HGH or human growth hormone is a peptide hormone that naturally occurs in your body and is responsible for both skeletal muscle growth as well as cell production. Not just this, it also plays a major role in various other bodily functions such as metabolism (fat burning) and the production of other hormones in your body including testosterone.
Some of the factors that could affect HGH levels in your body include age, exercise or physical activity, sleep, overall health, etc. Not just this, your genetics are also known to have a major role in determining your HGH levels.
It is known that most adults lose 10-15% of growth hormone every decade after the age of 30. This drop in HGH levels is often known to lead to weight gain, the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, muscle loss and a drop in your energy levels. In other words, a drop in your growth hormone levels is known to speed up the aging process. No wonder, trying to boost HGH levels is one of the most effective anti-aging treatments to date.
HGH is also used by athletes to improve their on-field performance. Furthermore, it is also known to be highly effective in increasing body composition by increasing muscle mass and reducing body fat by giving a major boost to your body’s fat-burning ability.
Back in 1985, the first growth hormone known as Somatrem was approved by the FDA to treat endogenous HGH deficiency and growth disorders. Even though it was quite a big success, cases were discovered in which it lead to antibody reactions thereby reducing the biological availability and effectiveness of the drug.
With ongoing research, Somatropin was invented in 1987 with the help of recombinant DNA technology. This drug had a similar structure to the natural HGH secreted by the pituitary gland.
Somatropin is used even today and is often used by bodybuilders to gain muscle, reduce fat, and improve their body composition. However, it is not something that is devoid of side effects.
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Let’s have a look at some of the major benefits of HGH or growth hormone:
1. Increases Height
One of the most important benefits of HGH is that it can help increase height, particularly in children during puberty. It is a common treatment used by doctors to help kids who have not experienced a standard growth spurt that is right for their age. Such kids are subscribed to HGH by a pediatric endocrinologist so as to help them gain height and improver their life quality.
I must mention here that HGH does not help increase height in post-puberty years since growth plates are known to get fused.
2. Builds Muscle
Let me put it straight that HGH is not an anabolic steroid. However, it does come with quite strong muscle-building properties. It is interesting to know that doctors prescribe HGH in the treatment of cachexia (muscle-wasting disease) and even in AIDS.
What it actually does is that it shifts the environment in your body from catabolic to anabolic through an increase in both nitrogen retention and protein synthesis in the muscle cells. This greatly helps in increasing muscle mass and body weight. Since HGH also helps burn fat in your body, it helps you gain lean body mass.
3. Fat Loss
One of the most significant benefits of HGH is that it helps improve body composition by burning both subcutaneous as well as visceral fat in your body. Visceral fat is the that surrounds body organs such as the liver and kidneys and is responsible for most of your abdominal fat.
By reducing fat in your body, HGH helps improve muscle definition too. If I were to explain it, I would say that it helps reveal obscure muscle mass by getting rid of the layer of fat over your muscles.
4. Anti Aging Benefits
HGH is one of the most sought-after treatments for aging. It helps increase collagen synthesis in your body which helps plump out the skin. Collagen greatly helps in increasing skin elasticity and thus, is quite effective at reducing wrinkles and fine lines. It prevents sagging of the skin too.
Over and above, collagen also helps improve hair and nail health. It thickens hair follicles, inhibits grey hair, and reduces nail breakage.
I must mention here that these benefits are exactly the opposite of most anabolic steroids such as Dianabol, Anavar, etc.
Apart from this, HGH also helps improve carbohydrate metabolism which works to boost your energy levels tremendously. So, it not only helps you look younger but also helps boost your stamina considerably.
Furthermore, HGH is also known to be highly effective at improving cognitive ability.
5. No Withdrawal
What makes HGH better than anabolic steroids is that it does not require a PCT. One of the major problems with most anabolic steroids is that they are known to be suppressive and can take a toll on your body’s endogenous testosterone production resulting in catabolism, increased fatigue, reduced well-being, and even depression.
PCT helps restore natural testosterone production in your body that would otherwise take months to get back to normal. More often than not, drugs like Nolvadex and Clomid are used by bodybuilders for PCT.
Such is not the case with HGH. Even though it does suppress growth hormone levels in your body, they are likely to get back to normal levels within a few days. In other words, HTPA axis recovery in the case of HGH is much faster as compared to anabolic steroids.
HGH Side Effects
Even though HGH has many benefits, it also has a lot of side effects and this is why it should be taken only under medical supervision.
Some of the side effects of HGH could include the following:
1. Heart Disease
One of the most serious complications that could arise because of HGH is that it can lead to left ventricle hypertrophy. This could increase your chances of getting heart disease. It is hardly surprising that a lot of bodybuilders these days are dying young because of sudden heart attacks.
Another side effect of HGH is that it can lead to type II Diabetes since it increases the metabolism of carbohydrates resulting in a spike in your blood sugar levels.
3. HGH Gut
Professional bodybuilders of yesteryears used to have a small waist but things look in complete contrast these days with IFF competitors sporting huge bellies. This is the famous HGH Gut effect that is known to result from HGH usage.
