HGH: 24 Frequently Asked Questions About Human Growth Hormones

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Mysteries and controversies surround many medical issues, especially human growth hormones. This is one of the hot topics in the world of sports, fitness, nutrition and medicine, because it affects everyone. If you want to know how human growth hormone affects your body, read on.

Whether you just want to learn what human growth hormone is or you have specific questions about HGH, you’ve come to the right place. This article will provide information about human growth hormones, its functions, forms, benefits and dangers. It will also answer the most common questions about human growth hormones. You will also find out about some current situations where the use and testing of human growth hormones is relevant to spectators and athletes in the NFL.

tissues1. What is human growth hormone (HGH)?

Human growth hormone is, as its name suggests, a hormone that helps your body grow. Human growth hormone is also known as HGH. Bones and muscles cannot grow without human growth hormone. HGH also plays a vital role in maintaining tissues and organs throughout your body, such as your brain and liver.

2. How is HGH produced?

Human growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and then released into the bloodstream. From there, within a few minutes, the liver converts the hormone into growth factors such as IGF-1 and IGF-2. These names stand for insulin-like growth factors.

3. What does HGH do?

As already stated, HGH plays a crucial part in maintaining and increasing your bone density, muscle mass, and the health of tissues and vital organs. It is responsible for the body’s healing because it produces new cells to replace old or damaged ones.

increases sex drive4. What other benefits does HGH have?

Additionally, HGH is an anabolic hormone. It can skyrocket your energy levels, leading to an increased metabolism and more burned fat. HGH also increases sex drive and results in faster muscle building.

5. How much HGH should I have?

Your body produces HGH naturally, and the right amount varies between males and females. According to Muscle and Fitness, a healthy adult female has just under 10 nanograms of HGH per milliliter of blood, while adult males have just under five nanograms per milliliter. Women have more to account for childbearing. For both males and females, the highest HGH levels occur during puberty.

6. If I’m done growing, do I still need human growth hormone?

Yes, absolutely. While HGH is responsible for your physical growth, you continue to need it after puberty. Your body is constantly creating new cells, and HGH is critical for this purpose.

body rebuilds what was broken downDid you know that you actually break down muscle when you exercise? After exercise, through resting and refueling, your body rebuilds what was broken down. Without HGH, reconstruction and growth cannot happen.

You are right to assume a link between age and human growth hormone. During puberty, HGH levels reach their peak because the body is growing at its fastest rate. One common use of HGH is for children who are not growing enough. In these cases, doctors may prescribe HGH.

7. What if I don’t have enough HGH?

Without enough HGH, your body cannot maintain its health. This is a condition called somatopause and should be discussed with a doctor. Symptoms of somatopause are included in the next section. A significant HGH deficiency will show up in blood tests, which are necessary for obtaining HGH prescriptions.

8. How can I find out if I have an HGH deficiency?

The only conclusive way to discover an HGH deficiency is through blood testing. However, there are many symptoms that may signal a deficiency:

  • Poor memoryDecreased lean muscle
  • Increased fat
  • Low energy levels
  • Unrestful sleeping, abnormal sleep patterns
  • Poor socialization
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Poor memory
  • More frequent sickness
  • Trouble recovering and healing from illness
  • Loss of bone density

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms and suspect that they are caused by an HGH deficiency, talk to your doctor right away.

9. How can I increase my HGH?

There are several ways to increase HGH, which include: exercise, sleep, diet and supplements.

  • Exercise as a way to increase HGH: Research shows that certain types of exercise, especially those with periods of high intensity, can spark higher HGH production. MaxWorkouts explains how you can take your regular exercise to the next level with an intense interval workout that triggers human growth hormone.
  • sleepingSleep more to grow more: According to com, it is while sleeping that your body produces the majority, or 75 percent, of its HGH. HGH is produced during REM sleep, or deep sleep. You can’t get to this point with a catnap, so it’s important that you have a regular sleep pattern. Proper sleep is crucial to HGH production.
  • Align your nutrition with your health goals. If you are serious about increasing your HGH, you need to prioritize your nutrition. Vitamin C, Vitamin B3 and many antioxidants stimulate HGH production. Since protein is key to muscle building, and amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, you can choose specific amino acids to target HGH production.

Here is a list of amino acids, arranged from the most effective to the least important for HGH that you can take:

  • Arginine
  • Ornithine
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • OKG
  • BCAAs
  • GABA

Taking HGH Supplements: This is a controversial topic, and there will be more on these sticky issues later, since HGH injections are illegal. However, you can legally obtain small doses of HGH that you can take through the nose or under the tongue. In this form, HGH is expensive but serves as an excellent recovery supplement.

10. What other supplements, besides HGH, can I use to boost HGH?

Folic Acid
Photo by Jeffrey Beall / CC BY-SA

In addition to the amino acids listed above, there is a broad range of vitamins, minerals, hormones, herbs, vital agents, and adaptogenic herbs that can increase your HGH levels. This list, created by Muscle and Fitness, is sorted by category:

Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid
  • Inositol Hexanicotinate

Minerals:

  • Chromium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Iodine

Amino Acids:

  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Carnitine
  • Arginine
  • GABA
  • Taurine
  • Lysine
  • Ornithine alpha ketoglutarate

Herbs and Botanicals

  • Tribulus terrestris
  • Chrysin
  • Coleus forskohlii
  • Griffonia simplicifolia
  • Milk thistle, or silymarin

prescription11. Isn’t HGH illegal?

