Human growth hormone (HGH) is a substance that has many benefits in the medical community. HGH is produced by the pituitary gland, which aids in the development of children and teenagers.
It helps with body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and maybe cardiac function. HGH is a synthetic hormone found in several prescription and over-the-counter products.
Though used in medications, it is perhaps known more for its unofficial uses. Some people seek out this drug in the hopes of feeling and looking younger, or to improve their fitness levels and muscle mass.
Here is everything you need to know about the risks associated with HGH.
What Is HGH?
Human growth hormone is classified as a peptide. A peptide is a long chain of amino acids that resembles the proteins found in our hair, nails, muscles, and skin. Peptides break down and digest faster than proteins because they are shorter.
Human growth hormone does not boost growth directly. Instead, it promotes the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a protein that helps bones thicken and lengthen. In addition to bone formation, IGF-1 promotes muscle growth and fat reduction.
Acromegaly is a condition in which the face, feet, and hands enlarge due to an excess of IGF-1. Extreme height is developed, particularly in youth and adolescence. It causes tiredness and a high appetite by increasing insulin secretion while lowering insulin efficiency.
It can also increase the pressure inside the skull of the brain, which has been related to cancer.
Although human growth hormone typically declines as we age, this decline may protect us from certain cancers.
What Are The Risks Of HGH?
There are far more risks to taking HGH than you may first expect, especially if they have not been prescribed to treat a condition and it is being used for its supposed other benefits.
To grow muscle and improve athletic prowess, some people combine the hormone with other performance-enhancing medications such as anabolic steroids. However, the impact of HGH on athletic performance is unknown.
Because the body's HGH levels naturally decline with age, some so-called anti-aging experts claimed that HGH products may heal age-related physiological degeneration.
These assertions, are unfounded and rejected by most of the medical and scientific community. The FDA prohibits the use of HGH for anti-aging purposes.
Nonetheless, some people obtain injectable HGH from doctors who prescribe it for off-label (non-FDA-approved) uses, as well as internet pharmacies, anti-aging clinics, and websites.
Other people purchase HGH medicines (or items that claim to boost your body's natural HGH production) in pill or spray form.
Companies that sell these products on TV infomercials or the internet claim that they can help you turn back the biological clock in your body by reducing fat, building muscle, restoring hair growth and color, strengthening your immune system, normalizing blood sugar, increasing energy, and improving your sex life, sleep quality, vision, and memory.
All of this makes HGH sound like a miracle drug.
The FTC, on the other hand, has found no reliable evidence that these products have the same benefits as prescription HGH, which is normally taken by injection.
When taken orally, HGH is digested by the stomach before being absorbed into the body so it will not give you any of the supposed benefits.
Whether taking it in pill or injection form, there are several common risks with taking HGH including:
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Nerve pain or damage
- High cholesterol levels
- Edema - swelling due to too much fluid in the body
- Numbness of the skin or a tingling sensation
- Can promote the growth of cancerous tumors
- Increase the risk of diabetes
Furthermore, if you obtain the drug illegally, you may not know what you are getting. Because of their high cost, HGH drugs have been counterfeited.
If you aren't obtaining HGH through your doctor, you could be using an unapproved product which only leads to more risks.
Like all drugs or supplements, you should consult your doctor before taking HGH.
Related Article: HGH Energizer Review: Ingredients, Benefits, & Dosage
What Can HGH Treat?
Though it has several unofficial and unsubstantiated uses, HGH actually has several medical benefits if used the right way to treat certain disorders or illnesses. What HGH treats differ between children and adults.
- Used to treat small stature due to an unknown cause
- Chronic kidney disease
- Used in children born small for gestational age
- Prader-Willi syndrome - this is an uncommon genetic disorder that causes an intense and unending feeling of hunger, poor muscle tone, and low levels of sex hormones
- HGH insufficiency or deficiency
- Turner’s syndrome - found in girls only, this genetic disorder affects a child's development
- Muscle wastage due to diseases such as HIV/AIDS
- Short bowel syndrome - due to severe intestinal illness or surgical removal of a major part of the small intestine, nutrients are not efficiently absorbed into the body
- HGH deficiency due to pituitary tumors and the treatment for this
Our hormones are always fluctuating. IGF-1 promotes the release of human growth hormone, but it also inhibits its secretion. Several different hormones can either boost or inhibit human growth hormone.
This dynamic equilibrium maintains a healthy level of human growth hormone, preventing acromegaly and deficiency issues.
Unless you have a confirmed deficiency or some clinical reason, you don't need injections to control your HGH levels. Human growth hormone is released when you sleep, exercise, and eat a nutritious diet, all of which improve your mood.
The claims that HGH can bring back some youthfulness to your body, or that it can aid in muscle growth are untrue, and taking HGH for these reasons can actually harm your body more than it can benefit it. Like all drugs, HGH should only be taken to treat specific illnesses or prescribed by a doctor.