Growth Hormone Information for Beginners
By Gavin Kane
What is rhGH?
Somatotropin, the chemical name for growth hormone, is a polypeptide hormone synthesized and secreted by the pituitary gland. The r in rhGH is for recombinant DNA technology, which simply means biosynthetic, as opposed to before 1985, when hGH was retrieved from the anterior pituitary of cadavers. hGH, is the abbreviation for human growth hormone, indicating the correct sequence the hormone naturally produced in the body.
Growth hormone is often referred to as the master hormone, simply because it begins releasing at childbirth and is responsible for most anabolic effects in the body. Important effects of hGH are not only height growth during adolescence, but also the strengthening and mineralization of bone. Other important functions of hGH include, lipolysis (fat burning), hyperplasia (creation of new cells), as well as protein synthesis.
191aa vs. 192aa hGH, is there a difference?
Growth hormone consists of a 191 amino acid chain sequence, which is identical to endogenous (in the body) production of hGH by the anterior pituitary. Therefore, recombinant hGH should mimic the proper sequence chain so the body does not reject the hormone. However, most Chinese and one American manufacturer use an inferior manufacturing process to create biosynthetic growth hormone, essentially adding an extra amino acid to the sequence, creating a 192 amino acid chain.
This unnatural structure has been documented to increase the chance for developing antibodies to the hGH. What happens is the extra amino acid created antibodies that bind with the hGH molecule, interfering with the bodyâ€™s ability to utilize the amino acid chain. The protein will be neutralized because the body sees the extra amino aicd as a foreign substance. When the body creates the antibodies, the hGH is rendered less effective, and will eventually stop working.
The FDA is currently working on banning all 192aa forms of hGH for sale in the US, due to the increased risk of developing antibodies, a severe problem for dwarfism, AIDS/HIV and other hGH deficient patients.
How is growth hormone made?
Clinical trials using synthetic human growth hormone began in the early 1980â€™s. By 1985, recombinant human growth hormone became available commercially. One of the first certified products in the USA in those years was Protropinâ€š by Genentech Inc. This product differs from more popular hGH remedies of today like Jintropin, Somatorm, and Humatrope, in that it contains somatrem instead of somatropin. Somatrem is a synthetic hGH protein that contains an additional methionine amino acid, which has been added to the 24-amino acid initiation sequence. Natural (endogenous) human growth hormone is a polypeptide containing 191 amino acids. The biosynthetic process used to make somatrem, also called the Inclusion Body Process, involves the chemical synthesis of the DNA fragment encoding the first 24 amino acids. The remaining amino acid residues are obtained by making complimentary DNA copies of messenger RNA prepared from human pituitary cells. The entire DNA sequence is introduced into a bacterium, Escherichia coli (E.coli),which is then able to synthesize the hGH protein.
Somatrem, known chemically as MethGH or N-methionyl-hGH, was first believed to be equal to endogenous growth hormone (with 191 amino acids) in all regards. That was perhaps only because they compared it to biological (corpse) growth hormone, which was not pure, and contained pollutants that produced side effects in many users. This led to allergic reactions, and sometimes the antibodies are so prominent that they even neutralized the effect of the administered hormone. Antibodies were noted in approximately 50% of the young users in one clinical experiment, and a second British experiment rated the response even higher, in 80% of users.
What side effects can you get from hGH use?
There are many possible side effects from hGH use, but most are related to incredibly high doses with prolonged use. Some of the more prominent effects are; swelling of the hands or feet due to edema, acromegaly which is thickening of the bones or jaw, carpal tunnel syndrome, numbness in the extremities of hands and fingers, and increased organ growth.
More common side effects that are of concern to bodybuilders are decreased insulin reception and sensitivity, and decreased thyroid output.
How will hGH help my bodybuilding/athletics?
Growth hormone has been reported to increase athletic performance as well as muscle growth. hGH does not work in the same was an anabolic steroids. Steroids work by increasing muscular size through hypertrophy, or increased size in muscle tissue, while hGH works primarily through hyperplasia, which is the creation of new cells. While hGH works by increasing IGF levels which cause hyperplasia, in and of itself, muscular size increases are not usually associated with hGH use alone, androgens are usually required to increase the new cell tissue. Look at it this way, once you have reached your peak by building your God-given muscles to their largest size where no further increases in size are possible, even with steroids, hGH will take you to unreachable heights by adding new muscle cells through hyperplasia, thereby allowing you to use steroids to increase the new cells to maximum size, bypassing your previous set point.
