This article is the sole opinion of Nick Trigili. Generation Iron Brands LLC does not condone, support, or advocate any form of illegal drug use.
Should You Use Growth Hormone?
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) has gotten a lot of attention over the last few years as some kind of magic drug. To reiterate, this information is for entertainment purposes only and you should be aware of and follow the laws of your country. Prescription medications should be given by a licensed medical professional only.
Growth hormone is a polypeptide hormone that is naturally occurring in the human body. It is released from the anterior pituitary gland in the brain. It is stimulated by growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) from the hypothalamus. Growth hormone is generally an anabolic hormone. It stimulates the MAPK/ERK pathway to cause cartilage proliferation. It stimulates the JAK/STAT pathway to increase release of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) from the liver. IGF-1 is what’s responsible for osteoblast (bone formation) activation, which is why HGH is used in deficient children to grow taller. Additionally, HGH causes more T4 to be converted to T3.
So, basically, the whole body’s metabolism is upregulated by HGH including increased protein synthesis (bigger muscles in resistance training individuals) and lipolysis. Of course, you can see how this can be a very good hormone for bodybuilders and physique athletes to be interested in. On the other hand, it also causes internal organs to grow and causes decreased uptake of glucose. That means it can cause your heart, liver, kidneys, etc to grow very large and even induce diabetes if abused.
Natural growth hormone can be capitalized on by what is generally regarded as “healthy living”. That means at least 150min per week of vigorous exercise, sleeping 8-10 hours per night, and eating a high protein, high fiber diet making sure you consume enough niacin (vitamin B3) specifically.
Now that you’re familiar with the background, should you use it as a performance enhancer? The answer like almost all performance enhancing agents is, if you’re willing to risk the side effects, then moderate use could be very beneficial.
What is moderate use and what can you expect from it? Assuming high quality HGH, meaning it is actually HGH in the listed amount, which is not the case for all Chinese/foreign suppliers, then 2-4iu daily on a cut and 4-8iu daily on a growing phase could do wonders for high level competitors. When I say high level competitor, I mean year round <12% body fat and extremely intense, regular resistance training.
3months of off season 4-8iu daily for growing
3 months 2-4iu daily for contest prep
6 months off
This type of protocol allows for sufficient time off, with moderate doses, to lead to maximal benefit with minimal adverse effects. For the advanced competitor, insulin would also be used in those 3 months of off season growth to allow for maximal anabolism. I’ll be covering insulin in another article soon.
Growth Hormone is powerful tool in the physique athlete’s arsenal that should not be taken lightly. It has the potential for significant benefit including maximizing muscle retention and fat loss during a contest prep, but also for significant harm including permanent internal organ growth and insulin resistance. If you’re unsure if HGH is for you, I highly recommend hiring a coach to work with you on reaching your goals.
For more news and updates, follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Nick Trigili is a respected IFBB Pro bodybuilder and trainer. Check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more informative content. Also make sure to visit his official personal training website – World Class Trainers.
Header image courtesy of Envato Elements