What is HGH?

What is HGH ?

What is HGH and what does it do? This section provides an overview of HGH roles in the human body. It looks at its functions, how it stimulates growth and its medical uses. It also explores the use of HGH as a doping compound in sport and bodybuilding. Athletes can use natural HGH optimisation to gain the benefits of HGH ,without the risks through, tweaking diet, training, supplements and sleep.

The Basics

HGH is a peptide hormone that stimulates growth in humans and has a critical role in human development before, during and after puberty. It is a 191-amino acid single chain polypeptid and also known as somatotropin secreted by somatotropic cells in the pituitary gland. It can be viewed as a building hormone in the body hence the “growth” component in the name. This mechanism comes both directly from HGH and its conversion into insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in the liver. When using natural methods to increase your HGH levels, you are also effectively learning to increase IGF-1 through the former.

HGH and Growth

Growth in children is the best known effect of  natural HGH in the body. Blood levels of HGH are the highest in the early stages of life and fall with age. By the time you are the age of 30 your HGH levels are typically around a third of what they were when you were 10 years old. HGH causes individuals to grow in height prior to the fusion of the epiphyseal plates (growth plates) which is typically around the age 18 or 19 in males and 13 to 15 in girls. Post puberty, HGH still has developmental effect and its secretion will still cause growth in certain cells. What is HGH functions in all of this? Childrens growth is stimulated by at least 2 mechanisms of HGH, one direct and one indirect(1):

MAPK/ERK Pathway Activation

  • HGH binds to receptors on target cells activating this pathway.
  • HGH directly stimulates division and multiplication of cartilage cells.

JAK-STAT Signalling Pathway Activation

  • HGH stimulates the production of insulin growth factor (IGF-1).
  • This principally happens in the liver.
  • IGF-1 stimulates growth in many tissues including bones.

An excessive amount of HGH and IGF-1 can be seen with individuals who are diagnosed with acromelagy. This is a condition where the pituitary gland produces HGH consistently throughout the day, rather than in just a few of large spikes. Individuals with acromelagy get a far higher 24 hour mean of HGH compared to healthy individuals, several times the normal amount. This leads to enlargement of hands, feet, facial features and deepening of the voice. Acromelagy that occurs before growth plate closure causes gigantism as the HGH causes long bone growth.

Roles of HGH in the Human Body

What is HGH function in an adults body body? Beyond bones, HGH is a “building” or anabolic hormone for  wide range of tissues. It has a specific receptor on the surface of cells which it interacts to initiate its effect.

Roles of HGH on the body include:

  • Calcium retention in bones
  • Increase mineralization of bones
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Increases protein synthesis
  • Increases lipolysis (fat breakdown)
  • Assist pancreas function
  • Assist immune systems
  • Stimulate growth of body organs
  • Decreases liver uptake of glucose 
  • Increases gluconeogensis in the liver

The list clearly demonstrates that HGH is primarily about strengthening and building. The simultaneous function of building muscle and shedding fat is of course a lifters dream. As discussed below, HGH has become a widely used drug in doping and and bodybuilding because if such benefits.

Psychological Impact of HGH

Many studies have observed that HGH levels are incredibly important for psychological well being (2). Patients with HGH deficiency have higher rates of depression and other studies have also found HGH deficiency to have cognitive impairment. In both these instances HGH treatment remedied the symptoms. It is not clear whether a healthy individual who boosts HGH up to higher levels would get mental benefits. This could be part of the reason why people who regularly fast attest to mental cognitive benefits such as improved mood. Excessively high HGH levels from injections have been linked to psychosis and depression.

What is HGH Prescribed for – Medical Uses?

HGH replacement therapy is risky and should only be used in certain circumstances, monitored by a doctor. Adults with a HGH deficiency due to a pituitary tumour can benefit tremendously from restoring HGH to healthy levels. The following things reverse:

  • Weight loss
  • Muscle wasting
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Lipid profile
  • Mood

HGH is also medically used to help individuals grow who may have a short stature from a condition. This includes conditions such as Turner syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.

Performance Enhancement

HGH was first used for doping in the early 1980’s in California following which it quickly went worldwide. At the time this was an unknown and notoriously hard drug to detect.