Unlike anabolic steroids which must be cycled on and off to avoid permanently suppressing the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal-axis (HPGA), hGH does not suppress the HPGA and can be used for long periods of time. Most users do not even begin to see results until at least two months into their hGH cycle, at that point, results will continue for as long as the hGH is used.
What to expect from taking growth hormone?
While expectations usually run very high when using hGH, mostly due to a cost to benefit ratio analysis, users are often left disappointed and feel they were ripped off. Expectations often include the â€œholy grailâ€ syndrome, where users expect to find some magic formula for new muscular growth, where they will magically transform their physique overnight into Mr. Olympia. While it is true that hGH can radically transform a physique, it certainly will not happen overnight, and sorry to burst your bubble, there is no â€œholy grailâ€ in bodybuilding drug use.
According to studies in the New England Journal of Medicine, hGH use will:
Shed Body-fat, Increase Muscle Tone; Boost your Energy, Strength, and Endurance,
Reduce Wrinkles and Create Tighter, Smoother Skin; Help you Sleep Better, Improve Sex Drive and Performance, Improve Immune and Heart Function, Bone Density, Healing Time and Cholesterol, Improve Brain Function, Memory and Mental Focus.
While that is an incredible list of benefits, most of those are not what a young, healthy bodybuilder is seeking. What you want is huge muscles, and you want them now! If you are an instant gratification person, then hGH is not for you. However, if you are interested in blowing past previous plateaus, having tight skin, popping veins, and reaching new levels of lean mass, then hGH is for you.
What do I do with it now that I have it here at the house?
If you have made the decision to use hGH then you will need to know how to use it properly, from storage, to injections, to cycle length. So first thing is hGH storage. While most 191aa hGH can be stored at room temperature, that is only for about 30 days, so I find it imperative to store it in the refrigerator for long term use. At this point you will need to know how to reconstitute (mix or prepare) your hGH. 1mg of hGH is equal to 3iu. You will have to do a little math here; if you have a 20mg bottle of hGH, you will want to add 3 mlâ€™s of the supplied water so that each ml is 20iu (20mg x 3iu / 3ml). You must use an insulin syringe, which are small gauge syringes such as 27g or 29g, because it has smaller markings for more accurate measurement. I recommend using 27 or 28g 50 unit (1/2 cc) syringes for your injections.
Once the hGH has been reconstituted, it must be refrigerated and the colder the better, just on this side of freezing. This way it will last longer before becoming dilute and losing some of its potency. I highly recommend you store it on the inside fridge wall, in the back closest to the freezer. That will be just about optimal temperature. Each hGH injection must be done with NaCL or bacteriostatic water, and cannot be used in conjunction with any oil based products in the same area or in the same syringe. You want the fastest uptake possible and that is only accomplished by using water with the lyophilized powder.
You will want to take the hGH by itself, do not mix with any other peptides or analogues. It is important because the amino sequence chain is fragile and subject to interference from outside entities. I recommend using hGH intramuscularly (IM) instead of subcutaneously (Sub-Q) for all injections for faster uptake of the product, especially when using it post workout. Most manufacturers now include product inserts with the same recommendations.
How much should I take and for how long?
If you are reading this article for beginners, I presume this will be your first time using hGH so I will make all my dosage recommendations based upon that presumption. There are multiple ways to take hGH and most of them are correct, there is no one perfect way to use it. I have done every method of hGH use over the years and have found some of the best ways to use it based upon your current goals.
First recommended use is for people looking for overall health, boosted immune system, fat loss, and general sense of well being. You will also notice small increases in lean muscle mass, as well as healthier skin, hair, etc. For people looking to use hGH for this reason, I recommend 2iu per day take first thing in the morning for no less than 6 month cycles, preferably full time use. You will not need to worry about insulin insensitivity issues or down-regulation of your thyroid.
Second recommended use is for people looking to lose the maximum amount of fat while gaining the most lean mass possible. This type of cycle is great for endomorphs or anyone who generally has a hard time staying lean while bulking. For this type of use, I recommend 4-6iu per day, Â½ taken in the morning 30 minutes before breakfast, and the other half dose taken immediately post workout.
