Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
The interesting history of the Human Growth Hormone stretches back to the early 1920s soon after the end of the First World War. The legend is crammed with fascinating insights as well as conspicuous errors, dumb luck, labour in vain, conquests and defeats. It is amazing how HGH transcended from being the most scarce hormone derived raw from human cadavers to becoming a very popular bodybuilding and anti-aging med, priced in a range affordable to almost everyone.
What is HGH?
The Human Growth Hormone, also known as somatotropin is a peptide hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland. HGH is responsible for regulation of the body composition, cell regeneration, bone and muscle growth, fat and sugar metabolism, heart function among many other functions.
The main function of Growth Hormone is normal growth in children as well as general wellness in adults. HGH levels are at their highest during teenage years and decline during one`s twenties as the individual reaches maximum growth. Nonetheless a healthy pituitary gland never ceases HGH production.
HGH Mechanism of Action
Once released, Growth Hormone stimulates the liver to produce an insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). IGF-1 triggers repair and growth of body tissues, bones, muscles, skin, organs and more. Normally Growth hormone is produced in small bursts or pulses throughout the day. On average there are close to 20 daily surges, the largest release occurs shortly before sleep. Somatostatin, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GHRH) and Growth hormone-releasing peptide (GHRP) are responsible for Growth Hormone release.
The History Of HGH
The discovery of the Human Growth Hormone was rather unanticipated. It was during an attempt to discover the cause of Human Growth Deficiency that scientists discovered that it was actually caused by lack of a certain pituitary hormone called Growth Hormone.
Although the Human Growth Hormone was first observed in the 1920’s, it wasn`t until the mid 1940s that efforts to acquire pituitary derived GH for the treating of Growth Hormone deficiency children actually started. Discovering the cause of Growth Hormone deficiency was indeed a breakthrough. The major milestone was the source. Initially the scientists resorted to Animals.
Evans and Li from the university of California and Fishman from Yale purified bovine Growth Hormone. Westermeyer and Raben, at Tufts purified porcine Growth Hormone. Unfortunately all their efforts were in vain because the effects of Growth hormones is species specific. As a result there was only one alternative left? Human Cadavers!!
In 1956, Li, Raben and Papkoff successfully isolated Gowth Hormone from a cadaver`s pituitary gland. By 1960 it was quite clear that pituitary Growth Hormone derived from human cadavers would successfully treat children suffering from GH deficiency. As result the, National Pituitary Agency (NPA) was formed to regulate pituitary extraction and collection.
Pituitary derived Growth Hormone was effective but the extraction process was rather rigorous and expensive. One pituitary gland only contributed a few drops therefore to fill a single injection was very time consuming and also expensive. Only a few could afford the treatment and only children with acute Growth Hormone deficiency were eligible to undergo treatment, leaving the rest to fate.
For 30 years, human cadavers were the ultimate source of Human Growth hormone until in April 19, 1985 when it was banned by the FDA. The FDA along with NIH figured out that some of the the GH derived from human cadavers was contaminated by Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).
CJD is similar to Alzhiemer`s and it causes accelerated brain degeneration which usually leads to death within a year after the first symptoms. To date there is no test or treatment for CJD. What makes the CJD so dangerous is that it can lie dormant for years after exposure without showing any signs of infection.
The FDA ban brought a halt to the newly born exciting era in pediatric endocrinology putting pressure on researchers to come up with a better method. Thanks to recombinant DNA technology! In the same year 1985, Genentech brought (genetically engineered) synthetic HGH to the market followed by Eli Lilly in 1987. Ever since researchers have continued to meticulously study HGH. Today, apart from helping Growth Hormone deficient children, HGH has various many other awesome functions like anti-aging properties and bdoybuilding in sports.
Growth Hormone Functions
Ever since the development of a better, safer, affordable and easily accessible alternative to raw cadaver- derived Growth Hormone, researchers began to expand the scope of treatment beyond just dwarfism to include other health related benefits. Apart from helping with growth, HGH has several other functions in the human body. This is why it is also required in adults. HGH benefits include
- Generally improves one`s quality of life.
- Assists in muscle growth.
- Improves vision,
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Improves digestion
- Reverses major organs shrinkage
- Speeds up wound healing
- Enhances memory and cognition
- In the sports world, men can use HGH hand in hand with other Anabolic Androgenic steroids(AAS) to amplify their effects.
- Speeds up metabolism and thus burns fat faster which can help in losing weight
- It is an effective ant-aging remedy.
- Can be handy if you want quick results as a body builder.
- Improves and amplifies the healing process
- Inhibits destruction of muscles
- Strengthens immunity.
- For treatment of pituitary dwarfism in children and teens.
- To help individuals with HGH deficiency.
- For treatment of HIV/AIDS patients
- useful to relieve burn victims and people suffering from Prader-Willi syndrome and quick bowel syndrome.
