Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How to Box at 60

Sylvester Stallone was born on July 6, 1946. This is what 60 years old looks like:

That's one motherload of protein powder and biceps curls if you ask me.

The photos were taken last Sunday at the Lakes Golf Course in Sydney. Mr. Stallone is in Australia to promote his latest Rocky movie. What would have been a benign, non-newsmaking trip slid into the headlines last Friday when ...
"... a routine luggage search at Sydney Airport detected a prohibited substance."
A few days later, Customs officials visited the buff actor at his hotel. The meeting ...
"... became a full-blown raid when people were allegedly seen throwing items from the windows and the balcony."
Oh, to have been a fly on that balcony. No one will come out with the straight dope. But a spokeswoman for Customs...
"... confirmed [that] importing "performance and image enhancing drugs" had a possible $110,000 fine and a five-year jail term."
For no particular reason let me bring your attention to a list of metabolic functions of a particular substance called growth hormone (GH) or somatotropin:1
  • It increases calcium retention, and strengthens and increases the mineralization of bone.
  • It increases muscle mass through the creation of new muscle cells.
  • It promotes lipolysis, which results in the reduction of adipose tissue (body fat).
  • It increases protein synthesis and stimulates the growth of all internal organs excluding the brain.
  • It plays a role in fuel homeostasis.
  • It reduces liver uptake of glucose, an effect that opposes that of insulin.
  • It also contributes to the maintenance and function of pancreatic islets.
  • It stimulates the immune system.
    - Wikipedia: Growth_hormone.

1 I don't advise it for recreational use. There are a number of conditions GH is indicated for: AIDS, Turner Syn., Prader-Willi Syn., deficiencies, etc. But in a normal person it can up risk for diabetes (see item 6 in the post), atherosclerosis (and thus heart problems), joint problems, and others. It can also cause existing, and perhaps undetected, tumors to grow.

It must be injected, it's available only by prescription, and it's expensive. A more natural way to ensure a nice dose of endogenous growth hormone it to get a good night's sleep - GH is secreted in high amounts during sleep. Exercise, of high intensity, also stimulates its release.

One feedback mechanism for release of GH is glucose in the blood. The higher blood glucose, the less GH is secreted. The converse is also true - the lower blood glucose, the more GH secreted.

Lastly, it appears that although GH can change body composition, it may not improve function, i.e. you may have more muscle but not more strength. (See Growth Hormone and Sex Steroid Administration in Healthy Aged Women and Men.)

Photos via Just Jared, via Bauer-Griffin.

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