Steroids, bodybuilding, and anti-aging-- what a tangled web wooers weave

The latest edition of 'Life Extension' as once again provided me with a bounty of lols. For instance, did you know that "For the past fourteen years, the gerontological establishment has sought to persecute anti-aging physicians, anti-aging health practitioners, and the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M; itself, simply because they defy the prevailing model of disease-based, drug-oriented medicine"? The assaults have even included "mocking the anti-aging medical movement and its physician leaders."

Well, if theres one thing I will never, NEVER stand for, its MOCKING!

*fumes with rage*

Heres the deal, theres a whole troupe of crazies we havent dealt with much on SciBlogs yet-- The anti-aging crowd. Orac recently mentioned them a bit in response to Oprah-woo:

The article starts with the example of Suzanne Somers, whom I've mentioned before because of her belief that alternative medicine cured her of her breast cancer: her books she says that she also starts each day by giving herself injections of human growth hormone, vitamin B12 and vitamin B complex...

You see, young folks have lots of human growth hormone. Older folks dont. That means if you give older folks HGH, they feel like younger folks!... Right?

Unfortunately, however, what Ms Somers (and anti-aging HGH peddlers) is doing is quite illegal. US Federal Statute 21 USC 333:

...prohibits knowingly distributing, or possessing with the intent to distribute, HGH for any use in humans other than the treatment of a disease or other recognized medical condition...

PubMed 'geriatric hgh', three hits. 'Gerontology hgh', three hits. Theres not enough science behind anti-aging HGH for it to be a 'recognized medical condition'. Prescribing HGH for anti-aging is illegal.

Not that this stops True Believer anti-aging physicians. They still prescribe it 'off label', or compare normal adult HGH levels to childrens levels, which are much higher, thus normal adult becomes low, and YAY! YOU NEED HGH!

But these stupid 'laws' are just being used to persecute anti-aging physicians:

Under the influence of the misinformation campaign contrived by the gerontological elite, US Federal Statute 21 USC Sec. 333(e) "enables a witch-hunt of [anti-aging] physicians who judiciously administer hGH therapy," when instead the statute was intended to prohibit trafficking of performance enhancing substances by non-physicians, prior to the existence of the anti-aging medical movement.

But heres where things get funny! Its cheaper for bodybuilders/power-lifters to get their drugs from Mexico, but there is a way to get legal anabolic drugs in the US. Go to an anti-aging physician, and get them to prescribe them for you. But they cant prescribe them for anti-aging. So they just run a blood test and when your rigged testosterone test comes back 'low', you get your legal HGH for anti-aging... which you are really using for bodybuilding.

ROFL!!! Oh, what a tangled web the wooers weave!

Whats even funnier (at least to me), is that anti-aging HGH is BS, but I see absolutely no reason why anabolic steroids are illegal for athletes, or just people who want to put on some muscle. Why can *I* can choose to ask a physician for invasive, potentially deadly medical procedures to make my boobs bigger, but a man who wants to take anabolic steroids to improve his looks, cant?

I mean what happens when I get sick of my breast implants? What if theyre too big? What if the doc totally Tara Reid botches them? More surgery or a life of pain and embarrassment.

What happens if I guy isnt pleased with the results of his cycle of steroids? What if he decides the side effects arent worth it? He just has to stop using steroids. The effects of anabolic steroids are reversible.

Witch hunting is going the wrong way there, Prof. Dr. Zs.-Nagy.

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To be more serious, I can understand not allowing the use of steroids in a competitive environment, such as professional sports. It creates a systemic problem because it's highly likely that others will be compelled to use the steroids to keep up. But for personal, individual use (like bodybuilding) I agree. I don't understand why men can take boner pills but some guy or girl can't take something to put on a little extra muscle.

I have to share a gym with a gym rat who has bigtime roidrage. Normal equipment hogging meatheads are bad enough, but roidrage meathead takes special tactics to deal with.


My friend, I must disagree with you.

Before writing such a post, you need to research the positions of the AMA and also the the DEA back in the late 1980s and in 1990--1991 before steroids were outlawed. The AMA and DEA were both in favor of continued legalized use via prescription.

Your post is ignorant, I am very sorry to say.

It is up to sports organizations and employers to regulate steroid or hormone usage. This is not a matter that the government should decide.

I believe that professional baseball and air lines and similar professional sports or security-conscious employers should prohibit steroid usage amongst their employees. However, I believe that it should be legal to augment hormone levels for those people who are not in professional sports or security-sensitive positions. Studies have shown that most do this for "appearance" or "sexual attractiveness."

It's a normal biological imperative that should not be denied.

I have an M.S. in biological sciences but in deference to AUTHORITY and fear of current laws, am not revealing my name.

I do not use hormones myself. However, I believe it is people's right to do so as long as it does not impact their performance at sensitive career positions.

By rathernotsay (not verified) on 16 Jun 2009 #permalink

I don't know about roids, but I'm totes going to get me same AICAR as soon as it's feasible.

