We all wish to stay young and strong for as long as possible. When people start aging, they want to look for ways to extend their youth. One of such methods is administrating a human growth hormone. Even though there are many benefits of such treatment, there are also several not-so-pleasant side effects of HGH that should be studied.
HGH and Your Body
Human growth hormone is naturally produced in a human body by the pituitary gland. Its main purpose, as the name implies, is growing and regenerating cells. HGH increases muscle mass and bone thickness. This hormone is responsible for keeping all human tissues healthy.
The studies of human growth hormone began back in 1950’s. The first synthetic HGH appeared more than 30 years later. Shortly after that this drug became popular for performance enhancement in different sports and is still used, even though the purpose became much more diversified.
Natural production of human growth hormones peaks during puberty period and starts to rapidly decline after 20’s. That’s when the human body begins to age, even if there are no visible symptoms.
Human growth hormone is heavily researched in many countries. After 35 years of studies, various different side effects have been found, including very good and extremely unpleasant ones.
Too Much or Too Little: Understanding the Side Effects of HGH
There are many different benefits that human growth hormone has to offer. However, introducing synthetic agents into a human body often causes adverse effects. HGH injections must be done carefully and under a doctor’s control. Otherwise, the negative effects might be irreversible.
There are people who suffer from the HGH deficiency syndrome that often appears as a result of pituitary tumors. Such patients can get HGH injections by their physician for an effective treatment.
Human Growth Hormone Side Effects: What You Need to Know
Knowing both sides of the coin is extremely important for making the right decision before administering the human growth hormone. If you are thinking about trying HGH, here’s what you need to know about it, starting with the good side.
Human Growth Hormones: The Good
Several studies have shown that there are many good effects of HGH for people of all ages. Some advantages are so obvious, that they make human growth hormone appear as a real magical remedy for aging. Special attention should be paid to the fact that most of the benefits are active only while the HGH is administered.
- Improved Sleep: In 2000 a study done at the University of Chicago showed that there is a link between sleep disorders and human growth hormone deficiency. People with higher levels of HGH literally sleep “like babies” and often wake up in the same pose they initially fell asleep in.
- Improved Skin: The regrowth qualities of human growth hormones stimulate skin regeneration. This leads to the improvement of its elasticity, that is usually lost with age. The thickness and texture of the skin are also improved. In the recent study Growth Hormone System: skin interactions, it was found that skin is usually the first to positively react to HGH increase in the body.
- Disappearance of Wrinkles: HGH injections for wrinkles are not FDA approved; however, some studies have shown good reactions to the supplements, containing HGH. Experiments have been done with elderly people. It was found that skin elasticity significantly improved after taking the supplements. That led to softening of the existing wrinkles.
- Faster Hair and Nail Growth: Human growth hormone is proven to increase protein levels in the human body. One of these proteins is keratin, which is part of hair and nail structure. When the HGH levels are increased, hair and nails become stronger. Some people even reported restoration of hair color. Hair thinning can also be reversed.
- Increased Metabolism: HGH affects protein, fat, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Metabolism rates decrease with age when human growth hormone is not produced as actively. Administering HGH can be a way out for aging people with metabolism problems.
- Improved Immune System: In 1998, the results of Dr. Rudman’s study about HGH effects on the immune system was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study showed that when HGH therapy was administered for six months in a row, the immune system of the patients received a significant boost. The study also reported that changes human body experiences with age can be reversed with the help of HGH.
- Increased Cardiac Output: Department of Cardiovascular Research, Pharmacology, and Endocrinology, Genentech, Inc., in California performed a test study of using HGH to treat heart failure. The experiment showed that administering the hormone for 15 days enhanced cardiac output. Long-term therapeutic effects have not been studied.
- Increased Muscle Strength and Size: The effects of HGH on muscle strength and size are not technically proven, however the results were so obvious that growth hormone is now considered a forbidden substance in sports. Since HGH synthesizes proteins, it helps the muscles increase in size and strength. Some research has shown that HGH can even be superior to testosterone in the muscle building process.
- Treatment of Short Bowel Syndrome: Short bowel syndrome is a problem with absorption after the removal of the small intestine or a total dysfunction of a bowel’s large segment. Several small studies have been done to prove that HGH therapy improved intestinal function. Unfortunately, the positive effect of such treatment is not long lasting.
- Increased Energy Levels: HGH causes improved lung and heart function. This has a positive impact on blood oxygenation. More oxygen levels in the blood lead to increased energy levels, as well as improved stamina. The higher the energy levels are the better body performance output is. That’s why HGH is often used by sportsmen.
- Tissue Regeneration: It has been proven the HGH activates a certain gene, which is important for tissue healing and regeneration. Professor Robert Costa of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a study to prove that short term HGH treatment caused liver cells regeneration.
