Human growth hormone (HGH) has only been in use by athletes and bodybuilders for a short time compared to anabolic steroids, but during this time its popularity has increased exponentially.
You’ve likely heard about HGH and the way bodybuilders in particular are using it to gain an edge above and beyond that of steroids.
Both females and males across all levels of bodybuilding have been benefiting from HGH and with the results we are seeing, this is a compound that really can deliver across a wide spectrum of goals, especially when used in combination with steroids.
But you have to know how to use HGH properly in order to firstly get the results that you’ve been hearing about, and secondly to minimize side effects that can be quite debilitating if you’re not implementing your HGH cycle correctly.
The good news is that once you buy legit HGH and learn the best methods of using HGH, adverse affects can be minimized and then you are likely to find that the benefits of HGH exceed your expectations.
That doesn’t mean HGH is without risk. Although its side effects initially seem much milder than those of steroids, there are some potentially serious health complications that HGH can cause when misused. These are outlined in detail in this guide to HGH side effects.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of steroids (PEDs).
What is HGH (Human Growth Hormone)
HGH is a peptide hormone which is produced naturally in our body and is critical for the processes of growth in childhood, as well as for maintaining organs and tissues for your whole life with its effects on cell reproduction and regeneration.
Human growth hormone focuses on some of our most important receptors: bone, muscle, fat tissue and cells with the purpose of signalling fat loss and growth.
Synthetic HGH is successfully used in a range of medical settings to treat disorders ranging from growth hormone deficiency in adults (often caused by a non-cancerous pituitary gland tumor).
This HGH treatment addresses the vast issues that adults with abnormal growth hormone deficiency experience by helping to increase muscle mass and bone density, reduce body fat and improve exercise capacity.
Another medical use of HGH is in adults with growth hormone deficiency caused by HIV or AIDS where distribution of body fat is assisted by HGH treatments. These medical treatments tell us a lot about the powerful benefits that HGH has in the body.
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that HGH is a steroid. While HGH is indeed a hormone just like anabolic steroids are hormones, they are completely different because HGH is a peptide or protein hormone that is naturally produced by the pituitary gland.
Anabolic steroids are based on sex hormones such as testosterone. So while HGH is considered an anabolic hormone, due to its potent effects on growth, it is not an androgenic hormone.
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What does HGH do?
The natural role of HGH in the body is to facilitate growth. Without it, body growth, cell repair, metabolism and other functions couldn’t take place. In other words, HGH is critical for the normal functioning of the human body.
When HGH is taken for the purpose of bodybuilding its functions are going to be multiplied according to the dosage you take. This means taking too much HGH can have a seriously detrimental effect. But what potential benefits are there in taking HGH at moderate doses for bodybuilding purposes?
The list of HGH benefits and effects is long, much longer than we’d see with your average anabolic steroid.
Human Growth Hormone has powerful anabolic effects, as you’d expect from a hormone responsible for growth. For performance purposes this can bring about substantial muscle growth. But best results are seen when you combine HGH with anabolic steroids for the purpose of bulking. Rarely will it be used alone for this purpose.
HGH on its own however is excellent for recovery purposes. You’re not likely to find a steroid that is effective at promoting recovery as HGH is. In addition, Human Growth Hormone aids in healing and all of this combines to help you recovery significantly faster after intense workouts.
Human Growth Hormone has effects on the metabolism and therefore is beneficial for fat burning. It boosts triglyceride breakdown and improve the utilization of fat by making fats or lipids the preferred source of energy rather than carbohydrates. Research has shown that HGH injections can decrease fat storage due to the way it can breakdown triglycerides and control the accumulation of fat. On the downside, this process can cause a blood sugar level increase, especially at higher doses.
A lesser known benefit of HGH is its positive impact on the aging process, particularly when it comes to improving skin health and bone and joint strength. HGH helps repair collagen and muscle tissue throughout the body which is useful for both anti-aging and for healing benefits in younger people.