- Re-colours the gray,
- Thickens hair.
Is HGH safe?
Recombinant DNA synthesized Growth Hormone is a bioequivalent to the naturally occurring pituitary produced Growth Hormone. Therefore there are usually a few to zero side effects associated with Growth Hormone unless the dosage is abused. At clinically approved doses, the side effects of HGH are usually very mild.
Some treatments might not have short term complication but have long-term complications. Sceptical, researchers have carried out several studies to study the long term effects of Growth Hormone but in all, the studies proved that HGH is relatively safe both long term and short term.
One of the studies is a ten year old study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. The study participants experienced a significant improvement in their quality of life. They also reported loss of fat, decreased carotid intima media thickness (an indication of plaque in the carotid), increased lean muscle, improved psychological well-being and a less atherogenic lipid profile. Despite the study consisting of only 10 participants, the results are still valuable and relevant as the subjects were relatively young (average age = 38). An important fact to keep in mind is that the subjects didn`t use the crazy supra-physiological doses used in bodybuilding but correctly followed low doses (sub-clinical hGH concentrations).
Another two-year large group study proves that taking HGH greatly improves general wellness and the quality of life. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology. According to the study, patients administered with Growth Hormone experienced beneficial effects on metabolism, body composition, improved psychological wellbeing and general wellness. The only side effects was fluid related and in a very few cases. And also these were low doses.
What if I overdose Growth Hormone?
Abnormally high levels of Growth Hormone in adults can lead to overgrowth, scientifically known as acromegaly. The disease is usually characterised by excessive or overgrowth of the head, hands, feet , jaw, nose, fingers, toes and the forehead. Internal organs might also increase in size resulting in distending abdomens noticeable in some bodybuilders using HGH. In some cases the hair and nails can grow incredibly faster and also carpal tunnel symptoms can be experienced.
Special care is required when handling Growth Hormone. HGH molecules are highly delicate and severe shaking or heat can easily ruin the molecules. It is important to store HGH in a cool and dry place, preferable a refrigerator. Also take caution when it comes to reconstituting the hormone vial.
Taking Growth Hormone the right way.
Two key fundamental things you will need to keep in mind when taking Growth Hormone are:
Authentic Growth Hormone comes usually in the form of a lyophilised/dried powder which needs to be reconstituted with water. You don`t just use any water. You should only use the following types of water; normal saline, plain sterile water for injections and sterile bacteriostatic water. Your choice of water determines how soon you would use the vial, bacteriostatic water lasts the longest, (3-3.5 weeks). If you don`t want to keep the vial for that long you can probably choose other options which last a few days.
When it comes to syringes, it is advisable to prepare two syringes:
- For mixing the vial, and the other
- For administering it!
Insulin type syringes with 100 markings are recommended as they make it easier for you to determine the dose. Also they generally work perfectly well with HGH injections.
There is no specific standard dosage of Growth Hormone. Therefore it is important that you consult your GP to know the optimal dosage your body needs. As a general rule, the dosage depends on what you intend to use the HGH for. 2IU (International Units) per day are usually recommended to anti-aging subjects. Athletes for body building and weight loss are usually prescribed 4-6IU. Unless in cases of severe burns and injuries, 8-16IU can be administered to the patient as short term treatment.
Possible side effects of HGH
Although side effects are usually very rare, the following can be experienced; gynecomastia bloating, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, a decrease in thyroid hormone production and swelling of the optic nerve.
How long does it take to feel the effects of Growth Hormone?
It doesn`t take that much long before you can start to feel the effects of Growth Hormone kicking into action. After a few days on Growth Hormone Therapy a significant increase in productivity and vitality should be felt. By the first month you should probably expect improved and healthier deep sleep. The following month your skin should show rejuvenating results and by the third month expect a change in your hair. Muscle mass gains would probably be visible after 2-3 months. Generally you would feel satisfying results within the first three months, general wellness, increased energy and eyesight among many others.
Misconceptions About HGH
- HGH increases the Life expectancy
Its true that the Human Growth Hormone can improve your quality of life and restore the youthfulness viva but it doesn`t give you an extra lease on life. If you catch a disease or engage in risk behaviour unfortunately even all the HGH in the world won`t be able to save your life!
- HGH is FDA Approved
Whilst this might be true to some extent, most of Growth Hormone applications are not approved by the FDA. The FDA only approved HGH for children with growth disabilities.
- Overdose increases the efficacy of HGH
This is a popular misconception among body builders, they think that if they increase the dosage the effect would be directly proportional to their muscle gains. However that’s not the case. Once the optimal of HGH is exceeded in the body, the rest HGH would pose stress on the liver and kidney as they try to remove it from the body.
Growth Hormone is a naturally occurring hormone in the body but taking too much can lead to serious health complications like diabetes, joint swelling and worsen certain cancers like prostate and colon cancer.