- Increased Bone Strength: Men and women with osteoporosis can benefit from HGH treatment, since the hormone is proven to increase bone density, which is vital to prevent hip fractures in elderly people. Osteoporosis is considered a silent disease, which can affect young people as well. Studies showed that bone density improves for up to a year after the treatment.
- Improved Emotional Stability: Low HGH levels cause an increase of the stress hormone called cortisol. Once it appears, the emotional stability can falter and the physiological state worsens. Stress goes on to weaken the immune system and make a person irritated, short-tempered and even depressed. HGH therapy can counter the symptoms.
- Improved Memory Capacity: The human brain contains a great amount of HGH receptor cells. A big number of these cells are centered in the areas that answer for learning and memory. Mathematical problem solving, operative memory and cognitive processes all depend on the human growth hormone levels. HGH also assists in repairing damaged brain cells.
- Increased Libido: HGH helps keep heart cells strong and active. The more active the heart is, the more blood it can pump to and from the body. This improves the function of sexual organs. This results in increased sex drive. Men experience longer erections and women notice reduced vaginal dryness during sexual intercourse. HGH also makes the body look younger, which contributes to the increased libido effect.
- Reduction of Hot Flashes: Patients treated with human growth hormones in Life Extension Institute showed impressive results after three months of therapy. Women reported a 38 percent improvement in hot flashes. Relieving post-menopausal symptoms is one of the most important positive side effects of HGH in females.
- Better Menstrual Cycle Regulation: Women taking HGH supplements noticed more regular menstrual cycles. There were no long term studies done to learn the effect of HGH on a woman’s ability to bear a child. It has been found that the body produces more human growth hormones during the menstrual cycle.
- Decreased Body Fat: Human growth hormone helps reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. Increased energy levels and heightened metabolism all lead to body fat reduction. HGH can cause weight loss even without any additional exercises or dieting. The HGH forces the body to burn fat for energy even when the body is static.
- Improved Vision and Hearing: Human growth hormones significantly strengthens eye muscles, which can lead to vision improvements. It is believed to reduce symptoms of cataract, glaucoma, retinal detachments as well as hearing impairment. Regeneration of cells leads to improvement in vision and hearing.
- Increases Back Flexibility: The strengthening of muscles and tissue regeneration leads to better back flexibility. The spinal bone becomes denser, which decreases back pains and allows people to be more agile. So far, only short term effects have been studied. The bone density and muscle mass can reduce once the therapy is canceled.
Human Growth Hormones: The Bad
Unfortunately, knowing all the positive sides of the “Fountain of Youth” called HGH is far from being enough. There are many setbacks which come together with the use of this hormone. The most important factor, that should be remembered is the effects of the treatment usually disappear once the therapy is over. Some effects can last up to about a year.In order to understand if the HGH therapy is worth going through, it is important to learn negative side effects of HGH use.
- Pins and Needles, aka Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: One of the widespread human growth hormone side effects is the pins and needles symptom aka carpal tunnel syndrome. People get a tingling sensation in their fingers and palms. Usually it can be ignored. But sometimes the symptoms become very hard to bear and it is an important sign to reduce the HGH dosage or to cancel the therapy.
- Fluid Retention: Administration of the growth hormone leads to increase to antidiuretic hormone from the posterior pituitary gland. Additional medication might need to be taken to reduce the water retention while administering the HGH. ADH levels can lead to coronary constriction that can cause a heart attack.
- Disposition to Afternoon Naps: This is a reversed side effect of the improved sleep during HGH therapy. The body burns up more energy and requires more rest, just as a young child’s body does. Short afternoon naps can take care of this problem. However, such need can make the life of a working person uncomfortable, since adults usually don’t have time to take naps during the day.
- Morning Aches: Some people going through HGH therapy can feel unpleasant aches in the first minutes after waking up. It is similar to muscle pains a person experiences on the next day after a lengthy workout at the gym. The feeling usually disappears within the hour, but can last longer for some people making the first several hours of the day uncomfortable.
- Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar. The symptoms are sweating, weakness, vertigo and even hallucinations. Many patients point to this condition as one of the human growth hormone side effects. Not enough studies have been done to prove low blood sugar and HGH connection. However, if such symptoms occur, doctors recommend stopping HGH therapy immediately.
- Altered Touch Sensation: Decrease or change in touch sensation is one of the more popular side effects if HGH. Usually these symptoms are not too obvious and can be ignored by the patients. However, some people can’t live with these changes and are forced to stop the therapy. Abnormal touch sensation can significantly decrease the quality of life.
- Blurred Vision: Blurred vision is one of the hypoglycemia symptoms. It can also appear on its own in patients going through long term HGH therapy. If a person has blurry vision, it is highly recommended to consult a physician. The therapy must be altered or stopped immediately.