But how does it lead to a protruding belly when HGH is known to increase fat-burning in the body?
The main reason behind this is that most bodybuilders tend to combine HGH with insulin for even better anabolism since it is highly efficient at shuttling nutrients into the muscle cells.
Even though Insulin is great for increasing anabolic activity in your body, it is also known to promote lipogenesis or fat storage. This is precisely the reason bodybuilders using Insulin can have a “fat look” even when they have a low body fat percentage.
Bottom line – HGH can lead to HGH gut only and only when it is used along with Insulin.
4. Bone/Tissue Growth
Yet another common side effect of using HGH for a long time is Acromegaly causing the enlargement of bones and tissues. This is a condition that is not just limited to bones but can also result in the enlargement of internal organs. For instance, it can result in heart enlargement that could turn out to be life-threatening.
According to a study, HGH can also lead to gynecomastia or abnormal growth of breast tissue in men. Even though it is not clear how HGH results in excess breast tissue accumulation in men, it could be a result of an increase in the female sex hormone progesterone.
It is known that HGH stimulates progesterone levels through luteal steroidogenesis resulting in gynecomastia (in a similar way caused by Deca Durabolin).
In order to prevent this sort of gynecomastia, it is suggested to combine HGH with an AI or Aromatase Inhibitor such as anastrozole since it is an effective inhibitor of progesterone receptor expression.
6. Numbness in Hands and Feet
Another problem associated with HGH usage is numbness in the hands and feet which is also known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS. HGH can result in higher sodium intake and thus extracellular fluid (water retention) leading to CTS.
When there is excess fluid in the synovial tissue, it tends to compress the median nerve which results in reduced function.
Since we are focused on bodybuilding, I am going to talk about dosages that bodybuilders take or should take in order to desirable goals with regard to gaining muscle or burning fat.
When considering growth hormone shots for performance enhancement, a dosage of 2-4 IU per day is taken. Bodybuilders who are more experienced and have used HGH or anabolic steroids in the past may increase the daily dosage to as much as 6 IU per day in order to get jacked with more muscle mass.
Duration of the cycle – Usually, an HGH cycle may last within the range of 6-24 weeks. Most bodybuilders like to opt for a 16-week cycle for gaining muscle mass.
1. HGH Only Cycle
Here are some important points to remember about HGH usage:
- First of all, HGH is not taken by beginners. It is a performance enhancer that is usually used by bodybuilders who are more experienced and want to take their muscle-building efforts to the next level.
- Secondly, when considering bulking, most bodybuilders tend to opt for anabolic steroids such as Dianabol, Anadrol, Testosterone or even Trenbolone. It is only when this hit s plateau after taking these steroids that they move on to HGH in order to break through the plateau phase. This can be equally true for a cutting phase too. In such a case, steroids such as Anavar and Winstrol are the preferred choice and when stuck on a plateau, HGH can help speed up fat loss to help you get to the next level.
- However, when you do not consider making huge muscle gains, you may opt for the abovementioned HGH Only cycle to experience milder muscle gains.
2. HGH Testosterone Cycle
HGH and Testosterone Cycle or a stack consisting of both HGH and testosterone can be highly effective for gaining muscle, enhancing strength, and speeding up fat-burning in your body. In simple words, this is a stack that can be used for both bulking as well as a cutting cycle.
More often than not, first-time users begin with Testosterone (as their preferred choice of steroid) both to gain muscle mass and to get rid of excess body fat.
It is not uncommon for beginners to gain as much as 10,20, or even 30 lbs of lean mass with the first Testosterone only cycle alone.
30lbs of lean mass gained is a typical outcome when testosterone is taken by novices. Thus, combining HGH with testosterone is definitely a good approach to getting jacked with more muscle mass.
|9-16||4 IU/day||400 mg|
As shown in the table above, it is suggested that you have HGH alone for the first 8 weeks (daily dosage of 4 IU/day) and from 9th-16th combine the same HGH dosage with 400 mg of testosterone per week.
Usually, testosterone is not considered a dangerous anabolic and it should not cause a considerable decline in your health. As a matter of fact, it is supposed to be one of the mildest anabolic steroids when it comes to negative side effects.
I must mention here that even though testosterone can put a strain on your cardiovascular function, this strain is likely to be within the range of being minimal (when taken in a mild dosage not exceeding 400 mg per week). Furthermore, it is not likely to be toxic to your liver since it is an injectable.
However, you should not rule out the possibility of experiencing androgenic side effects such as hair loss or male pattern baldness, acne vulgaris, and even prostate enlargement.
Since testosterone is likely to result in an increase in your DHT levels, it is likely to damage hair follicles resulting in hair loss. The sebaceous glands are also likely to get overstimulated leading to excess sebum secretion that may lead to the blocking of pores (resulting in acne breakouts).