Unless it is prescribed by a doctor or sold in very small doses, HGH is currently illegal in the United States. In order to obtain a prescription, you must visit a doctor and have blood tests done because doctors can only prescribe it for you if you have a deficiency. Although HGH has been shown to have anti-aging benefits, doctors can recommend its use for this purpose.

12. Is HGH dangerous?

You’ve heard the old saying, “Too much of a good thing is bad.” It’s the same with human growth hormone. Too much HGH has been linked with joint pain, swelling and cancer.

Cancer? Yes, according to some, experts. Cancer is caused by uncontrolled cell growth, and HGH increases cell growth. However, a link between HGH and cancer has been observed only in mice that die early when they have high levels of HGH. The link has not been proven in humans.

supplements on the marketAnother danger in HGH supplements is that there are many fake supplements on the market. Purchasing HGH without a prescription is dangerous, not to mention illegal, because there is no certainty that you are actually getting HGH.

Despite these potential side effects, opinions on the safety of HGH vary. Some people compare HGH to creatine, which is one of the safest and most effective supplements available now, despite initial fear and negative media hype.

The form in which HGH is taken makes a difference. Complications are more likely to arise from HGH injections than from other forms such as homeopathic sprays or tablets.

13. When did HGH become available on the market?

children's growthThe hormone was discovered in the 1920’s and first used as medication in the 1950’s as a remedy for pituitary defects that stunted children’s growth. Initially, HGH came from the brains of cadavers, which had legal, ethical, and safety implications. In the 1980’s, scientists began trying to produce the drug synthetically, and they succeeded in making millions of dollars by selling the product for children with stunted growth.

By 1996, the market for HGH expanded to include adults with HGH deficiencies and other approved medical issues, and the competition increased due to Asian markets. However, HGH is still one of the most expensive products on the pharmaceutical market.

14. How do people usually take HGH?

Human growth hormone is sold in many forms:

  • Injections
  • Sprays
  • Patches
  • Topical creams
  • Tablets
  • Powders

InjectionsThe most well known method of taking HGH is via injection. This is available only by prescription. HGH is also found in pill and spray form, though some people say that pills, tablets, capsules and powder products are merely supplements, because they do not contain human growth hormone. Sprays are best taken sublingually, that is, under the tongue, because the thinner skin there allows for better absorption of the spray.

HGH can also be obtained as homeopathic sprays and tablets. These homeopathic products are safer and more affordable than injections, and companies selling them boast that they are just as effective as the injections. The advantage of a homeopathic source is that it stimulates the pituitary gland to produce more HGH without making your body dependent on a synthetic source of HGH.

15. Who can take human growth hormone?

Sometimes HGH is prescribed for children who are not growing fast enough. Adults with demonstrated deficiencies can take HGH prescriptions, too. Anyone who wants to promote and maintain his or her physical health can take action to stimulate HGH production, but the best first step is to see a doctor first. Athletes may be particularly interested in using HGH to get stronger faster, but natural ways to boost HGH is the best route to take.

16. Who should not take HGH?

Pregnant womenPregnant women should not take any supplement or medication unless it is prescribed by their doctor. Anyone who has an existing medical condition, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, should talk to their physician before trying HGH. In addition, those taking prescription medications should also discuss HGH with their doctors before taking it.

17. What is the connection between HGH and age?

HGH levels are at their peak during your puberty years, and it is especially important for growing children to have adequate levels of HGH. After puberty, typically in your 20’s, a decrease in HGH is normal. This decrease is about 14 percent every 10 years, which means that by age sixty HGH levels are only half of what they were at their peak.

18. Can HGH deficiency lead to early aging?

As you age, your body is literally breaking down. Since HGH is what helps the body recover from this break down, optimal levels of HGH can slow down the aging process. In fact, HGH deficiency is related to many symptoms of aging including:

  • Wrinkles
  • Gray hair
  • Increased frequency of colds and other sicknesses
  • Loss of energy
  • Low stamina
  • less sex driveGray hair
  • Loss of lean muscle
  • Body fat gains
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis

Although you cannot obtain an HGH prescription for anti-aging, you can increase your HGH levels through diet, exercise and rest. Simple lifestyle changes can be a natural and safer option to increase your HGH, as you grow older.

Remember, prevention is better than a cure, so don’t wait until you exhibit extreme symptoms of aging or HGH deficiency. Take action now to maintain or increase your HGH production, or at least maintain your current levels. Your doctor can test your levels of HGH and advise you accordingly.

19. Is it possible to have too much HGH? What are the effects?

This is unlikely to happen unless you are taking injections, but it is possible to have too much HGH. There are rare reports of HGH overdoses leading to enlarged livers, extra large feet, heightened blood sugar levels and fluid retention. Other side effects include carpal tunnel syndrome, abnormally large bones, arthritis, swelling, joint pain, thyroid problems and insulin imbalances.

