Adults with growth hormone deficiency (GHD) often experience a dramatic reduction in muscle strength and size. You may have noticed that even if you follow a proper nutrition and exercise plan, your muscle will not grow or may even shrink.
That’s because growth hormone plays a key role in protecting your muscle against catabolism, and its deficiency often results in muscle wasting.
Unless you start growth hormone replacement therapy in time, your muscle size and strength will keep diminishing which increases your risk of disability and gradually decreases your quality of life.
What is more, muscle loss due to GHD can lead to frailty, lower insulin sensitivity, and even increased risk of premature death.
How HGH increases lean body mass
HGH injections can help preserve and even increase your muscle mass by restoring the normal levels of growth hormone and insulin-like growth hormone-1 (IGF-1) in your body.
IGF-1 mediates the anabolic and muscle-sparing effects of growth hormone. Growth hormone stimulates its release into your bloodstream as well as its production inside various tissues such as your muscles.
IGF-1 is one of the main anabolic hormones in your body which helps prevent muscle wasting. Besides, scientists have also found that increasing IGF-1 levels stimulates muscle hypertrophy in experimental animals.
Apart from increasing IGF-1 and suppressing muscle breakdown, GH may also help reduce the age-related increase in oxidative stress inside your muscles. The latter is considered as one of the factors responsible for muscle loss in elderly people called sarcopenia.
HGH therapy can also help improve physical performance and the oxygen consumption (VO2) of your muscles, which are otherwise negatively impacted by GHD. In one study, HGH injections led to a 9% improvement in VO2.
Long-term HGH therapy was also able to significantly increase exercise capacity and cardiovascular endurance in adults with GHD.
Growth hormone also improves the function of the most important muscle in your body – your heart. HGH therapy in adults with GHD is associated with lower “bad” cholesterol and better heart health.
How long does it take?
Although IGF-1 levels tend to peak as soon as the 1st month of therapy, the first noticeable benefits for muscle mass usually occur during the 2nd and 3rd months of treatment.
It may take several months to a year until you achieve the peak of the HGH therapy effects for muscle growth.
Keep in mind that these effects are not permanent since there is no treatment that can restore the function of the pituitary gland in patients with GHD.
Therefore, once you discontinue HGH therapy your serum levels will drop down to the pretreatment levels that led to muscle wasting.
What else do you get with increased lean muscle mass?
Although many people consider having more muscles as a purely aesthetic feature, the reality is that your muscle mass correlates with several health indicators including morbidity and mortality.
Older individuals with higher muscle mass are less likely to suffer from critical illness. Having more muscle tissue appears to speed up recovery from diseases and reduces the risk for traumas and fractures.
What is more, you will have improved energy levels, strength, and endurance. Muscle strength has been shown to reduce the risk of premature death as well.
Higher muscle mass is usually associated with a more toned look in both men and women which can help improve your appearance and confidence.
Get a free consultation with our medical expert for any questions about hormone replacement therapy