Growth hormone targets many tissues in the body, exerting effects on bones, organs, skin, hair, brain functions, heart health, immunity, and skeletal muscle. In this report, we examine the use of HGH therapy for muscle mass and look at how growth hormone influences muscle growth. Growth hormone and its mediator insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) directly target skeletal muscle in their actions.
When it comes to using supplemental HGH, muscle growth is a subject of discussion due to the misuse and abuse by athletes. Make no mistake, HGH use is illegal in sports and bodybuilding. That does not mean it cannot be beneficial. One of the problems that many athletes face is muscle atrophy following an injury. For that reason, Dallas Maverick’s owner Mark Cuban funded a study to look at whether the use of HGH therapy for muscle mass preservation following an ACL injury could be beneficial. Although the study time has passed, the results have not yet been made public. Here at RX Hormone, we will bring you those results as soon as they are released.
What about in normal, healthy individuals? Will HGH therapy have an impact on muscle mass growth and strength?
In this review, we will answer the following questions:
- How does HGH influence muscle protein synthesis?
- What are the effects of HGH therapy on skeletal muscles in aging adults?
- Is there a benefit of HGH for building muscle and increasing strength in healthy young adults?
- Does HGH benefit sports and athletes?
The use of HGH therapy for muscle mass improvement may have some benefits for certain individuals.
Human Growth Hormone and Muscle Protein Synthesis
Skeletal muscle is continually adapting to the functional demands of the physical activities of the body. Muscle atrophy can occur when muscles are not continuously used, such as when a person does not engage in regular exercise. As we begin our review of HGH and muscle growth, we start with the fact that HGH and IGF-1 stimulate the process known as cell regeneration. Every part of the body that requires daily new cells can benefit from the maintenance of normal growth hormone levels. Since HGH stimulates the liver to produce IGF-1, when growth hormone levels are low, IGF-1 production will also decline.
Muscle protein synthesis is an essential function of HGH and IGF-1. Growth hormone deficiency often leads to increased protein loss, and protein is crucial for building muscle mass. Muscle is necessary as it protects the body from injury, and aids in fat and glucose metabolism, breathing, locomotion, and thermogenesis.
How does HGH influence muscle protein synthesis?
Protein turnover is the ongoing breakdown and synthesis of proteins. Amino acids released during protein breakdown either face reuse during protein synthesis or loss by oxidation.
Growth hormone has a direct impact on the muscles because it stimulates protein anabolism in the body’s tissues. With IGF-1 acting as an indirect mediator of HGH effects, the connection between HGH and muscle mass becomes clear as these hormones decrease the oxidation of proteins while increasing protein synthesis in the muscles. While HGH stimulates the differentiation of cartilage cells (chondrocytes), IGF-1 supports the differentiation and proliferation of precursor muscle cells (myoblasts). IGF-1 also stimulates the uptake of amino acids and muscle protein synthesis.
Increased HGH levels decrease protein oxidation which increases lean body mass. Since growth hormone stimulates lipolysis and metabolism, it helps to reduce body fat mass.
A benefit of HGH therapy for muscle mass is that growth hormone stimulates collagen synthesis in both tendons and skeletal muscles which helps improve overall physical capacity. HGH helps to increase muscle cell number, and since it enhances energy levels and exercise capacity, it paves the way for exercise to increase the size of the muscle cells.
HGH therapy directly and indirectly (via IGF-1 signaling) influences muscle protein synthesis.
Effects of HGH Therapy on Skeletal Muscle in Aging Adults
It is a well-known fact that muscles lose some of their lean mass and tone with age. Even people who exercise regularly find that their workouts do not provide the same results as they get older. It becomes necessary to lift heavier weights to produce the same effects that lesser weights did years earlier. That is why we look at HGH results for muscles in aging adults.
The cells of skeletal muscle do not last forever – they have only a 10 to 16-year average lifespan. These striated muscle cells do not divide. Instead, other stem or satellite cells are necessary for replacement or repair of an injury. Weight-bearing exercise injures the muscle, causing a tear in the tissue. The use of HGH therapy for muscle mass in aging adults helps to provide enough new stem and satellite cells to repair the injured muscle, resulting in muscle growth and improved strength. Without enough HGH and new cells, the muscles become weak, losing their mass and strength.
In addition to the HGH lean muscle mass improvement, human growth hormone therapy also helps to increase the growth of connective tissue around the muscles.
When we look at skeletal muscle, we find that it anchors to the bones by tendons. These tendons receive an increase in matrix collagen synthesis from HGH therapy. In one study, 14 days of recombinant HGH therapy increased collagen synthesis up to 6-fold. Collagen synthesis improved in both tendons and muscles, helping to strengthen the structural integrity of the body. However, the same study did not find any benefits for myofibrillar protein synthesis – a contradiction to many other studies.
In one study of healthy men between the ages of 50 and 70, HGH therapy did not change bench press muscle strength, but it did results in significant increases in leg press responsive muscles. While this particular study did not show changes in lean vs. fat body mass, other studies have found the reverse to be true.
HGH therapy has been found to be beneficial for improving lower body muscle strength in older adults.
Can HGH Therapy Help Build Muscles and Increase Strength in Young Adults?
Growth hormone production starts to decline by the time most people reach their mid-twenties. It is a slow process, which is why its changes are typically unnoticeable for many years or decades. Because young adults continue to produce enough daily HGH, building muscle mass from supplemental use is not likely.
One crucial aspect of growth hormone to understand is that its functions are based on how much is in the body. The receptor cells can take in only so much growth hormone each day. Once they reach their saturation point, additional HGH will not provide further benefits. Instead, many people who have elevated HGH levels may suffer from unpleasant side effects.
In many HGH muscle growth study reports, we find very little improvement in lean muscle mass and strength in young adults. However, there is one area of change that may be significant – speed. Although overall considered insignificant, the slight increase in speed could have an impact on athletic competition.
When using HGH therapy for muscle mass gains in healthy, young adults, there have not been any positive benefits reported in studies.
Does HGH Therapy Benefits Sports and Athletes?
We are often asked does HGH help muscle growth that can benefit athletes or bodybuilders. The answer is no, supplemental use of human growth hormone therapy will not provide those results. As we just mentioned at the end of the previous section, there is potential for a slight increase in speed. However, HGH use is banned in all major sports, Olympics, and bodybuilding competitions.
Why do some people use HGH therapy for muscle mass building in sports if it is illegal?
There is a belief that they will receive benefits – often anecdotal due to the use of HGH in conjunction with anabolic steroids. Since HGH and testosterone enhance each other’s effects in the body, it is thought that using these two treatments together (illegally), will produce improved results.
However, it is testosterone that promotes the anabolic muscle mass increase and not HGH. Under no circumstances do we, at RX Hormone, recommend the use of HGH therapy for anything but the treatment of growth hormone deficiency.
For answers to any other questions about the best HGH for muscle mass improvement, please contact our hormone clinic for a free consultation.