Everything You Need To Know About Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
An Introduction to Human Growth Hormone
HGH is the most sought after performance, health and appearance enhancing hormone in existence today. It is used by hundreds of thousands worldwide for a wide variety of applications, be they to improve sports performance, boost health and vitality or improve cosmetics and aesthetics – and it is very good at doing all three, hence why it is so popular. Let us examine Human Growth Hormone in further details and find out why it is the veritable gold standard of exogenous hormonal supplementation. First of all, we must make the distinction that HGH is not an anabolic steroid. Yes, it is a hormone, and yes, it has anabolic actions (builds muscle and promotes cell recovery amongst other things), but it is not classed as a steroid. HGH related search phrases total tens of thousands across the globe every single month, and it easy to see why it is so popular.
Found in the q22-24 region of chromosome number 17, GH1 and GH2 are in effect long chains of amino acids (specifically 191 amino acids) designed in such a way as to enable its interaction with the GH receptor. HGH release is determined by cells within the hypothalamus and the release of two forms of the hormone known as GHRH (Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone) and GHIH (Growth Hormone Inhibiting Hormone), the balance of which ultimately determines the release of HGH (this can be affected by various factors such as exercise, sleep, nutrition, stress etc…). Once this has been established, cells in the pituitary gland create and release Growth Hormone into the bloodstream in a pulsatile fashion. During sleep is the time when most of it is released, with 50% being secreted in the third and fourth REM stages. The levels of HGH in the blood is determined by many factors including age, sex, diet, exercise, hormones, stress levels and overall health.
What does HGH do and how does it affect the body?
As pointed out in the first paragraph, HGH is largely anabolic in nature, and like all other protein-based hormones, HGH interacts via receptors on a cellular level. To promote growth, it acts by itself as well as stimulating the release of IGF-1, which is formed in the liver. We all know that it stimulates height and growth in children, but what else does it do? Increase lean muscle mass, promotes an increase in protein synthesis, promotes the growth of all the internal organs, triggers the immune system, increases calcium retention and promotes lipolysis. From this list, you can see why HGH would be very beneficial to bodybuilders and those wishing to enhance their physique. The fact that it burns fat and increases the number and size of skeletal muscle cells is reason enough to use it for these purposes, not to mention the improved appearance of the skin and a substantial increase in energy and vitality. For obvious reasons, HGH is banned by all major sporting organisations.
The anti-ageing use of HGH is mega business all over the world. It has been shown over and over again in various different studies to improve bone density and lean muscle mass in older patients, which in turn increases quality of life. Although it does have some positives impacts, it doesn’t seem to impact upon health markers such as cholesterol and lipids. However, it has been used experimentally to treat obesity, heart failure and multiple sclerosis.
But it is not only positive physical effects that HGH induces as there are an array of mental effects which can be attributed to normal or high levels of it. Those with low levels are more prone to depression and will often feel they have a lower quality of life. Cognitive function is also affected by low levels, and there have been several studies carried out that have shown Growth hormone supplementation to assist with treating depression and improving brain function.
How is HGH used in bodybuilding?
The use of Growth Hormone in sports and bodybuilding is rife, and that shouldn’t come as a shock simply for all the reasons mentioned above. The most common form is an injectable form which can be injected either intramuscularly or subcutaneously, the latter being more bioavailable than the former. Most will prefer injections, but tablet, spray or pill forms of this hormone are available.
The required dosage will vary from person to person, depending on their size and experience. Still, a minimum of 4iu per day would be needed to see visible fat loss and muscle gains (over many weeks of continuous use). Women can take slightly and get just as good results – somewhere in the region of 2iu per day. Cycle length should be a minimum of 12 weeks as you will rarely see any changes before this time unless you are taking super-high doses, which will, of course, induce more significant side effects. Many will combine it with anabolic steroids to enhance the results of both as they have a synergistic effect which produces profound results. The choice of steroids to stack it with will depend on your goal, but the following stacks could be employed to great effect:
Bulking: 12-14 weeks of testosterone (long-acting ester), oral to kickstart for the first four weeks (Dianabol or Anadrol), 4-8iu of HGH every day for the full cycle length.
