Growth hormone (HGH) therapy has been in use as a treatment for medical conditions since the 1950s.
Ever since, numerous studies have reported therapeutic results such as fat loss, muscle gain, lower cholesterol, and even reduced risk for bone fractures.
Our patients also report higher energy levels, improved mood, better sleep, and a boost in motivation.
The majority of these results occur 1-6 months after starting HGH therapy
Yet, the internet is also full of disinformation which has led to unrealistic expectations in some patients.
Contrary to popular beliefs HGH therapy does not reverse aging and there is no evidence to support such claims.
In reality, patients with growth hormone deficiency (GHD) are the ones who will make the most from the treatment. Besides, the therapy has not consistently shown benefits for healthy people and HGH is illegal when used without a medical prescription.
What to expect when starting HGH?
HGH therapy can alleviate all your GHD symptoms and improve your quality of life by restoring the hormonal balance in the body. Injecting HGH is the only reliable method to raise your serum growth hormone levels back to normal references.
It takes only several minutes after administration for the serum GH levels to raise. Yet, it takes months until all GHD symptoms disappear.
Throughout the process, you should stay aware of the benefits and possible side effects of the therapy.
One of the first noticeable benefits reported by our patients is abdominal fat loss. This is the adipose area affected the most by the fat-burning effects of growth hormone. You can track your fat loss progress by regularly measuring your waist circumference.
The most common adverse reaction includes signs of water retention such as edemas, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, and joint pain.
In some patients, insulin resistance may also develop. That’s because of the antagonistic effects of the growth hormone against insulin.
Both water retention and insulin resistance are transitory and reversible side effects. Studies report that insulin sensitivity returns to normal as soon as 3 months after the start of HGH.
If you have noticed any adverse reactions during HGH then make sure to notify your endocrinologist as soon as possible.
Furthermore, your doctor should regularly monitor your therapy for any side effects and correct your dosage if needed. This is why initially you should visit your doctor every 1-2 months for evaluation and dosage adjustment.
If you have a medical history of osteoporosis, your doctor should also monitor the changes in your bone density. If the effect of HGH therapy is insufficient, you may require additional treatment to reduce your risks of bone fractures.
Similarly, patients with cardiovascular diseases will undergo regular blood cholesterol testing.
What effects are scientifically proven?
When prescribed by a medical doctor, the main effect of growth hormone is reversing the symptoms of GHD.
First of all, regular HGH therapy will help you lose fat around your waist. The hormone works by triggering lipolysis. The process mobilizes fatty acids and causes your adipose cells to shrink.
Furthermore, HGH increases muscle size by stimulating the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which is a potent anabolic hormone. Also, HGH therapy improves energy levels and quality of life in patients with GHD.
Similar to the effects on muscle, HGH is also anabolic for your bone tissues which increases your bone mineral density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Guidelines also reveal that the treatment can restore the normal activity of cholesterol receptors in your body and improve your lipid profile. If untreated, up to 45% of GHD patients experience high cholesterol which can speed up atherosclerosis.
Trials also report significant improvement in mood, attention, and cognition after HGH therapy in GHD.
Unless you abuse high doses of HGH for long periods of time, there is no risk for undesired effects such as acromegaly. Acromegaly is characterized by an increased bone thickness which results in a wider jaw and changes in your facial structure.
How long do you have to wait for results?
You will have to wait at least a month until you notice your first results from HGH therapy.
The initial benefits may occur during the 2nd or 3rd month and the majority of them will continue improving for over a year.
- 1st month – IGF-1 increases but there will be no noticeable benefits
- 2nd month – first changes in body composition including a reduction in body fat as well as an increase in lean mass and performance
- 3rd month – further improvements in body composition as well as better sleep
- 4th month – mood and psychological symptoms improve
- 5th month – body composition benefits reach their maximum; significant improvements in lipid status
- 6th month – bone mass increases
Usually, all benefits except bone mineral density reach their maximum after 1 year of treatment. It takes 2-3 years of HGH therapy until bone mass also reaches its peak.
Keep in mind that there can be huge variability amongst different individuals so your progress may not exactly follow this specific timeline
For example, studies report that younger individuals and especially women may require higher doses which are usually achieved later on during the treatment. Therefore, some of the benefits may occur slower than expected.
If there are no benefits for more than 6 months of HGH therapy then your doctor should reevaluate your diagnosis and assess your adherence to the treatment.
How to get the best results
Currently, the only way to get results safely and efficiently from HGH therapy is to take it under medical supervision.
You should always consult with your endocrinologist first if you have any questions on how to inject HGH, what should be your dosage, etc.
You can speed up your results from GH by increasing the dosage but you will be much more likely to experience side effects. Adverse reactions are also stronger with higher doses. Therefore never change your dosage before consulting with your doctor.
