Early Study Sparks Interest in HGH
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Questions & Answers
HGH has also gained a reputation as a muscle builder, and its use is banned in the Olympics and other sports. However, there is little solid evidence that it can boost athletic performance. Although this study appeared to be promising, many later studies have shown no such benefit. In March , the New England Journal of Medicine took the unusual step of denouncing misuse of the study, pointing out that subsequent reports provide no reason to be optimistic.
Despite this, this study is still being used to promote Internet sales of HGH for weight loss. When adults with an HGH deficiency resulting from pituitary disease are given HGH replacement, it improves body composition -- increasing bone mass and muscle mass and decreasing fat stores. But it does not cause weight loss in the obese, says Nicholas Tritos, MD, who co-authored an analysis evaluating the effectiveness of HGH for weight loss in obese people.
Another study found that HGH therapy was linked to a small decrease in fat and increase in lean mass, but no change in body weight. The researchers concluded that HGH is not an effective treatment in obese people, and said more studies were needed. HGH injections are approved to treat adults and children who have growth hormone deficiency , for people who are undergoing organ transplants , and for AIDS-related muscle wasting. Companies marketing HGH pills and powders claim their products produce the same effects as the injected form.
But Tritos warns that HGH is only effective when injected. Healthy adults who take HGH put themselves at risk for joint and muscle pain , swelling in the arms and legs, carpel tunnel syndrome, and insulin resistance. In the elderly, these symptoms are more profound. Using HGH for weight loss, muscle building, or anti-aging is experimental and controversial. HGH injections are believed to decrease fat storage and increase muscle growth to some extent, but studies have not shown this to be a safe or effective weight loss remedy.
Until more research can demonstrate the long-term safety and effectiveness of using HGH for weight loss, it's wise to avoid it.
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