Experiments with mice have found a correlation between high levels of HGH and early death, which leads some researchers to link HGH with cancer. However, this research is still inconclusive.

HGH will not make you any taller20. Does HGH affect height?

Yes, HGH affects height and is necessary for your body to grow during your childhood and puberty years. However, once your bones have stopped growing, HGH will not make you any taller. The only effect it has is increasing bone density.

21. Do professional athletes use HGH?

This is a sticky issue, that is also quite vague. Some professional athletes do use human growth hormone to increase their muscle mass and improve their recovery time, while others rely on natural ways to increase their HGH. The National Football League has begun testing for HGH in an effort to make sure football players are not using HGH as a performance-enhancing drug.

professional sports22. What’s happening in the NFL with HGH Testing?

This is a great question, because it’s a current issue with multiple sides. Now that you know about human growth hormone and how it affects your body, you can investigate the issue and form your own opinion on HGH testing in professional sports. First, a bit of background.

23. When did they start testing for HGH in the NFL?

In 2011, HGH testing became part of the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the player’s union. The terms weren’t settled until 2014; so testing began in October of 2014. Under the agreement, HGH testing occurs at random approximately 40 times a week during the regular season, and five times per team during playoffs. Officials will also perform HGH testing if there is reasonable suspicion that a player has been using it.

Despite the seemingly high frequency of testing, in the first year of testing no one in the NFL tested positive for HGH. That’s a zero percent positive yield out of about 790 tests.

24. Why should we question the results of HGH testing in the NFL?

So what’s the problem? If you trust the test results, this is great news. NFL players aren’t doping up on human growth hormone. If, however, you look at trends in athlete’s physique and performance, you may be led to suspicion.

NFL playersCharlie Yesalis is a professor at Penn State University and he specializes in researching performance-enhancing drugs such as HGH. USA Today quoted him as saying, “Show me where guys have gotten slower or less strong. I don’t think you can show me that. God hasn’t changed the formula genetically. I know this. You’re working with the same human recipe. These are bigger guys running faster and are stronger every year. These drugs are available. They have the financial wherewithal to obtain them.”

Yesalis’ conclusion is that NFL players are using HGH, but the tests aren’t catching them.

He’s not the only who is concerned. Former NFL quarterback Fran Tarkenton told USA Today “This generation of players is absolutely at great risk of harm and short life . . . I would be less than responsible if I knew that and didn’t speak out.”

He, too, feels certain that NFL players are using performance-enhancing drugs without getting caught.

If Yesalis and Tarkenton are right and NFL players are using HGH, why are they not caught? You start to wonder why the HGH tests, which happen so frequently, have not caught anyone. Yesalis thinks the tests are a façade.

On the other hand, if the test is legitimate, it works as a deterrent. Players know they will be tested, so they don’t use HGH. Adolpho Birch, NFL Senior Vice President for Labor Policy, holds this position. He said of the decision to implement HGH testing “It’s not that we thought there was rampant use of HGH. It’s just that the deterrent value is important.”

The Other Side of the Coin: HGH from an Athlete’s Perspective

testsBirch is confident that the tests are accurate and that players are not using HGH. Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos feels similarly. When notified that he was being investigated for HGH, he responded by saying that he welcomed the investigation.

Last month, news agency Al-Jazeera released a report linking Manning to human growth hormone. The report insinuated that Manning had used HGH while recovering from injuries in 2011. Manning denied the accusation, calling it “garbage.”

With the injuries long behind him, Manning is preparing for the 2016 Superbowl, and this attempt to dredge up the past isn’t going to distract him. When asked about the NFL’s official investigation into claims that he used HGH, Manning stated,  “I do welcome it. It’s no news to me. I still stand by what I said then that it’s garbage from the first day that it came out, garbage today.”

Things for You to Remember About HGH

As athletes and fans alike gear up for the Superbowl, it is evident that competition is powerful. The prevalent attitude is that you do what it takes to win. With this pressure, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that athletes use HGH. Yesalis, who believes there is undocumented HGH usage in the NFL, feels that this pressure from spectators is part of the problem, and he worries about the long-term effects on football players’ health.

This brings us back to some of our initial questionabout the safety of human growth hormone. Used properly, it seems to have many benefits, including deterring aging symptoms and helping the body build and maintain muscle mass. As a prescription drug, it has also helped many children overcome pituitary gland problems and it has aided adults in compensating for hormone deficiencies.

However, people worry about the side effects of HGH, and research so far has not been conclusive. With more time, will we see that HGH is in fact dangerous, or will we find ways to tap into its benefits without risk?

While waiting for the answers to this question, you can get more HGH the healthy way by encouraging your body to make more of it by avoiding toxic substances like alcohol and cigarettes, as well as processed and junk foods. Get plenty of exercise and sleep, and eat the rainbow, and you’re HGH will bounce back, but if it doesn’t enlist in the help of your doctor.

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