NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Everyone's talking about human growth hormone (hGH). It seems there's been more news about hGH in the past six months than there has been in the past ten years. In fact, it's been featured on CNN, The Today Show, Fox News, The Dr. Oz Show, and in Shape magazine and Muscle & Fitness. Part of it has to do with the increasing number of athletes injecting synthetic recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) because they believe it helps increase lean muscle mass, repair muscle damage, and improve performance. But the true "hGH frenzy" really got underway in September of 2012 when it was revealed that a "natural" compound was actually capable of increasing mean, serum (blood) growth hormone levels... by 682%. The research was presented at the prestigious Obesity Society's 30 th Annual Scientific Meeting by some of the most renowned experts in the world, and it quickly became headline news because it means that finally, after 30 years of research, there's a way for people to increase their growth hormone levels... without injections. The compound that was the subject of the research presentation is now being sold under the trade name Growth Factor-9™ by well-known sports supplement company Novex Biotech®. And now Growth Factor-9, or GF9 as most people are calling it, is bringing new controversy into the world of competitive athletics. Because of the edge they give users, rhGH injections have been banned by virtually every professional sporting body in the word, and even some college sports programs have begun testing for it, like the University of Miami, which recently tested every single one of its baseball players for rhGH use. But because GF9 offers athletes a way to increase their hGH levels naturally, they can boost their levels without fear of that increase triggering a positive result on anti-doping tests. So the new controversy is over whether or not using a "natural" substance like Growth Factor-9 to raise hGH levels vs. synthetic rhGH injections is still "cheating." "To call Growth Factor-9 a 'cheat' pill is ridiculous," argues Gina Daines, spokesperson for Novex Biotech. "Think of it this way... Before Gatorade® became widely available, the electrolyte-rich drink was used to give Florida State athletes an advantage, especially on hot and humid days. Were they cheating? Or simply taking advantage of something the other team neglected to emphasize?" Whether or not you agree with Ms. Daines about the ethics, it's clear that GF9 is being seen by many as a way to boost their hGH levels without the fear of being sanctioned for illegal rhGH use. In fact, a December 12, 2012 Congressional hearing regarding the NFL and hGH testing led to a discussion about this very thing. Dr. Larry Bowers, Chief Science Officer for the United States Anti-Doping Agency who testified at the hearing, explained that while "The body produces many forms of growth hormone in the pituitary gland," synthetic rhGH injections involve only one form, called 22kD. hGH tests work by flagging people who have abnormally high ratios of 22kD. That's what makes Growth Factor-9 so different from banned synthetic rhGH injections. Rather than introducing a synthetic form of hGH into the body, Growth Factor-9 is a dietary supplement that raises human growth hormone levels by encouraging pituitary performance. This means there are no abnormally high levels of 22kD, because the increase in hGH comes from the body's natural source... the pituitary gland.