Human growth hormone supplements seem to be the hot new trend in fitness, but people may not know precisely what they do. This article explains human growth hormone supplements’ benefits and risks and profiles a few popular brands. Find out which are the right HGH supplements for you.
Humans have existed for approximately two hundred thousand years, and during this time, our size has gradually been increasing. However, we are not on par with any other primate species in height or weight. Human growth hormone supplements aim to increase height through natural means by stimulating a person’s pituitary gland to produce more circulating human growth hormone (HGH). The pituitary gland is a pea-sized structure inside the hypothalamus located directly in the middle of the brain. The pituitary gland releases hormones into the bloodstream, affecting several different organs and tissues throughout the body.
The pituitary gland secretes HGH in pulses during sleep and after fasting and exercise, but HGH levels are highest shortly after exercise. Another way to stimulate the release of HGH is through physical exhaustion or stress. Physical exhaustion or stress causes glucocorticoid hormone to be released from the adrenal cortex (the outer layer of adrenal glands that sit just above the kidney), inhibiting the secretion of HGH. This happens at a rate of 20-30% and is often more drastic after daily activities. The total amount of HGH produced, therefore, decreases during stress.
In addition to physical exercise and fasting, supplementation with human growth hormone supplements can support exercise’s health benefits by helping the body build muscle mass faster. When supplementing with human growth hormone, people want to promote faster skeletal muscle gain without sacrificing other benefits, such as quicker recovery from an injury or healthier cardiovascular function.
Are the benefits of HGH supplements worth the risks? For example, people already naturally producing HGH may experience unwanted side effects due to increased production. Side effects include a feeling of fatigue or weakness and the loss of muscle mass. These individuals may want to consider the following: “If I am already producing HGH, do I need additional supplementation?”
Athletes, especially power athletes (powerlifters, bodybuilders, and Olympic weight lifters), should be aware of possible side effects such as water retention (around hands and feet), increased blood pressure, and increased heart rate. Taking supplements to increase HGH levels can also increase the risk for diabetes. Other side effects include joint pain and swelling in the feet or hands (carpal tunnel syndrome). Excessive secretion of HGH may cause gigantism in children genetically predisposed to this condition. Growth hormone may also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
HGH supplements are not FDA-approved and are not regulated as a drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes not use HGH supplements pending a further study into the safety of this drug.