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Everything You Need to Know About Human Growth Hormone

Get the facts about this powerful anabolic hormone, then decide if HGH is right for you.


Muscular Man
Pavel Ythjall / M+F Magazine

Pavel Ythjall / M+F Magazine

Human growth hormone can turn back your body’s internal clock, helping you rapidly build muscle, slash fat, and increase libido, all while sending energy levels through the roof. But when it comes to discussions on HGH, there are often more questions than answers. To help you decide whether you need HGH, check out our straightforward Q&A, which answers some of the more commonly asked questions and learn how you can boost your own natural levels of this powerful anabolic hormone.

What is human growth hormone?

The body naturally produces growth hormone (HGH or simply GH) in the pituitary gland, and, as its name implies, it is responsible for cell growth and regeneration. Increasing muscle mass and bone density are impossible without GH, but it also plays a major role in maintaining the health of all human tissue, including that of the brain and other vital organs. When secreted, GH remains active in the bloodstream for only a few minutes, but this is enough time for the liver to convert it into growth factors, the most crucial of which is insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1, which boasts a host of anabolic properties. Scientists began to harvest GH from the pituitary glands of cadavers in the 1950s, but didn’t synthesize the first HGH in laboratories until 1981, with its use as a performance-enhancing drug becoming popular shortly thereafter.

How much GH do I produce naturally?

Healthy adult men typically have just less than 5 nanograms per milliliter circulating in the blood. Healthy females can produce about twice that amount for child-bearing purposes. Levels for both sexes peak during puberty and drop sharply starting in the early 20s.

How can I learn if I have a GH deficiency?

Ask your doctor to perform a GH test. You’ll need to fast for a simple blood test that is not unlike the one administered during an annual physical.

Can’t HGH be dangerous? What about reports of enlarged bones and vital organs?

Remember when creatine was billed by the mainstream media as potentially dangerous? Now it’s the most heavily researched supplement in the world, and studies bear out the fact that it’s one of the safest and most effective supplements you can take. Medical professionals say that the dangers surrounding HGH are similarly overblown. “Complications [with HGH use] are very minimal,” says Eric Braverman, M.D., who specializes in anti-aging at Path Medical Center in New York City. “Some people experience fluid retention, and a blood sugar rise, but even these are very rare unless you take a lot. Only a few people ever come in with big feet or big livers—from mega-doses—and they weren’t my patients. It’s very rare.”

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