What is HGH and why is it mentioned in connection with so many dietary supplement products?
HGH—human growth hormone—is a substance produced naturally in the human body by the pituitary gland; it regulates growth in children and adolescents. Synthetic HGH was developed in the 1980s for medical uses but in particular for treating children with certain growth disorders and adults with specific conditions; FDA has approved its use for these treatments. Over the counter, HGH is sold for anti-aging and other non-approved uses for which no solid evidence is available. Side effects associated with even legitimate medical use of HGH include headaches, thyroid hormone deficiency, inflamed pancreas, and joint and muscle pain. Over-the-counter products with “HGH” in their name may or may not actually contain human growth hormone, so it is important to read all labels carefully.
Currently, HGH is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and most sports organizations; in the U.S. it is illegal to possess or distribute HGH for any purpose other than those uses approved by FDA and prescribed by a physician. For more on this, please read the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2011 information sheet “Human Growth Hormone.” For the current FDA guidelines with regard to HGH use, see FDA Import Alert 66-71. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has an informative web page that may also be helpful: "Anti-Aging Products."