Hormone HGH Benefits & Side Effects. Is it Worth it?

I think there is a little bit of lack of knowledge regarding Hormone HGH amongst bodybuilders. What I realize is that people that heard about it are fascinated by the claimed results and usually tend to abuse it.

After all, the name...Human Growth Hormone...sounds promising right? "It's the hormone that makes me grow...I should probably take it!"

Well...there is some truth in it, but there are some myths as always. Unfortunately.

In this article I want to discuss with you about this - not so well known - hormone hgh, in particular about its benefits, uses and side effects.

Hormone hgh

I am not going to go into scientific details..there would be too much chemistry to explain, and first I don't want to annoy you, second I am sure you've heard about Wikipedia or such...

What I'll discuss instead, is the practical function of the growth hormone.

What is Hormone HGH?

Hgh is basically a protein composed of 191 amino acids, and it's produced mostly during the first hours of sleep.

Sport activity highly stimulates the secretion of hgh. During aerobic exercise it reaches its peak between 25 and 60 minutes, while during anaerobic exercise (such as weight lifting) the peak happens to fall between 5 and 15 minutes only.

At the same physical effort, hgh secretion is higher:

  • in women rather than men
  • in young rather than elderly subjects
  • in sedentary rather than those trained

I bet this is something surprising to you. I would have thought men would produce more, and trained people would produce more too.

But remember that we are talking about secretion at the same physical effort for different subjects. Overall, trained people (like bodybuilders) have higher hgh levels in their body than sedentary people.

Also remember that the production of hormone hgh reaches its peak during the last years of puberty, and then it gradually decreases.

Hgh secretion during exercise depends on several factors, but mostly it depends on intensity and the type of training.

Intensity and HGH

A significant response of human growth hormone to exercise is already observed for low-intensity exercise (50% VO2max) and becomes maximum around the anaerobic threshold (70% of VO2max).

A further increase of intensity does not cause any significant increase in the secretory peak .

The biggest hgh response to physical exercise is observed during exercises that require great demand on anaerobic glycolysis and massive lactate production (eg. weight training).

The secretion of hgh is inversely proportional to the period of recovery and directly proportional to the duration of the exercise.

This means that

HGH secretion THUS DEPENDS on the accumulation of lactic acid

therefore: the more lactate is produced and the more hgh will be produced.

Training and Nutrition

HGH response to exercise is inversely related to the degree of training.

For the same exercise intensity a trained person produces much less hgh than a sedentary subject because the amount of lactate in the body is lower.

Here some other facts:

  1. Hypoglycemia is a potent stimulus for the secretion of hgh
  2. Hyperglycemia tends to inhibit hgh secretion
  3. Glucose has an early inhibitory effect and a late stimulatory effect
  4. A high protein meal or pharmacological doses of Arginine (or other amino acids) stimulates the release of hgh
  5. To work out shortly after eating a meal (hyperglycemia) reduces the amount of hgh produced

What Stimulates Hgh Secretion

Some factors that stimulate the production of hormone hgh are:

  • Increase of amino acids in the body (mainly protein meals etc.)
  • Stress (emotional, surgical, fever, intense physical activity)
  • Sleep
  • Insuline

What Inhibits Hgh Secretion

And of course there are also factors that inhibit its production:

  • Estrogens
  • Anti-depression drugs
  • Obesity

Hgh Benefits - Why Athletes Use Hgh

Well as I said before, unfortunately many use it because the name sounds like they can build muscle fast and with little effort.

Those who know hgh a little more also know that hormone hgh has an immediate effect on water retention (kinda like creatine), resulting in a feeling of increased muscle mass.

Human growth hormone also has lipolytic effects: subcutaneous fat decreases rather quickly and the muscles look more defined and increased in volume.

Generally speaking, people use hgh because it:

  • Is a powerful anabolic
  • Is easy to find on the market
  • Has minimal short-term risks and side effects
  • Has potential great benefits (reduced fat mass and increased muscle mass)
  • Is almost impossible to detect

in fact hgh concentration after injections is maximum between 1 and 3 hours, and impossible to detect after only 24 hours.

Hgh is associated also to anti-aging after several Hollywood stars admitted to use it to keep in shape and look younger.

A classic example is Sylvester Stallone...he is 65 in the right photo and looks like 30!

Stallone and hormone hgh

Sylvester Stallone before and after, see any difference? That's what hormone hgh does!

No worries Sly, you're still my action hero!!

Hgh Side Effects

If someone looks at hgh as the "Holy Grail" of the booming market of anti-aging, someone else looks at its side effects, that become dangerous when this hormone is used in high doses.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph there is a common belief that this hormone is able to enhance muscle strength, with an effect that is similar to that of anabolic steroids.

But this is scientifically unfounded and its use can cause irreversible side effects and seriously endanger the athletes' health.

Hgh is critical to sports performance. For this reason, both deficit and excess reduce training performance.

The immediate effect on water retention gives athletes the feeling of a quick increase of muscle mass, even tho the muscles develop less strength than expected.

Some of the hormone hgh side effects, commonly experienced, are:

  • Water retention with edema
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sweating
  • Increase of blood pressure
  • Headaches and impaired vision
  • Insulin resistance and possibly diabetes
  • Impotence

plus...an excess of hormone hgh tends to increase the size of some vital organs such as heart and kidneys.

The risk of side effects decreases considerably if you take it in moderate doses and under your doctor's supervision.

Finally...How to Take Hgh

Hormone hgh has to be taken with subcutaneous or intramuscular injections. If you took it orally it would be digested and its effect would be annulled.

Hgh is responsible of a proper body development during puberty. Too low levels of hormone hgh in young men can cause problems in the development of sexual organs among other things.

In that case a doctor will do a proper diagnosis and prescribe hgh injections.

See Also...

Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD)

Hgh vs Testosterone


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