Growth Hormone (GH) is the darling child of the anti-ageing fraternity and athletes alike. It apparently boosts every aspect of your health, mood, immunity, libido, restores youthfulness, shreds off fat and builds muscle all whilst being side-effect free, quasi-legal and undetectable by anti-doping agencies!
But stories of the real world benefits of GH range from “life-changing” to “worthless”. And at a cost starting at almost $1000 per month, thats an expensive question to answer. So, let me tell you what I know from my personal experience and what I have measured from Biologic Labs patients using medical GH therapy prescribed by our in-house doctor.
At Biologic Labs we’ve now collected data on the body composition changes of a number of our clients – including myself, personally – using legally prescribed, normal physiological doses of GH (Scitropin 2-6iu/day). We also have close relationships with these people so we can comment on the less tangible sides of their experience.
It should also be mentioned that the following discussion pertains to hard training and strictly dieting individuals with normal physiological levels of other hormones. Nobody we have measured had the supra-physiological levels of testosterone, insulin, thyroid and others that have spawned so many GH myths.
In all subjects taking a daily dose of 2+iu (4+ days per week) we measured significant bodyfat losses over the first 3-4 weeks of administration. Subjects using less than 2iu per day failed to show any response.
The range of loss in the first 4 weeks has been 9-17% of total bodyfat, with concurrent lean mass increases (more about below). This is not impressive compared to what we would expect our new clients to achieve. But in the experienced clients on the GH Experiment – all of whom turned to GH due to abnormal difficulty losing fat – it is quite impressive.
I personally lost 16.7% of my bodyfat in the first 3 weeks (8.8% down to 7.3%) before suffering a minor training injury and taking a break from the GH. Of interest, in the following 4 weeks without GH I continued to lose bodyfat down to 6.9% while gaining muscle (still strictly on my diet and training hard, of course).
Several of our GH clients achieved all-time best low-bodyfat levels within 3 months of GH administration. All but one had stalled out at the 3 month mark though and would not respond further. In all subjects, there was a DRAMATIC slow down in fat loss after the first 4 weeks. Really, the fat loss in the first 4 weeks of all users was too dramatic to not give credit to the GH. But after 4 weeks the fat loss had slowed so much as to be debatable whether the GH was helping at all. Subjects who discontinued the GH still lost comparable fat to those who remained on.
Of interest, by the 4 month mark a few of our long-term GH using clients had actually regained some of their lost bodyfat while still using the GH. The reason for fat gains on GH were easily explainable: eating improperly! But it proved that GH doesn’t make you impervious to fat gain. In fact, one client (who was not following our diet or training programs at the time) gained a very significant amount of fat during his entire GH use, including the first 4 weeks! He was given the advice that everything he ate would turn to muscle on GH. The advice was wrong!
The most interesting observation with our GH Experiments was that the fat loss was disproportionately high in the abdominal region. Where the 4-week range of total fat loss was 9-16%, the abdominal skinfold reduction was 16-44%! The photos below illustrate the change in abdominal bodyfat I personally experienced in just 3 weeks!
Biologic Labs clients all typcially gain muscle while losing fat. At worst they retain what muscle they have while losing fat. With GH there was no dramatic leap in performance or muscle growth above what might be expected.
That said, all clients using GH trained consistently at sustained peaks. We all consistently found our limit weights to be uncharacteristically ‘manageable’. Heavy weights were still heavy; but not overwhelmingly ‘crushing’ as they sometimes can feel. Put simply, every workout on GH was a great workout for all using it. And this consistency led to some very satisfying gains into all new territory, which can be tough for experienced trainers.
Unsurprisingly, the male clients who used prescribed testosterone therapy with their GH (ie testosterone boosted to the mid-upper end of the normal range; but not above normal) performed significantly better in muscle growth than other subjects. Our most extraordinary client experienced a 7.6kg lean mass gain in the first 4 weeks! I personally gained 4.2kg of lean mass in my first 4 weeks. In fairness, at least half of these gains were simply water weight gains. But considering the sizeable concurrent fat loss, they were extraordinarily good gains.
However the muscle gain in all subjects – myself included – was entirely attributable to the Testosterone. If anything, our GH Experiments have only proven that therapeutic Testosterone is MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more noticeably effective than GH for improving body composition! And at about 1/10th to 1/20th the price, its ludicrously cost effective!
