Peyton Manning found himself embroiled in scandal when Al Jazeera released “The Dark Side,” a documentary that purported to link shipments of human growth hormone (HGH) to the quarterback in 2011.
Manning, who hired former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer as a consultant amid the allegations, has vehemently and repeatedly rejected any suggestions that he used HGH to help recover from his several neck surgeries.
“The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up. It never happened. Never,” Manning said in a statement.
“Al Jazeera is backtracking and retreating,” Fleischer added, after Charlie Sly, Al-Jazeera’s key source, recanted his entire account.
But Al Jazeera has since clarified the terms of its allegations. Deborah Davies, the lead reporter behind “The Dark Side,” explained to The Denver Post that the documentary never alleged that Manning took the hormone. Rather, the documentary claimed that shipments were sent from the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis to Manning’s wife, Ashley.
Davies later said that a second, credible source could confirm this shipment.
The NFL is reportedly looking into Manning in light of Al Jazeera’s allegations.
Manning has not denied the allegations of shipments, and another spokesman for the Mannings said that Ashley Manning was a patient of the clinic, though he wouldn’t say for what.
“Any medical treatments that my wife received, that’s her business,” Manning told ESPN’s Lisa Salters. “That has nothing to do with me. Nothing that’s ever been sent to her or my wife has used have I ever taken. Absolutely not. I have my treatments that I do. She may have hers, and that’s her business. There is no connection between the two.”
In the early days following the release of “The Dark Side,” there was speculation that women undergoing IVF treatments might benefit from HGH.
But according to Dr. Thomas Perls, the director of the New England Centenarian Study and an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, using HGH for fertility purposes serves no actual benefit.
“In my opinion, there’s no scientific or medical evidence there,” Perls told Business Insider.
Perls explained that there are only three DEA-approved uses for HGH among adults: HIV/AIDS-related muscle wasting; short-bowel syndrome; and adult growth hormone deficiency, which can be found in three out of every 10,000 people. The vast majority of HGH prescriptions (that aren’t for children) are off-label, and the result of what he called “disease mongering.”
“The anti-ageing industry has done something called disease mongering,” Perls said.
Perls explained that anti-ageing clinics sell HGH by claiming to help turn back one’s biological clock, from weight loss to vision and beyond, but that these claims are not backed up by science.
“If you look at the internet sites and the literature put out by these anti-ageing businesses, it’s almost always testimonials and anecdotes,” Perls said in a 2008 interview with Popular Science. “They can’t produce any medical literature that indicates the almost panacea-like list of benefits they say comes from growth hormone.”
What’s more, these off-label prescriptions are also quite risky.
“The risks far outweigh the little or any benefit,” he added, citing diabetes and carpal tunnel as possible side-effects.
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