Hard work, proper training, and appropriate diet remain crucial for athletes willing to gain muscles, and it is difficult to succeed in sports without having these qualities. At the same time, various muscle growth enhancers, such as steroids or HGH, are becoming more and more popular among men and women who want to increase their muscle strength.
Among them, human growth hormone, or HGH, is one of the most widespread and arguably efficacious ways to help gain muscle mass. In this article, we will review the cases for and against HGH for bodybuilding and will conclude whether growth hormone should be used by athletes for muscle growth.
What is HGH?
HGH is a common abbreviation for human growth hormone, also known as somatropin. This hormone controls the processes of cell growth and regeneration in the human body. That is why it is undeniably crucial for our healthy and consistent development. Although the pituitary gland produces natural growth hormone sufficient for most people, some people can suffer from growth hormone deficiency.
Recombinant HGH was originally designed for helping people who experience growth hormone deficiency. Yet, athletes soon noticed that rHGH gives efficacious results for healthy adults as well. Later, these observations were corroborated by numerous scholarly studies. Due to such effects of HGH, sportsmen and other people often use it for anti-aging, weight loss, improving immune system, and especially muscle gain.
The Case for HGH for Bodybuilding
The recent years have seen the growth in popularity in using HGH for bodybuilding. Scientific research shows that growth hormone can be very useful in this process. When injected, synthetic growth hormone enters the bloodstream and converts to IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), which controls muscle growth in our body because it enhances producing of protein.
A lot of studies prove the effectiveness of HGH for bodybuilding. For example, Tavares et al. conducted the experiment under which they administered growth hormone to one group of men and used the placebo effect for another one. The results of the experiment showed the significant muscle growth in the first group, which thus proves the effectiveness of HGH.
The Case against HGH for Bodybuilding
Although many scholars have argued in favor of HGH efficaciousness for muscle gain, not all scientists would agree that taking synthetic growth hormone is beneficial for increasing muscle strength. They mostly talk about the lack of scholarly research which would prove the effectiveness of HGH for muscle gain. For example, Velloso in his 2008 article for British Journal of Pharmacology highlights “the lack of evidence for anabolic activity of GH in healthy humans”. However, it has hardly been possible to prove the absence of HGH impact on muscle growth. The practical evidence of many athletes shows that the role of growth hormone in bodybuilding is very important.
Besides, researchers often emphasize the side effects of using HGH, either for muscle gain or other purposes. It is especially important for contraindications of HGH. Their list includes pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as having cancer or diabetes or simply possessing a high risk of them (e.g., because of family history). So, scientists urge to use growth hormone carefully in order to avoid any problems with health
The review of the discussion over the use of HGH for bodybuilding shows that growth hormone can be efficacious for gaining muscle and enhancing muscle growth. Some arguments against it exist, but they refer mostly to the lack of scientific research, while the practical evidence of numerous athletes shows the effectiveness of HGH. That said, you should be careful with side effects when using growth hormone and don’t use it at all if you have a contraindication, such as cancer, high risk of diabetes, or pregnancy.
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