The third recommend use of hGH is for athletes off season looking to gain the maximum amount of mass possible. You will gain a lot of lean mass, but also have a lot of water retention due to the dosing schedule. For this type of growth hormone cycle, you will take your weekly hGH dose and split it into three shots taken post workout. For example, a bodybuilder who normally does 4iu per day on a normal schedule, which is 28iu per week, you will take 10iu 3x per week post workout only. When using hGH in this manner you may experience increased insulin sensitivity and it is highly recommended you use exogenous insulin with your hGH. This timing schedule forces the maximum conversion to IGF-1 in the muscle as well as generates hyperplasia. You will have amazing recovery abilities, quick increases in lean mass and can cycle the use on and off in conjunction with your steroid cycles.
The fourth and final method of hGH is for competitors looking to lose the maximum amount of fat, or for any athlete looking to lean up. For this type of use, I recommend taking 4-6iu first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, about Â½ hour before doing a morning session of cardio, or before your first morning meal. You will create an optimal environment for burning fat all day long. You will want to use t3/t4 in conjunction with this cycle to further aid in fat loss, as well as the down-regulation of thyroid output.
What to take with growth hormone and other tidbits of information?
If you are just looking for overall healthy and not increase in muscular size, then by all means you can use hGH all by itself, year round with nothing else needed. Most likely thought you are looking at using hGH in conjunction with a steroid cycle, either to bust through a plateau or to gain more lean mass than you have with just steroids. Remember that hGH causes hyperplasia or new cell growth. The increases in lean mass are not just from the hGH but from the addition of something that will create an anabolic state to stimulate new growth.
You will generally not see increases in lean mass when using hGH by itself. You must add an androgenic/anabolic substance such as testosterone to stimulate increases in the new cells. An androgen rich environment is preferable due to a positive nitrogen balance and lowered cortisol levels.
I recommend when bulking with hGH to use just testosterone by itself or test with deca or equipoise. You will not need large doses, in fact, because of the actions and biochemical pathways that growth hormone exerts its functions, you will be able to use less overall anabolics on your next cycle. For slightly more advanced users, I highly recommend a cycle of test, tren and gh. When dieting it is imperative to use a thyroid stimulating product such as T3 or T4 which will convert to T3.
When bulking with hGH, I recommend the use of insulin for the most anabolic environment possible, but most guys have not used insulin and are paranoid of it (as they should be). Insulin can be used very safely with no side effects, but unless you are an advanced user of hGH and steroids, you would be wise to steer clear and use an insulin mimicker instead, such as r-ALA at 800mcg per day, or Metformin.
You will not need to do PCT after a cycle of hGH by itself, but hGH can be an excellent part of a PCT program post steroid cycle. You will better be able to maintain mass gains, especially when used in conjunction with Arimidex, Clomid and HCG.
I am a drug tested athlete, will hGH show up?
For this question I will defer to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) which is also happens to be the same procedure for NCAA athletes:
Main applicable detection techniques are based on immunoanalysis which may involve a relative lack of antibody specificity and therefore extensive cross reactivities with other compounds. In some cases there do not exist suitable internationally acceptable reference materials in order to fully homogenise results obtained by different techniques in different laboratories. As a consequence, quantitative concentrations found in a given laboratory are difficult to compare with those found in other settings. It is always difficult to establish clear criteria to distinguish an exogenous administration (banned) from a normal endogenous concentration (Segura J., 1991). Ideally, the structure of the peptide detected should be confirmed by mass spectrometry. This is difficult nowadays although new ionisation techniques, new interfaces with chromatographic or electrophoretic systems and evolution of ion analysers will make a contribution to this end in the future.
So to sum it up, they still have no reliable testing procedures in place. Because clearance times can be as little as minutes on some peptides, chances are they will not have a reliable test for years to comeâ€¦.so enjoy their use in tested sports for now.
What about all the new peptides, should I use them too?
Their have been a lot of developments in recent years making hGH seem like an old drug. The creation of IGF-1, MGF, GH Fragments, GHRH, and others create quite a bit of confusion in first time growth hormone users. My recommendation is to start with hGH due to the fact that is has been in use for many years, dosages have stable recommendations, and there are numerous tests in human subjects that attest to its safety. None of the new peptides on the market have any reliable testing procedures, have not been approved for human use, and all feedback is anecdotal at best. Future articles will address the new onslaught of peptides and their use in athletes.