- Dizziness: About five percent of people who take HGH longer than one month reported that they felt dizzy every once in a while. This is especially unpleasant for sportsmen and bodybuilders, who are using it to pump up muscles and improve their training. Such side effect can also be troublesome for older people and can lead to troubles with walking.
- Frequent Ear Infections: When human growth hormone is administered for a while, patients notice an increase in ear infections. This is especially true for those with Turner’s syndrome. While this side effect is rather rare, it can still become the reason to stop the HGH therapy.
- Headaches: Headaches are a frequent side effect of human growth hormone. They are reported by a large number of people administering the hormone for building up muscle mass. While the symptoms can be negated by common pain relievers, the side effect is extremely unpleasant and can occur on a daily basis.
- Irregular Heartbeat: Elderly patients reported irregular heartbeat while taking HGH. This side effect is common with any hormone therapy. The dosage should be watched and changed when such effects occur. For some people this symptom may be a signal to end the therapy.
- Chest Pains: Mild chest pains can be a symptom of an allergic reaction to the HGH therapy. If such symptoms occur, then the use must be discontinued. The body can be fighting excess amounts of the administered human growth hormone.
- Constipation: The increase of different hormone levels in the body can lead to constipation. This is one of the frequent human growth hormone side effects in both men and women. One of the reasons for it is high water retention. Constipation negates the increased metabolism effect of the hormone.
- Increased Sweating: Patients with HGH deficiency have decreased sweating problems. HGH is used to relieve this condition. However, adults with normal sweat secretion might have increased sweating problems, that are especially unpleasant for sportsmen. People also reported getting “cold sweats.”
- Concentration Problems: Increased need for sleep in adults taking HGH results in the loss of concentration. This leads to problems at work and is especially dangerous for operating a vehicle. Adults who are unable to satisfy the need for afternoon naps might have to face unfortunate consequences of the hormone use.
- Needle Contamination: The best HGH effects are noticed when the hormone is injected. The injections are often done by the patients themselves. If the syringes used for injections are not sterile or contaminated, the patient is at risk of contracting such diseases as HIV and hepatitis. Other problems can occur when a patient doesn’t have enough knowledge about the proper injection process.
- Breast Enlargement in Males: One of the most unpleasant side effects of HGH in men is breast enlargement. A study done by L. Cohn in October 1993 and published in Clinical Endocrinology Magazine examined the effects human growth hormone had on men. The results showed that continuous HGH treatment lead to breast enlargement in male patients.
- Liver Damage: The human liver filters all the unnecessary agents from the blood. This includes the overabundance of hormones. If HGH levels in the body get too high, the liver is under a lot of pressure to filter the excessive amounts out. The liver is overloaded with work and can be significantly damaged. This obviously negates all the benefits HGH might have for this organ.
Humane Growth Hormones: The Ugly
If, for some people,the bad side effects of HGH use doesn’t sound too severe, there are some consequences that might steer a lot of people away from this magic injection. This is the side of the coin which is hard to overlook. You need to carefully consider the use of growth hormones before looking into how to get HGH injections. The ugly side of HGH, especially with overuse includes:
- Acromegaly: Acromegaly is one of the ugliest side effects of overusing the human growth hormone. Human bones start growing out of proportion, which leads to the visible disfigurement of the body. Usually this condition affects the nose and the jaw. These are the bones that never stop growing during a human lifespan, but usually their growth is slow.
- Excessive Hair Growth: At the same time, there is excessive hair growth. Thick hair is growing all over the body, even in the places it usually didn’t before. Acromegaly can shorten the human lifespan.
- Cancer: Some patients using HGH may develop leukemia. Studies done on animals showed increased cancer development after HGH injections. The study also showed that men with higher natural levels of HGH had an increased cancer risk.
- Bleeding: After taking HGH some patients may experience different kinds of serious bleeding, including gum bleeding and sudden nosebleeds. Other patients may cough up blood. Blood can be found in the urine. Patients report longer bleeding from slight cuts. Women can have vaginal bleeding.
- Moving problems: One of the most dangerous HGH side effects is problems with motion. Patients find that they are having trouble moving or can’t move at all. The excessive limb numbness can lead to unfortunate consequences.
Many people consider the human growth hormone to be a magical fountain of youth that can help them solve their aging problems. Unfortunately, there is also a dark side. Researchers have not conducted enough long-term studies to prove both the positive and negative side effects of HGH.
While being a useful tool to treat some conditions, you shouldn’t consider HGH a simple quick fix for problems that come with age. It is important to remember that most good HGH effects last only while you are getting the hormone, and disappear when your treatment is over.
Consulting a physician is imperative before having HGH injections. Some people have medical conditions that are incompatible with HGH use. Lifestyle changes can help your body make more HGH naturally. Before you look into injections, consider getting to a healthy weight, making sure you get lots of quality sleep and eat a healthy diet, first.