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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 24, 2008

The Hype Over Human Growth Hormone

By Worker Bee

A lot of questions hit the MDA doorstep about HGH, Human Growth Hormone, and with good reason. It’s been touted in some circles as a bottled fountain of youth among other grandiose claims. Countless companies have jumped on that bandwagon, peddling worthless products with HGH labels.

We love to take on the propagandists and snake oil sales industries, and today will be no exception. Shall we begin?

The Basics of HGH
The natural HGH coursing through your body right now is, indeed, a perfectly remarkable anabolic hormone. It’s produced by the pituitary gland throughout life, but the levels gradually decline with age. The hormone is key for children’s growth and the health of the body’s organs. It stimulates the growth of muscle, bone and cartilage and enhances immune function. HGH is prescribed for children who are abnormally short in stature and for adults with diagnosed pituitary deficiency.

Genuine HGH is manufactured with recombinant DNA technology. Human genes are spliced into plant or embryonic animal cells. The resulting synthetic form is a controlled substance that must be medically prescribed and is only administered by injection. This is the only authentic and safe form of HGH. Animal HGH doesn’t work in humans, and it doesn’t exist in plants. True HGH, because of the elaborate scientific process it takes to produce it, comes with a hefty price tag. Estimates range from $10,000-$30,000 for a year’s worth of doses, which vary with individual prescription. (Fun fact: HGH used to be made from the removed and “processed” pituitary glands of cadavers.)

Fake HGH
We’re talking here about the homeopathic formulas, nasal sprays, sublinguals, secretagogues, and all the other forms you can get from supplement companies or health food stores without a prescription. None of them work. None.

HGH and Anti-Aging
A shoddy study with twelve older men (yes, twelve) done some fifteen years ago showed promise, but there was never any follow up or discussion of long-term effect. Since this study (if you can call it that), we’ve begun to understand the risks inherent in using HGH for anti-aging purposes.

First of all, we don’t have any evidence to prove that injected HGH, which doesn’t emulate normal secretion patterns, will improve health or longevity. A Stanford University review saw reason to believe that administered HGH resulted in very moderate increases in muscle mass, but that minor positive came with a host of negatives. Side effects of HGH administration in older adults include joint pain, swelling of soft tissue, carpal tunnel, as well as an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and prostate cancer. Now if that doesn’t make you feel old!

So-Called HGH “Releasers”
Really simple: they don’t work. They’re advertised everywhere and claim to prompt the natural release of your own HGH. There isn’t a single reliable study that confirms these claims. Period. Supposedly, the mechanism is being studied and in development, but I’m not holding my breath. I promise you we’ll let you know if the scientific community has any legitimate breakthroughs in this area. In the meantime, don’t trust the ads in the backs of magazines or websites that tell you it’s arrived.

Bottom line…
HGH is a great thing when you produce it naturally. MDA’s philosophy (a.k.a. the very fetching Primal Blueprint) involves achieving hormonal balance naturally. Nothing raises HGH in the body like good, intense anaerobic workouts and sleep. A good night of shut-eye is key, since the body produces HGH, as well as serotonin and other loveable hormones during sleep. The other component to maximizing your body’s natural production of HGH is, of course, that healthy, hormone-friendly diet we harp on all the time.

So, save yourself a whole lot of money and frustration. There’s no short cut miracle. Forget the HGH supplement hype, and invest in your overall health. Your body and your bank balance will thank you for it.

Mike Licht Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Glyconutrients – A Sweet Scam

Colloidal Silver – A Shiny Scam

Jimmy Moore: A Kimkins Scam

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TAGS:  Aging, Big Pharma, Hype

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11 Comments on "The Hype Over Human Growth Hormone"


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Dr. J
Dr. J
9 years 6 months ago

I lost a good friend when he developed lung cancer(he was a non smoker and had no reasons to have the disease), about two months after a course of HGH. I believe the HGH was either a causative factor or it accelerated an indolent cancer. Either way he died only four months after the diagnosis.

Brian A
Brian A
9 years 6 months ago

It’s been recommended by well-known triathlon and cycling coaches to do two-a-days and take a nap. That’s 4 ‘doses’ of HGH per day.

Fixed Gear
8 years 4 months ago

I’m just going to run real fast. Right into my bed. 🙂

7 years 5 months ago
all i know is this i was reaching a stage where i was working out and had to work out harder and the muscles were not developing like they used to until i stumbled across something called Biogevity by Neways. Let me tell you within 3 days of taking it my skin on my face changed. my boyfriend even noticed it he said your skin looks amazing it got all soft and baby like. i started losing that awful love handles within 2 weeks and i hardly had to work out as much. i basically stayed slim and to top… Read more »
5 years 2 months ago

if you go to the website you will find a newer version of the old biogevity, maybe you have already if so let me know how it is?

6 years 7 months ago

Mark – Have you ever heard of (and have an opinion of) Trans-D Tropin ( It looks like this article is from about 3 yrs ago and was curious if this is something new that might actually work as an HGH “releaser”? Thanks!

6 years 5 months ago

Mark, This quest for higher levels of HGH may be counter productive if recent research proves correct
( Super-longevity as well as freedom from chronic disorders in both mice and a certain group of Ecuadorians may be related to low HGH. The Ecuadorians squander this genetic advantage by chronic alcohol abuse.

4 years 7 months ago

The healthiest way to increase HGH is by intermittent fasting, whereby your body will naturally increase your HGH by several times.

Intermittent fasting is completely free and has other health benefits.

On the other hand, boosting HGH in a non-fasted state may contribute to cancer, with growth hormone, IGF-1, and insulin acting in concert to promote cell growth.

The hard science may not yet be final, but is it worth the risk and expense for an unproven benefit?

3 years 1 day ago

None of this applies for those with legitimate adult GH deficiency, especially if from a pituitary disorder. Neither secretagogue supplements, peptides, exercise nor diet will make a difference if the pituitary cannot secrete it. The only choice is to supplement with rhGH injections period. The side effects are minimal if under a phytsician’s supervision and when taken in non-supraphysiologic doses.

2 years 9 months ago

What about Peptides like GHRP and GRF(1-29)?

Michael Crownus
Michael Crownus
2 years 9 months ago

You make strong statements with no evidence for a lot of them. If you have evidence pls state it.

I know from experience that the homeopathic HGH/IGF I take has a powerful effect, on libido, for me.