Can it really help you increase muscle mass, burn fat and delay aging? Here we tell you.
When rumors began to emerge about Peyton Manning’s alleged use of human growth hormone (GROWTH HORMONE) to recover from injury, most men thought two things:
1.? Peyton cheating? Tell me it’s a lie !?
2. Hell, maybe I should get some of that.
Manning is just the latest celebrity to face charges of banned substance use, in this case growth hormone , joining a select group of stars like Alex Rodriguez and Sylvester Stallone.
Apparently, many athletes and celebrities are true believers in the substance. A player revealed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that 10-15 players from each NFL team use it, and a prominent coach in Los Angeles estimates that 20 percent of actors do, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
While only 45,000 Americans have a legitimate need for growth hormone , according to data analysis by the Associated Press, twice as many prescriptions were issued in 2013 prescribing the drug – not counting growth hormone that changes hands without a prescription. medical.
Unfortunately, many of the purported benefits of growth hormone are unproven, and its reputation as a sports cheating drug and a miracle substance to slow aging, has not been further studied, says Dr. Randall Urban. , endocrinologist from the University of Texas. ? Abuse gives a negative connotation to a hormone that can have tremendous benefit for some people.?
Including millions of people with brain damage and joint injuries.
To separate fact from fiction, we interviewed patients, doctors, and researchers to understand the benefits and promises of growth hormone .
Every night when you sleep, your pituitary gland, a bean-sized gland at the base of your brain, begins to work, producing growth hormone , a polypeptide made up of 191 amino acids.
The hormone growth enters your bloodstream, binding to specific receptors found throughout your body, including your brain, where these receptors are particularly dense regions responsible for learning and memory.
It also binds to fat cells, causing part of their cargo to be released, and stimulating your liver to produce a powerful hormone called insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1), which promotes bone, cartilage and muscle growth.
The hormone growth occurs during childhood and adolescence, but when you turn 40, only half will produce when you were 20 years old.
Still, that small amount is extremely important for the maintenance of your body.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a recombined growth hormone in 1985 to treat one thing: extreme deficiency, mostly 15,000 children at risk of being unusually low. It was then approved to treat HIV / AIDS patients, who suffered from muscle atrophy, and for people with a condition known as short bowel syndrome.
Before 1985, growth hormone had to be painstakingly extracted from carcasses, a prohibited practice when researchers determined that this could transmit a disease similar to mad cow syndrome.
Shortly thereafter, two companies developed a contaminant-free, unlimited production method for the drug, which was to insert the genetic code for growth hormone production in bacteria, turning them into microscopic growth hormone factories .
In 1990, due to the stress of sports doping, restrictions on growth hormone were voted . Back then, endocrinologists feared that declaring it a controlled substance and equating it with steroids and narcotics could stigmatize the thousands of children who need it.
So the United States Congress put an unprecedented limit on prescriptions, making growth hormone the only drug that can be prescribed for alternative use. That is why it could be said that growth hormone is the most restricted legal drug in the United States. And, as is usually the case with bans, commerce moved to the black market.
So what can growth hormone do and can’t do ? Let’s see what it ensures:
WHAT IT SAYS: GROWTH HORMONE CAN BURN FAT AND INCREASE MUSCLE MASS
Most of his friends know that Larry (we’ll only mention his first name to protect his privacy) as a professional in the New York financial industry. What they don’t know is that he can lift nearly 600 kilos on the leg press and do 18 reps.
A competitive bodybuilder starting at age 19, Larry began paying the price for the heavy workloads at his 40th, facing operations to repair knee injuries and rotator cuffs. ? Before that ?, he assures,? I was a 100% natural athlete ?.
When Larry’s recovery seemed to stagnate, a friend suggested using steroids and growth hormone to speed things up. Access to medicine was not a problem.
? If you spend enough time in the world of weights like me, surely you know how to get it ?, he says. Larry’s supply came from a special relationship with a doctor. People who can’t get a prescription for growth hormone regularly find a provider to send to China.
Growth hormone is popular with athletes because “it is widely promoted among illicit users that growth hormone works,” says Dr. Harrison Pope, a physiologist at Harvard Medical School.
“The problem with growth hormone is that it is almost always used in conjunction with anabolic steroids and they clearly work.” So it is difficult to know how much of the muscle growth is due to growth hormone .
An Australian study addressed the issue and examined the sprint performance of 96 riders who injected either growth hormone , testosterone, growth hormone , and testosterone, or a placebo (a serum) for eight weeks.
Compared to the placebo group, those taking growth hormone increased their sprinting ability by almost four percent; those who took growth hormone and testosterone had an eight percent increase. however, those who took growth hormone alone had no increase in muscle strength.
