When talking about Human Growth Hormone (hGH) and Insulin like Growth Factor (IGF), these terms are incorrectly used interchangeably. IGF is thought of the major actor in tissues and it is secreted in response to hGH. Even this description is a significant simplification of the process, as hGH binds to cells/tissues and exerts its own unique effects. It would be remiss not to mention that there are multiple isoforms of hGH as well as IGF, but we’ll save those details for another post.
It is well established that increased HGH/IGF levels have significant effects on major body tissues including muscle, fat and bone. We know even less the effects HGH and IGF exert on various metabolic systems. Well-designed studies have illustrated increases in basal metabolic rate and body composition changes exerted by increased HGH/IGF levels. These changes include Increased Lean Mass, Decreased Fat Mass, and Increased Extracellular water.
What Research Has Proven
Subjects given hGH have significant lean tissue increases as well as increased lean mass. Effects occur in both men and women but more pronounced in men.
Human administration of GH leads to increased FFA and glycerol concentrations indicative of increased lipolysis. Results in significant fat loss are noted, again more pronounced in men. So you have fat loss and increased lean mass, not hard to imagine why many are eager to get their hands on hGH even for aesthetic reasons alone.
What does this mean in terms of strength and athletic ability? Research in this area tends to be inconclusive. Gains have certainly been recorded during the supplementation phases in categories such as strength, increase in sprint capacity, and anaerobic thresholds. However, most studies that have measured these qualities have also shown a decrease to baseline abilities 4-8 weeks after supplementation is ceased.
There is also anecdotal evidence that there are significant quality of life changes in areas of “Increased energy”, “performance enhancement” and “mood”. There is limited research into the effects of hGH on skin, but it appears that there is an enhancement of skin vitality and an increase in skin thickness.
Why Research Models Do Not Replicate Real Life
Often in the medical community, we may (knowingly or not) marginalize the translational loss from research to real life. In many instances, research findings do not properly represent real life results due to study design limitations, whether scientific or ethical in nature.
Most of the research done with hGH has used doses which are most likely smaller than doses used in real life by athletes or others. Dosage is a major factor when it comes to hormones exerting their effects on the body. Often athletes who use (or abuse) hGH are also using Testosterone or other anabolic agents at the same time. It is believed “in the field” (i.e. among those elite athletes or bodybuilders who are in the know) that when hGH is used in conjunction with anabolics it can produce a synergistic effect, possibly from the added effect that hGH may have in muscle repair and recovery.
coming next PART III: Maximizing Your Growth Hormone & IGF-1 Production naturally.
First do no harm…so I tell many of my patients their goal is to get off their PHARMACEUTICAL MEDICATIONS. And to get to that goal you better EXERCISE and EAT RIGHT and PRAY.
It really is that simple. You will be realizing your best self with the potential to do the good you were Created to do.
Inadequate hydration is the most likely factor preventing anyone from performing their best during competition, fortunately it can be readily addressed. Adequate hydration is crucial to the body’s natural processes. Water loss as little as 2% of your body weight can start to increase your core body temperature and increase the possibility of heat related illnesses including heat stroke. It is paramount to ensure that you are adequately hydrated during extended exertion and competitive events. Here is a guideline to ensure dehydration doesn’t happen to you.
Drinking fluids before, during and after exercise.
It is a good idea to ensure you are well-hydrated starting days before your competition. It will ensure your body has had ample opportunity to rebuild and recover from previous workouts and be optimally able to handle coming competitions. During exercise, it’s a good rule of thumb to drink at least the same amount you’ve lost mostly during sweat, but also through urine and breathing.
The general rule has been to drink at least 8 x (8 oz) glasses per day, which is just shy of 2 Liters and men should take up to 12 glasses per day. However, if you are exercising or competing, your fluid requirements will be even higher. In addition to your base needs, drink at least 16 oz of fluids for every pound of weight lost during exercise. It’s a good idea to weigh yourself before and after competition to get an idea of how much water your body has lost. Remember, if you will be competing for longer than 1 hour, taking in carbohydrates in your fluids, such as with sports drinks, will help you perform optimally.
Warnings sings that you may be dehydrated.
Any symptoms of hotheadedness, headache, unable to catch your breath, weakness or fatigue may be signs of dehydration. Thirst may be a late sign of dehydration and means you have already lost a significant amount of water. Other serious symptoms include visual changes, confusion or muscle spasms. Drink fluids immediately and seek appropriate medical attention. During a competition it is not appropriate to push through any of these symptoms, as your chances of falling ill are significantly increased.
Know your fitness level.
It is also important to note that if you are not an acclimated athlete there is an increased risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as the body is not conditioned to tightly regulate itself during extended exertional states. If you are not a currently conditioned athlete, you should be more cautious to the possibilty of suffering from dehydration or other exertional or heat illnesses. The disproportionate number of those who fall ill during mass events are recreational competitors or those who have not trained appropriately. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you think you may need it.