In a practical sense these are the main effects and benefits you are likely to notice when using HGH:
- Easier and faster fat loss and improved body composition
- Lean muscle growth
- Faster post-workout recovery
- Improved mental well being
- Better sleep quality
- Increased energy
- Improved skin quality
- Stronger joints, tendons and bones
There remains some controversy about HGH’s overall benefits for performance use. It is widely agreed that HGH holds benefits for gains in lean mass, but it is not considered a strength improving compound. So if gains in strength are important to you, the addition of one or more anabolic steroids that promote strength will be necessary.
Short-Term Side Effects
The list of possible short term side effects caused by using HGH at performance doses is quite long and can range from the mere annoying, up to the more concerning effects that can impact daily life more seriously.
It’s important to know, especially for anabolic steroid users, that HGH is not an estrogenic or androgenic hormone so all of those familiar steroid side effects are generally not going to be issues with HGH. In short, this is a completely different type of hormone that therefore has a different type of side effect profile. And side effects are not going to be gender specific for the most part, as is the case with steroids. Females can use HGH and expect a similar very experience to male users.
Many HGH users will experience pain in the joints, muscles, and/or nerves. Some will develop a condition called carpal tunnel syndrome, where a nerve that goes into the hand is compressed due to swelling. This can cause tingling and numbness in the fingers as well as pain and hand weakness. HGH is known to cause water retention, with the wrists being a common problem area. This is the source of the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Headaches and other symptoms similar to a flu are often reported by HGH users. These are usually very short term and often subside within a short time of starting HGH use.
Gynecomastia can be a surprising side effect of HGH and often not expected, as we associate it with anabolic steroids. HGH caused gynecomastia comes about for different reasons and as a result of HGH working alongside estrogen. Sensitive individuals can develop gyno with HGH even with estrogen levels low. Estrogen can be blocked with a SERM drug like Nolvadex which will mitigate this side effect.
At higher HGH doses, your thyroid can start being affected with the onset of hypothyroidism. For this reason many HGH users will also include T3 in the cycle as this is a thyroid hormone.
If you’re going to be including anabolic steroids in your HGH cycle, be aware of this: HGH is highly likely to magnify and speed up some steroid side effects where growth is involved, like gynecomastia due to the way that HGH promotes cell division and tissue growth.
Long-Term Side Effects
Little is known about the extent of possible long term side effects that could be caused by prolonged HGH use. But there are areas of concern that are highly likely to cause issues for you if you intend to use very high doses of HGH.
The potential for cancerous tumor growth is a real possibility if someone uses HGH at high doses and over a long period of time.
Liver damage can also become a long term adverse effect after sustained HGH use. Enlargement of the heart is often listed by medical bodies as a potential side effect, and one that can certainly become a long term problem.
Taking HGH for performance purposes may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Both of these conditions can turn into lifelong problems that could shorten your lifespan.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is mostly considered a short term side effect but in rare cases it can lead to nerve damage and this can result in permanent loss of sensation in the hand area. This is also a dosage dependent side effect which you can avoid by using HGH sensibly.
Very high HGH doses can lead to the unique side effect of organ enlargement and enlargement of the hands and feet, and even the jaw area. These effects are a logical result of taking much more HGH than the body will ever need: you are supercharging the growth effects of hGH which is its very basic purpose in the body.
HGH Joint Pain
Even though human growth hormone is well known for its benefits for strengthening joints and tendons, one of its side effects can actually be joint pain in some people, as well as muscle pain and general aches and stiffness.
This can come about for two main reasons: due to new connective tissue growth (we might have called these growing pains when young), and as a result of the water retention that HGH can cause, which mostly happens to the ankles and wrists.
It’s important to be aware that pain in the joints while using HGH in the early stages isn’t a sign that the joints are damaged, but is a side effect of the repair and growth process that HGH is stimulating.
Joint pain from HGH use is usually a short term side effect in the earliest stages of using it and in most cases will disappear quickly as the growth and calcification process completes.
When a high dosage of HGH is suddenly taken, joint pain can be more severe. This side effect can be minimized by starting at a lower dosage to allow your body to adjust.
Water Retention and Swelling
Water retention and swelling is a side effect many anabolic steroid users will be familiar with. But they take a slightly different form with HGH. The wrists and ankles are most commonly affected by water retention, resulting in a noticeable swelling of these areas which can hamper your movement.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop on the hands in some cases, due to the nerve being compressed. This can cause a tingling and numbness in the fingers. These side effects are much more likely at higher doses of HGH.
