Some people turn to a substance called human growth hormone (HGH) in hopes that it will keep them feeling and looking youthful.
But experts say that hope is unfounded. And worse, these products can be harmful.
HGH, produced by the pituitary gland, spurs growth in children and adolescents. It also helps to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function. Produced synthetically, HGH is the active ingredient in a number of prescription drugs and in other products available widely over the Internet.
HGH Uses and Abuses
Synthetic human growth hormone was developed in 1985 and approved by the FDA for specific uses in children and adults. In children, HGH injections are approved for treating short stature of unknown cause as well as poor growth due to a number of medical causes, including:
- Turner’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects a girl’s development
- Prader-Willi syndrome is an uncommon genetic disorder causing poor muscle tone, low levels of sex hormones, and a constant feeling of hunger
- Chronic kidney disease
- HGH deficiency or insufficiency
- Children born small for gestational age
In adults, approved uses of HGH include:
- Short bowel syndrome, is a condition in which nutrients are not properly absorbed due to severe intestinal disease or the surgical removal of a large portion of the small intestine
- HGH deficiency due to rare pituitary tumors or their treatment
- Muscle-wasting disease associated with HIV/AIDS
But the most common uses for HGH are not FDA-approved. Some people use the hormone, along with other performance-enhancing drugs such as anabolic steroids in an attempt to build muscle and improve athletic performance. Yet HGH’s effect on athletic performance is unknown.
Because the body’s HGH levels naturally decrease with age, some so-called anti-aging experts have speculated and claimed that HGH products could reverse the age-related bodily deterioration. But these claims, too, are unproven. The use of HGH for anti-aging is not FDA-approved.
Nevertheless, some people obtain injectable HGH from doctors who prescribe it for off-label purposes (uses for which it was not approved by the FDA) and through Internet pharmacies, anti-aging clinics, and websites.
Others purchase HGH products — or products that claim to increase your body’s own production of HGH — in the form of pills and sprays.
Companies that market these products on TV infomercials or online claim they turn back your body’s biological clock, reducing fat, building muscle, restoring hair growth and color, strengthening the immune system, normalizing blood sugar, increasing energy and improving sex life, sleep quality, vision, and memory.
However, the Federal Trade Commission has seen no reliable evidence to support the claim that these products have the same effects as prescription HGH, which is always given by injection. Taken orally, HGH is digested by the stomach before it can be absorbed into the body.
HGH therapy is much more than simply taking an injection. When a patient experiences specific symptoms, their physician may run a number of direct and indirect tests to measure growth hormone. These tests will help the physician determine the origin of the symptoms. If HGH is deemed to be low the physician may prescribe HGH therapy.
HGH therapy is generally administered via injection by the patient at home. Some clinics will utilize injections that contain recombinant HGH (HGH) and/or growth hormone-releasing peptides (GHRP). HGH is molecularly similar, or biosimilar, to endogenously produced HGH in the body. A GHRP is a substance that stimulates the secretion of HGH from the pituitary gland. Now, because HGH has a short half-life, injections must be administered daily. Most patients will either perform injections in the evening, prior to sleeping. Biologically speaking, the pituitary gland secretes HGH in a pulsatile manner throughout the day. However, the largest pulse of HGH release occurs at night around bedtime.
While on HGH therapy, it is important the physician closely monitors a variety of biomarkers. Biomarkers are measurable substances in your body that can indicate potential problems or damage if not addressed appropriately. HGH can impact a variety of biomarkers. So, depending on the patient, it may be vital for the prescribing physician to closely monitor things like:
- Blood glucose
- Bone density
For this reason, it is important patients follow up with their physician regularly. It will typically take 4-6 months to notice significant changes. Follow-up labs are drawn to improve outcomes as well as reduce the risk of side effects. Based on the results of these labs and any reported symptoms from the patient, the dose or time of the injection may need to be adjusted. The goal of HGH therapy should be to correct any HGH deficiency/insufficiency indicated in the patient’s lab work as well as improve their quality of life.
Testosterone is an androgen indicated as a treatment for replacement therapy in the male in conditions associated with symptoms of low testosterone levels in the body or absence of endogenous testosterone. It is a sexual hormone produced by the testes that encourage the development of male sexual characteristics.
High levels of the hormone are beneficial to men’s health. Healthy levels of the hormone promote good health by lowering the dangers of high blood pressure and heart attack, in addition to a heart-healthy diet. Still, testosterone may be given as a treatment for specific medical conditions and low levels of testosterone in both men and women.
Primary hypogonadism (congenital or acquired)-testicular failure due to cryptorchidism, bilateral torsion, orchitis, vanishing testis syndrome; or orchidectomy.
Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (congenital or acquired)- gonadotropin or LHRH deficiency, or pituitary-hypothalamic injury from tumors, trauma, or radiation.
The safety and efficacy of DEPO-Testosterone (testosterone cypionate) in men with “age-related hypogonadism” (also referred to as “late-onset hypogonadism”) have not been established.
Testosterone is available under the following different brand names: Aveed, Depo-Testosterone, Delatestryl, and Testopel.
What is the dosage of testosterone?
Dosages of Testosterone Should Be Given As Follows:
Adult and Pediatric Dosage Forms & Strengths
Injectable solution (cypionate): Schedule III
- 100mg/mL (Depo-Testosterone)
- 200mg/mL (Depo-Testosterone)
Injectable solution (enanthate): Schedule III
- Injectable solution (undecanoate): Schedule III
- Pellet implant: Schedule III
- 12.5mg, 25mg, 37.5mg, 50mg (generic)
Serious adverse reactions have been reported in individuals who abuse anabolic androgenic steroids and include cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, cerebrovascular accident, hepatotoxicity, and serious psychiatric manifestations, including major depression, mania, paranoia, psychosis, delusions, hallucinations, hostility, and aggression.
Low testosterone treatment is designed to boost testosterone levels. Studies suggest this increase in testosterone can strengthen muscles, protect bones, and improve sex drive. Testosterone replacement therapy is only recommended for men who have blood levels that show low testosterone. Such treatments can have different effects from one man to another so it is difficult to predict the treatment outcomes for any one individual.
Methods of Testosterone Delivery
- Intramuscular shots
- Topical gels and patches
- Buccal patches
- Implanted pellets
An injection syringe, treatment for low testosterone.
Testosterone injections are the least expensive form of testosterone treatment, but they can be painful. The shots are given about every 7 to 22 days and the body slowly absorbs the testosterone into the bloodstream. Injections can be given into the muscles or implanted as pellets. Testosterone levels can increase and then fall between shots.
Testosterone Gels of Patches
A packet of testosterone gel, low testosterone treatment.
Gel or patch treatments for low testosterone are placed directly on the skin. The hormone seeps out of the patch or gel and goes through the skin, and is slowly absorbed into the blood. Gels and patches are applied every day, and as a result, the level of testosterone remains fairly steady. A drawback to these treatments is they sometimes can cause itching, skin irritation, and blisters. In addition, women or children should not come in contact with skin that has been treated with a gel for 2 hours to avoid absorbing any testosterone.
Testosterone Buccal Patches
Buccal patches are used to treat low testosterone among other conditions.
Buccal patches are placed on the gums above the incisors (teeth) about every 12 hours and slowly release testosterone. They are not effective if swallowed. Buccal patches may cause a bitter taste, irritation to mouth tissues and gums, and may cause headaches. Fortunately, these side effects lessen over time. The patient can eat, drink, and kiss others while using buccal patches because they are not directly exposed to testosterone.
Be sure to contact our team of experts to apply for a free consultation.