Testosterone Suppression – Cycling HGH with testosterone may also have an impact on your testosterone levels. During the initial phase, your testosterone levels are likely to spike up but they are going to crash post-cycle. What it means is that you are likely to experience symptoms of low testosterone that may extend up to several months without a PCT. It is extremely important to begin with a PCT as soon as you finish off with your HGH testosterone cycle in order to restore your HTPA axis to help your body start producing testosterone normally as soon as possible.
Another point worth mentioning here is that testosterone is not suitable for women since it is androgenic in nature.
3. HGH, T3, Anavar Cycle
This is a typical cutting cycle that can ensure rapid fat loss to help you get lean and shredded muscles. T3 is a powerful fat-burning hormone that is often prescribed by doctors as a medicine to treat obesity as well as hypothyroidism.
Why bodybuilders use T3 is that it helps boost metabolic rate to ensure faster lipolysis or fat-burning just before a competition. However, it is important to keep in mind that you need to increase and decrease the dosage of T3 in order to prevent T3 shut down post cycle.
Anavar, on the other, is yet another powerful anabolic that is commonly used during the cutting phase. It is often termed as a mild steroid since the side effects are not as severe as some of the other steroids. Anavar is one of the few anabolics that can be used by women in smaller dosages without fear of virilization.
Stacking HGH and T3 with Anavar further enhances the fat-burning capacity of this stack while retaining lean muscle mass in the body.
As a matter of fact, Anavar is crucial for this stack since it prevents your body from going into a catabolic state. T3, in particular, can also help burn muscle tissue along with fat reserves in your body. Thus, running T3 by itself can be disastrous for a bodybuilder.
Another interesting addition that could be made to this stack is 100 mg/ week of testosterone. This could further help boost anabolic activity in your body without causing any water retention since the dosage used is quite low. In such a case, you can run Testosterone, Anavar, and T3 for the last 8 weeks of the cycle.
HGH for Women
When it comes to steroids and anabolics there are not many choices available for women. Most anabolic steroids such as Dianabol or testosterone can result in virilization or growth of male-like features in women.
HGH, however, is different and can be used by women without elevating androgen hormones such as testosterone or without virilization.
Thus, it can be said that women can safely use HGH to speed fat burning or gain better muscle tone without the potential danger of developing male traits and features.
Not just this, women also find some of the other benefits of HGH highly appealing and these could include anti-aging along with better nail, hair, and skin health.
Having said that, what women need to keep in mind is that HGH can also lead to bone and tissue enlargement and could result in bigger feet, hands, or the skull. In other words, HGH comes with its own pros and cons and any woman needs to weigh them carefully before she decides to take the plunge.
Is HGH Legal?
Whether HGH is legal or not depends upon how and why it is used. It is legal if it is prescribed by a doctor for treating dwarfism or growth deficiency which might be the root cause of many health problems in a patient.
However, using HGH for cosmetic purposes or for bodybuilding is something that is illegal in most countries around the world including the US.
How to get HGH?
If you are someone who has stunted growth or is deficient in HGH then a doctor may prescribe you HGH shots or injections. However, if you are a bodybuilder then you will have to get it from the black market. Now, I must mention here that buying and consuming HGH for any other purpose than medical is illegal in most countries around the world. However, you have the option of buying natural HGH supplements or releasers that are made with natural ingredients and help your body produce more growth hormone of its own.
How much does HGH cost?
HGH does not come cheap. As a matter of fact, even low dosages such as those used for anti-aging purposes can cost up $4000 a month. Bodybuilders who take HGH injections for boosting muscle growth are known to spend more than $10,000 a month.
Will HGH show up on a drug test?
The use of HGH has been banned by WADA, IOC, and many other sports authorities around the world. Thus, athletes found using HGH are liable to legal action and suspension.
However, many athletes and doctors are known to have questioned the accuracy of such tests. This is because tests to detect HGH are known to be expensive and most sports bodies try to do with general tests that detect the use of recreational drugs, etc.
HGH Pros and Cons
Here are some of the pros and cons of HGH:
- Burns fat by speeding up your metabolism
- Helps gain lean muscle mass (making it appealing to bodybuilders)
- Anti-aging benefits
- Improves hair, skin, and nail health
- No PCT is required
- Can be used by women without fear of virilization
- Very expensive
- May increase risks of type II diabetes
- May lead to increased chances of getting cancer
- HGH gut is possible when used along with Insulin
HGH is one of the best choices available when it comes to burning fat and piling up with a few extra kilos of lean muscle mass. However, it comes with its cons and can lead to a lot of side effects too. Besides, HGH injections are illegal for use in bodybuilding and can be extremely expensive too. A better option is to use natural or legal HGH supplements or releasers that help increase your body’s endogenous HGH production.
Tanveer is a fitness freak who has been training for almost 2 decades now and has studied steroids and SARMs for the past couple of years. He is known for giving factual and honest advice to his readers with regard to steroids and SARMs, workouts, and natural supplements that can ensure excellent results.
Apart from this, he loves playing golf and can be seen on the course when not busy with his gym and clients.