What is HGH?

Benefits seen by athletes are:

1.Lean Body Mass Improvements 

HGH is proven (4) to reduce body fat and increases lean mass. This is ideal for athletes needing to optimise their weight for physical performance. A good example would be long distance road cycling, a sport believed to be plagued with doping. Lance Armstrong got away with taking HGH for years and years. The chances are many others are taking it as well.

2.Muscle Mass

HGH can boost muscle mass from inducing IGF-1 secretion (5) and therefore protein synthesis. It can give a nice edge to athletes who need to bulk up, such as American football or rugby players.

3.Anti Injury Properties

HGH is responsible for anabolism of cartilage and other connective tissues (6). This helps prevent injury and speed up repair of damaged connective tissue. The latter seems to be the greater benefit; more HGH means a faster rate of cell building. This is what speeds up torn cartilage, ligaments and tendons.

HGH In Pro Bodybuilding

The effects of the highest doses of artificial HGH can be seen in the development of elite bodybuilders. The late 1980’s and early 1990’s was the period where bodybuilders exploded in terms of size. Prior to this, bodybuilders had far less muscle and a slimmer looks to their physique, especially around the mid section. This can be seen from a comparisons of two Mr Olympia’s, Arnold Schwarzenegger & Dorian Yates. Six time Mr Olympia, Arnold Schwarzenneger, competed primarily in the 1970’s.  He stood 6ft 2 and 107kg on stage. His bodyfat is believed to have been about 8%. Fast forward 20 years and you Dorian Yates who came to the spotlight in the very early 1990’s. Dorian Yates stood on stage at a whopping  120kg at just 5ft 10 at a much lower bodyfat, possibley 5 percent or less.

Arnold Schwarzenegger (1970’s)    –    6ft 2in    107kg    8% bodyfat

Dorian Yates (1990’s)     –    5ft 10in    120kg    <5% bodfyat      

HGH is a Bodybuilders Choice

HGH is a Bodybuilders Choice

The other anabolic compounds they took were fundamentally the same. The key difference was the HGH which increased total number of muscle cells rather than just the size of the muscle cells like steroids do. This effectively raises the genetic potential of these professional bodybuilders. Heavy HGH use has been associated with a distended abdomen commonly reffered to as a “HGH Gut”. This is caused by organ growth from artifical testosterone and HGH. Massive bodies need massive organs to sustain them and this heavy body strain is very unhelathy. An enlarged heart can be lethal. Using artificial HGH at high doses for bodybuilding is unwise and incredibly dangerous.

Natural HGH Optimisation

This article; What is HGH was written to inform you of all its uses and persuade you not to take it artificially.

A significant degree of the bodybuilding benefits of HGH can be achieved through natural means.

This involves adjusting diet,training, supplements and sleep.


1) Binder G, Wittekindt N, Ranke MB (February 2007). “Noonan Syndrome: Genetics and Responsiveness to Growth Hormone Therapy”. Horm Res67 (Supplement 1): 45–49. doi:10.1159/000097552. ISBN 978-3-8055-8255-1.2)Prodam F, Caputo M, Belcastro S, Garbaccio V, Zavattaro M, Samà MT, Bellone S, Pagano L, Bona G, Aimaretti G (2012). “Quality of life, mood disturbances and psychological parameters in adult patients with GH deficiency”. Panminerva Med54 (4): 323–31. PMID 23123585.

3) Holt RI, Erotokritou-Mulligan I, Sönksen PH (August 2009). “The history of doping and growth hormone abuse in sport”. Growth Horm. IGF Res19 (4): 320–6. doi:10.1016/j.ghir.2009.04.009PMID 19467612.4) Liu H, Bravata DM, Olkin I, Friedlander A, Liu V, Roberts B, Bendavid E, Saynina O, Salpeter SR, Garber AM, Hoffman AR (May 2008). “Systematic review: the effects of growth hormone on athletic performance”. Ann. Intern. Med148 (10): 747–58. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-148-10-200805200-00215. PMID 18347346.

5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19141266

6) http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/37/2/100