Some people turn to HGH, a medical abbreviation for human growth hormone, to help them look and feel young. They use HGH injections, pills, powders and sprays to turn back the hands of time. Do these products really work?
According to a small body of research, they do work. However, some products work better than others, and others can be dangerous. HGH injections, for example, can be harmful outside their intended use.
Natural HGH is produced in the human body by the pituitary gland, a small endocrine gland that is located at the base of the brain. This growth hormone is essential for childhood growth, and the adult body requires it for various functions.
HGH production hits its peak during adolescence and gradually declines during adulthood. By middle age, most people experience a significant drop in HGH levels, which contributes to the aging process. To stimulate the pituitary gland to increase HGH production, some people turn to synthetic HGH or homeopathic supplements.
Synthetic HGH was developed in the mid-1980s. It received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for specific medical uses related to human growth hormone deficiency. Most HGH prescriptions treat children for various genetic disorders. In adults, the hormone is prescribed for problems related to pituitary tumors, HIV/AIDS and other serious conditions.
In 1990, a study published in the “New England Journal of Medicine” examined the link between HGH and weight loss. Since then, people have used the synthetic hormone for a variety of off-label purposes, none of which are approved by the FDA. Some athletes use the hormone for its performance-enhancing qualities, while older adults seek its anti-aging properties.
Some people prefer natural supplements to prescription HGH. Supplements typically contain amino acids, growth factors, herbs and other ingredients that boost the body’s natural production of growth hormone. Products like HGH Pro, HGH Energizer, Sytropin and GenF20 — in the form of pills or sprays — claim to turn back the clock or boost athletic performance.
Many supplements do achieve what they claim. Natural HGH has been shown to build muscle, reduce fat, restore hair growth, normalize blood sugar, strengthen immunity, increase energy and boost the sex drive. Prescription HGH can do this, too, but sometimes at a cost.
HGH Side Effects
Prescription HGH is said to cause a number of potential side effects. Among them are joint pain, edema, skin numbness and high cholesterol. Human growth hormone may increase the risk diabetes, and it is also linked to the development of cancerous tumors.
Moreover, people who obtain prescription HGH illicitly may actually receive counterfeit drugs. Unless human growth hormone is prescribed by a doctor, there is always the chance of getting something that has not been approved. It is wise to consult with a doctor before using HGH in any form.