Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland which is located in the brain and governs a person’s bone length, height, and muscle growth.
It’s also known by the names somatotropin or HGH (Human Growth Hormone) and is a peptide hormone. This kind of hormone is incredibly important in human development as it helps to stimulate cell production and cell regeneration.
Doctors will often prescribe growth hormone to children who have impaired hormone levels to help them reach their full height. However, this synthetic growth hormone is also popular amongst athletes, bodybuilders, or those who want a muscular aesthetic.
In adults, this hormone can help to maintain, build, and repair healthy tissue in the brain and other organs, as well as reduce the recovery time after an injury, boost metabolism, and also burn fat.
But does growth hormone make you bigger? Let’s take a more in-depth look.
How Do Growth Hormones Work?
As mentioned, the growth hormone is found in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain.
After the growth hormone is released from the pituitary gland it sends a signal to the liver to release a second hormone. This second hormone is called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).
The two hormones (growth hormone and IGF-1) work together to produce cartilage cells that are used in your bones, muscles, organs, and tissues.
This helps strengthen the skeletal frame and for children, it provides them with the correct levels of hormones that are needed to grow.
Around the age of 30, the production of growth hormone tends to decrease a little every year. Low growth hormone levels can often make a person look and feel older. These are just a few indications of low growth hormone:
- Skin that sags
- Hair loss
- Brittle bones
- Smaller muscles
- Constant exhaustion
- Weight gain even with healthy habits
How Are Growth Hormones Taken?
Growth hormones are commonly injected intramuscularly (into a muscle) and subcutaneously (under the skin) if they have been prescribed. You can also find some illegal manufacturers that offer growth hormones in an injectable form.
You may often come across companies that offer these hormones as dietary supplements. These companies often boast that the supplements have the same benefits as the injections, however, research has shown that these supplements don’t have the same results as prescribed growth hormones.
How Growth Hormones Affect Bones And Muscles
Over time, people tend to lose bone density which is the reason why older people seem to shrink in height. As well as losing bone density, as you age you can also lose muscle mass, which again can make you look smaller and appear frailer.
By using growth hormones, you may be able to slow these effects down. They are known for helping to preserve and even increase your bone density, which reduces your chances of a weakened skeletal structure.
They can also help you burn off excess fat, again adding to the overall aesthetic, and help you build more lean muscle.
A lot of older people struggle to maintain an upright posture due to weaker muscles and fatigue.
However, by taking these growth hormones and supplying your bones and muscles with that extra strength, you’re able to maintain correct posture and carry yourself at maximum height.
This will help give you the appearance of being bigger when compared to others of the same age who are prone to slouching.
Are There Any Side Effects To Taking Growth Hormones?
Yes, there are several possible side effects to taking both prescribed growth hormones and illegal ones.
The long term side effects of taking growth hormones are still relatively unknown, however, these are just a few possible side effects of using growth hormones over a prolonged period:
- Numb and tingling skin
- Higher cholesterol levels
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Growth of facial features, hands, and feet (acromegaly)
- Increased risk of diabetes and heart disease
- An enlarged heart
- Liver damage
- Low blood sugar
- Growth of cancerous tumors
- Swelling of the arms and legs (edema)
- Mood changes, dependency, and withdrawal
- Enlarged breasts in men (gynecomastia)
- Nerve, muscle, or joint pain
These side effects typically affect older adults rather than younger people. Around one third of adults who use synthetic growth hormone will experience side effects.
What Other Chemicals Can Be Used To Increase Muscle Size?
There are several other substances that many athletes and bodybuilders use alongside growth hormones as a way of increasing their muscle size and strength.
However, at present, there is not enough research and evidence to know the possible dangers of mixing these different chemicals.
Some of the substances most commonly used are:
- Steroids - these are synthetic versions of testosterone (the male sex hormone).
- Amphetamines - helps with fat loss.
- Beta-blockers - helps to prevent trembling (a side effect of steroid use).
- Diuretics - help to prevent fluid retention.
Does Growth Hormone Make You Bigger?
For adults, growth hormones will not make you taller but will help prevent the signs of aging, such as poor posture and muscle loss, which both make an individual look smaller.
By taking growth hormone, you can develop more muscle mass and may also be able to lose body fat, resulting in you looking leaner and more fit.
Adults who use growth hormone can typically expect to gain 30-40 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks.
It’s a mistaken belief, however, that taking growth hormone will boost muscle strength. As this hormone is typically taken alongside other substances, such as steroids, an increase in muscle strength is actually due to the additional substance.
While taking growth hormone, any muscle enlargement is down to the side effect of fluid retention.
Combined with a second side effect of fat loss, an individual’s lean body mass would be greatly enhanced. This would give the overall appearance of a fitter, stronger individual with more definition to their muscles and therefore make them appear bigger.
In summary, there are several benefits to taking growth hormone, but taking it alone won’t necessarily make you bigger. However, it can be taken to help improve your quality of life as you age.
Here are just some of the benefits of taking growth hormone:
- Improves energy levels.
- Helps aid weight loss.
- Increases metabolism.
- Help to build more lean muscles.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Less risk of cardiovascular disease.