Cost is not the only factor that should be considered if you are thinking of taking human growth hormone (HGH) injections. This HealthHearty article describes what is HGH, what are its functions, when HGH injections are recommended, and how much do they cost.
HGH is a very powerful but complex hormone, and many of its health benefits are yet to be confirmed. HGH shots should be taken only under the guidance of a physician as the treatment needs regular monitoring. It should be taken only for FDA-approved uses. The efficacy and safety of HGH for slowing down the aging process has not been proved in clinical trials. It can result in serious side effects like cancer.
Nowadays, everyone has become more and more obsessed with their looks. Rather than eating healthy and working towards improving the lifestyle and diet that one follows, people are, instead, resorting to quick-fix methods of getting that beautiful body and fabulous skin. This is the reason why every now and then when we read the newspaper, we see advertisements of celebrities endorsing a new product, claiming it is responsible for their gorgeous looks. One such product that has caught the eye of the market is HGH.
Functions of the Hormone
► Human growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland located in the brain.
- As an anabolic hormone, it promotes constructive metabolism and stimulates cell reproduction.
- It helps in bringing about normal growth of muscle, cartilage, and bones.
- It plays an important role in maintenance of tissues and organs, so it is referred to as a powerful hormone.
- As it promotes childhood growth, it is produced in high amounts during that particular period.
- From the middle age onwards, the production of the hormone slows down.
► This type of reduction in the production gave rise to an idea that injecting this hormone into blood might help slow down the aging process. Researchers thought that this may help maintain the muscle and bone mass in aged people. Moreover, it was thought that this hormone could be given to young adults (for example, sportsmen and athletes) to bring about an increase in muscle mass and reduction in body fat.
► When HGH shots were used to help treat children who were deficient in this hormone, it was seen that not only did they increase in height, but the overall health, energy levels, muscle mass, and metabolism rate of the children improved significantly too. This was what spurred on research to check for the possibility of using the shots as anti-aging agents.
► The FDA has not approved the use of HGH as an anti-aging product since there are no evidences to show that it can reverse the deterioration of the body during the process of aging.
► Children: A doctor may prescribe HGH injections to children who are diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency (GHD). GH being a large peptide molecule, only an injection into subcutaneous tissue or muscle can insert it into the blood of the patient.
The deficient child may gain strength after the treatment. Significant increase in motor development and reduction in body fat can also be noticed. The treatment may vary according to the severity of the deficiency. Side effects are usually negligible.
► Adults: An adult having an “idiopathic GHD” is very uncommon. Adults may have an “acquired GHD”, GHD due to head trauma, structural problems related to hypothalamus or pituitary gland, or a surgery in these areas. In such cases, hormone replacement therapy can prove to be beneficial. The treatment can help improve the functions of various bodily systems. It may result in increased muscle mass and bone density. Similarly, it can lead to reduced amount of adipose tissue. But taking the injections for the health benefits mentioned above, that too without a doctor’s prescription, can result in serious side effects.
The cost of HGH shots can be anywhere between USD 10,000 to USD 30,000 per year. It depends upon a number of factors, which have been described as under.
► For children and adults diagnosed with GHd, the cost of the treatment can be overlooked as it ensures a better quality of life. Usually, the child has to take one injection every day, for several years when he/she is growing. Depending upon the severity of the deficiency, the child may have to take the injections throughout his/her life (even during adulthood). The doctor (pediatric endocrinologist) may increase or reduce the dose after checking the growth of the child every 3-4 months. Thus, the cost may vary according to the requirement and response of the patient. It may vary according to the rules and regulations of every country. The dose may be different for different sizes of children. In adults too, the dose and the period for which the injections are to be taken may be different in each case. Thus, it is difficult to estimate the total cost of the treatment.
► The injections may cost approximately USD 10,000 to USD 30,000 per year. The injections are available only on a doctor’s prescription, and they are prescribed only for growth disorders in children and GHD in adults.
Appropriate Use of the Hormone
► The FDA has approved its use for certain other diseases like chronic kidney dysfunction in children and HIV/AIDS or short bowel syndrome in adults (when the nutrients are not properly absorbed by the intestine due to a disease or due to surgical removal of a large part of the intestine) which results in muscle wasting.
► It has been noticed that athletes and sportsmen take HGH shots, hoping that they would help increase their strength and stamina. But this is banned by the FDA, International Olympic Committee, and National Collegiate Athletic Association.
► These days, young adults use this hormone to enhance their athletic performance. They fall prey to deceptive advertising and misleading statements on the websites (Internet pharmacies) that sell these injections at a comparatively lower price. Some doctors from anti-aging clinics prescribe these shots for the purposes that are not approved by the FDA.
► According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are no evidences to support the claims that HGH sprays or pills slow down or prevent the process of aging. The hormone should be taken by injections only. If it is consumed orally, it would be digested by the stomach and so, won’t be absorbed into the body as required.
- Tingling or burning sensation
- Elevated blood cholesterol levels
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of cancer
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (severe pain in hand and fingers)
- Edema (swelling due to fluid retention in various tissues)
► In case of illegitimate use of such drugs, you don’t know what you are injecting into your body. As HGH shots are quite expensive, there is always a possibility that the injections sold at lower costs may not contain pure HGH. Therefore, purchasing an unapproved product should always be avoided.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by a medical professional on the subject.