Growth hormone ( GH , somatotropic hormone , STH , HGH , somatotropin , somatropin ) is a peptide hormone of the anterior pituitary gland , which is used in sports to form muscle relief. Growth hormone or somatotropin (from the Latin catfish – body) got its name because in young people it causes a pronounced acceleration of linear (in length) growth, mainly due to the growth of long tubular bones of the extremities.

The base concentration (norm) of growth hormone in the blood is 1-5 ng / ml, during peaks it can rise to 10-20 and even 45 ng / ml.

Pharmacological properties

  • Anabolic action – induces muscle growth
  • Anti-catabolic action – inhibits muscle breakdown
  • Reduces body fat
  • Regulates energy use
  • Accelerates wound healing
  • Has a rejuvenating effect
  • Stimulates the re-growth of internal organs (atrophied with age)
  • Promotes bone growth and increases growth in young people up to 26 years of age (before the closure of growth zones), strengthens bones
  • Increases blood glucose levels
  • Strengthens the immune system

The drug causes some of the effects itself, but a significant part of its effects are mediated by the insulin-like growth factor IGF1 (previously called somatomedin C), which is produced under the action of somatotropin in the liver and stimulates the growth of most internal organs. Virtually all of the effects of growth hormone in sports are related to the action of IGF-1.

Age-related changes in secretion

Growth hormone secretion declines steadily with age. It is minimal in the elderly, in whom both the baseline level and the frequency and amplitude of secretion peaks decrease. The baseline level of growth hormone is maximal in early childhood, the amplitude of secretion peaks is maximal in adolescents during the period of intense linear growth and puberty.

Circadian rhythms of secretion

The secretion of growth hormone , like many other hormones, occurs periodically and has several peaks during the day (usually the peak of secretion occurs every 3-5 hours). The highest peak occurs at night, about an hour after falling asleep.

Growth hormone in bodybuilding

Initially, growth hormone preparations began to be used for medical purposes, but almost simultaneously this hormone became widespread in sports, due to its ability to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat. The first preparations of growth hormone were an extract of the pituitary gland of corpses, and only in 1981 a recombinant preparation of somatotropin was made.

In 1989, growth hormone was banned by the Olympic Committee. Despite the fact that the use of growth hormone for athletic purposes is prohibited, in the last decade, sales of the drug have increased several times. Mainly, growth hormone is used in sports, especially in bodybuilding, where it is combined with other anabolic drugs .

Lean muscle gain and fat burning

The main reason for the high popularity of growth hormone in sports is its ability to reduce the amount of subcutaneous fat. In addition, studies have shown that growth hormone supplementation leads to an increase in lean muscle mass, connective tissue and an increase in muscle cell volume due to the accumulation of fluid.

Another beneficial effect of growth hormone is to reduce the frequency of injuries. This is due to its ability to strengthen bone and connective (tendons, cartilage) tissues. Growth hormone accelerates healing and tissue repair after injury.

It should be noted that the use of growth hormone in powerlifting is meaningless, since it was found in the experiment that it does not lead to an increase in strength indicators. Growth hormone also does not increase endurance and performance, and on the contrary, there is a decrease in the threshold of fatigue and a slowdown in recovery, so growth hormone is useless for athletes in such sports where these indicators are important.

General conclusion: Growth hormone can be used in sports for the purpose of getting relief. Advantages : high efficiency, low frequency of side effects, the drug does not affect penile function and potency, does not cause androgenic effects and does not require PCT , after a month’s course, the total weight increases slightly (3-4 kg), and in some cases does not change at all – this is associated with large fat loss. Disadvantages : high cost of drugs – about $ 1,000 per course. The drugs are expensive and are actively counterfeited, so there is a significant risk of stumbling upon a fake.

Difference in Subcutaneous Fat in a Study Participant Before and After 6 Weeks of Growth Hormone

In a 2017 study, it was shown that the consumption of growth hormone for 6 weeks in obese men in dosages to raise the upper normal IGF-1 level led to a decrease in the size of adipocytes ( adipose tissue cells ) in the abdomen.

Growth hormone side effects

  • Tunnel syndrome
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Suppression of thyroid function
  • Accumulation of fluid
  • Increased blood pressure

Growth hormone stimulants

The main regulators of growth hormone secretion are peptide hormones of the hypothalamus (somatostatin and somatoliberin), which are secreted by neurosecretory cells of the hypothalamus into the portal veins of the pituitary gland and act directly on somatotropes. However, many physiological factors affect the balance of these hormones and the secretion of growth hormone. Scientists have proven that the level of growth hormone secretion can be increased 3-5 times, without the use of hormonal agents.

Secretion stimulants:

Peptides are the most powerful growth hormone stimulants, increase the concentration by 7-15 times, while the cost of an equivalent course is several times lower:

  • GHRP-2
  • GHRP-6
  • Ipamorelin
  • GRF(1-29)
  • CJC-1295
  • Tesamorelin
  • Ibutamoren is a non-peptide long-acting ghrelin receptor agonist.


  • Clonidine (clonidine) and moxonidine (antihypertensive drugs) are the most powerful secretion inducers available from pharmacological agents. Bamberger CM, Mönig H, Mill G et al. Experimentally showed in experimental work on humans that clonidine (dose 0.3 mg) increases the level from 0.2 ± 0.1 to 5.4 ± 1.5 ng / ml, moxonidine (dose 0.3 mg) increases the level from 0.1 ± 0.04 to 4.8 ± 1.9 ng / ml. In comparison, the standard dose of GHRH increased the level from 0.01 ± 0.05 to 14.8 ± 2.5 ng / ml. In addition, moxonidine stimulates the release of insulin and has an anti-catabolic effect, which makes it a promising drug in bodybuilding (especially if antihypertensive therapy is required ).
  • Niacin , niacinamide , especially in the form of Xanthinol nicotinate
  • L-dopa (levodopa) , especially as carbidopa
  • Hydergin (ergoloid mesylate)
  • Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Gamma-butyrolactone (GBL)
  • GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, gamma-hydroxybuthyrate (GHB)) – increases the level of growth hormone in 9-16 times. Increases prolactin levels by 5 times.
  • Baclofen is another proven stimulant. This drug is analogous to GABA , but in contrast to it, it has a good ability to penetrate into the brain . In addition, it has a sedative, muscle relaxant and euphoric effect.

As well as:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Physical exercise (the effect of aerobic training is almost 2 times more pronounced than strength training )
  • Protein intake
  • Creatine – Recently Proven That Creatine Can Increase IGF-1 Production
  • The amino acid arginine , especially in combination with lysine
  • The amino acid ornithine , especially as OKG (L-ornithine alpha ketoglutarate)
  • Amino acid glutamine
  • Amino acid glycine
  • The amino acid tryptophan , especially in combination with vitamin B6 (30 mg), vitamin C (250 mg)
  • Hunger is not a good option in bodybuilding

Sports nutrition

Special sports supplements can increase the production of growth hormone by 2-4 times:

  • Fountain Of Youth HGH Complete.
  • Applied Nutriceuticals HGH Up.
  • Universal GH Max.
  • Supplements with arginine and glutamine.