HGH Injections: What You Need to Know
For people who have abnormally short stature, or who suffer from other conditions related to growth, HGH injections can seem like a potential miracle cure. HGH injections promise to help increase our height, improve our general health, and may even make us look and feel younger. But before beginning this course of treatment, it is important to consider a few questions: How are the injections made? What effects do they have on the user? What are some of the most popular and efficient brands? Also, what are HGH releaser injections and how do they compare to other types of injections? This crucial information can help us make a more informed choice about HGH treatments.
What are HGH injections?
HGH stands for human growth hormone. The hormone is generated in the pituitary gland of the brain, and it plays an important part in our growth. As children, our brains produce high levels of HGH, which help us grow to adult stature. After puberty, the brain continues to release HGH, but at a much lower level. One source claims that our HGH levels drop by 300 units per day, or even more, between the ages of twenty and sixty. Despite being produced in lower amounts, HGH continues to play an important role later in our lives in helping our cells, organs and tissues maintain themselves and function smoothly.
The first HGH injections occurred more than fifty years ago. Doctors removed the hormone from the pituitary glands of deceased humans, purified it, and injected it into living individuals. At this early time the treatment was highly limited, both because very few physicians knew how to provide it, and because the amount of HGH that could be extracted from cadavers was small. According to one source, over the span of almost twenty-five years only about 35,000 individuals were given HGH injections worldwide, fewer than 8,000 of them from the United States. In addition, scientists realized that injections of the hormone taken from cadavers had the potential to make patients more vulnerable to a disorder called Creutzfeld-Jacob disease, which, like mad cow disease, results in deterioration of the brain and is fatal. For example, out of the 7,700 patients from the United States who received HGH injections before 1985, twenty-six were diagnosed with Creutzfeld-Jacob in the years before 2003.
In the early 1980s, two companies, Kabi from Sweden and Genentech from the US, succeeded in combating the danger of the disorder with the development of rHGH, or recombinant human growth hormone. This is a synthetic form of HGH. It is created by using restriction enzymes to separate certain DNA sequences from their molecules. The DNA sequences are then combined in forms that would not naturally occur, and host DNA sequences are connected with DNA from foreign molecules, which allows the host sequences to replicate themselves. The host can then replicate both sequences at the same time. In order to create the type of rHGH that is used in HGH injections, scientists implant DNA from humans into bacteria, which creates a protein that is repeatedly replicated. This type of rHGH is suitable for humans, and may also be reproduced easily and rapidly. Because rHGH is synthetic rather than removed from cadavers, none of the patients who have received it through injections have since been diagnosed with Creutzfeld-Jacob.
Another type of injection contains human growth hormone releasing factor (HGHRF), which is also synthetic. It is made up of forty-four of the amino acids which the hypothalamus generates, and cycles through the brain, stimulating the pituitary gland to produce higher levels of HGH. It also helps the patient achieve more slow-wave sleep. This is a deeper level of the sleep cycle during which the pituitary releases the greatest amount of growth hormone to the body. Unlike rHGH, HGHRF does not insert artificial HGH into the human body. Instead, products such as Egrifta use synthetic growth factor in order to stimulate the brain to produce a larger amount of natural growth hormone.
What ingredients can be found in rHGH and HGHRF?
The first brand of rHGH was Protropin, which Genentech developed in 1985. It was not withdrawn from the market until 2004, almost twenty years later. It was available through injections in the form of powder, and was created through tying e-coli bacteria to DNA from humans. Protropin contained somatrem, which had 192 amino acids. These included methionine, an acid that provided methyl and sulfur in order to help the function of the metabolism as well as working to construct proteins in the body. The other 191 amino acids are also in somatropin, which is still a common rHGH type. Protropin was purified with benzyl alcohol and Bacteriostatic Water. In order to adjust the hormone’s pH, it was sometimes necessary to use phosphoric acid.
Somatropin is a form of rHGH that is still available on the market in products such as Omnitrope, Genotropin, Accretropin, Norditropin, Tev-Tropin, Saizen and Humatrope. Although Accretropin and Omnitrope are available in liquid form, most of the Somatropin products may only be purchased as subcutaneous powder-based injections. Somatropine has 191 amino acids, along with ingredients like the preservative Phenol, sodium dihydrogen phosphate dihydrate, phosphoric acid, glycerin, disodium phosphate anhydrous, sucrose, glycine, sodium dihydrogen phosphate anhydrous, dibasic sodium phosphate, and disodium hydrogen phosphate heptahydrate. It also contains elements that Protropin also had, such as benzyl alcohol, Bacteriostatic Water, sodium chloride and mannitol.