Personally, the regulations for use of various performance enhancers for professional athletes makes excellent sense to me: for people that compete for a living, it would be beyond pale to require them to make use of potentially health-threatening supplements to have a chance to compete.

For people who don't do that kind of stuff for a living? Why the heck not? It's their body, let them take the risk.

By Jason Dick (not verified) on 16 Jun 2009 #permalink

My friend, I must disagree with you.

rathernotsay, who are you disagreeing with? The post and all the comments that weren't lolspeak took the same basic position as you did.

I love the wackjobs out there; they provide hours of entertainment. It is only sad so many individuals are harmed by their wares. Granted, public education in this country is pretty damned bad, but can we at least TRY to think about things?

I guess the biggest difference I can think of is that you have to be batshit insane before you get a boob job, and you go batshit insane after taking roids.

Restricting what or who people put into themselves shouldn't rise to the level of law. Prohibition has never worked.

If you take steroids for cosmetic reasons you should consider what you are attracting.

Never get implants to attract men. Men don't want bigger just different. Strap a laptop to your chest with google image search for "boobs" on a one second slide show and you will get more attention. Again, consider what you are attracting.

As for HGH, Prometheus( A )or "Blue Prometheus" because he has a blog link, posts on Orac's.

He/She wrote on the aforementioned blog an terrific analysis of toxin Woo demonstrating that it was just a dusted off version of Traditional Victorian Medicine decorated with modern science terminology.

The HGH woo is just a variant of the 1910-1930's "Gland Therapies".

Slapping a sloppy coat of paint on art deco furniture.

Pseudoscience Shabby Chic.

or as Don Marquis put it in 1927:

the old fashioned
grandmother who used
to wear steel rimmed
glasses and make
everybody take opodeldoc
has now got a new
set of ox glands and
is dancing the black bottom


if monkey glands
did restore your youth
what would you do
with it
question mark
just what you did before
interrogation point

yes i thought so
exclamation point

By Prometheus (not verified) on 17 Jun 2009 #permalink

You get 428 hits if you search PubMed for "hgh" and use advanced search to limit it to Aged: 45+, Aged: 65+, and 80 and over: 80+ years. That search pulls up results not included in the "geriatric hgh" or "gerontology hgh," such as a 2000 study that found 75+-year-old patients with hip fractures who were injected with hgh were significantly more likely to return to their pre-fracture living situations. To me, it looks like there's much more research on hgh in the elderly than you imply; whether there's "enough," I have no idea, very possibly not-- but it's weird to imply that there are only 6 PubMed results dealing with hgh and the elderly.


I see absolutely no reason why anabolic steroids are illegal for athletes...

Joe Lindsey of Bicycling Magazine answered that best on this blog post. Money quote:

You canât erase the line, ever; you can only move it. And wherever you put the line, something â some drug or technique â will always be on the other side, something that some athlete somewhere will still try and use. So weâd still have to do the ethical heavy lifting of deciding whatâs OK according to the rules and whatâs unfair (whether because itâs unfair, unsafe or any other criteria you choose to use), and then enforce those rules. It would be no different than the current situation; there would just be a different list of banned drugs. So if it doesnât actually solve the problem, why do it?

Especially when it spirals down the ranks to amateurs and, eventually, kids. I'd hate to think of how many high school football players today are on steroids trying to get college scholarships or because they're dreaming of the NFL.

I was a bodybuilder. Never did steroids, and consequently never started looking like a badly rendered videogame character instead of a powerful man. Bodybuilding actually is an activity that can have a profound impact on longevity and quality of life; you tend to be more resistant to disease and to heal faster, and you retain youthful vitality much longer than you would otherwise - just don't overtrain and stay off the 'roids. I'm in my forties and am frequently taken for early thirties or even late twenties on a good day. I have no illusions that I will have a drastically increased lifespan, but I have every reason to expect that I will be, at seventy, remarkably different and healthier than most people who smoked and never exercised.

Anti-aging therapy works for me! I now have the body of a seven-year-old boy. I'm afraid to quit because then I'll have to go through puberty again.

@#13Eric Saveau:
"I'm in my forties and am frequently taken for early thirties or even late twenties on a good day."

I'm in my forties and am frequently taken for having been born in the early thirties or even late twenties on a bad day.

Small world.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 17 Jun 2009 #permalink



I imagine that being chained to a rock and having your liver devoured by a raven every day doesn't help, either... ;) [ba-DOOM-boom! Thanks, I'll be here all week. Try the veal!]

With my liver you should feel sorry for the raven....
*honks horn*
*tips hat*

Vaudeville! Eric Saveau and I are bringing it back.


brutally desecrating its corpse.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 17 Jun 2009 #permalink

I don't agree with steroids in professional sport but I also don't see the harm in someone wanting to look/feel good about themselves by taking them.

America seems to have an odd "OMG DRUGS!!! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!" attitude to these things that I've never quite understood.

