Human growth hormone (HGH) regulates your metabolism, muscle growth, bone density, tissue recovery, and energy levels. Low HGH levels in the body can lead to debilitating symptoms, which can be managed by the administration of recombinant HGH.
Recombinant HGH is a substance regulated by the FDA and its use has strict medical indications. To start GH therapy, you must be diagnosed with one of these indications and receive a legal prescription by a medical doctor – either a general practitioner or a specialist in endocrinology.
The required documentation for a proper diagnosis and prescription includes previous medical history, growth hormone provocative test results, and pretreatment IGF-1 levels.
What for and how to get therapy
HGH therapy is an FDA-controlled substance due to its abuse potential as a performance-enhancing drug. Thus, it is not available over the counter and you must have a doctor’s prescription to obtain it legally.
A doctor, such as a general practitioner or endocrinologist, may suggest growth hormone therapy only if you have been diagnosed with one of the following conditions.
According to the FDA, HGH therapy is approved for the management of:
- Growth hormone deficiency (GHD)
- Short-bowel syndrome (SBS)
- Muscle wasting due to HIV/AIDS
If you have symptoms of GHD, your doctor will perform a complete medical exam and specific tests such as ITT. If you are diagnosed with the condition, you will receive a legal HGH prescription for the therapy.
What to expect from HGH therapy?
When you start your first HGH therapy, it will take at least a month until there are noticeable benefits. This is the period required for a sufficient effect on insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels according to clinical trials.
The levels of IGF-1 are the main indicator for the effectiveness of GH therapy because IGF-1 mediates all of the anabolic effects of the growth hormone. GH stimulates its production by the liver, and thus IGF-1 reflects the mean levels of growth hormone in the body.
The first benefit of HGH therapy is improved body composition. Growth hormone stimulates fat breakdown (lipolysis) in the adipose tissues around the waist and internal organs. Simultaneously the anabolic effects of IGF-1 prevent muscle wasting and might aid hypertrophy and strength gains.
During the second and third months of HGH therapy, cholesterol profile also improves. HDL levels surge while total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides are reduced.
Furthermore, there is an increase in bone mineral density which occurs 4-6 months after the onset of HGH therapy, according to evidence.
Other benefits from HGH include improved libido, erectile function in men, hair growth, mood, cognition, and quality of life
If this is not your first therapy and you have been on growth hormone before, you are likely to experience the same benefits once again, either at the same or a higher dosage. Increased bone density is the only benefit that might persist after the end of the previous therapy.
Adverse reactions occur mostly at high doses of growth hormone and may include:
- Water retention and edemas
- Pain in the joints
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (temporary)
- Increased insulin resistance.
- Length of the therapy
Length of the therapy
There is no specific recommendation on how long HGH therapy should last. On average it takes from 4 to 8 weeks to notice the first results of growth hormone injections. Your doctor will decide whether or not you should continue your treatment depending on its effectiveness and the adverse reactions you might have experienced.
If the condition that led to your symptoms and low GH levels is permanent, then once you quit the therapy, most if not all of your symptoms will likely return. And your GH levels will return to pretreatment levels.
The length of the therapy and your dosage will determine its total cost. The price of HGH ranges from $250 to over $1000 per product. It depends on whether the GH comes in a vial as a white powder or as prefilled pens and cartridges.
Any additional expenses include a medical exam and diagnostic test which cost about $100 each. They are required to receive a doctor’s prescription for legal GH therapy.
Are you a candidate for the therapy?
HGH therapy is suitable for both men and women who have medical indications for it. The only difference is that women need a slightly higher dose of growth hormone to stimulate an adequate increase in IGF-1 because estrogen antagonizes its effects.
The best way to determine whether GH treatment is right for you is to consult with a medical specialist
At AAW Clinic we have a team of experienced doctors and endocrinologists who will carefully evaluate your symptoms and confirm if you are a candidate for HGH therapy.
Tips for starting therapy
The success of the treatment requires that you handle and administer the hormone properly. Growth hormone has a peptide structure that can be easily broken down by heat, freezing, direct sunlight, or even excessive shaking.
Some GH products must be stored in a refrigerator, while others can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 weeks. Vials require reconstitution with bacteriostatic water before injection.
The used vial can be refrigerated and growth hormone will remain usable for 14-28 days thanks to the preservatives in the diluent. Your doctor will provide you with complete information on how to use HGH injections, where and how to store the injections correctly.
Subcutaneous HGH injections are the method of choice because it ensures good bioavailability and stable plasma levels according to studies. Besides, it is a much more convenient method for self-administration at home compared to the other methods.
The best skin sites for subcutaneous injections are the abdominal area, upper arm, upper hip, and thighs. The sites should be rotated every time due to the risk of lipoatrophy at the spot in case of repeated use.
HGH therapy requires daily subcutaneous injections taken before bed to mimic the natural pulsatile secretion of the hormone as closely as possible
Frequently asked questions about HGH
Our medical experts have answered some of the most frequently asked questions about growth hormone and debunk several myths that surround it.
Q: Is HGH therapy safe?
A: Yes, the growth hormone used in HGH therapy is bioidentical to the naturally produced by the pituitary gland. The therapy is safe when prescribed for any of its medical indications. Your doctor will provide you with the appropriate dosage and monitoring of your therapy that will help you avoid any potential side effects.
Q: Are injections the most effective form?
A: Yes. HGH has a fragile protein structure that is easily broken down and deactivated during digestion. Besides, it is not a fat-soluble substance, thus it can’t be effectively absorbed through the skin. This makes injections the only effective form of HGH therapy.
Q: Is HGH a steroid?
A: No, HGH is a peptide hormone, which means it has a protein structure made up of amino acids. It is often mistaken for a steroid, because of its anabolic effects, and its off-label use as a performance-enhancing drug, usually in stacks with anabolic steroids.
Q: Are HGH effects permanent?
A: HGH effects last for the duration of the treatment. The therapy manages the symptoms but it cannot restore normal GH production. The only long-lasting effect after the end of the therapy is increased bone mineral density.
Q: How to test HGH levels?
A: Growth hormone has a pulsatile secretion and it can be undetectable in-between its peaks even in healthy adults. Thus, a random GH test wouldn’t suffice. Diagnosis requires the stimulation of a peak using medications. A widely used provocative test is the Insulin Tolerance Test (ITT) which involves the use of insulin to induce mild hypoglycemia and HGH peak. A normal peak should be over 7 ng/ml.
Get a free consultation with our medical expert for any questions about hormone replacement therapy