Human growth hormone is a protein in the body that’s naturally produced by the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus in the brain is responsible for transmitting signals to the pituitary gland so that it can produce the hormone, allowing it to travel throughout the bloodstream to produce a variety of normal actions in the body. Your overall health, nutrition and other factors help to play a part in your growth. While most automatically think of human growth hormone as solely responsible for the growth process, it alone doesn’t do that. Other hormones found in the body contribute. However, human growth hormone has been given to people to provide various benefits.
What Function Does Human Growth Hormone Serve?
Human growth hormone (hGH) has two main purposes: it stimulates growth, mostly in children, and affects your metabolism, determining how your body turns food into energy. When it comes to promoting growth, hGH affects all the body’s organs and tissues. It also helps the bones and cartilage grow in children during adolescence and puberty. It is responsible for the height each person eventually reaches.
After the growth plates in the bones fuse, human growth hormone stops increasing height and instead, helps you to maintain your body’s structure for the rest of your lifetime. Human growth hormone influences your body’s ability to metabolize food so that it’s converted into energy. That energy helps all of the body’s cells to function to their fullest capacity. It helps in the production of insulin, which helps to regulate your blood sugar levels.
What Happens When Human Growth Hormone Levels Are Unbalanced?
If a person has abnormally low levels of hGH in their body, it’s considered a growth hormone deficiency. This usually occurs when there’s a problem or damage involving the pituitary gland resulting in hypopituitarism, which affects a few or even all hormones produced by that gland. A deficiency of hGH affects adults and children differently. Adults may have more body fat, an increased risk of heart disease and weak bones, muscles and heart.
When children experience an hGH deficiency, their growth is affected. Slow growth in height by a certain age signifies that a child has this problem. Children may gain less than 1.4 inches in height each year when this is a factor. They can also have delayed puberty, look younger than their age and have problems with hair growth. Too much hGH, known as acromegaly, can also affect adults and children. Adults are likely to have swollen hands and feet, larger organs and bones, facial anomalies, heart disease and diabetes. Children can become very tall, experience delayed puberty and complain of headaches and weakness. Many grow as tall as seven feet or even taller.
What Are the Uses of Human Growth Hormone?
Synthetic human growth hormone has been around since the mid-1980s. The Food and Drug Administration approved it for certain functions in both adults and children. Children may be approved to receive hGH injections to treat certain growth problems, including those stemming from the following:
- Turner’s syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects girls and the way they develop
- Chronic kidney disease
- Children born smaller due to gestational age
- A deficiency or insufficiency of hGH
- Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes inefficient levels of sex hormones, constant feelings of hunger and poor muscle tone
Adults can also receive hGH to treat certain medical conditions and problems. Injections can help those with the following:
- A deficiency of hGH resulting from pituitary tumors
- Muscle wastage due to HIV/AIDS
- Short bowel syndrome, a condition that causes nutrients to not properly absorb in the body due to intestinal disease or surgery to remove part of the small intestine
All of these issues can be treated with hGH; however, some people abuse synthetic hGH for other reasons such as to build muscle and increase endurance while engaging in athletic sports. The effects it has on athletic performance are not known, but hGH for these purposes has long carried a negative stigma. It can benefit the user when hGH is given for the right reasons and to treat the above conditions or problems. Ready to get started? We can help. Call us today at 205-352-9141.