Human growth hormone (HGH) is gaining popularity fast among famous personalities, body building enthusiasts and sportsmen. So what’s the buzz? According to the growth hormone promoters, it can make people look years younger than their age. It can build muscles rapidly, and it can enhance physical strength and performance like magic.
Are these HGH benefits true? Read on to discover the good and bad sides of human growth hormones.
Human Growth Hormone: How Important Is It?
Human growth hormone, as its name implies, is mainly responsible for human growth through cell growth and regeneration. It is an amino acid normally produced by the pituitary gland and it spreads in the body through the bloodstream.
Human growth hormone plays a major role in the growth of your bones, muscles, tissues and organs. It also helps in regulating body temperature, the metabolism of sugar and fat, and increasing levels of IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor-1. Without the growth hormone factor, growth would be impossible to take place.
The pituitary gland releases growth hormone in spurts, and the numbers are usually higher at night than during the day. Several factors tend to affect the quantity of production, such as exercise, sleep and trauma. According to scientists, the production of human growth hormones increases during childhood, reaches its peak during puberty and starts to decline from the age 30 and onward.
Growth hormone deficiency can occur if the pituitary gland fails to produce sufficient amount of growth hormones. It can occur at birth and in most cases, the cause is not known. Children born with growth hormone deficiency may suffer from slow growth or a flat growth rate. In some cases, children born with GH deficiency may also suffer from physical deformities, such as cleft palate or cleft lip.
Growth hormone deficiency can also occur in adults due to a medical condition or severe brain injury that can cause damage to the pituitary gland. Adults with growth hormone deficiency may suffer from loss of muscle mass and increase in fat especially in the abdominal area, decreased strength, lack of energy and depressed moods.
Treatment for growth hormone deficiency often includes a healthy lifestyle change and surgery or radiation therapy on the problematic pituitary gland.
HGH Benefits: A Bodybuilding Miracle
Human growth hormone supplementation, dubbed as the fountain of youth by Hollywood celebrities, quickly became an anabolic miracle for many bodybuilding enthusiasts and athletes.
- Loss of body fat
- Growth of lean muscles
- Increased muscle strength
- Faster recovery period after an intense workout
- Increased energy
- Enhanced physical performance
According to research, the HGH benefits for men are promising. In fact, human growth hormone is significantly more effective than testosterone when it comes to reducing body fats. In this research, older men who received growth hormone injections lost 13 percent of their total body fat, while those who received testosterone injections lost 5.8 percent of their total body fat.
There is no question of the testosterone benefits for men, but what is more interesting is that the group of older men who received a combination of growth hormone and testosterone supplementation lost an average of 21 percent of their total body fat.
When it comes to increased muscle growth and strength, existing studies is yet to prove the effect of human growth factors supplements in these areas. Though you may wonder that if this is the case why would bodybuilders and athletes keep using it for these reasons if it is not effective?
Many bodybuilders and athletes noticed a significant increase in muscle growth when they use growth hormone supplements together with anabolic steroids. Apparently, many of these people use growth hormone injections to enhance the effect of anabolic steroids.
HGH Could Encourage a Faster Recovery Rate After Workouts or Even Injuries
One of the most significant human growth hormone benefits is promoting faster recovery from injuries and quick recovery after an intense workout or activity. If you suffer from recurring injuries, human growth hormone may help you to recover from them. Faster recovery after a rigorous workout, on the other hand, allows you to train more frequently than having to wait for the standard recovery period.
Faster recovery means more workouts and training that can lead to more developed muscles, more fat loss, and increased strength and enhanced physical performance at a shorter time.
What is the mechanism behind these growth hormone benefits?
Your pituitary gland will release the growth hormones into the blood stream, usually during the night or after an intense exercise. The growth hormone will remain active only for up to 10 or 20 minutes after its release.
During this short period, the growth hormone will bind itself to fat cells and break them down into triglycerides, the type of fat that provides your body with energy though too much of it could be harmful to your heart health. During this time, growth hormones also bind to muscle cells to promote cell growth and cell proliferation.
The additional benefit of human growth hormone when it comes to fat loss and muscle growth is its ability to increase the production of insulin-like Growth Factor One or IGF-1. When growth hormone reaches the liver, your liver will start producing IGF-1, which in turn promotes muscle protein synthesis and amino acid uptake. Increased protein synthesis and amino acid uptake contribute to muscle hypertrophy or the growth of muscle cells in size.
Moreover, IGF-1 functions similarly to insulin. Increased production of IGF-1 may lead to the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose to be used by the body as a source of energy, instead of being stored in the body as fat.
To learn more about injectable HGH benefits, read this.
Human Growth Hormone: From Treating Children to Reversing the Signs of Aging
Contrary to most people’s beliefs, human growth hormone supplementation was not made to defy the signs of aging or for bringing people more bodybuilding benefits. The study on growth hormones started in the 1920’s. Its use began in the 1950’s to treat children who were severely growth hormone deficient.
The growth hormones used for the treatments came from the pituitary glands of human cadavers through the discovery of Maurice-Ruben, an American researcher. The treatment proved to be highly effective until the patients who received the growth hormone treatment developed certain medical conditions caused by the contaminated growth hormone from the cadavers. Thus, doctors have to stop the use of the treatment.
