Anabolic Steroids Versus Human Growth Hormones: Very Different Hormones
Recently, steroids and another form of drug – human growth hormone – have become the
receptors of controversies and bad publicity. Of course, this is nothing new because both of
these compounds have been 'basking' in the limelight since their development.
The breaking news incident has taken place May 2007 and involved Sylvester Stallone, a.k.a.
Rambo/Rocky Balboa, who was attempting to 'import' 48 vials of HGH on his flight to Sydney
from the US. Much of the media furor is about what to call the compounds – some media
organizations labeled them as steroids and Stallone insisted they are HGH. What's the
difference between these two? Oftentimes, these two terms are used interchangeably but
anabolic steroids are not the same as human growth hormones. Here's why.
While anabolic steroids are very simple structures from early in evolution, Growth hormones
are very complex composed of whole protein sequences that fit together like a puzzle. If put
side by side, the size of a single testosterone molecule, would be very much smaller and
simpler compared to Human Growth Hormones'.
It is good to note that because humans and other vertebrates share the same Testosterone
hormones, humans can and do use steroids made purposely for animals. Not so with HGH.
The layout for a protein like growth hormone is genetically encoded in a series of special
segments called exons. This is to say that the large and complex growth hormone is unique to
each species and the human body would not be able to utilize any other animal's Growth
Hormone. This means that the protein sequence has to be just right in order for it to work.
Human growth hormone has a “191” protein sequence.
Curiously enough, the basic Testosterone hormone is made by the testes, a relatively simple
organ from early in evolution. Growth Hormone is made in the brain by the pituitary gland. This
hormone is called somatotropin when in the form of recombitant (artificial) DNA.
The growth hormone most notable function is to promote bone development from birth through
adulthood. Basically, HGH decides if you're going to be a 5'8” or 6'2” individual, the amount of
HGH declines once humans reach adulthood – some say from the ages of 30-35 – same thing
that happens with testosterone. Testosterone levels decline as you reach adulthood.
Deficiency in HGH causes dwarfism, delayed puberty, and stunted growth. As you get older,
you tend to tire easily, your bones become brittle, and your mental and physical processes
seem to lose their usual vibe. This is in part the result of decreased amount of HGH. This is
why this compound is being touted as the 'fountain of youth' since use of this is said to reverse
or stop the process if aging. Many doctors in the anti-aging field readily prescribe HGH to
those patients who are old enough to need it.
Excessive amounts of HGH in the body could result to various illnesses. In children, the usual
condition is gigantism, which is characterized by a tall stature. In adults, acromegaly
(excessive growth of hands, feet and face), hirsutism, high blood pressure, and excessive
sweating are the usual symptoms.
Exercise does stimulate the secretion of HGH; however, the more important question is does
HGH improve your physical ability? So far, HGH's impact on athletic performance is not yet
determined. True, this hormone does exert its effect on muscle hypertrophy (as proven by
animal testing) yet its consequence on muscle strength remains arguable.
The basic difference between steroids and HGH, in so far as bodybuilding and powerlifting is
concerned, is that steroids make your cells bigger while HGH increases the number of these
cells. And because HGH's function is generally anabolic, it only plays in your muscle definition
not on your muscle strength. It keeps you lean and very muscular, but that's about it. This
means that if you're taking HGH, according to medical information, you have that vascular look
but would not be able to take in an increased weightlifting load.