After getting a few requests to do an article on HGH (Human Growth Hormone) I figured why not? I don’t have a large background knowledge on HGH in general, so this article I had to do a lot of digging and find some studies to back up my writing. First of all I will outline what HGH is; some attributes it can have, possible side effects, and my outlook on the entire supplement as a whole. Lets get started.
What is HGH?
HGH also known as Human Growth Hormone it is produced in our brains and engages the pituitary gland. This gland is responsible for testosterone production. Those who have ever read about individuals with low testosterone or testosterone problems this gland usually gets an MRI to see if there is a tumor around it reducing the amount of Testosterone being produced by the body. Once HGH is released in the body it aids in IGF-1, which is also known as insulin like growth factor. Once the trigger has been established it establishes growth and repair of bones and body tissues, which include the following: organs, skin, muscle, and any tissue surrounding organs.
The main controller of all HGH production besides the pituitary gland is a neurohormone Gonadoltorpin-releasing hormone GHRH). GHRH is also in establishment with Growth Hormone-releasing peptides (GHRP) and somatostatin which help give out bursts of HGH throughout the day to the human body. The amount of surges will vary from person to person and gender. For males it will be more than females and can range up to 20 daily pulses/surges of HGH provided throughout the body.
The odd thing is that while asleep we notice that HGH levels rise to its peak. Some may find that odd but its true, upon waking HGH levels are at their lowest but cortisol levels are at their peak (what is used to measure stress on the human body, when you get mad cortisol levels will raise). While asleep cortisol levels are at their lowest and HGH levels are at their highest. So you see that based on overall mood also plays a small factor in HGH production. Those who are very tense or very angry may not have as high of HGH production/levels in their body.
So when does HGH Peak in the human body? Is there a limit? Does it start early and diminish later? Absolutely. HGH peaks early in your life and starts to decline after the puberty phase in your life when testosterone is at its highest peak. Usually earlier in females (who go through puberty first) and males later (usually peak around 15-16 years old and decline after 20ish years of age when puberty will end and growth spurts stop. These HGH spurts will continue to decline as you move through adulthood hence why those who are growing up have speedy fast metabolism’s and can add size/strength very quick to new neurological gains in the gym.
Speaking of Athletes and HGH the major rise of HGH use came back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s when baseball got really famous regarding HGH supplementation and why sports are very skeptical on testing for HGH and steroids. Baseball took a major blow when home runs started to crack and Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were pumping out 50+ home runs in a given season. The rise of Barry Bonds in how he was a skinny Pirates outfielder to going to a San Francisco slugger raised some eyebrows. What became of this? Major testing throughout sports and speculation that something was going on and there was. The use of steroids which is tool to increase HGH levels in the body were shown to help build size and strength in athletes. How true is that? Very true, and a study on pubmed backs this as well. I found a study called “The exercise induced growth hormone response in athletes”.
This study was done in Middlesex (united Kingdom) showing that exercise in athletes can increase HGH production while at rest after physical activity. The overall impact of exercise (especially high intensity aka HIIT training) shows beneficial health, well being, and training outcomes as well as an impact on overall HGH secretion. Dorian Yates must have been right with his famous quote “Intensity trumps Volume.”
Disadvantages of HGH
What would the disadvantage of HGH use be? Is there such thing as HGH abuse or steroid abuse? Well for those who are in a HGH deficiency or have lower testosterone levels this can prolong the individual to diseases, tumors (on pituitary gland), or any other damages critical areas of the pituitary. The cause of this may show weight gain on the individual, cardiovascular disease, increased fatigue, lack of sleep, immune system shutdown or breakdown, increased insulin resistance (again increase in fat gain), hair loss may be present, sarcopenia (which is another word for a loss of muscle) and osteoporosis. All of these symptoms could be taken care of with a use of HGH use or getting injectable testosterone via TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy).
TRT has been on the rise, especially in Natural Bodybuilding. Many natural bodybuilders who stay in a very lean state or continue to compete year in and year out will be holding very low bodyfat levels year round, and also keeping those individuals to lowering their testosterone levels from long term dieting and lower fat diets (which have shown to decrease testosterone levels and increase the chances of being prone to loss in sex drive, loss in energy, and a run down feeling). Hence the reasoning why you see more advertisements of HGH, testosterone, and IGF-1 on television advertisements. The overall premise of this has to deal with aging and long-term deficiencies of macro/micronutrients to the human body causing things to shut down in the immune system and with overall testosterone levels.
HGH and The Body
As stated above, as you continue to age there will show slight declines in HGH production and the decline of anti-aging benefits. As you continue to age you will lose sexual performance, you will increase bodyfat or be prone to more bodyfat, lose muscle mass, and your skin may thicken up, sleep may decrease, bone strength will drop (prone to osteoporosis), and loss of cognitive performance.
The overall benefits and negatives of HGH use and what can happen with testosterone levels can drop both have their ups and downs. We also saw how it started to become a fad in the sport of baseball and made a major case when specific individuals started to abuse it and how it led to massive strength gains and changes in their physique. Not to mention the statement “Roid Rage” became popular when athletes started to commit suicide or cause crimes due to overuse of the supplement which was a vicious side effect.
How expensive could this be?
HGH could be upward to 5000-1000$ a month, unless you get a prescription from your doctor (lets resort back to TRT Testosterone Replacement Therapy). There are thousands of doctors and clinics that do prescribe the HGH/Testosterone based off anti-aging, individuals who see an endocrinologist to deal with problems of testosterone and the pituitary gland. An interesting study that was published in the Journal of American Health Associated notes that annual sales of HGH are estimated around 2$ billion and that 30% of the HGH prescriptions on individuals are those for individuals who are aging or those who are using enhancements for athletics. Ironic huh? Considering this was unheard of before the 90’s, this is now a popular case and making a rise in the current decade.
While HGH is always being studied, and studies are being published yearly on PubMed, there is still the past and the information that can be shared on the supplement and its use. The positives and negatives are present, but the over abuse can show some very serious long-term health problems and lead to death. The choice is yours if you want to get it and use it, or if you have to be placed on it due to medical reasons. In my opinion be wary of your decision, because above is the outlined information that could sway you either way to its use, in the end it will be a personal decision on the individual and how they want to use it and for their sole purpose or for athletic enhancement.