Why are human growth hormones legal
Why growth hormones are not a good idea in exercise
Who wouldn't want to improve their performance in sports? However, it takes time to build muscle or improve your stamina. Some people therefore try to help a little. However, some ideas for this are less suitable and can even be dangerous - this includes, for example, buying and taking growth hormones online.
The intake of the hormones is mainly advertised on the Internet and discussed there in various forums. "This is especially a phenomenon from the bodybuilding scene," says Professor Dr. Matthias Weber. He is media spokesman for the German Society for Endocrinology and head of the Department for Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases at the University Medical Center in Mainz. "But also some recreational athletes try to improve their performance with growth hormones."
Hormones control a number of functions in the body
But what do growth hormones actually do? Hormones always control certain processes in the body and thereby influence a number of systems. This also applies to the growth hormone HGH (Human Growth Hormon). The body produces it in the pituitary gland and releases it several times a day.
HGH performs various functions in the body. It is involved in all growth processes, accordingly also in the structure of cells and in the regeneration of the body. Muscles and bones wouldn't grow without HGH. Growth hormones also play a role in building muscle.
The hormone affects body growth in adolescents
However, the hormone also has an effect on general growth and thus, especially in children and adolescents, on body size. “HGH is released most strongly between the ages of ten and 20,” says Weber. Disorders in body growth show very well the influence of growth hormones on the body.
With some diseases, the body releases far too much of it. "That is a disease of its own," says the expert. Affected children and adolescents become excessively tall and can easily grow over two feet. "When adult body growth is complete and the bones no longer grow, other parts of the body continue to grow, for example the hands and feet or the tongue," says Weber.
It is not very easy to determine the level of HGH in your body
A deficiency in the hormone is also possible. In this case, people grow below average in childhood and puberty. A deficiency can also occur in adults. It is rare and occurs, for example, after an operation on the pituitary gland. A deficiency in HGH, for example, leads to persistent fatigue and reduced performance.
However, it is a bit complicated to measure HGH and determine the level in the body: the hormone only stays in the blood for a few minutes. It stimulates the liver to secrete certain growth factors. Because blood levels fluctuate so much, results are very difficult to interpret. "If there is a deficiency, other hormone axes are usually shifted and stimulation tests can be carried out," says Weber. "This gives you a good overview."
HGH from the internet is not a safe product
But what happens when people who are not deficient take HGH to improve their performance? Growth hormones no longer have any influence on body size in adults. However, an overdose can be dangerous as it affects the entire metabolism. Blood sugar can rise sharply and internal organs can enlarge significantly.
In addition, there is a completely different danger. In Germany, HGH is only available with a prescription. “It is manufactured in the laboratory for the medical sector,” says Weber. If you are prescribed the hormone because of a deficiency, you will receive a safe product. However, this does not apply to growth hormones, which you can order via various channels on the Internet and then inject yourself.
Anyone who buys HGH on the Internet could endanger their health
“Anyone who orders HGH on the Internet ultimately doesn't know what they're getting,” warns the endocrinologist. The products are not safe: It is not clear whether and how much HGH they contain and which additives may be included. In addition, there is a completely different problem: "HGH is now produced in the laboratory, but in the past it could only be obtained from the pituitary glands of cadavers," says Weber. In the case of doping drugs from the Internet, there is a real risk that they may still be obtained from the pituitary glands of the deceased. This is not only an ethical problem, it can also have serious health consequences. "Such outdated preparations can transmit Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease," warns Weber. The disease causes the brain to break down - a variant of the disease has become known as BSE in cows.
The effect of growth hormones in healthy people has not been proven
HGH supplements have proven dangers, but there is no evidence that taking them actually makes healthy people fitter. According to Weber, increased muscle growth can often be observed: "However, these muscles, which develop very quickly, are not very strong muscles." They might look as desired in bodybuilding, but they do not necessarily lead to an increase in strength.
Are there also ways to naturally increase the release of growth hormones in the body if you don't want to take them? “You only have a very limited influence on that,” says Weber. Getting enough sleep helps the body make HGH. Physical training and a high-protein, wholesome diet could also support the body in this.
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