growth hormone for body building

Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary. The maximum secretion of growth hormone occurs during the growth stages after which the rate of production reduces in adults. GH acts on the liver where it produces IGF-1 (Insulin like Growth Factors) which mediates some of the actions of GH. By 30’s the production of GH reduces significantly. This is a physiological phenomenon. Other than aiding growth, GH is involved in protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Adults undergoing surgery or radiation in the region of pituitary may develop deficiency of pituitary hormones including growth hormone. These patients can use GH to prevent the adverse consequences of GH deficiency.

However, GH is one of the most misused drugs for body building. GH helps amino acid uptake into muscle and protein synthesis in muscle. It further helps to burn fat and helps repair injured tissues. But GH use in adults may be associated with high blood pressure, headaches, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, elevated blood sugars and water retention. There are no long term studies on GH use in healthy adults.

All medicines have indications where it can be legally used. GH is approved only for use in children with growth disorders and in adults with GH deficiency. GH is banned in performance sports and detection of GH or its markers form an important component in doping tests. It is not OK to use GH hormone for body building.

Author: Dr. Mathew John (Endocrinologist)
Last modified: June 3, 2016
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