From Paul Byrd and Rick Ankiel to the upcoming Mitchell Report, accusations of HGH are flying around baseball. But Human Growth Hormone use is also on the rise outside of sports; plenty of people looking to get bigger are injecting themselves. So, let's say you want to bulk up, get taller, increase your focus or just feel younger. You've bought some HGH on the Internet or from a pharmacy (hint: stay away from BALCO). But, could it be fake? Here are some signs your HGH might be phony.
Your joints don't hurt
With all those new hormones being injected, you can't expect your body to just sit idly by. Among the side effects of HGH are joint pain, fluid retention and nerve pinching. There can also be unusual bone growth, potentially in the face. It's been linked to cancer, both in mice and humans, but a definitive tie hasn't been established.
You're not using a needle
Lots of sites, like this one, say they have HGH in oral or nasal form, either through a spray, tongue drop or pill. Trouble is, they're all bogus. There's no evidence that HGH can be received through any receptor not in the bloodstream. Not only that, the fragile molecules will break apart if diluted in a spray or pill. Some testify that using the spray makes them elated and more energetic, but that's something else talking, not the HGH.
It was approved by the FDA and you don't have Turner syndrome
Any distributor can just say they've got FDA-approved HGH. But it's only true under a few conditions: you're a child with a growth defect, you have Turner syndrome, you have adult short bowel syndrome, you have a pituitary tumor or your muscles are deteriorating from AIDS. For a while, the FDA had only authorized HGH use for children, but in recent years they've expanded the allowances for adults with other conditions. Any other use of HGH is illegal, which is why all those sports stars are acting like kids trying to get out of high school gym and scrambling for a doctor's note (Paul Byrd, for example, is using a pituitary tumor as his excuse).
It's not putting you in debt
For HGH injections to work, you need to inject two or three times a day. Individual injections can cost as high as $25 each, which means just a week of injections can cost an arm and a leg (but don't worry, the rest of you will grow strong enough to make up for the missing limbs). The full bill can run around $2,000 a month. HGH scams will promise the same results for a much lower cost "“ some advertise as low as $35 a month.
You didn't get it out of Sylvester Stallone's suitcase
Okay, this one isn't all that helpful. Odds are you didn't go rummaging through Sly's bag for your growth hormone. But if you had, you wouldn't have been disappointed, at least earlier this year. The "Rocky" star was caught importing 48 vials of HGH into Australia that month and pleaded guilty to the charges in May. He was first caught with the hormone during a routine airport check. Then three days later, customs officials caught him throwing four vials of growth testosterone from his hotel room when they came for a search. He apologized for being "ignorant to [the] official rules" and setting a bad example for the public, a fear ABC News was more than happy to explore. Sly's not the only celebrity who's been caught with HGH; there were traces of the hormone detected in Anna Nicole Smith's body during her autopsy.