HGH, or Human Growth Hormone, is big business in Canada.
Whether it’s a Hollywood actor searching for the fountain of youth, or a top-performing athlete looking for an edge on the competition, countless people from all walks of life have turned to HGH for its many perceived benefits.
So What Exactly is HGH?
Human Growth Hormone (HGH for short) is a naturally occurring hormone that’s created by the body’s pituitary gland. This pea-sized gland sits underneath the brain, tucked away in a bony hollow somewhere behind the bridge of the nose.
The pituitary gland is often referred to as the “Master Gland” because it controls several other hormone producing glands in the body, including the thyroid and the adrenals, as well as the ovaries and the testicles.
The hormone HGH, created by the pituitary gland, is responsible for regulating body composition, activating bone and muscle growth and stabilizing sugar and fat metabolism.
As you can imagine, this hormone is vital for developing children and teenagers and it’s these very properties of growth and rejuvenation that make the synthetic version of this hormone such a popular drug.
The History of Synthetic HGH
Scientists have known about the properties of HGH since at least 1920. However, they only began to use the hormone as a form of treatment since the early 1960s, when children with growth disorders were given HGH to correct their pituitary issues.
A Gruesome Beginning
When those children received doses of HGH, the hormone hadn’t yet been synthesized into an artificial form. That meant it could only be reliably harvested from one place: The pituitary glands of dead bodies.
This macabre process would continue for another 20 or so years, until 1985, when a biotech lab managed to synthesize the hormone from bacteria.
By the late 1980s and early 1990s, HGH had filtered its way into the hands of top athletes, where it became a favorite drug for illegal performance enhancement, due to its difficulty in detection by anti-doping labs. In fact, the first case of an athlete being banned for using HGH only happened in 2012, when weightlifter Pat Mendes was banned from the London Olympic Games.
Modern Day Use of HGH in Canada
For many years now, synthetic HGH has been used by Canadians for its original intended purpose of correcting growth disorders and genetic deficiencies in children and young adults.
Alongside this official medical use, a huge market has grown around administering the hormone (via injection) to members of the general public looking for renewed youth and vitality.
The Benefits of HGH
Before we talk about the perceived benefits of HGH injections, it’s import to set a few things straight: Firstly, the legality of purchasing and using HGH varies by country, but in many places it’s straight up illegal.
Many doctors prescribe the synthetic hormone for uses it has not been approved for, and internet pharmacies, clinics and online stores make it relatively easy to get hold of. That doesn’t imply that HGH is completely safe, or that it does any of the things it is purported to do.
So What are The Claims?
So-called “Anti Aging Experts” will list all manner of ailments that can be solved by taking a course of HGH: “Turn back your biological clock”, “strengthen your immune system”, “normalize blood sugar”, “combat male pattern baldness”.
There are numerous scientific papers on the subject, and there really isn’t a strong enough set of data to back up these claims.
I Just Want Extra Muscle!
This is probably the biggest market for HGH. For Canadian bodybuilders, weightlifters and athletes, the hormone goes hand in hand with anabolic steroids as a surefire way to increase muscle size and enhance exercise capacity.
In one Canadian study, 14 healthy men at the ages of 50-70 were given either HGH or a placebo. After six months, there was a significant increase in muscle response in the HGH group.
In a second study, twenty four obese people were administered either HGH or a placebo. After the trial ended, the HGH group, lost an average of 1.6 times more weight than the placebo group. That’s a statistically significant result, and goes to show that when combined with enhanced muscle response, HGH can be highly beneficial all round.
HGH Side Effects
As previously mentioned, if you’re an athlete competing at a professional level, one obvious side effect of taking HGH is that your sports governing body has almost certainly deemed the hormone illegal.
Going beyond the illegal aspect, HGH can have some nasty side effects: A small amount of users report swelling of the legs and arms, numb skin, mood swings and general fatigue.
There have also been cases of more serious side effects: Tumors, high cholesterol and heart enlargement, liver damage and even abnormal growth of facial features.
Increasing HGH Naturally
It’s absolutely possible to increase your body’s natural production of HGH without resorting to synthetic hormones.
Above all, HGH levels plummet in unhealthy individuals. That means first and foremost, if you want to increase general wellbeing and lean muscle mass, you’re going to need to drop body fat.
Numerous studies have found that HGH plummets in the obese. That means dropping body fat and gaining muscle will create a feedback loop, increasing HGH, and priming the body for further gains.
In addition, opting for a low carb, high fat diet has been shown to increase levels of HGH.
Try getting better quality sleep, and implement some intermittent fasting and you could receive an even greater boost.
Legal Supplements to Optimize HGH
The following over-the-counter supplements are safe, fairly cheap and known to increase natural levels of HGH:
- Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) a well-known calming agent for your brain and central nervous system, and Melatonin, the sleep hormone, both improve HGH levels.
- Taking beta-alanine before workouts temporarily boosts HGH levels.
- Glutamine can temporarily increase levels of HGH by up to 78%.
- Creatine is has been thoroughly studied. It’s safe, cheap gives a significant boost.
- Glycine is an amino acid that most modern humans are lacking in. This supplement can improve gym performance and HGH levels, and help with joint pain and recovery.
Whilst synthetic HGH in Canada is well studied, mostly safe if administered correctly and shown to give positive results, it does come with some potentially nasty side effects, and has been banned by many (if not all) Canadian sporting bodies.
There are plenty of ways to naturally raise levels of HGH and athletes or weekend warriors looking for an extra edge can try supplementation for an extra boost.