The use of HGH has been synonymous with a get-thin-quick card that has been used by those desperate to shed off a pound or two. The weight loss effect of the growth hormone has by far been effective in most cases.
A few of the HGH users have, however, noted an increase in overall body weight after the onset of HGH therapy. This begs the question, what happened? Why aren’t the individuals losing weight like the rest of the population? Is HGH a scam?
These concerns are completely warranted. No one would want a treatment that exacerbates the problem instead of alleviating it. To fully comprehend what happens in such isolated cases of weight gain, we need to understand HGH for Weight loss.
How Does HGH Work?
HGH (human growth hormone) is an artificial recombinant hormone that mimics the natural human growth hormone naturally produced in the body. From the name, you can clearly tell that this hormone is responsible for the growth and differentiation of cells in the body. Basically, it orchestrates growth. For you to attain whatever your height and physical stature is, you require a substantial amount of growth hormone.
The use of artificial growth hormone can be due to many reasons. The medical indication for the use of HGH includes:
- Turner syndrome
- Prader–Willi syndrome
- Congenital growth hormone deficiency
- Chronic kidney disease
- Small For Gestational Age
The hormone can also be used off-label as anti-aging medication, a performance-enhancing drug or as a weight loss supplement.
Apart from congenital growth hormone deficiency in children, all other uses of growth hormone therapy will increase the levels of growth hormone in the body beyond the normal ranges. This means that you will have an excess of growth hormone.
How Then Is This Harmful?
Once you have an excess of this hormone, you will expect all the natural functions of the hormone to be increased. In the body, endogenous growth hormone is secreted in a pulsatile fashion. This means small amounts of the hormone are released periodically into the bloodstream.
These hormones are quickly degraded by blood enzymes. The destruction of the hormone occurs after it has exerted its effect on the body. The hormone stimulates the production of insulin-like growth factor 1. IGF-I, together with IGF-II, will then complete the anabolic effect of the hormone.
The IGF-I stimulated by the HGH will then promote cell proliferation and prevent apoptosis of the muscle cells. The net effect of this process is a gross loss of fat and a general increase in the lean body mass, including an increase in the muscle bulk. Visceral fat stores in the body are destroyed, and the products are used in the synthesis of more non-adipose tissues, like muscle.
Why the Weight Gain?
With the knowledge of how growth hormone works in the body, we can now understand why there can be scenarios, though very rare, where a person on HGH therapy ends up gaining weight. It is imperative to understand that the issue of weight gain is a multifactorial issue. Diet, exercise and physiology play major roles in controlling the overall weight of a person.
The function of HGH therapy is solely to augment the above-mentioned factors. Here are some of the scenarios where one may end up having weight gain instead of weight loss:
Unhealthy high fat diet
A perfect body is carved in the kitchen. It all starts and ends in the kitchen. It does not matter how much HGH or other weight loss supplements you take, the buck always stops with what you eat. After all, that is the only way through which fat gains entry into your body. In a study carried out by Sulivan, et al. on starving mice, a linear correlation was established between the levels of IGF-I and the weight of the mice. This showed a correlation between diet and the amount of IGF-I produced, which in turn showed a direct correlation with the degree of weight loss by the mice. HGH therapy can, therefore, function optimally in the presence of reduced caloric intake.
Fluid overload and edema
One of the side effects of HGH therapy is a fluid overload state and resultant edema. About 60% of the human body is made up of water. Forty-two kilograms out of seventy kilos in a hypothetical man is attributed to water. You can appreciate the degree of change in weight that is to be expected if the fluid levels in the body are tampered with. Edema is basically the presence of excess fluid in the interstitial tissues. The excess fluid in the tissues originates from the bloodstream. The fluid in the bloodstream is promptly replaced from the ingested liquids and reclaimed from the urine. This leads to a state of fluid overload. The beauty of weight gain as a result of fluid overload is that this weight gain can easily be lost through the use of diuretics. These are medications that increase water loss through urine.
Lack of exercise
Contrary to popular belief, HGH is not a wonder drug that magically makes your weight disappear. Unfortunately, it is not a substitute for long hours in the gym. The increased muscle bulk and the boost in sprint time from HGH therapy are there to make your life a little bit easier in the gym and your weight loss faster. Remember, HGH makes you lose the fat bit of your weight but in retrospect makes you gain lean body mass. Lack of exercise will lead to gaining of lean body mass without effective loss of the excess fats in the body.
Another side effect of HGH use is high levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. This comes as a result of the breakdown of fats and lipids. In the absence of an effective transport system and metabolic pathways for the cholesterol, one may end up storing the cholesterol and fats in the adipose tissues, leading to a resultant net weight gain.
What Can Be Done?
Numerous interventions can be applied to lose the weight gain that sometimes comes with HGH therapy. Some interventions are general, however some may depend on the exact causative mechanism of the weight gain.
Weight gain caused by fluid overload states can be remedied by the use of diuretics and limited water intake. Other general interventions include:
- Eating a healthy, high-protein low-carbohydrate diet
- Regular exercise
- Adequate sleep
- Reduction or proper management of stress
The above mentioned tips will help you lose weight faster and at the same time boost your endogenous HGH production.
Apart from the few isolated cases of weight gain, HGH therapy is an effective weight-loss supplement that comes with additional health benefits like strong bones, increased muscle bulk and slowed aging. If you are using it for another reason, don’t be startled by weight gain. Don’t lose hope, either, because you have the power to manage the effects the right way.