Previous HGHRF products contained Sermorelin, which is another artificial type of growth hormone releasing factor (GHRF) that contains fewer of the amino acids found in the natural factor. It only has twenty-nine rather than forty-four, which one source says is the shortest functional fragment of the factor. Scientists still use Sermorelin to test the levels of HGH that are released in patients. On the other hand, Egrifta uses mannitol and tesamorelin, which is an acetate salt with the same sequence and number of amino acids to natural GHRF, along with monobasic and dibasic sodium phosphate and sodium chloride, according to various sources. Tesamorelin may be injected in powder form to stimulate the release of HGH in patients.
Who should take HGH injections?
Individuals with growth hormone deficiency are the most common patients to receive HGH injections. Children with such a deficiency also may suffer from genetic disorders like Noonan, Turner or Prader-Willi Syndromes, short stature homeobox-containing gene deficiency, idiopathic short stature, chronic kidney disease, or smallness for gestational age in infancy. For adults, it is more common for growth hormone deficiency to be a result of brain tumors or radiation treatments directed towards the brain in order to reduce such tumors. Some adults suffer from genetic disorders and deficiencies that they were diagnosed with in childhood. Those individuals who experience wasting because of HIV/AIDS may also receive rHGH or HGHRF injections.
For children, growth hormone deficiency can suffer from symptoms such as sparse hair and frontal recession, delay of puberty, maxillary hypoplasia – where the jaw is over-developed – and weight gain, and lower amounts of growth. In adults, HGH deficiency can result in problems like higher cholesterol, baldness in men, lack of energy and sex drive, more body fat, loss of memory, and even serious disorders such as cardiac dysfunction.
The lowered levels of HGH that come with age may also create problems in individuals. Since a New England Journal of Medicine study was published in 1990, new evidence has continued to emerge that the decline in growth hormone helps create and worsen some of what are considered the most common problems of aging. Now some scientists believe that increasing the levels of HGH released by the body through HGHRF or rHGH injections can lessen or even prevent those concerns.
What are the effects of HGHRF and rHGH injections?
The rHGH and HGHRF injections may only be obtained legally with a prescription from a doctor, and the United States FDA prosecutes persons who take them illegally. The annual cost of these prescriptions can be up to US$30,000, according to one source. Also, the majority of adults who suffer from growth hormone deficiency do not receive regular treatment. Some individuals do not wish to take constant injections. Others, according to another source, may not even receive prescriptions. A number of endocrinologists still do not consider that rHGH treatment provides sufficient benefits to be prescribed, except in cases that are extremely severe. Doctors will prescribe rHGH treatment for most children with HGH deficiency, but they are required to receive daily injections until they stop growing. In the most extreme cases, patients might have to continue injections for the remainder of their lives.
Sources list a number of side effects that patients taking rHGH injections may experience. Although there is no conclusive evidence about their effect on pregnant and nursing women, it has been reported that regular patients may suffer from common effects like bleeding gums, nosebleeds, dark or red stools and urine, discoloration of the skin, joint pain, difficulty with mobility, tingling or swelling in the face or limbs, abnormal weight gain, dizziness, and coughing up blood. Rarer effects might include fever, pain in the joints and bones, fractures, skin lesions and tumors, jaundice, weakness, fatigue, confusion, seizures, breast swelling in females and males, loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, chills, headache, more frequent urination, hunger and thirst, constipation, rapid pulse, dry mouth, exacerbated spine curvature, personality changes, damaged vision, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, indigestion, and pain in the abdomen. More severe effects may include retention of fluids, cranial pressure, and pancreatitis.
There are also concerns connected with HGHRF treatments. One source says that any products which contain the ingredient tesamorelin should not be prescribed to pregnant women because of the danger of fetal birth defects. Also, it is important for individuals who are allergic to the ingredients of products like Egrifta, or who suffer from liver or kidney disease, edema, problems with respiration, cranial pressure, cancer, retinopathy, diabetes, recent surgery or trauma, or carpal tunnel syndrome to speak with a doctor before HGHRF treatment begins. Common side effects include discoloration of the skin, limb, muscle and joint pain, coldness, trouble with mobility, blistering, bleeding, elevated levels of blood sugar, shortness of breath, retention of fluids, hives, rash, swelling of limbs, face, or lips, itchy skin, and inflammation, soreness, or infection at the site of the injection. There may also be more severe side effects, including sweating, loss of concentration, nervousness, dizziness or unsteadiness, swelling of the joints, headaches, loss of appetite and nausea, belching, vomiting, heartburn and pain of the chest and upper abdomen, blurred vision, muscle weakness, strain, or spasms, fatigue and insomnia, pounding of the ears, tingling or numbness, irregular or rapid pulse, loss of interest or pleasure and depression and discouragement.
Before beginning either HGHGF or rHGH treatment, consult with your doctor. Bear in mind that these injections are not meant to be a miracle cure for age or poor physical health. However, they might have a wonderful effect for those individuals with grave HGH deficiencies. On the other hand, if you are looking for a way to feel younger and lose some weight, consider an HGH releaser.