GH is purported to alleviate and repair sore joints. We found no evidence of this in our clients. I was personally suffering a host of injury problems at the time of my use and found no difference with the GH. One client using the combination of Testosterone and GH found his pre-existing back pains all but completely alleviated during his Testosterone therapy. Yet the problems returned completely upon completion of the Testosterone course, despite continuing with the GH.
No subjects experienced mood elevation, mental clarity, skin rejuvenation or the other purported “youthful-ising” effects of GH. The mood elevation myth has become a running joke among GH users at Biologic Labs. When you are spending $1000/mth on a drug to help fat loss and mood elevation, you WANT to believe you are getting something for your money. Most of our clients are extremely happy when training is going well and fat is coming off. Most of us were fooled into thinking that happiness was a positive psychological effect of the GH. All it took was one bad day at work to realise there was no GH euphoria!
My diary of my personal GH Experiment shows my mood ups-and-downs tracked my sleeping, as always. When I got to bed on time I was happy and healthy. When I was swamped with work, stressed, got to bed late and slept badly, I was unhappy and got unhealthy. I even suffered a coldsore – something I only get when I get extremely run down – shortly after starting the GH! Proof to me that GH really does NOT make you bulletproof!
GH is reported to cause massive water retention to the point of aching. Your hands are supposed to get so painful that it is almost unbearable. However, none of this was reported in any of our clients; at least, not with therapeutic doses up to 6iu/day. It is possible that this is an issue of the combination of supra-physiological testosterone and/or insulin also used by some athletes.
All GH users seem to gain 1-2kg (of intra and extra-cellular water) which takes about 1-2 weeks to dissipate after discontinuing therapy. For bodybuilding competition the water retention is significant enough that you would need to discontinue therapy to ‘dry out’. But for everyone else, it is not visually significant when balanced against the fat loss.
No users suffered any side effects whatsoever from either the GH or Testosterone Therapies. In fact, several users experienced an improvement in their major health markers according to their mid and post cycle blood tests. Testosterone users continued to report significant improvements in libido and sexual performance!
GH results: post administration retentino
All benefits gained on GH were maintained upon discontinuance. Strength performance was 100% retained and fat either continued to come off with continued diet or had already come back while using the GH with poor dietary habits. Really, other than the fat lost in the initial 4 weeks of GH administration, there were very little gains or losses to be maintained post-therapy anyway!
Personally, the first 3 weeks of GH therapy appeared to ‘fix’ something that had broken in me during some health issues I’d suffered 2 years earlier. Prior to the GH, fat had uncharacteristically accumulated around my midsection and would not come off using proven strategies. Similarly my strength would not return to previous levels without gaining even more fat. Yet after just 3 weeks of GH all of those problems disappeared and have not returned! My strength is holding at its greatest ever level and the fat has not returned to my midsection 12 months after discontinuation!
GH, in therapeutic doses, is definitely not all its cracked up to be! You don’t see fat melt away; at least, not unless you are dieting strictly. You certainly don’t see muscle pile on; though you do seem to be ‘in the zone’ for training more consistently than normal. You do not see your skin rejuvenate and your perception of life does not suddenly take on an ethereal beauty.
What tangible benefits that do happen on GH seem to happen in the first 4 weeks. A totally non-sensical myth exists that you need to use GH for 6 months to notice a benefit. From what I have seen and measured, it takes only 3 months for therapeutic GH to STOP delivering any discernible benefit at all; except to rapidly empty your bank account! I have no idea where the ridiculous 6-month time-frame came from nor do I understand what its supposed to mean!? 6 months is an extremely long time to create a massive change in your physique without pharmaceutical help! Don’t believe the hype about GH!
BUT it seems as though the benefits of GH therapy in people with low-normal levels CAN deliver benefits far in excess of the somewhat disappointing immediate, direct effects on fat, muscle, mind and skin.
For me, my first 3 weeks of GH therapy was the best $700 I ever spent! I can only describe it as having seemingly ‘reset’ my entire metabolism to working properly again. And it has continued to work properly ever since. The GH certainly did not do the work for me; but it fixed my body to respond properly to my hard work and diet.
For anybody looking for the holy grail of laziness – a drug that will allow you to look great while drinking alcohol, eating whatever you feel and exercising softly – GH ain’t it. At least, not without a cocktail of other hormones at supra-physiological doses. But for anybody who has suffered through some sort of traumatic period or event and subsequently found that their body just does not function or respond like it used to, a few weeks of GH therapy might be the life-changing adjunctive therapy you’ve been looking for.