HGH Supplements: Scams or Do They Work?

August 9th, 2010 by Paul Johnson

As you get older your growth hormone production starts to decline. There is also some muscle building and fat loss properties in growth hormone. Many people wanting to look younger and bodybuilders wanting to gain more muscle and lose fat are looking for ways to add HGH (human growth hormone) into their supplements regimen. My first inclination on HGH supplements is they are scams because if they worked you wouldn't have people going to anti-aging clinics or or illegal black market trying to buy prescription grade HGH. I thought I would do my own research because things I find aren't always as obvious as they seem in the supplement industry.

HGH supplements cannot contain any real prescription HGH

This is against the law of the FDA if they contain real HGH. Many HGH supplement sites use deceptive marketing to suggest they either contain real HGH or some sort of analog of the real stuff tricking the layman. If they claim to contain HGH or something that is equivalent to it, they are scams because they would be prescriptions not available over the counter. Don't fall for the false advertising.

HGH is very complex protein. Its 191 different amino acids in a very functional 3D protein. If you have ever taken biology you would know that every part of the 3D structure must maintain its integrity or else it loses its functionality to attach to the receptor. There is no way that this huge protein could ever maintain its integrity at room temperature and during shipping. It is VERY HARD to manafacture real HGH and make sure it stays full integrity. That is why real prescription HGH cost thousands of dollars a month. Do you really expect HGH manafactured in a supplement for 50 bucks to be equivalent to something that costs thousands to recreate? The real prescription HGH is stored at a refrigerated temperature.

Now that we have knocked out some HGH supplements out of the way that claim to contain any amounts of actual HGH. Lets talk about some HGH supplements that claim to work through other mechanisms for boosting your growth hormone levels.

Do HGH Secretagogues work?

These HGH secretagogues GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 are peptides claimed to help boost Growth hormone naturally in the body. Bypassing the whole argument of needing real HGH to do the job. Can these claims really work? Well it actually appears they do work according to studies. Ancedotal evidence by some bodybuilders has suggested they work too.

Unfortunately, HGH secretagogues GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 are illegal in the US for regular supplements as the drug companies have put patents on it. The only way I've seen them sold is in non supplement form for "research purposes". The same way some other bodybuilding drugs are sold openly on the net. Its a legal grey area. If you see HGH secretagogues sold as regular supplements its either a scam or not the ones that are shown to work in the studies I give below.

HGH Secretagogues GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 Studies

D Wu, C Chen, J Zhang, C Y Bowers(1) and I J Clarke
Prince Henry's Institute of Medical Research, PO Box 5152, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia and (1) Department of Medicine, Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA

The effects of GH-releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6) and GHRP-2 on intracellular adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) levels and GH secretion in ovine and rat somatotrophs

The mechanism of action of GH-releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6) and GHRP-2 on GH release was investigated in ovine and rat pituitary cells in vitro. In partially purified sheep somatotrophs, GHRP-2 and GH-releasing factor (GRF) increased intracellular cyclic AMP (cAMP) concentrations and caused GH release in a dose- dependent manner; GHRP-6 did not increase cAMP levels. An additive effect of maximal doses of GRF and GHRP-2 was observed in both cAMP and GH levels whereas combined GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 at maximal doses produced an additive effect on GH release only. Pretreatment of the cells with MDL 12,330A, an adenylyl cyclase inhibitor, prevented cAMP accumulation and the subsequent release of GH that was caused by either GHRP-2 or GRF. The cAMP antagonist, Rp-cAMP also blocked GH release in response to GHRP-2 and GRF. The cAMP antagonist did not prevent the effect of GHRP-6 on GH secretion whereas MDL 12,330A partially reduced the effect. An antagonist for the GRF receptor, [Ac- Tyr(1) ,d- rg(2) ]-GRF 1-29, significantly diminished the effect of GHRP-2 and GRF on cAMP accumulation and GH release, but did not affect GH release induced by GHRP-6. Somatostatin prevented cAMP accumulation and GH release responses to GHRP-2, GRF and GHRP-6. Ca(2+) channel blockade did not affect the cAMP increase in response to GHRP-2 or GRF but totally prevented GH release in response to GHRP-2, GRF and GHRP-6. These results indicated that GHRP-2 acts on ovine pituitary somatotrophs to increase cAMP concentration in a manner similar to that of GRF; this occurs even during the blockade of Ca(2+) influx. GHRP-6 caused GH release without an increase in intracellular cAMP levels. GHrelease in response to all three secretagogues was reduced by somatostatin and was dependent upon the influx of extracellular Ca(2+) . The additive effect of GHRP-2 and GRF or GHRP-6 suggested that the three peptides may act on different receptors. In rat pituitary cell cultures, GHRP-6 had no effect on cAMP levels, but potentiated the effect of GRF on cAMP accumulation. The synergistic effect of GRF and GHRP-6 on cAMP accumulation did not occur in sheep somatotrophs. Whereas GHRP-2 caused cAMP accumulation in sheep somatotrophs, it did not do so in rat pituitary cells. These data indicate species differences in the response of pituitary somatotrophs to the GHRPs and this is probably due to different subtypes of GHRP receptor in rat or sheep.

