Health and Fitness Coach
1 November 2012 10:00 am
The multi-billion dollar industry of human growth hormone has sparked a controversy and hype in the medical industry. Doctors are sceptical, athletes are curious and scientists are sitting behind test tubes with an aim to find some evidence of success.
However, this alleged drug is seen as a fountain of youth, libido enhancer and a drug that can change your life… all in an injection.
But is Human Growth Hormone really as good as it sounds? We find out…
What is the Human Growth Hormone?
Hormones are responsible for our growth, metabolic rate and sexual function. They influence the working conditions of every part of the body: from cells to organs. Our bodies produce hormones all the time, on a daily basis, in fact. One such hormone is the Human Growth Hormone (also known as HGH) that plays a major role in cellular repair, muscle growth and bone structure. It helps breakdown subcutaneous fat and promotes protein deposition.
During adolescent years, the pituitary gland produces HGH regularly by the hypothalamus. As the ageing process commences, the development of natural HGH decreases, as a result of which athletes start using HGH externally to continue their muscle development and growth.
As per a 2011 sports review, The World Anti-Doping Agency banned athletes to use HGH for increasing their muscle mass, due to safety concerns. However, the drug is very much legal in Australia, provided you have medical documents to prove your deficiency and requirement.
But do we have rebels in the house? Sure do.
What does HGH do?
To speak from an athletics point of view, HGH is used to increase performance in sports.
A study conducted by New England Journal of Medicine in 2010 on 21 men taking a regular dosage of HGH showed that the hormone directly promoted lean muscle mass and reduced a substantial amount of body fat. Keeping that in mind, any deficiency in this hormone can lead to inefficient performance and sports result. HGH is essentially used to fulfil the physical appearance of athletes and sportsperson. Footballers have also used HGH for reconstruction and recovery from sports-related injuries.
More than the physical benefits, an injection of added HGH works with the existing hormones to provide a better quality of life, says Dr. Keffry Life, author of The Life Plan. “A man who is therapeutically low in growth hormone faces higher risks of illness,” he says.
The Growth Hormone is also known to slow down the ageing process and promote healthy ageing. Scientists are still working to find evidence that proves so, but so far the claim is based on the injection of the synthetic hormone in an adult.
How to use HGH?
At first, you’ll need to see a doctor for some tests that’ll assess whether you’re eligible for the external hormone. There are a lot of medical factors that go into this, as you need your growth hormone checked for deficiency and blood concentration.
Apart from its natural production in the pituitary gland in the brain, HGH can be channelled into the body via a needle. This injection can be used at home (only after getting an approval from your doctor), or via a regular visit to the clinic.
America’s Federal Trade Commission [FTC] has made it clear that only the prescribed versions of HGH are effective, as opposed to the “imposter pills and sprays that claim the same benefits”.
“Some products claim to contain actual HGH; others are advertised as HGH ‘boosters’ or ‘releasers’ that promise to increase the body’s ability to make its own HGH. Either way, FTC staff has seen no reliable evidence to support the claim that these ‘wannabe’ products have the same effect as prescription HGH,” says a spokesperson of FTC.
Where to inject HGH?
The prescribed version of HGH is usually injected in the body part that requires most benefit for it. Athletes inject it in their glutes, biceps, thighs, shins or calves, depending on what they prefer the most. They have to be careful how they inject it, if they’re doing this DIY, they wouldn’t want to puncture anything else.
HGH has a short life span in the body; don’t be surprised if you’re prescribed a daily injection.
How much does HGH cost?
After researching a few clinics in Sydney, it was found that the range for HGH drug is varied as per their offering. One clinic charges $600 per month that includes a prescribed at-home hormone replacement dose.
However, if you want a more pampering treatment, for 1200-$1400 a month, you get doses of HGH, testosterone and regular lab reports monitoring your hormones.
You will find cheaper (and even illegal) options, such as $300 per month for a prescription, but the efficiency and safety of those drugs are unknown. You might get a low-quality HGH that might potentially be very dangerous.
If you decide to import HGH from Asia, then you’re entering quicksand. The Australian Federal Government monitors a law against importing a controlled drug, and that might cost you big bucks in fine.
What are the side effects?
Self-diagnosis and buying low-grade quality HGH can lead to weakening your immune system, increasing the risk of diabetes, joint pain, increased swelling and potential increase in the growth of cancer cells.
The long-term effects of HGH have not been assessed yet. There isn’t much to prove the safety of long-term hormone replacement in the body, especially during menopause. Even though HGH has shown results for short-term gains like muscle mass and fat loss, you need to be smart about what it has to offer in the long run.
Can children use HGH?
Surprisingly, yes! Human growth hormone is approved for children with HGH deficiency. HGH is also for adults with proven HGH deficiency, muscle wasting due to HIV or short-bowel syndrome, according to Dr. Life.
Be careful. Don’t use this hormone replacement technique to abuse your body. If not used wisely, this man-made chemical substance can be very fatal to the body in the long run. Get tested and take the legal approach of using HGH, rather than other cheaper shortcuts.