What is hGH exactly? hGH is a natural hormone produced in the human body by the pituitary gland. Like all other hormones, it is a messenger. If levels are too low or too high, there are undesirable effects.
Is hGH a steroid? No. Although many believe it is, in actuality it is a protein molecule, 191 amino acids long.
Is it legal? hGH is legally available as a pharmaceutically produced injectable, which has become a popular but expensive “medication” prescribed in height difficulties in children, adult growth hormone deficiency syndrome (AGHDS), and in the treatment of AIDS-related wasting.
Why the Controversy Over Growth Hormone?
hGH was discovered in 1920. By 1958 Dr. Maurice Raben injected hGH into a dwarf child, who was a nine-year-old with the stature of a six-year-old. After two years on hGH, he was no different than any other child in that age bracket. This was the answer to the prayers of tens of thousands of people until 1980, when the government was forced to take hGH off the market due to an outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob, a type of “mad cow” disease, in nine children. At the time, hGH was obtained from cadaver pituitary glands, mostly from Africa, and it took one thousand of these glands to get a year’s supply of growth hormone for one child.
The Orhan Drug Act revitalized growth hormone therapy in 1985. The act allowed four pharmaceutical companies to apply DNA recombinant drug engineering to make the hormone. These companies would be offered open contracts with an unlimited patent of 20-25 years instead of seven, which drove up the expense of the hormone to the consumer.
In recent years, human growth hormone abuse has had heavy media coverage, especially after pitcher Jason Grimsley of the Arizona Diamondbacks told federal investigators that he and others in Major League Baseball have been using hGH as an alternative to anabolic steroids for performance enhancement.
Even before the whole Grimsley situation came to light, positive reports about hGH replacement were generally few and far between in mainstream media; the vast majority were negative.
Back in March 2006, there was a news piece about hGH in Brandweek magazine entitled “Bad Medicine,” which began: “Selling human growth hormone as an anti-aging drug is a federal crime.”
This information was taken from a misinformed article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in October 2005 entitled “Provision or Distribution of Growth Hormone for ‘Anti-Aging’: Clinical and Legal Issues.”
The JAMA article attacked growth hormone therapy and confused the issues between pharmaceutical hGH products and homeopathic products and natural supplements. Furthermore, JAMA refused to publish responses to the article from the anti-aging community, including numerous voices from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. The article and subsequent news pieces sent fear and uncertainty through the ranks of practitioners involved in the prescribing of hGH for adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHDS).
As a result, we have a cultural atmosphere in which positive research findings concerning hGH receive scant attention, but harsh criticism and negative attacks receive broad dissemination in both the scientific and lay press.
Why Do Adults Need hGH?
After age 30, we lose about one pound of muscle per year, which exactly correlates to the loss of one percent of growth hormones we suffer from each and every year after that same age.
The symptoms of Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency (AGHD) are:
- loss of strength
- loss of exercise capacity
- loss of bone (osteopenia)
- loss of muscle (sarcopenia)
- increased total and intra-abdominal fat (belly fat)
- glucose intolerance leading to insulin-resistant diabetes
- high cholesterol, LDL, and Triglycerides and low HDL (dyslipidemia)
- increased fragility of skin and blood vessels, and
- decreased immune function
At age 60 most adults have total 24-hour secretion rates of growth hormone that are indistinguishable from those of hypopituitary patients with organic lesions in the pituitary gland.[Savine, R., et al., “Growth hormone replacement for the somatopause,” Horm Res 2000; 53(Suppl 3):37- 41. Simpson, H., et al., “Growth hormone replacement therapy for adults: into the new millennium,” Growth Hormone & IGF Research 2002; 12:1-33]
So it is no wonder that as we age our bones get weaker, our hearts become diseased, our muscle mass dwindles, and our fat appears to accumulate. There’s no doubt now that human growth hormone deficiency leads to a decreased quality of life.
Learn more: hGH Side Effects & Benefits. When you’re ready, here’s how to be tested for and get treatment for hGH deficiency by the DaSilva Institute.