(By David Steen)
(Insulin, HGH, prohormones, substances claiming to raise the hormonal levels)
First of all, let me warn you about the dietary supplements that claim similar effects as anabolic steroids. One possible outcome of their use is that they won´t work. A much worse scenario is that they actually might work. There are some products on the market that, although legally sold, resemble anabolic steroids in their actions. Sometimes, these are some obscure chemicals similar to testosterone that escaped the FDA or DEA´s watchful eye. Unlike the well-known steroids, these compounds have often unpredictable effect on human health. They may be liver-toxic, aromatizing and especially may inhibit natural testosterone production.
Here I am talking out of my own experience. I´ve seen several teenage boys that were using certain legally obtainable „stack“ that seriously compromised their hormonal production. Unlike bodybuilders using known steroids and ancillary medication, these young people had no idea about drugs like Novaldex or Clomid. This happened in 2006 and I still don´t know what was the compound they were using, despite numerous laboratory tests (as we didn´t know for what to look, we found up just the wider group of substances). People usually get the false feeling of security when using something bought in a legitimate shop. In fact, you must always be fully aware of what you are exactly using!
Buy vitamins, amino-acids, buy herbs, fatty acids, sea-weeds if you find them useful. Learn about them and make a qualified decision. But never ever buy an unknown compound or (even worse) a mixture of substances that claim miraculous effects. It is absolutely necessary you understand what you are using. Never trust the producer and always consult independent sources.
Prohormones are precursors of hormones. Prohormones used by athletes are usually hormonal precursors that will be, after ingestion or injection into human body metabolized into testosterone or testosterone-related compounds. The main advantage of prohormones was that they used to be legal during certain period after USA banned anabolic steroids.
However, lawmakers responded swiftly to the growing popularity of prohormones and today the two groups of substances have the same legal status. It is hard to find a reason to use prohormones instead of anabolic steroids. Their conversion rate to testosterone (or other related compound, most often nandrolone) is small and dependent on many factors: immediate testosterone blood-levels, available enzymes and others.
Also, every person has somewhat different enzymatic milieu in the body and the conversion rate is therefore unpredictable. On the other hand, prohormones show the same negative effects as anabolic steroids. And although some prohormones are safer to use than others, the same is true about anabolic steroids. By metabolizing into testosterone, prohormones also inhibit the natural testosterone production and require post-cycle treatment by ancillary medication. The use of prohormones is actually very rare among serious athletes. They are only fit for those ready to experiment with unknown substances because, as I wrote above, their effects are much more individual in every person than those of anabolic steroids.
Although this website doesn´t promote the use of anabolic steroids, we often remind that in many ways, steroids are not as harmful as some like to tell us. This is, however, in no way the case of insulin. Insulin is abused by some athletes because of its presumable role in anabolic processes. Whether higher than normal blood levels of insulin can help building the muscle tissue at all is a big question. They probably cannot, and if they do help, only slightly so and only for a very limited time.
Human body responds to higher levels of insulin in a different way than it responds to high levels of most other hormones. Main problem in glucose metabolism is not insulin deficiency, but insulin resistance. This means that the muscle and adipose cells fail to respond to higher insulin levels. The problem usually deepens as more and more insulin is needed to stimulate the receptors, which in turn become less and less sensitive.
If a healthy person artificially elevates his insulin blood levels, he is seriously endangering his metabolism. Such use can and eventually will lead to some form of diabetes mellitus, potentially lethal disease that can result in kidney failure, loss of limbs and heart failure among others. Insulin is a toxic substance and its high blood-levels are never desirable. Use of insulin in sports is probably the most foolish thing one can do, much more dangerous than anabolic steroid abuse. I beg you to avoid insulin. It won´t help you and it will shorten your life and make you disabled.
The whole idea that insulin can be somehow helpful in muscle growth probably originated in lay sportsmen trying to find yet another way of improving their stacks. So far, we know very little about causes and possible treatment of many forms of diabetes mellitus. What used to be a disease of older obese persons, is increasingly becoming a pandemic disease threatening ever more age groups across the developed and developing world. Self-administration of insulin in healthy people will probably cause diabetes mellitus confusing in its symptoms and even harder to stabilize than other forms. To be fair, testosterone use may help prevent or postpone the negative effects of insulin, but one should never rely on it.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
The Human Growth Hormone is not a steroid, but it is often used by athletes in stack together with anabolic steroids. Or is it? According to our laboratory testing, there is practically no genuine HGH on the black market, including the online pharmacies. So far, it seems that the only reliable source of HGH is from regular brick-and-mortar pharmacies. (You will find dozens of online pharmacies offering it, warning you of „scams“ although all of them sell counterfeits or at the best products containing very little HGH).
Anyway, what actually is HGH and does it really help to increase the muscle growth? From serious scientific studies it seems that HGH has no effect on muscle growth, although can improve your looks by removing the redundant fat. Probably the best article on supposed HGH effects has been written by Professor M.J. Rennie (Claims for the anabolic effects of growth hormone: a case of the Emperor´s new clothes?) and published in 2003 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. You can read the whole article here.
Let me quote here just the conclusion: „The conclusion is that growth hormone does indeed have powerful effects on fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and in particular promotes the metabolic use of adipose tissue triacylglycerol. However, there is no proof that net protein retention is promoted in adults, except possibly of connective tissue.”
Not only HGH doesn´t promote muscle growth, but its prolonged use can cause some serious health problems, especially some forms of insulin resistance or even diabetes. The effects of excessive HGH levels are well described in the medical literature as HGH overproduction is not uncommon (usually as a result of pituitary tumor). The most serious are hypertension, cardiac instability and “as mentioned above“ diabetes.
Another reason for not buying the Growth Hormone is the fact, that higher amounts of HGH are produced by the body naturally as a response to physical exercise. This is a scientifically established fact, proven by a team of scientists from University of Virginia in 1997. (Human growth hormone response to repeated bouts of aerobic exercise; J. A. Kanaley, J. Y. Weltman, J. D. Veldhuis, A. D. Rogol, M. L. Hartman, and A. Weltman; J Appl Physiol 83).