Discover the Function, Sources and Benefits of Human Growth Hormone, or HGH, Supplements
Human growth hormone (HGH)—also known as somatotropin or simply as growth hormone (GH)—is a polypeptide hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland. It promotes growth in children and adolescents, and plays a role in body composition, metabolism, muscle growth and tissue repair in adults. Beyond the human growth hormones naturally produced by the body, synthetic HGH—or recombinant HGH—is manufactured in laboratories and may be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Select health and bodybuilding supplements may also help boost human growth hormone levels with natural ingredients known as HGH releasers or HGH secretagogues. Many of these ingredients can be found in products such as HGH 30,000 Nanograms, Somatropinne HGH, Ana-GH, DBol-GH and Growth Factor Plus, among others.
Functions of Human Growth Hormone
HGH is required to support proper growth and development in children and adolescents, and it also plays a role in adult metabolism. Human growth hormone can help increase muscle mass, bone density, exercise capacity and protein synthesis, and may decrease body fat. It also helps maintain healthy tissues and organs. Since human growth hormone production naturally declines with age, many believe that HGH supplementation can help improve athletic performance and provide anti-aging benefits in adults.
Sources of HGH
As previously noted, the primary source of human growth hormone is the pituitary gland. HGH production peaks during childhood and adolescence, and substantially declines once full adult height is attained. Laboratory-manufactured synthetic HGH—also known as recombinant HGH, somatropin or somatrem—is another source of growth hormone available to some individuals. This injectable form of HGH may be prescribed to children and some adults that have been diagnosed with human growth hormone deficiency or specific medical conditions. Synthetic HGH is a regulated substance and may only legally be prescribed for FDA-approved uses. These include Turner’s syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, chronic renal insufficiency and idiopathic short stature in children, as well as HGH deficiency and AIDS-related wasting in adults.
Since recombinant HGH is not legally available to healthy adults, many individuals rely on natural HGH supplements that are formulated to increase their body’s own production of human growth hormone. A number of amino acids are recognized as natural HGH releasers. These include L-arginine, L-glutamine, L-glycine, L-lysine, L-ornithine, L-tyrosine and GABA.
Human Growth Hormone Benefits and Uses
The main purpose of HGH is to support human growth and development during childhood and adolescence, and this is the most common reason synthetic HGH is prescribed to young patients. However, human growth hormone continues to play a role throughout adulthood; it helps to regulate metabolism and protein synthesis and supports bone, tissue and organ health. Recombinant HGH may be legally prescribed to adults who have severe HGH deficiency, which typically results from a pituitary adenoma (tumor) or treatment of an adenoma with surgery or radiotherapy. Synthetic growth hormone is also sometimes prescribed to treat the wasting syndrome that can occur in individuals with AIDS.
Human growth hormone injections can increase muscle mass, bone density and exercise capacity in adults with HGH deficiency, and it can produce similar effects in healthy adults. For this reason, some athletes and bodybuilders take recombinant HGH to improve their physique and athletic performance, even though it cannot legally be prescribed for such purposes and is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), International Olympic Committee and numerous sports organizations.
In light of the controversy and legal restrictions surrounding injectable HGH, a growing number of athletes, bodybuilders and aging adults have turned to natural HGH supplements to help boost the pituitary gland’s secretion of human growth hormone. Many report that L-group amino acids and other natural HGH releasers have helped them build lean muscle, enhance bodily strength, increase athletic endurance, tone their physique, recover faster from intense workouts and injuries, and minimize or reverse the visible signs of aging.
HGH Side Effects
Synthetic human growth hormone injections are associated with a number of side effects that can range widely in severity. Among the more serious HGH side effects some patients have experienced are atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), hypertension (high blood pressure), and abnormal growth of bones and internal organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver. HGH may also increase the risk of developing diabetes and can cause cancerous tumors to grow in size. Other human growth hormone side effects include: edema (swelling caused by excess fluid in tissues); carpal tunnel syndrome; joint, muscle or nerve pain; numbness or tingling sensations in the skin; headaches; dizziness; blurred vision; chest pain; irregular heartbeat; and a rash or itching near the injection site.
Natural HGH supplements tend to have fewer and less severe side effects than synthetic growth hormone injections; however, the side effects and interactions will vary depending on the ingredients.
More detailed safety information on synthetic HGH side effects can be found on the Mayo Clinic website under the “Growth Hormone (Parenteral Route)” entry. For natural HGH supplements, refer to the relevant supplement ingredient articles on HGH.com to learn about potential side effects and interactions. As with any medication or health supplement, it is best to consult your physician before using synthetic human growth hormone injections or HGH supplements.
HGH Research and Studies
A wide body of research exists on human growth hormones, including naturally produced HGH, recombinant HGH and ingredients that function as HGH releasers. Refer to the PubMed site sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for an overview of the latest HGH research or to search for articles highlighting the results of human growth hormone studies. For research on specific ingredients that function as HGH releasers, refer to the relevant ingredient articles on the HGH.com blog.
