By now, you probably have heard about HGH therapy. It’s been discussed on various platforms, more specifically about how it relates to athletic performance. It is every athlete’s wish to be able to maintain their stamina and strength throughout their life, but as the effects of aging catch up, it sometimes proves to be challenging. Well, in as much as many athletes have already joined the buzz, there is still a lot of research that is being done on HGH therapy for athletic performance.
But first, let us understand the basics of the growth hormone.
What is HGH?
The human growth hormone, commonly known as HGH, is produced at the base of the brain in the pituitary glands. The production of the growth hormone usually is at its peak during childhood and puberty, and as the clock ticks and age catches up with us, the production slowly decreases.
HGH production is also higher when we sleep as compared to daytime. This is more reason why athletes are always advised to get enough sleep, as part of enhancing their overall performance. An optimal supply of the growth hormone in the body builds and repairs tissues by stimulating the release of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1).
HGH therapy and athletic performance
As mentioned above, a sufficient supply of the growth hormone plays a significant role in building muscles and burning excess fat throughout the body. Therefore, when there is a deficiency of the hormone, the opposite tends to happen – your lean body mass starts to decrease, bone density goes down, and you enjoy less stamina and strength.
For this reason, many athletes today have faced the stigma associated with HGH replacement therapy and changed their mind. All with the goal to maintain their performance in the field, and stay in shape regardless of age.
Precaution, however, must be in place. Many athletes are considering clinics without doing their due diligence and research. It is crucial to understand how replacement therapy works, since more often than not it can end up causing more harm than good. As such, it is best if athletes could find out more about weight loss as it relates to hormone therapy.
The short version of the story is that the Human Growth Hormone is responsible for cell reproduction, regeneration and growth. Being a naturally occurring hormone, that is produced in the pituitary gland, it is tasked with many things like slowing down the aging process or treating most age-related diseases. But the HGH also stimulates the liver with the goal of creating a protein quite similar to insulin, which later produces cartilage cells. This, in turn, helps organ growth while also being responsible for muscle protein synthesis. So naturally, we associate this hormone with increased performance, and also weight loss.
But the mechanics of HGH therapy is a rather complicated topic to explore in this short article, so you’ll have to spend extra hours researching how it works in relation to improving your BMI, and ultimately performance. We tracked few studies that show controversial results, which only further illuminates the need for detailed research on your part. Needless to say, Google alone won’t suffice – eventually you will have to consult with a medical professional.
The growth hormone is listed on the prohibited World Anti- Doping Agency list of anabolic agents. In fact, most sports associations and leagues such as the International Olympic Committee, National Football League, Major League Baseball and World Anti-Doping Agency have banned it. What this means is that any athlete, be it a junior athlete, an elite athlete or a masters level athlete is at the risk of disqualification once the tests show that they are abusing GH.
A team in California performed a research study to compare the effects of HGH on athletic performance compared to that of a placebo, to a group of about 440 people who were mostly men. About 303 of them received the HGH injections while 137 volunteers received the placebo. The 303 volunteers received the HGH injections daily, for about 20 days. The results showed that the people who had received the HGH injections have added about 4.6-5 pounds of lean body mass. However, the gains in lean body mass did not necessarily improve the exercise capacity and performance of the subjects. The results also showed that the volunteers who got the placebo injections were less fatigued and also retained less fluid compared to those that received the HG injections.
Needless to say, there is conflicting evidence as to whether or not HGH therapy improves athletic performance by as much as previously though. A safer path, perhaps, is lifting heavy weights and creating a caloric surplus.
Bodyweight workouts won’t help you get the same results as training with resistance, but if you are adamant on exercising using your own weight only, then perhaps consider intense supersets that target several muscle groups at once.
Side effects of HGH therapy
Like any other treatment, however, side effects are always a possibility. It is, therefore, important to note that since our bodies are different, we all react differently to all treatments, including HGH replacement therapy. As such, some of the side effects might be similar, while some might totally differ. Studies have shown that close to 30% of HGH patients experience some side effects. Having said that, Let us now look at some of the side effects of HGH therapy;
- Muscle pain
- Increased risk of heart diseases
- High blood pressure
- Fluid retention
- High cholesterol levels
The takeaway – HGH for athletic performance
Now that you are more informed, understand how the growth hormone works, and what is its importance, the big question remains – should you consider HGH therapy?
Well, it is evident that HGH therapy can have immense benefits, but since its use for improved performance is banned in the athletic arena, it is best to choose natural methods of boosting the growth hormone in your body. That is, if you actively compete. Bodybuilding has been proven to affect your growth hormone levels, especially if you lift heavy and add a caloric surplus to your diet.
If, on the other hand, you are out of the court and field, you should definitely talk to a qualified professional and go through all of the pros and cons before making up your mind. Although relatively new in the public eye, HGH therapy has been well established for many years now, and it is a viable alternative to weight loss methods and different strategies for improving athletic performance.