Is Human Growth Hormone the Fountain of Youth?

Recently, I saw a commercial promoting a product containing human growth hormone (HGH) that claimed to reduce wrinkles, burn fat, increase muscle mass, and, believe it or not, increase sex drive. As with most hormone therapy products, reducing wrinkles was never the intention as researchers were developing an artificial form of HGH.

Human growth hormone is a naturally produced hormone from the brain’s anterior pituitary gland. Its primary function is stimulating insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) production, which is a hormone that promotes bone growth and muscle tissue development. Several factors, such as diet, exercise duration or disease can influence the amount of HGH that is naturally produced by a person’s body; additionally, it should be noted that not all individuals produce the same amount of HGH.

In the world of competitive athletics, athletes have resorted to abusing HGH as a means to build greater muscle mass, even though it is banned from competition in most sports leagues and the Olympic Games. Another advantage to abusing the substance is its short half-life, which means the window for testing positive for HGH in a drug test is only 24-48 hours from the time it is administered. Even then, several reports have indicated the gains from abusing HGH to be minimal, with most of the lean body mass gained coming from water weight.

As far as HGH used for cosmetic purposes, even fewer legitimate research studies have indicated reductions in wrinkles and almost none even came close to mentioning an increased sex drive. Since the product is expensive and not covered by health insurance, the most noticeable change is that in one’s bank account. Speak with your doctor or, if possible, with an endocrinologist to gain a better understanding of HGH before considering to use any of these products.

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