In fact, unlike what is said on the internet, growth hormone does not increase muscle mass in a healthy adult, as testosterone does, explains Dr. Michael Kjaer, professor of sports medicine at the University of Copenhagen.
In one of the few studies in healthy volunteers, Dr. Kjaer gave 20 men injections of growth hormone and compared it to men who received only a placebo. He found stimulation in the connective tissue, but not muscle.
The hormone growth does not seem to help the old man. as concluded by a 2013 medical review by the university of southern california medical school. “There is no conclusive information about an improvement in strength or performance, caused by an empirical use of growth hormone .”
Now in his 50s, Larry has continued to use a combination of steroid hormones at intervals, since he started a decade ago. The steroids gave him a muscle boost, while growth hormone – regularly between .6 and 1.2 milligrams a day – burned extra fat, he said. In fact, several researchers claim that growth hormone can be a powerful fat burner, especially of the annoying visceral fat.
Larry is concerned about the side effects of growth hormone , particularly with the increased risk of developing cancer. Now she is more aware of medical check-ups.
Among his friends at the gym, Larry says, growth hormone has a worse reputation than steroids because of little research on it. ? Boys joke that they will not use growth hormone because they are concerned about the growth of three noses. It makes you think?.
VERDICT: Not for muscle growth, yes for fat loss; but it is very expensive.
WHAT IS SAID: GROWTH HORMONE ACCELERATES RECOVERY FROM INJURIES
When Max Sittenfeld, an American anesthesiologist in Costa Rica, started suffering from tennis elbow, he began to use the usual remedies. Soon, the 42-year-old was taking so many anti-inflammatory medications that his stomach started to hurt.
“It was terrible,” he said. ? My quality of life, including my work, plummeted because this pain was so constant.?
He did not want to undergo surgery, so he searched medical literature and started reading about growth hormone . Costa Rica has fewer drug restrictions, so a doctor commented on hormone injection therapy at the Anti Aging and Wellness Clinic in San José, gradually increasing the dose.
? After two and a half months, I began to notice improvement in pain in both shoulders and my elbow. In about four months, he was fully recovered ?, he tells us. ? To date, I have not relapsed in any tendinitis ?.
The use of HGH Injections for injury recovery has been part of the sports imagination. Whether the legends are true or not, more scientific research is needed for better treatment of injured joints, says Dr. Christopher Mendias, an orthopedic surgery researcher at the University of Michigan.
? With a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, you need between six months and a year, since you leave surgery to return to activity ,? he says.
What is difficult is not the ligament itself, but the tissue that supports it. ? If you look at the mechanics in terms of the strength of that new ligament that you are putting in, it is quite good ,? he says.
? The problem is that muscle weakness occurs after surgery. By the time athletes are able to return to activity, is the side where they had a torn ligament 40 percent weaker?
Mendias has begun studies involving the administration of .3 milligrams of growth hormone directly in patients with cruciate ligament rupture twice daily, for six weeks to measure the effect on tendon and muscle strength.
The first participants are men between 18 and 35 years old who have undergone reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament.
Their hypothesis, somewhat simplified, is that growth hormone Humatrope 72 iu will help preserve muscle around the joint by activating igf-1 that stimulates muscle growth while blocking another protein, myostatin, which is activated by injury and slows growth.
The research is sponsored by the Mark Cuban Foundation and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks has publicly said that growth hormone should be legal to aid in the recovery of injured joints.
Danish researchers are also looking at growth hormone as a treatment for patients with tendinopathy – long-term tendon pain.
Medias has the moderate optimism of a scientist: he assures that the investigation is too little to draw conclusions.
The results won’t be released until 2017. Among their biggest concerns are side effects, which are unclear. It is well known that too much Human growth hormone can cause carpal tunnel syndrome (because it stimulates connective tissue).
However, there may be other side effects. But if your research is successful, it may usher in a new era of better and faster recoveries from sports injuries.
VERDICT: The jury is waiting for more evidence.
WHAT IS SAID: GROWTH HORMONE DELAYS AGING
Marvin Lagstein doesn’t want to live forever, but he does want to dance at his daughter’s wedding. Because he is 72 and his daughter 12, he may be 90 years old before the band starts playing.
So five years ago, the New York orthodontist walked into Dr. Florence Comite’s office, and asked him what he could do to stay in top shape for the next several decades. He already lifted weights three times a week and had completed 30 marathons.
During Lagstein’s initial counseling, Dr. Comite, an endocrinologist, determined that her levels of IGF-1 and other hormones were low and that he was not in the physical shape she believed.
