What is HGH (Human Growth Hormone)?

HGH has been used legally and illegally for quite a while, and has been the cause of many athletes being banned from sports. But what exactly is HGH, and what does it do exactly. Can it really help with performance and recovery?

HGH, or Human Growth Hormone, is a specific type of hormone composed of nearly 200 amino acids, which are called the “building blocks” of protein. It’s made in the pituitary gland, which located deep in th brain and is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism.

Technically, HGH is classified as an anabolic hormone, one that causes growth in muscles and bone tissue. It also boosts the body’s response to physical exercise.

An insufficient amount of growth hormone in children can cause short height and stunted growth. Too much GH production, on the other hand, can cause acromegaly and a host of other medical issues.

For a long time, the only way to treat growth hormone deficiency in children was from HGH taken from human cadavers. Then, in the 1980’s, a synthesized form of the substance was developed, making availability of treatment much easier.

With the increase in the amount of HGH made available, it’s use in sports and competition became more widely used as well. It was also a popular anti-aging supplement, touted as the “fountain of youth” due to naturally declining levels that occur with age.

Obviously, there are a plethora of benefits that an athlete might seek to find from using HGH, even if illegally. The fact is, though, that a lot of research that’s been done examining the effects on muscle and strength gains have been on middle-aged men, and the conclusions aren’t that great.

On the other hand, the effects on middle-age men compared to elite sports athletes is another thing altogether. The fact is, those who are using growth hormone illegally are usually one step ahead of researchers when it comes to real-world results from doping.

There’s also the thought that growth hormone can help with speeding up muscle recovery and healing of physical injuries and surgery. Research seems to support this idea and some studies indicate that the use of human growth hormone seems to negate the negative effects of immobilized muscle and connective tissue.

Technically, this might help with recovering from injuries – as a matter of fact, there’s currently a study being conducted at the University of Michigan looking at the impact HGH has on people recovering from ACL surgery.

If this and other research studies confirm the theory that human growth hormone can aid in recovery, it will open up a whole new can of worms when it comes to regulating it’s use on and off the field. Should it’s use be allowed for a period of time while recovering from surgery or an injury? If so, then specifically for how long, and in what particular circumstances?

As you can see, this is not just a simple black-and-white issue, and if a substance like HGH is allowed to be used during recovery, things might get a lot more confusing before it’s over.