You can reduce your risk of fluid retention by not suddenly taking high doses of HGH; instead your tolerance to HGH needs to be built up as part of your dosage schedule.
Organ and Tissue Growth
Extremely high doses of HGH can bring about severe consequences. HGH can cause an enlargement of body parts and organs. The hands and feet can become noticeable larger, as well as the jaw area. The internal organs can also grow dangerous large. All of this can lead to serious health impacts and stress caused to vital organs.
Hypertrophy (size increase) and hyperplasia (increase in cells) are at the core of HGH’s functions. The body regulates just how much these processes occur by controlling how much HGH is released. Taking external synthetic HGH supercharges these processes, so it is vital that you are not taking excessive amounts – the body simply will not know when to stop growing and this is where you get your organ and tissue growth complications. Fortunately, most users will moderate HGH dosages enough to completely avoid these serious side effects.
Women Specific Side Effects
HGH when used at sensible doses is well tolerated by most females. It is well worth pointing out that women don’t have to worry about masculine traits developing when using HGH, as is the case with anabolic steroids.
The side effect profile for women using HGH is virtually identical for that of men. The main things to watch out for are carpal tunnel caused by water and sodium build up around the wrists, joint pain and muscle pain.
Thyroid suppression and insulin resistance are just as likely side effects in female HGH users, when women use it at doses that are too high.
Women will generally use a lower dose than men, and this is critical when it comes to avoid severe side effects. Female HGH doses are recommended in the 2-4IU range while males will often take double that amount.
HGH side effects for females can be expected at a greater rate if she makes the mistake of taking male recommended doses, otherwise side effects for women using HGH should be tolerable for most users.
Is HGH Safe?
When using any substance for bodybuilding or performance enhancement purposes, the safety can never be assured as this is outside any approved medical setting and rarely are there studies available to prove the safety or harm that HGH may cause over the long term. Every individual is different and your current health status, age and other factors will make your experience different to the next person.
There are long term risk factors that are known simply because of the understanding we have about changes that high doses of HGH cause in the body. Type 2 diabetes can develop when too much HGH is taken over long periods of time. This is due to increased blood sugar levels that come about by HGH’s ability to tell the body to favor fats as energy at the expense of carbohydrates. In this instance, we can certainly say that HGH is not safe to use at high doses for prolonged periods of time.
HGH’s safety largely comes down to how you use it. Is it safe at low doses? Few people will have issues in that scenario. Most users, especially males, will be stacking HGH with anabolic steroids that come with a much higher health and safety risk.
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Does HGH cause hair loss?
A common worry by those who are aware that many steroids can cause hair loss is whether HGH can also cause hair loss. HGH is not an anabolic steroid and it has no androgenic activity, therefore HGH can not cause hair loss in either women or men.
Do HGH side effects go away?
The most common side effects of HGH are joint pain, swelling and headaches and most of these will subside within a short time of you starting a cycle. High doses can bring on these effects more severely, and once you reduce your dose these side effects should reduce or disappear.
Does HGH make you angry?
Although not regularly talked about as a common side effect, mood changes are not unheard of when using HGH at doses that are too high. Since women mostly use very low doses, females are not likely experience anger or other mood changes when sensibly using HGH.
Can HGH hurt your kidneys?
Taking very high doses of HGH can put you at risk of a disorder that causes problems with renal function. You can avoid risk of kidney harm by sticking to the recommended dosage of HGH.
Why does HGH cause carpal tunnel?
This common but usually short term side effect is caused by a build up of water and sodium that results in swelling around the wrists. This leads to a compression of the median nerve which in turn causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
Even though HGH comes with a big list of benefits, many of which are even more appealing than anabolic steroids, it’s difficult ignore the risk of side effects. You can never know exactly how your body will respond to taking HGH, and after all, this is a hormone that the body has evolved to need at a certain amount, and no more.
Taking in more HGH than is naturally required can potentially cause long term impacts that are still yet to be fully understood. No one really knows what health problems today’s HGH users are going to be experiencing ten, twenty and thirty years down the track – the research simply isn’t there when it comes to performance use of HGH.