Here is another

Frieboes RM, Murck H, Antonijevic IA, Steiger A.
Effects of growth hormone-releasing peptide-6 on the nocturnal secretion of GH, ACTH and cortisol and on the sleep EEG in man: Role of routes of administration
Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 11(6):473-478, 1999 Jun.
Author Keywords
Growth hormone, Growth hormone-releasing peptides, Corticotropins, Clinical neuroendocrinology, Sleep.
KeyWords Plus® by ISI®
Normal men, Factor-i, Secretagogue, Receptor, Hexarelin, Pituitary, Insulin, Intranasal, Prolactin, Efficacy.

After repeated intravenous (i.v.) boluses of growth hormone-releasing peptide-6 (GHRP-6) we found recently increases of growth hormone (GH), corticotropin (ACTH) and cortisol levels and of the amount of stage 2 sleep, In clinical use, oral (p.o.), intranasal (i.n.) and sublingual (s.l.) routes of administration have advantages over i.v. administration, We compared the sleep-endocrine effects of 300 mu g/kg of body weight (b.w.) GHRP-6 in enteric-coated capsules given p.o. at 21.00 h and of 30 mu g/kg GHRP-6 i.n. or 30 mu g/kg GHRP-6 st. given at 22.45 h in normal young male controls with placebo conditions. After GHRP-6 p.o. secretion of GH, ACTH and cortisol remained unchanged. The only effect of GHRP-6 s.l. was a trend toward an increase in GH in the first half of the night. GHRP-6 i.n. prompted a significant increase in GH concentration during the total night and a trend toward an increase in ACTH secretion during the first half of the night, whereas cortisol secretion remained unchanged. Furthermore, after GHRP-6 i.n., sleep stage 2 increased in the second half of the night by trend, and spectral analysis of total night non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep revealed a decrease of delta power by trend. In contrast sleep stage 2 decreased during the second half of the night after GHRP-6 p.o. Our data demonstrate that GHRP-6 is capable of modulating GH and ACTH secretion as well as sleep. However, the effects depend upon dosage, duration and route of administration. [References: 41]

Blandine Laferrère, Cynthia Abraham, Colleen D. Russell and Cyril Y. Bowers

Obesity Research Center (B.L., C.A., C.D.R.), St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, 1090 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, New York 10025; and Tulane U


GHRP-2 is a synthetic agonist of ghrelin, the newly-discovered gut peptide which binds to the growth hormone (GH) secretagogue receptor. Ghrelin has two major effects, stimulating both GH secretion and appetite/meal initiation. GHRP-2 has been extensively studied for its utility as a growth hormone secretagogue (GHS). Animal studies have shown its effect on food intake. However, whether GHRP-2 can also stimulate appetite in humans when administered acutely is not known. We subcutaneously infused 7 lean, healthy males with GHRP-2 (1 µg/kg/h) or saline for 270 minutes and then measured their intake of an ad libitum, buffet-style meal. Similar to what has been reported for ghrelin administration, our subjects ate 35.9 ± 10.9% more when infused with GHRP-2 vs. saline, with every subject increasing their intake even when calculated per kg body weight (136.0 ± 13.0 kJ/kg [32.5 ± 3.1 kcal/kg] vs. 101.3 ± 10.5 kJ/kg [24.2 ± 2.5 kcal/kg], p = 0.008). The macronutrient composition of consumed food was not different between conditions. As expected, serum GH levels rose significantly during GHRP-2 infusion (AUC 5550 ± 1090 µg/L/240 min vs. 412 ± 161 µg/L/240 min, p = 0.003). These data are the first to demonstrate that GHRP-2, like ghrelin, increases food intake, suggesting that GHRP-2 is a valuable tool for investigating ghrelin effects on eating behavior in humans.

Do HGH sprays work?

HGH sprays are scams because if it contained real HGH trying to absorb through the nasal or oral cavity layers the product is a scam. As pointed out earlier, over the counter natural HGH supplement can't contain real HGH or they would be a prescription drug. Even if it wasn't a scam, the HGH molecule is too big and to sensitive to environmental change to get through effectively intact.

Natural supplements that do boost HGH production

In addition to secretagogues, amino acids boost production of growth hormone in the body. Glutamine supplements has been shown in studies to really spike the growth hormone. Protein is composed of amino acids though and since bodybuilders already take plenty of protein, this won't be very helpful knowledge. L-dopa in supplements, a neurotransmitter, also can spike growth hormone naturally.

Does prescription HGH work?

Yes, but since this is a natural bodybuilder blog, we don't advocate the use of HGH prescriptions, for bodybuilding. I would put secretagogues in that group to avoid also, since you are ingesting a peptide precursor to try and artificially boost your levels of growth hormone really high instead of through a more natural means. HGH isn't a very effective mass builder by itself anyways. They are used more for fat loss properties.

Realize if you are using HGH for anti-aging purposes and not bodybuilding because you you are older and have a deficiency, its probably not a good idea either. The use of prescription HGH for cosmetic reasons hasn't really been around commonly by enough people to really get a good scope of its effect on our health yet. Its very expensive and only in the last few years has really taken off widespread. There is some research to suggest that taking HGH injections may cause bad side effects on your health.

From a scientific standpoint, their still is yet any evidence that it truly helps reverse or stops the aging process either. Although people who do take HGH injections do look younger, that may not actually stop the aging process. Aging is a very complex process at the cellular level and resulting from free radicals and wear and tear. I doubt taking growth hormone could stop the aging process completely. Its a big gamble on your health for a temporary boost in looking younger when there are safer ways to prevent the aging look.