…YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT Human Growth Hormone
1. IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD Human growth hormone (or HGH) production is regulated by your anterior pituitary gland, a pea-size structure at the base of the brain. Healthy adult males should have from one to nine nanograms per milliliter of HGH in their blood.
2.THE EARLY DAYS In the 1960s scientists began using HGH to treat children with growth disorders caused by irregularities in the pituitary gland. Their source of HGH back then: cadavers. It took 20 years to create a synthetic version.
3. GOING ROGUE One especially awful side effect of harvesting from cadavers was Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which was triggered by a nefarious protein called a prion (often found in bunk HGH) that chews holes in the brain.
4. “T” TIME HGH is not testosterone. Testosterone is a steroidal hormone that, when taken orally, applied topically, or injected, enhances male characteristics. HGH is a protein that activates a receptor that tells cells to initiate growth.
5. YOU CAN RUN LOW... HGH levels peak during puberty, start to slide in your 20s, nosedive in your 30s, and continue to decline until you reach the big gym in the sky. Known as somatopause, and colloquially referred to as “menopause” or “middle-age spread,” this ongoing drag can result in weight gain, loss of bone density, cholesterol issues, and lower sex drive.
6….AND HIGH Excessive HGH in the body can cause acromegaly—a condition that causes connective and facial bone tissue to experience accelerated growth. (RIP, Andre the Giant.) Areas affected can include the brow, jawbone, hands, and feet, possibly leaving you looking like a real-life bobblehead.
7. OFF-SEASON MOVES Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has pledged $800,000 for an exploratory study at the University of Michigan to examine the efficacy of HGH in aiding in muscle recovery after ACL surgery.
8. AN AMATEUR “GURU”? A New Jersey fitness trainer, who claimed to be using HGH to treat dwarfism, was arrested for deceiving Medicare for more than $540,000 for HGH prescriptions. In reality, Eric C. Opitz, aka “Guru,” was 6’3″ and 450 pounds. He allegedly sold the HGH via Craigslist for $450 a kit.
9. THE SURVEY SAYS In a 2013 confidential survey of 3,705 high school students, 11% reported using synthetic HGH at least once—more than double in the four preceding annual surveys. A shocking 9% of teen girls and 12% of boys reported trying synthetic HGH. The use of marijuana and prescription drugs remained stable during the same time span.
10. BIGGER, BUT MAYBE NOT STRONGER California researchers gave a group of mostly male athletes HGH injections for 20 days; other participants in the study were given a placebo. At the 20-day mark, the HGHers had added close to five pounds of mass compared with the placebo group, but gains in strength or exercise capacity were not conclusive. Also, the HGH athletes retained more fluid and tired more easily.