Growth Hormone – Therapeutic Drug or an Anti-Aging Miracle
The myths about miraculous waters circulated through the centuries but today no one is interested in immortality. The recent intriguing invention of the 21st century is the syringe of youth that is famously known as HGH injection. Today, every celebrity wants to get their hands on any anti-aging miracle but the quest for ever-lasting youth is not recent.
A Spanish explorer came to Florida in 1513 looking for the fountain of youth. If there was any miracle it was probably due to the exercise he had to do during the quest. These days, there is an easy way to hold the clock at your current age. Seems like everyone’s willing to be a part of the anti-aging movement.
Just like that explorer fellow, many athletes want to excel and retain the strength of youth through their mid ages. On a parallel stream, aging men use it to avoid the horrifying signs of old age. The big question is to what extent does growth hormone injections boost athletic performance and slow aging?
Understanding the basics
Human growth hormone starts its journey from the pituitary gland and travels in the blood stream to reach its respective sites of action. It’s a very large protein molecule whose release is controlled by a combination of hormones from the hypothalamus. Usually, the release of this hormone is in the form of bursts. The factors contributing to the sudden rise in levels can be trauma, or a build-up after exercise. Even in normal conditions, more HGH will be secreted at night than the rest of the day.
This is a complex turn of events and the sporadic analysis is just not enough to measure the correct levels of growth hormone. If you rely on one reading from a random time of the day, it won’t be as useful because the levels keep changing throughout the day. Moreover, the change persists with age. Its production rises during childhood and reaches its peak at puberty and then starts to decline gradually. This incredibly long-structured hormone has its site of action on various tissues in the body.
When a human is in growth phase, the hormone is responsible for the development of bones and cartilage. Most importantly, people from different age groups get a boost in protein production, enhances utilization of body fat for energy and raises blood sugar levels.
Growth hormone in injectable form is not accessible to everyone. It can only be administered after prescription and the approval is given to kids with growth hormone deficiency or for adults who substantially lack growth hormone. Though adult growth hormone deficiency is rare, it might start developing due to problems in the hypothalamus or pituitary gland.
Now the diagnosis of this condition is a multi-stage process and the person undergoing the symptoms of this deficiency need to run certain tests. To be honest, a simple blood work is not enough. In fact, it could be misleading at some point. There has be a complete diagnosis including initial analysis, and blood tests. Finally, the medical history of the patient is the subject of investigation. Subsequently, the doctor decides the right dose for HGH injections. The users enjoy following benefits:
- Increase in muscle mass and strength
- Reduced chances of heart diseases
- Protection against bone fractures
- Capacity for workout and endurance exercises
However, there are some downsides to using a synthetic drug that is injected from external sources. First of all the price is not affordable and those who use it, complain about problems like fluid retention, pain in joints, elevated blood sugar and the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Is HGH doping possible
Most aging individuals would resort to growth replacement therapies to get improved energy and better exercise capacity. While most athletes would spend several hours on training to build muscle, there will be some who will make a switch to HGH for faster results. The International Olympic Committee puts a ban on HGH doping for strong muscles. If any athlete attempts to misuse growth hormone, then that person can face serious consequences in the form of disgrace, disqualification or worse, a permanent ban.
Despite the ban, there is no real way to test the presence of HGH. Scientists have not yet been able to evaluate the true amount of growth hormone on the field. A system can be devised to run some clinical trials with HGH and conduct a placebo on athletes. Finally, they can measure the physiological changes along with change in strength and exercise capacity.
Trials for HGH doping
Several clinical trials are underway to find out a way to reduce the occurrence of HGH doping in younger athletes. A commendable study was conducted by the researchers of California in which 27 year old test subjects were chosen for administering Growth hormone. A total of 303 male volunteers received the injections while there were 137 individuals on placebo.
All the subjects under clinical trial were tested after 20 days of regular dosage. There was a measurable gain in body mass but that could have been easily confused with the fluid mass which might appear due to water retention. There was an average of 4.6 pounds increase in lean muscle mass which is incredible but there was no real improvement in performance of those athletes. Hence, it can deduced that strength and exercising capacity was not improved. Furthermore, the research proved that those who received injected felt more fatigued than those on placebo.
A few years back, the athletes used to stretch far out of their comfort zones to practice but today the use of performance enhancing drugs is getting far too common. Those illegal drugs not only risk your chances of a career in sports but also present various side-effects that prove to be untreatable.
HGH anti-aging benefits
We have discussed so far how Human Growth Hormone therapy promotes anti-aging benefits. It is responsible for increasing muscle mass and that’s precisely the reason why most men want it. However, the hormone is also attributed to arrest aging and suppress its associated symptoms.
To some extent, the users of growth hormone feel revitalized but there is much debate over the claims made for other hormones that also happen to decline with age. Testosterone and estrogen are the two hormones that are on top of that list and are often used in hormone therapies. Males with androgen deficiency seek testosterone while the females going through menopause are in desperate need to restore depleting estrogen for their health and vitality. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the results they want.