Hi William, what are your thoughts of using growth hormone during PCT?
A: I think it is certainly a viable option, though the main focus is preserving lean body mass and not increasing the return to homeostasis with androgen production. The main support for this use of GH came from a study published in 2001, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (volume 86 number 5, pp 2211-19). It was a study done to examine if growth hormone or IGF-1 could counter the catabolic effects of hypogonadism (low testosterone levels). The investigation involved a group of 13 healthy subjects with a mean age of 22 years. The subjects were given a GnRH (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone) analog, which caused their bodies to shut down the normal production of testosterone. After 6 weeks from reaching baseline levels they were given either GH or IGF-1, to see if the drugs would prevent the catabolism normally associated with low testosterone levels. Final measures were taken 10 weeks from the start of the study.
The study demonstrated that both IGF-1 and growth hormone were able to preserve protein synthesis rates, even during a period of severe androgen deprivation. The subjects, likewise, did not lose a statistically significant amount of fat free mass/muscle tissue, in contrary to what is documented with hypogonadism alone. While it is far from conclusive evidence GH or IGF-1 should become integral to every steroid user’s PCT program, it certainly lends a lot of support for the idea of using one of these drugs in this manner. Note, however, that the study did show that androgens were required for the full anabolic effects of Growth Hormone and IGF-1. In other words, GH/IGF-1 may help you maintain muscle mass when coming off steroids, but you will get your most growth from the drugs if they are taken when androgen levels are normal or even elevated.