What Does HGH Do?

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Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a naturally occurring chemical in our bodies that makes us grow into adult size. HGH is a hormone called somatotropin and is produced by the pituitary gland. As we get older, the levels of HGH in our bodies decrease. Some people choose to take HGH to help slow the aging process and stay healthy longer. However, as with any drug, negative side effects can occur.

Basics

From the moment we're conceived, our bodies begin to grow. The pituitary gland releases HGH into our bloodstream, causing our cells, tissue and organs to become larger. The hormone is directly responsible, for example, for increasing the size of our hearts as our bodies grow. HGH is known as the "king" of hormones. It is a cell generator, and affects the body more than any other hormone.

Aging

HGH controls many organs and functions, and stimulates our body's ability to repair itself. In our late teens and early 20s, we reach our adult size and the production of HGH slows. At that point, our bodies begin to produce less and less HGH each year, which is why our skin eventually sags and wrinkles form. It is believed that health issues escalate as we get older partly because of a lack of HGH in our system.

Adult Use

HGH is legal in the United States and is used to promote growth in children and as a supplement for adults. It is believed that using HGH after our body's natural production decreases will help us maintain our youthful metabolism, reduce fat, build muscle and slow down the aging process. It is even prescribed to help men with sexual dysfunction. The hormone is similar to estrogen and testosterone, and can be taken in a variety of ways, such as an oral spray, pill form and injection. Injections are available by prescription only and can be quite expensive. Additionally, health insurance may not cover the costs, depending on what your doctor prescribed HGH for. Oral sprays and pills are available without a prescription.

Side Effects

As with any hormone therapy, side effects do exist. Some side effects that have been reported are somewhat minor, such as joint pain and overall soreness. However, some people taking HGH have reported more severe problems, such as high blood pressure, irregular growth of bones and cartilage. HGH is mostly prescribed to temporarily help with the correction of hormonal imbalance and is not meant to be taken over a long term. The side effects from short-term use have been found to be mainly the retention of fluid and joint pain and swelling. Doctors warn against taking the hormone for long periods of time, as it is possible that the increased amount of HGH in the blood stream could cause the pituitary gland to stop producing somatotropin. There is some speculation that the pituitary gland could even shut down completely.

Warnings

Consult your doctor before taking HGH. Your doctor may have other suggestions for your health goals. If your doctor does prescribe HGH, ask a lot of questions and do your research. Do not take any drug or medicine until you understand the consequences and know what to look for with regards to possible side effects.

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