For best results, you can combine your HGH therapy with lifestyle changes if needed. Improving your diet, adding exercise to your routine, and losing weight if you are overweight or obese can significantly reduce your risks of side effects.
For example, HGH therapy leads to transitory water retention by increasing sodium retention and insulin levels in your body. Thus, reducing your intake of simple sugars and foods with added salt may help ease these effects.
Instead, you should focus on consuming foods rich in potassium and magnesium such as leafy vegetables, legumes, and fresh fruits like avocados and bananas.
Furthermore, losing weight (if overweight) and exercising regularly can help your body maintain higher insulin sensitivity. This will reduce the risk of developing insulin resistance during your treatment and improve your overall health.
Purchase FDA-approved injections. Buying FDA-approved brands of HGH is the only way to guarantee that you are injecting yourself with a safe and genuine product. They are available from licensed US pharmacies that require a medical prescription.
Start with a lower dose. It is best to start your treatment with a lower dose in order to minimize the risk of side effects. The standard recommended starting dose is 0.2 mg (0.6 IU) per day.
Increase your dose slowly and gradually. Your dose can be increased by 0.1 – 0.2 mg (0.3 – 0.6 IU) every 4-8 weeks until you reach an optimal therapeutic effect. Monitor yourself for any side effects such as water retention and notify your doctor immediately.
Inject HGH subcutaneously. Usually, subcutaneous administration is the preferred method. It leads to more physiological changes in GH levels in the blood compared to other forms of injections.
Inject medication before bed. Taking HGH right before sleep will mimic the physiological rhythm of natural GH synthesis.
Inject HGH in the area of your abdomen. The abdominal area is usually the most painless and convenient region for injection. Besides, it may lead to a higher release of GH compared to other injection sites.
Rotate your injections sites. Make sure to rotate your injection sites in order to prevent lipoatrophy. That is a localized loss of fat which results in a dent in the skin due to repeated subcutaneous injections in the same spot.
Store your HGH properly. Most injections must be stored in a refrigerator and remain viable for up to 4 weeks after first use. For more detailed information you should check our guide on how to inject HGH.
Is there a difference in results between brands?
There are several FDA-approved brands of growth hormone injections in the US. The ones with the largest market share include Norditropin, Genotropin, Saizen, and Humatrope.
All of these brands contain a recombinant form of HGH, called somatropin, which has an identical 191-amino acid structure to the natural growth hormone.
Therefore, they have equal effectiveness when it comes to treating the symptoms of GHD. The expected timeline of the benefits is also similar and depends on the dosage.
Yet, some brands of HGH injections may be more convenient for use than others. For example, Norditropin and Genotropin are available only as auto-injector pens which means they do not require a standard needle and syringe for subcutaneous injection.
Furthermore, Norditropin FlexPro Pen comes prefilled and preloaded to make it simple and easy to use, but it can’t be refilled.
The pen uses thinner and shorter needles, which are hidden from eyesight by a shield. This makes them more suitable for patients who are afraid of needles and injections.
On the other hand, Saizen and Humatrope are available in vials that require reconstitution before use. Once reconstituted into a liquid, the medication must be injected using a regular needle and syringe.
This form is more affordable but also more complicated to use. Furthermore, a larger percentage of medication goes to waste during the injection process. Saizen and Humatrope offer auto-injector devices as well.
Results from other forms
Apart from medically approved HGH, you may also stumble upon products labeled as natural forms of therapy to increase your growth hormone levels.
Most common examples include over-the-counter (OTC) HGH boosters, herbal supplements, gels, etc.
Yet, none of these options contains HGH, which is why they are available OTC. Even if they did, they would be ineffective. That’s because GH can’t get effectively absorbed through the skin and it gets destroyed in the digestive system.
Instead, the majority of these products, such as SeroVital contain combinations of amino acids and/or herbs that are supposed to stimulate the natural production of HGH by the pituitary gland in your brain.
Natural stimulation is ineffective for patients with GHD since the cause of the condition itself is the inability of the gland to produce HGH regardless of stimuli.
Trials in healthy individuals report that supplementation with amino acids is also largely ineffective in boosting natural GH production. Even if some studies report an increase in growth hormone, the effect is extremely short-lived.
A much more effective set of methods to boost the natural HGH synthesis in healthy individuals is a lifestyle change.
Research is conclusive that losing body fat, regular high-intensity exercise, and quality sleep are the best methods to naturally improve your growth hormone levels.
Certain medications may also increase your natural HGH synthesis. For example, another hormonal therapy – testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is shown by studies to increase both peaks and mean growth hormone levels.
Furthermore, research reveals that a combination of TRT and HGH therapy leads to higher muscle-building and fat-burning effects compared to either therapy alone.