If you have heard about treatments involving human growth hormone (HGH), you have probably wondered how safe HGH is for humans to be taking. HGH is available through a variety of ways, some natural and some synthetic, some prescription and some over-the-counter. It depends on your reasons for taking HGH as to what route you will go for in your treatment — but understanding and weighing up the benefits, risks and side effects of these treatments is an important step in making an informed decision.
HGH is a natural compound that is produced by your own body. Secreted by the pituitary gland in our brain, HGH controls the growth of muscles and bones, stimulates sex hormone production, and increases fat metabolism. However, even natural compounds that your body manufactures can become dangerous, and put your health at risk when there is just too much of it. Extremely high HGH levels in the body produce a condition known as acromegaly, where your hands, feet, jaw bones and nose increase in size. Likely, you will also experience fatigue, joint pain, muscle weakness and nerve tingling.
According to an article published by the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology in 2007, acromegaly is a very rare condition that affects only one in 250,000 people. The most common cause for this disease is a pituitary tumor, which causes abnormally high levels of HGH to be secreted. A combination of treatments, such as radiation, surgery and drug therapy, is used to reduce HGH levels back down to normal.
The earliest form of medicinal HGH was extracted directly from the pituitary glands of cadavers
. Using cadaver HGH was common place from the 1950′s through to the 1980′s, though the lack of available cadavers and the high demand for HGH made this form of treatment difficult to get, and expensive for patients. Cadaver HGH might still be in use today, if it had not been linked with several health issues which put patients at risk. Extracting HGH from cadavers was discontinued in 1985, and doctors were required by law to use only synthetic forms of human growth hormone. According to a retrospective study published in “The Journal of Paediatrics” in 2004, patients who were treated with cadaver HGH had four times the increased risk of death, and were at risk of adrenal insufficiency, hypoglycemia, tumors of any type, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease — otherwise known as mad cow disease.
Synthetic HGH came to replace cadaver HGH during the 1980′s, and is associated with none of the
health risks of its predecessor. Comparatively, synthetic forms of HGH that are administered via injection are well-tolerated and safe for human use. However, there have been reports of several side effects connected with its use. In a clinical study published in “Annals of Internal Medicine” in 2007, researchers found that some elderly patients treated with synthetic HGH experienced edema, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and abnormal male breast growth. In addition, these patients were also more at risk of type 2 diabetes.
While synthetic HGH may be considerably safer for you to take compared to older forms of the drug, these side effects do give doctors considerable cause for hesitation before prescribing it to patients. According to Drug Information Online, medications that can cause negative interactions with synthetic HGH include hormone replacements, steroids, diabetes medications, birth control pills, and some types of antibiotics.
Natural HGH Releasers
HGH releasers are natural chemicals, often found in foods and nutrition supplements that stimulate the pituitary gland to release increased amounts of HGH. While research does not yet adequately explain how these substances work, scientific studies show that several amino acids and herbs, including L-arginine, L-ornithine, L-glycine, L-dopa and astragalus membranacus root, have a direct effect on the pituitary gland and its secretion of HGH.
During a double-blind clinical study published in 2010, the combination of L-arginine and L-ornithine supplementation had a significant effect on HGH levels in athletes during and following exercise. While more research is still needed on the use of HGH releasers, they are natural substances with few side effects compared to synthetic HGH.