Dieters, in their quest to lose weight quickly and with minimal effort, are known to experiment with various products.
One such product is a naturally occurring hormone – Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – which is known to promote growth and development in a human being. Some people are known to take HGH in the form of injections, pills, and powders.
A few studies have shown that HGH does result in muscle gain and fat loss, but these changes are very minimal, hardly a few pounds, while the risks and side effects are very high.
The FDA has also not approved the use of HGH for weight loss.
How HGH WorksThe pituitary gland produces the Human Growth Hormone. HGH plays a significant role in the child to grow and develop normally. The body also uses HGH for tissue repair, maintaining brain function, muscle growth, metabolism, and energy throughout life.
HGH production increase during the teenage years and starts decreasing as one age. Studies have shown that compared to healthy adults, obese adults have lower HGH levels.
These lower levels have raised a question among people on whether boosting HGH could help in decreasing the weight, especially among obese.
Besides fat loss, HGH is also known to enhance muscle gain. This reputation of muscle builder has seen it being banned in various sports including the Olympics, though there is very little evidence to show that HGH does boost athletic performance.
What Started Interest in HGHPeople started focusing on HGH as a potential aid in weight loss after a 1990 study in New England Journal of Medicine reported that regular HGH injections caused about a 14% decrease in fat loss and about 9% increase in muscle mass without any specific change in exercise or diet.
While this study was promising, several follow-up studies did not show any such benefit.
Also, the New England Journal of Medicine, in March 2003, denounced the misuse of the study published in 1990 stating that several subsequent reports did not establish any clear link between HGH and weight loss.
Despite this denouncement, many people still use this 1990 study to promote online HGH sales for weight loss.
Few Changes, But No Link to Weight LossHGH replacement is given to people with HGH deficiency. According to studies, when HGH is given to adults, it is known to improve body composition – increasing muscle and bone mass and decreasing fat. These, however, are minor changes and there has been no significant change in the weight.
Notable differences were seen in people who had HGH deficiency due to pituitary disease. Another study stated that apart from a small increase in a person’s lean mass and decrease in fat mass, there was no change in weight.
According to researchers, HGH helps in pituitary deficiency but is not effective if one is planning to take for reducing weight. Moreover, the use of HGH is not recommended by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Pills and Powders: Risky PropositionHGH generally comes in injectable form, taken once weekly, and can be given only with a prescription. FDA has approved HGH injections for treating children and adults having a growth hormone deficiency, people with organ transplants, and muscle wasting due to AIDS.
Various companies who market HGH powders and pill claim these also produce the same effect as an injectable, but experts disagree.
According to doctors, HGH, when taken in the form of pill or powder, will get broken down in a patient’s stomach, which is not the case with injectable. Also, these pills and powders do not have FDA approval which makes taking these a risky proposition.
The main reasons which made the FDA not give its consent to HGH pills and powder are the exorbitant cost, potential insulin-resistance aggravation, other side effects, and absence of long-term safety studies.
Abuse of HGH has known to cause muscle and joint pain, swelling of extremities, insulin resistance, and carpel tunnel syndrome. These symptoms are more profound in the elderly.
The Bottom LineUsing Human Growth Hormone for non-medical use like anti-aging, muscle building, and weight loss is both controversial and experimental.
HGH injections have shown to reduce fat-storage as well as increase muscle growth, but this is to a minor extent. There have been no specific studies from any reputed institutions or universities about the use of HGH as an effective way to weight.
Until research demonstrates long-term efficacy and safety of using HGH for losing weight, it would be wise to avoid it.
When it comes to weight loss, there does not exist any magic bullet. Following a healthy weight loss program is the key – reduced caloric intake in comparison to the amount burnt during physical activity.
It is better to use the money to buy healthy foods and sneakers rather than going for these unhealthy options.