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Impact of HGH

Ernst Peibst examines how HGH, human growth hormone, affects athletes.

HGH, or human growth hormone, is an anabolic hormone naturally occurring in the body - similar to testosterone. When HGH levels are high, it increases the rate of protein synthesis and heightens muscle-building potential. Growth hormone also has fat-burning effects, helping athletes become more chiselled and defined. Some people buy HGH supplements (which are 100% natural), to help maximize their hormone production, whilst others turn to exogenous HGH injections (unnatural), to gain an edge on their competition.

Taking natural human growth hormone supplements has a similar effect to taking natural testosterone boosters. They contain ingredients scientifically proven to boost HGH, but their influence is only modest - and thus their impact on body composition and performance is minimal.

This is why some athletes inject exogenous HGH, which has a much greater impact. High profile athletes who have been found taking HGH include:

  • Dwain Chambers
  • Nigel Levine
  • Inna Eftimova
  • Antonio Pettigrew

Celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson and Sylvester Stallone have also been rumoured to be taking growth hormone, due to its muscle-building and collagen-stimulating attributes (anti-ageing).

In 2007, Sly Stallone pleaded guilty when he was caught trying to smuggle HGH into Australia. His lawyer admitted that he had been taking HGH regularly for six years. Sly was consequently fined $18,000 and avoided prison, due to admitting this as an honest mistake and ignorance to the Ozzie laws.

Sprinters on HGH

One sport which is notorious for athletes taking growth hormone is the 100 meters sprint. Research has shown that taking HGH for eight weeks, resulted in athletes knocking 0.4 of a second off their times on average.

This may not sound like a lot, but if we take the 2008 Beijing Olympics as an example - Usain Bolt won 1st place running in 9.69 seconds, whilst Darvis Patton placed last, clocking in at 10.03 seconds.

Thus, for some athletes, research shows that taking HGH could truly be the difference between placing first or last.

So, we know that HGH is beneficial for sprinters. But what about other sports?

In theory, any sport where muscular size/strength is advantageous, HGH could be beneficial. Rugby, Bodybuilding, American Football and Baseball are just some examples.

HGH Side Effects

HGH is capable of causing some nasty side effects in users, which is why it is illegal without a medical prescription. Such adverse effects are:

  • Water retention
  • Joint pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Enlarged organs

Fluid retention is common on growth hormone, with some users becoming bloated and their muscles appearing smooth and puffy-looking. Thus if an athlete is competing in a sport where it is beneficial for them to be as light as possible (i.e. gymnastics) - such extra water weight could negatively impact performance.

Joint pain is another complaint among HGH-users, which happens due to water collecting around the joints, which pushes your tissues against the nerves. This sensation usually diminishes once a user cycles off HGH, as the body will flush out excess water.

Research has shown that growth hormone can increase LDL cholesterol levels, which can indirectly spike blood pressure. This is bad news for athletes, especially endurance ones, as high BP decreases blood flow throughout the body.

Diabetes is also a worry for some receiving HGH injections, as it increases insulin sensitivity, spiking blood glucose levels.

HGH is also capable of increasing the size of your organs, including your intestines. Consequently, long term use can result in a pregnant-like, protruding stomach in some individuals. This is not a pretty sight in professional athletes who are supposed to look fit and healthy but instead can resemble a 3-month pregnant woman. The presence of insulin alongside HGH may exacerbate this negative visual side effect.

Should Athletes Buy HGH?

If you want to buy HGH supplements which are 100% natural and FDA-approved, there is nothing wrong with that - no sporting regulations prohibit such supplements, and these are perfectly safe to take. However, taking exogenous HGH is illegal (without a medical need to take it) and can cause some disturbing side effects, especially if utilizing high doses.

Also, growth hormone is very expensive and does not generally have a massive impact on sporting performance (in comparison to Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids {AAS}), except in sprinters. Thus, I urge athletes to refrain from using such drugs as they can cause pain and heartache later on down the road - gold medal or not.

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • PEIBST, E. (2019) Impact of HGH [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Ernst Peibst is an ex-football player, playing for Salisbury City and Bath City. He is a big fan of weight training and has experimented with many different health diets.