HGH.com Supplements With Natural HGH Releasers
Many of the health and bodybuilding supplements available from HGH.com are formulated to naturally increase HGH levels. These products include:
HGH Pills and HGH Spray – Available as HGH pills or an oral spray, Purity Select’s 30,000 Nanogram products are designed to promote human growth hormone production, muscle growth, increased energy and other health benefits. They contain a powerful combination of L-group amino acids—including L-arginine, L-glutamine, L-glycine, L-lysine, L-ornithine, L-tyrosine and L-valine—and other natural ingredients, such as colostrum, cowhage (mucuna pruriens), deer antler velvet, GABA and long jack.
Growth Factor Plus – As its name implies, Growth Factor Plus is intended to promote height growth while also supporting bone and joint health. Its proprietary blend of ingredients features L-group amino acids such as L-arginine, L-glutamine, L-glycine, L-lysine, L-ornithine and L-tyrosine.
Somatropinne HGH – Purity Select’s natural Somatropinne HGH capsules contain a proprietary blend of plant extracts, including maca, cowhage and horny goat weed as well as L-arginine. As an over-the-counter HGH releaser, this supplement is formulated to help athletes gain lean muscle and increased energy while also providing weight-loss and anti-aging benefits.
HGF MAX – Purity Select HGF MAX is intended to boost HGH production, improve muscle tone, build muscle, promote fat loss, boost energy and increase metabolism. Its proprietary blend of ingredients includes GABA, L-arginine, L-glutamine, L-glycine, L-lysine, L-ornithine, L-tyrosine and deer antler velvet.
Ana-GH – Each serving of Ana-GH contains L-group amino acids such as L-leucine and L-valine as well as other natural ingredients, including maca and horny goat weed. This supplement is intended to jumpstart bulking cycles by promoting muscle mass and weight gains, improving protein synthesis, and contributing to joint and muscle repair.
Anapolan-MAX 50 (A-MAX 50) – Anapolan MAX is formulated to support lean muscle gain while boosting HGH production and testosterone levels. Its proprietary blend of ingredients includes L-tyrosine, shilajit, Tribulus terrestris, cowhage (mucuna pruriens) and dehydroepiandrosterone.
ClenXDV – Featuring a proprietary blend of Tribulus terrestris, wild yam, deer antler velvet, DHEA and other natural ingredients, ClenXDV is intended to help athletes and bodybuilders build muscle, lose weight and burn fat.
DBol-GH – This anabolic lean muscle gainer is designed to promote lean mass and muscle growth, support muscle recovery and naturally boost HGH levels with a proprietary blend of ingredients that include beta-ecdysterone, L-leucine, L-valine and bovine colostrum.
Dekka – With a blend of wild yam root, yucca bark, Korean ginseng root and dehydroepiandrosterone, these capsules are formulated to help bodybuilders achieve weight gain, lean mass, bulking and muscle building.
Testosterone Plus – HGH Testosterone Plus features a proprietary blend of maca, long jack, ginkgo biloba, Tribulus terrestris and other natural ingredients that are intended to help build muscle, aid in muscle recovery and boost energy while offering sexual health benefits such as improved libido and stamina.
RoidX Juice – The ingredients in RoidX Juice are designed to help bodybuilders quickly gain muscle and weight while supporting muscle recovery. RoidX Juice capsules contain a proprietary blend of shilajit, Tribulus terrestris, Vitamin E and dehydroepiandrosterone.
Winstrol Max – Optimized for cutting cycles, Winstrol Max is formulated to promote lean mass gain and help athletes achieve ripped abs. Its powerful blend of ingredients includes L-group amino acids such as L-arginine, L-leucine and L-valine as well as saw palmetto and oat straw (Avena sativa) extract.
Drug Enforcement Administration. “Human Growth Hormone”; DEA fact sheet; August 2013. <http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/hgh.pdf>
Dunkin, Mary Anne. “Human Growth Hormone (HGH)”; WebMD; December 30, 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/human-growth-hormone-hgh>
Fordyce, Tom. “Human Growth Hormone Explained”; BBC Sport; July 27, 2003. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/front_page/3101343.stm>
Jackson, Joe. “Unlock Your Potential: How to Boost Your HGH Levels”; Men’s Fitness; accessed June 5, 2015. <http://www.mensfitness.com/nutrition/supplements/unlock-your-potential-how-to-boost-your-hgh-levels>
Mayo Clinic. “Drugs and Supplements: Growth Hormone (Parenteral Route)”; May Clinic website; last updated April, 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/growth-hormone-parenteral-route/description/drg-20069416>
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Human Growth Hormone: Does It Slow Aging?”; Mayo Clinic website; February 1, 2014. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/growth-hormone/art-20045735>
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Performance-Enhancing Drugs: Know the Risks”; Mayo Clinic website; December 12, 2012. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/performance-enhancing-drugs/art-20046134>