Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is considered among the most anabolic hormones produced in the human body. For this reason, it holds great interest for those engaged in bodybuilding or for those who participate in sports. Bodybuilders use HGH because of the belief that it will help them lose excess body fat while simultaneously promoting an increase in muscular size. Indeed, a combination of HGH, anabolic steroids, and insulin is largely responsible for the appearance of current professional bodybuilders. When I competed back in the 70s (as an amateur, not a pro) the biggest bodybuilders weighed about 235 pounds in competition shape. But current pro competitors often weigh nearly 300 pounds in contest condition. The reason for this is a combination of training, genetics, nutrition, and the use of the drug triumvirate of HGH, steroids, and insulin. While bodybuilders have used anabolic steroids for nearly 50 years, the advent of both HGH and insulin usage is relatively recent, starting in the late 80s with HGH, followed by the addition of insulin in the early 90s. How this particular combination came to be so popular and prevalent isn't clear, nor is the precise mechanism to explain the anabolic effects seen with this combination. Anabolic steroids are without question, highly anabolic in muscle. Insulin offers little or no actual anabolic effects on its own unless it's taken with a large amount of amino acids. Under normal circumstances, insulin offers more anti-catabolic than anabolic effects in muscle. But when you consider that gains in muscular size accrue from an increase in anabolic effects coupled with a decrease in muscle catabolism or breakdown, the importance of insulin in helping to promote or preserve muscle tissue becomes more clear.
The situation with HGH is controversial in regard to adding muscle mass. While there is no question that providing HGH to those who are shown to be clinically deficient in the hormone will promote added muscle mass, this result isn't as certain in those who still produce normal levels of HGH. HGH production in the human body starts a gradual decline about age 30, dropping an average of 14% per decade after that age. Among the effects of a deficiency of HGH are loss of muscle, weaker connective tissue, possible cardiovascular problems, and other medical symptoms. A 1990 study of older men shown to be deficient in HGH found that when the men were supplied with HGH a number of rejuvenation effects occurred. These included thickening of the skin so that less skin wrinkling was evident, along with an increase in muscle mass and a significant loss of excess body fat. The successful results shown in this study led to a cottage industry of "anti-aging clinics" that regularly dispense not only HGH but also testosterone and other hormones as judged necessary by way of medical laboratory testing. But this use of HGH and other hormones to treat aging is controversial among medical professionals, many of whom . . .