Absolutely I agree with your point of view and thanks for sharing positively charged opinion where the hgh peddlers view side is launching the popularity rocket and creates more hype tagged with celebrity stunts there follows a huge crowd of fountain of youths with large pool of hope to look much more younger forever (seems oxford dictionary will think twice to keep the word "old" very skeptic topic huh). Thanks for providing useful information.

I think everyone should have the right to take steroids or HGH if that's what they want to do. That being said, I would never use either, as it isn't that difficult to boost HGH and testosterone levels using natural supplements, diet, and exercise. For most, that's all it takes, unless you want to get freaky huge that is.

How hypocritical are we? We demand that our fave athletes are in top shape and win every game, and then cry out in (mock?) anger when they take the very drugs that allow them to be bad asses. My ( very limited ) understanding of HGH and other roids, are the fact that there is no definative research to prove they are harmful.

Hell, roids are given to AIDS patients. But that's OK, cause they aren't using them for competative purposes.

The moive "Bigger, Better, Faster" has some great insight on the whol roids debate. Everything from rage to strength increases.

By firemancarl (not verified) on 26 Jun 2009 #permalink

"Heres the deal, theres a whole troupe of crazies we havent dealt with much on SciBlogs yet-- The anti-aging crowd. "

*Cough, splutter"
Hold it right there, pal. There's anti-aging woo just like there's anti-cancer woo, but THERE'S REAL ANTI-AGING MEDICINE TOO. And we have a real publicity problem right now, too, so if you don't mind, it would be nice if you could clarify that in your post.

Haven't you ever heard of the methelusah mouse foundation?

I'd be very interested in what you have to say about that subject in it's own blog post.

By Ren fruoken (not verified) on 30 Jun 2009 #permalink

I say that we should give all the athletes as much steroids and HGH as possible, then make them fight it out in a cage for our entertainment.

Oh wait, that's called UFC.....:-)

I don't think steroids are a good way to build your body.

You might as well join a gym, do exercises at home, eat healthy food, follow a proper diet; if you know what you want, it's very easy to achieve. It's all in the interest you have to take care of your health. Being practical, think about your future, your children, what effects will they have because of steroids. Also, steroids will increase your weight to approximately 200 pounds.

There are lot of online help sites like which give you lot of information on steroids, aging and other health related issues.

Think about your future before getting into any such addiction.


"Gerontological elite"?


By Bryan Elliott (not verified) on 17 Jan 2010 #permalink

I'm an all natural competitive body builder who was looking for something more than protein powders. A trainer recommended the Dr Max Powers HGH spray (oral spray) to me & it actually has helped. I've used it for 60 days straight & my lean muscle mass has increased. The bottles are very convenient & travel very well. I just throw the bottles in my bag & head out. No more having to measure & pack protien powders when I travel...great product

@28 *COUGH* Bullmotherfuckingshitcocksucker *COUGH*

HGH does not last at room temperature. Even in a fridge, it does not last for a long time. It won't be absorbed via your mouth. What you experienced was called the placebo effect. I bet your wallet got leaner too.

The comparison between men using steroids and women getting boob jobs is so so true. I never thought of it, but in a way it's a bit of a double standard.

Also just a note on Susan Somers. My mother went through a rough ride during menopause and she visited a hormone specialist in Toronto Canada who was recommended by Susan. She takes prescription DHEA and testosterone cream to help balance her hormone levels. It has helped her out big time, she can actually sleep through the night without hot flashes.

I would consider this a form of anti aging supplementation but I guess it's an extreme case where she clearly had very low adrenal gland function and low hormone levels, and therefore greatly benefits and needed the treatment.

@28 *COUGH* Bullmotherfuckingshitcocksucker *COUGH*

do u mean to say the hgh doesnt last at room tempreture and even fridge, then the hgh we buy is absolute?

is this what u r trying to say

Wow, I had no idea Suzanne Somers injected herself daily with a B vitamin cocktail and human growth hormone. That is unnecessary if she obtains pharmaceutical grade quality nutritional supplements. Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was right when he said, "You are what you eat." By eating a diet high in vegetables, fruit, grains, and low-fat protein sources, she would have what she needs. I admire her willingness to put herself out there but she's doing what is unnecessary. Look at Clarence Bass, the 70+ bodybuilding and nutrition expert. He has a 4% bodyfat. He has superb health as well. His secret? Whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruit, grains, low-fat yogurt, bodybuilding, aerobic workouts, etc. It's a key part of his regime.

Regarding the bodybuilding seeming conundrum, I don't think there is one. Bodybuilders can get great gains through disciplined diet like Bass' diet, sensible supplementation, and patience. Steroids are unnecessary if bodybuilding aficionados work, are patient, and again take good supplements. Then, the muscle will be real and not contrived, nor will there be any side effects. I know this from personal experience.

Steroids, bodybuilding, and anti-aging– what a tangled web wooers weave – erv Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!