The first synthetic human growth hormone called Protropin became available to the market in 1991; however, Protropin was too expensive and only a few people could afford it. In 1998, researchers introduced another synthetic called Somatropin, which became more popular to the people because it is less expensive and has fewer side-effects because it nearly resembled the natural growth hormones in humans.
Today, a lot of people use synthetic growth hormones to treat certain medical conditions aside from growth hormone deficiency. Others use it to reverse the signs of aging, building muscles and enhancing physical performance.
Synthetic human growth hormones come in oral supplements, oral sprays, and injections. Though a bit expensive, growth hormone injections are more popular because they go straight to the bloodstream and therefore, will take effect quickly.
The FDA did not approve the use of synthetic human growth hormone for non-medical purposes. HGH side effects may include:
People who take growth hormone injections may feel sleepy during the afternoon, but do not worry because your sleepiness will not last for hours.
2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This can occur because of the growth of the muscle that can put pressure on the carpal tunnel where you can find the nerves. You may experience a numbing sensation or stinging of needles. Usually, carpal tunnel syndrome will go away when your doctor lowers your dose or upon stopping the initial cycle of the administration of injections.
3. Joint Pains
People who use growth hormone injections often experience morning aches or the pain in the muscles, joints, fingers and toes when they wake up in the morning. It could be due to the growth of muscles as you sleep, or it could be due to the intense workout you did the previous day. Morning aches usually go away after a few minutes.
4. Water Retention
People who receive growth hormone dosage of more than 4IU may experience water retention or the excessive buildup of fluid in the body. This side effect is temporary and will go away once your lower the dose.
Hypoglycemia or the abnormal low level of blood sugar can occur when adjusting or lowering the dosage of the growth hormone. People with hypoglycemia will experience sudden hunger, rapid heartbeat and sweating.
It is a serious condition characterized by the disproportionate growth of fingers and toes, and the thickening of your jaw. It is important to note that acromegaly can occur in people who abuse growth hormone injections. These are the people who take high doses abnormally over a long period. If you want to keep your normal appearance, keep to the standard dosage.
Others say human growth hormones can increase your risk of cancer. There is no scientific proof that human growth hormone injections can cause cancer, but it may increase the growth of existing tumors. If your family has a history of cancer, avoid using it and if you are already using it see your doctor.
The Safe Approach: Easy Ways to Increase Your HGH Levels Naturally
Aside from human growth hormone supplements and injections, there are ways to increase your growth hormone levels without taking drugs and spending a lot of money.
Here are ways to increase growth hormone levels naturally:
1. Get enough sleep with your eyes covered with a mask.
About 80 percent of human growth hormone production occurs during sleep. Sleep for at least seven hours and make sure it is a deep and undisturbed sleep by covering your eyes with a sleeping mask. Establish a sleeping pattern and avoid drinking coffee or eating any energy-boosting foods after five in the afternoon.
2. Eat your dinner earlier.
Eating two to three hours before sleeping may increase your insulin and increased insulin means reduced production of human growth hormone during sleep.
3. Do an intermittent fasting.
Fasting means no intake of food or anything that may trigger the release of insulin. Remember, the less insulin in your body the higher the production of human growth hormone. Fast for at least 14 hours in a day and do it occasionally. Preferably, include your sleeping hours to the total hours of fasting so you can go back to eating by noon the next day.
4. Workout intensely.
There is this thing called exercise-induced growth hormone response that can effectively raise growth hormone naturally. Working out intensely causes muscle damage, and your body will respond to it by producing more human growth hormone from the pituitary gland to heal the damage.
Increasing your growth hormone requires a high-intensity training in short intervals. High-intensity training includes weight training and cardio exercises.
Things to keep in mind, do not exercise in the middle of your fasting. Eat a small portion of meals several times a day to make sure your body gets the nutrient it needs.
5. Boost your L-Dopa with certain foods.
L-dopa is a precursor of a group of catecholamine or neurotransmitters that signal the pituitary gland to produce more human growth hormone.
You can find L-dopa in foods such as muncuna pruriens or velvet beans, fava beans, beef, and seafood. Supplements such as L-Phenylalanine or L-Tyrosine can also help to increase the production of L-dopa naturally.
6. Detoxify your liver.
Remember that your liver plays a role in muscle-building, fat loss and providing an energy source for your body. Once growth hormones reach your liver, it will release the insulin-like growth factor-1 which contributes to the growth of muscle cells in size.
If your liver is not functioning well because of fatty liver it may not be able to release enough IGF-1.
7. Laugh your heart out.
Interestingly, one study from the Loma Linda School of Public Health in California suggests that laughing may be effective in increasing your growth hormone.
They came up to this conclusion after participants who watched a comedy show had 87 percent more growth hormone than those who did not. True or not, laughter is the best medicine, so laugh your heart out anyway.
Human growth hormone supplementation through injections is an effective way to gain the HGH benefits. If you want to increase your growth hormone levels minus the side-effects and the heavy price, try these natural ways.
Synthetic human growth hormones can be effective in building bulky muscles and improving your physical performance, but they also have their downsides.