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What is the Difference Between Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone?

By J. Winchester
Updated Jan 23, 2024
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Human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone are both anabolic steroids commonly used by bodybuilders to gain muscle mass. They have legitimate medical uses, but they are more commonly known for their use as bodybuilding supplements. Although both are used for the same purpose, they are in fact very different substances.

Testosterone is a hormone produced naturally by both men and women, although men produce much more than women do. The form used by bodybuilders is synthetic and is produced in a lab. Testosterone causes the body to produce more muscle and decrease body fat, which makes it ideal for bodybuilders. It is usually used alongside other anabolic steroids by bodybuilders because they are more effective when used together.

Bodybuilders almost always use testosterone in cycles. This is because testosterone will shut down the body's natural testosterone production; cycling the testosterone will prevent permanent shutdown. A typical testosterone cycle for a bodybuilder consists of about eight weeks of the steroid followed by four weeks of post-cycle therapy. Testosterone is available in patches, creams, pills, and through injections, but bodybuilders almost always inject it. It is most bioavailable through injecting, and most compounds need to be injected only one to two times a week.

Human growth hormone is also produced naturally by the human body. It is produced by the pituitary gland to control growth during childhood. Bodybuilders use a synthetic form of this hormone because it promotes lean muscle mass gain and can heal damaged tissues. HGH will cause organs and bones to grow if used in doses that are too high, which deters many people from using it.

Bodybuilders will usually cycle human growth hormone for a period of six to eight weeks, with injections five to seven times a week. During this time, they can expect to gain large amounts of muscle mass and strength while gaining minimal fat. It is common to gain 10 to 20 pounds of muscle while on an HGH cycle.

Both human growth hormone and testosterone are effective muscle builders, but testosterone is more commonly used for a number of reasons. It is generally considered much safer than human growth hormone and has fewer negative side effects. It is also significantly cheaper. Some bodybuilders will use HGH and testosterone at the same time, but that practice can be very dangerous. Both steroids are illegal to possess in the United States without a valid prescription.

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Discussion Comments
By eramorse — On Apr 23, 2013

Are there any side effects in your testosterone levels once you gain muscle mass through lifting heavy things? Are there some other natural ways other than surgery for a testosterone problem?

I heard that some people are looking for health supplements for testosterone treatment, but are they safe?

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