletes who use it freely. The key here is that athletes don’t use things that aren’t helpful so if HGH wasn’t benefiting them, they wouldn’t still be using it 40 years later.
Larry Bowers, the chief science officer for the United States Anti-Doping Agency has a vision that in the future the new biomarker test will be used in conjunction with current tests because they each have something to offer. The biomarker test detects chemicals in your body that increase when your HGH levels spike. Current tests detect the presence of synthetic HGH, because the different tests take different measurements. This is why the use of both could be beneficial.
HGH testing is on the cusp of big change. We can expect this new testing to become readily available in the near future.
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