Cutting: 12 weeks of Testosterone Propionate, 8 weeks of Anavar or Winstrol, 12 weeks of HGH at 4-8iu every day.
What are the Side Effects of HGH usage?
As with any drug or exogenous hormonal compound, there can be side effects, the extent to which will be determined by the dose and the genetic makeup of the individual. Saying this, however, it is actually a very safe drug to use, certainly safer than anabolic steroids, but caution should always be taken before commencing use. Side effects include, but are not limited to:
- Carpal-Tunnel Syndrome.
- Water retention (particularly around the feet and ankles).
- Joint pain.
- Sickness and nausea.
- Numbness in the extremities (usually caused by Carpal-Tunnel).
A big word of warning to all those that are considering taking HGH alongside steroids – this is a very potent cocktail of drugs and will promote hypertrophy of the heart, much more so than either will do alone, so be very careful when combining to the two as this is the cause of many well known and high profile deaths of athletes, bodybuilders and WWE superstars.
Can HGH be used as part of Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)?
One novel use for HGH appears to be its inclusion into PCT following a steroid cycle. Why? Well, why not?! HGH promotes lean muscle gains, reduces body fat and boosts energy – three things you would definitely want after a steroid cycle when your body is trying to restore your natural testosterone production and when you’re not firing on all cylinders. Of course, it won’t have a huge impact as it does take numerous weeks to kick in. A PCT is only likely to be four to six weeks in length, but it can help to preserve lean muscle mass gains and keep the body fat at bay (which will be determined to lay itself down in the low testosterone environment in your body).
How can HGH be stacked and cycles with other performance-enhancing drugs?
Human Growth Hormone can be stacked with various drugs, including other peptide hormones, performance-enhancing drugs and of course, anabolic steroids. The ‘norm’ is to include HGH in your steroid cycle, although it must be made clear that it is not some magic potion and is relatively mild compared to anabolics; gains (be they lean muscle more, fat loss or both) will come at a far slower rate.
HGH is not a drug that beginners should use, and it is highly advisable to have several steroid cycles under your belt before you think about introducing it into your course. To feel the benefits of HGH you need to take it for at least three months, so it should only be included in longer cycles of 12 weeks+ and won’t have any impact in shorter cycles. Other options when it comes to stacking are with IGF-1 (either short or long-acting), other peptide hormones or insulin – the latter being extremely potent (and dangerous) and should only be used by professionals or very, very experienced users.
Is it easy to find HGH online?
This is something asked by gym-goers and searched for on Google literally thousands of times every month. Being a costly compound, it is readily faked, and it is advisable only to buy pharmaceutical grade versions as the generic Chinese products are usually not authentic. Ensure that your chosen vendor is wholly legitimate and has genuine HGH for sale before commencing with a purchase.
Is Human Growth Hormone legal?
You are able to buy HGH in most countries as long as you have a legitimate prescription from a doctor. It is usually prescribed for those with growth problems or wasting diseases (such as HIV/aids), although it can be prescribed if your own natural levels are below the normal threshold. Of course, it can also be purchased on the black market, but you must be aware of the legal ramifications of this, and some countries may penalise you heavily for the purchase and/or possession of Human Growth Hormone.
Can HGH increase your height and make you taller?
Although it is widely suggested that HGH can increase your height, it cannot actually do this if you are a fully grown adult. By the time you reach 21 your close plates have closed, meaning your bones are at their full length; bone thickness, however, is impacted by HGH, so administrating exogenous Human Growth Hormone to your system may cause bone thickening all over the body, including the head and face. If you have not stopped growing or are underdeveloped, then it may help you to grow taller.
Is HGH in oral form available?
Although HGH usually is only available as an injectable (it comes in raw powder form that must be mixed with bacteriostatic water), some tablets are now available on the market that can increase your natural HGH levels to the high end or over the upper end of what are considered ‘natural’ levels. A new research peptide known as SARM MK-677 has been used in medical trials and studies to increase levels of HGH and does so very efficiently indeed. A small dose of 10-20mg over the course of 2-4 months will keep levels at the top end of the normal range, which will, of course, provide many benefits, including (but not limited to): lean muscle mass gains, fat loss, improved health and skin.
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