HGH and Bodybuilding

Human growth hormone, or HGH, is the chemical responsible for the growth of the human body primarily during adolescent years. In recent years it has become quite popular as a health supplement, claimed to be responsible for all sorts of miracles such as healthier skin and youthful appearance. It has also entered the world of bodybuilding. But is HGH really useful for weight trainers? In this article, we'll look at the available evidence and try to find out.

In one study of older men, twenty three subjects of the age of 67 were given a weight training regiment to perform for 16 weeks. Some of the men were randomly given a placebo, and some a course of HGH injections. At the end of the 16 week period, those in the HGH group had a higher fat free body mass than those using the placebo. However, there was no increase in strength in the HGH group, so the researchers suggested the increased weight may have been due to fluid retention. OK, so they were old guys. But what about younger men?

Another placebo-controlled study looked at sixteen men between the ages of 21 and 34, giving them a weight training program to perform for three months. Again, one group was given a placebo and one HGH injections, randomly. After the test period, the HGH group did in fact have an increase in fat-free body mass, however, there was no change in muscle size among this group. The researchers concluded the mass increase may have been due to growth of non-muscle tissues in the body.

So where do we stand, then? Obviously, a lot of bodybuilders use growth hormone and swear by it, so what do they say?

On the popular discussion board discussbodybuilding.com, one user said that most professional athletes take it simply for its fat-burning effects, using other supplements to actually build muscle. On muscletalk.co.uk, it is suggested that HGH only works in conjunction with Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) and anabolic steroids. Another user said that the only thing it did for him was make him sleepy and cause his carpal tunnel syndrome to get worse. Seeing as one of the side effects of HGH is joint pain, this isn't surprising.

Whether it works or not, there is one thing to be aware of here that is not commonly known by the public: human growth hormone is only effective in the form of an injection, and not in oral pill form. The pills that have become so common in the last 10 years are quackery, like the days of miracle tonics. In addition, it can only be legally bought in injectable form with a prescription.

Since HGH only works for bodybuilders in combination with IGF-1 and steroids, in combination with its incredible expense ($1000 a month, anyone?) we do not recommend it's use; and a discussion of the effects of steroids and IGF-1 are beyond the scope of this website.