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Peptides the centre of latest sports doping scandal; but what are they?

Recently, human growth hormone (or HGH) has found media attention for its use by sports people to gain an unfair competitive advantage.

HGH is naturally produced in the body just below the brain in the anterior pituitary gland as part of a family of peptide hormones. HGH performs a wide (and not yet fully understood) range of signaling functions in the body, such as stimulating the immune system and strengthening bone through increased calcium retention; but, from a doping point of view, it’s ability to trigger the secretion of insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) is of interest.

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