After almost a year of trying to stimulate his growth hormone naturally and taking testosterone, Lagstein started with a daily dose of .3 milligrams of growth hormone . (Dr. Comite was able to prescribe it because he needed it. He is now taking up to .7 milligrams.)
Lagstein paid $ 1,500 a month for his growth hormone , but recently his health insurance agreed to cover the cost. He assures that he would continue taking it even if he had to pay it out of pocket because “I am much more youthful and healthy,” he says. Before starting this treatment, he adds, “I was very tired and had a lot of aches and pains.”
The committee doctor knows that her hormone prescription is unorthodox – especially in the broad medical community, which is skeptical of versions that claim growth hormone slows aging.
His response is a critique of the health system, which focuses on curing illness rather than preserving health. ? I prefer to try to maintain optimal health for life ,? he says.
How growth hormone fits into this picture is still up for debate. For starters, the committee doctor and many other doctors do not administer growth hormone directly, but instead check the production of IGF1, which is produced by the liver in response to growth hormone. However, IGF-1 may be low for reasons other than growth hormone deficiency.
Also, it is unclear whether giving growth hormone to someone who is in the normal production range is beneficial in the long term.
In a 2014 review, conducted by clinical interventions in aging, it revealed that while giving growth hormone to people with deficiencies appears to have benefits, doing so with the elderly, experiencing a natural decline, has? Pros and cons that are unclear? .
One of the biggest cons is cancer risk. Because growth hormone stimulates tissue growth throughout the body, benign tumors that may or may not grow slowly may have a push into malignancy.
Also, metabolic complications can occur. For example, when you exercise and metabolize fat for fuel, that’s healthy.
But when growth hormone melts fat, the sudden release of glycogen into the bloodstream can overwhelm the process to cleanse it, causing an increased risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. Also, there is no clear evidence that growth hormone helps you live longer.
If you’re concerned about having a growth hormone deficiency – only one in 50,000 people have it, according to Danish scientists – talk to an endocrinologist about a growth hormone stimulation test .
VERDICT: Not likely (but you may look younger).
WHAT IT SAYS: GROWTH HORMONE CURES BRAIN INJURIES
A car grazed Jeff Dombrowski, 42, in 2009. The impact broke his back, neck, and fractured his left leg at three points – among other injuries. He struggled to recover for the next four years. Her body eventually healed, but her mind remained damaged.
? I slept two or three hours a night due to pain and anxiety ,? he says. He was so tired and mentally too slow, he struggled to remember basic facts he needed for his job as a real estate developer. The doctors offered him some help.
After weeks of digging the web, Dombrowski began to suspect that his symptoms arose from a lack of growth hormone .
Because he couldn’t legally obtain it, his only alternative was to be part of a scientific study. He found exactly one: Doctors at the University of Texas were testing whether growth hormone could alleviate the physical and mental consequences of brain trauma. He entered the study.
Within weeks of being given injections of .6 milligrams of growth hormone , he began to sleep better. More rest helped with pain. By mid-2014, he felt like himself again. He believes that he will feel this good as long as he receives his doses of growth hormone .
How did your injuries affect your growth hormone levels ? When you hit your head or your neck is whipping, your brain may move inside your skull. The pituitary gland is not part of your brain, but it is located below it, connected by a small stem.
? Can you imagine that the back and forth movement of the brain can subject that stem to a lot of stress ?, interrupting the production of growth hormone , says Dr. Charles Wilkinson, professor of psychiatric neuroscience at the University School of Medicine from Washington.
Some researchers have a theory that a concussion can cause inflammation that damages the gland.
A study by Wilkinson in 2012 examined 26 veterans who had suffered from concussions from bursts – a problem suffered by 20 percent of returning war veterans – looking for growth hormone deficiencies .
Wilkinson suspects that hormone deficiencies may be the cause of many common symptoms attributed to post-traumatic stress disorder, including sleep disturbances, irritability, depression, and anxiety.
These are mostly young men. What would happen to them if they suffered from growth hormone deficiency for the next 40 years? Would they gain weight, lose muscle, or have cardiovascular disease, which is what we see in other groups with growth hormone deficiency ? Asks Dr. José García, an endocrinologist at the Baylor College of Medicine.
? It is also a problem for people who play sports.? Dr. Garcia is trying to acquire funding for a study on whether growth hormone replacement therapy can improve quality of life, memory and other conditions among war veterans with damage to the pituitary gland due to concussion.
Preliminary research is promising. Data from the University of Texas supports the notion that returning growth hormone levels to normal can improve life, at least for some. If you have had a brain or head injury, says Dr. Urban, and have suffered from a lot of fatigue or cognitive dysfunction, see a doctor – and preferably an endocrinologist as well.