The weight loss industry has been fascinated by the human growth hormone (HGH) since the 1990s, when scientists discovered a link between the hormone and increased weight loss. In 1996, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved HGH injections for adults suffering from a deficiency of the hormone. However, the FDA has yet to approve HGH for other treatments, including obesity, due to the risks of severe side effects.
The growth hormone participates in a few different bodily functions, including muscle growth, tissue repair, brain function, metabolism and energy, throughout your life. However, its primary purpose is to stimulate development and growth in kids. Levels of the hormone reach their peak during adolescent years and decline as you grow older.
Studies have discovered overweight adults have generally lower levels of the growth hormone than people with normal weight. This piqued the interest of researchers who started studying the link between HGH and weight loss. Early research published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine found human growth hormone injections induced about a 9% gain in muscles and a 14% loss in fat. This was achieved while the study participants did not alter any other aspects of their lives, including their exercise levels or diet composition. These results were never duplicated in other research and the findings of a majority of studies concluded the modifications from HGH injections were extremely minimal, only a few pounds, while the side effects were quite significant.
When the human growth hormone is administered to adults with pituitary (the gland that produces HGH in the body) disease, it fuels an increase in muscle and bone mass while decreasing fat stores. However, adults who are obese but do not have any deficiency in HGH due to medical issues with their pituitary gland show no increase in weight loss and muscle gain or exceptionally minor improvements. In fact, even with minor alterations, there was no observed effect on overall weight.
HGH is particularly useless if it is taken in the form of pills or powders as it will be chemically modified through digestive processing in your stomach. The only method to absorb HGH in the body is by taking it in the form of an injection. The reasons the FDA has not approved HGH injections for weight loss are abundant. Injections are prohibitively expensive (approximately $12,000 per year) and increase risks of carpel tunnel syndrome, muscle swelling in arms and legs, muscle and joint pain and resistance to insulin.
Unfortunately, the 1990 research is used by the weight loss industry to continue the promotion of human growth hormone sales, while ignoring all the counter evidence and medical recommendations of physicians and the FDA. It should be avoided until research can prove both its useful weight loss nature and long-term safety. For the moment, HGH has not been proven to be a safe alternative for weight loss.