Warning about HGH | Dr. Petter

HGH, or human growth hormone, is a chemical produced by a small gland (pituitary) in the brain. This hormone functions to aide physical growth early in life, and its production naturally declines during middle age.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved this drug for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency, and for those individual diagnosed with muscle wasting due to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

The only safe, legitimate formulation for this hormone is a synthetic, injectable product available only with a prescription. It is not the same as the pill or injectable form surfacing on the Internet. The potential for contaminants or alternate ingredient substitution is high, and therefore safety is a real concern for products sold through alternate means.

HGH is falsely being hailed by some people as the "fountain of youth." They claim this hormone slows down the aging process, therefore regaining youth and vitality. Many individuals praise it as a "miracle weight loss drug," and that it can "bulk up muscles." Indeed, this hormone can decrease body fat, increase muscle mass and improve exercise capacity, but potentially with dangerous and irreversible health consequences.

The off-label use, and therefore abuse, of HGH is of great concern. Reckless use of HGH can result in such risks as developing heart disease and diabetes, enlargement of breasts in men (gynomastia), joint and muscle pain and swelling of the arm and/or legs.

If you desire to look younger, lose weight or just feel healthier, see your doctor. Safe, legitimate and FDA-approved prescription medications and products are available to help you achieve your personal goals, without endangering your health or life.

Dr. Linda Petter of Auburn is a weekly feature on KOMO TV/News Radio (1000 AM and 97.7 FM) every Saturday and Sunday at 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., and on a weekday during the morning and evening commute. She trained at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois, Carle Hospital. Dr. Petter is chief of the Department of Family Practice at St. Francis Hospital. She is a consumer healthcare advocate, and her books, "Healthcare On a Budget" and "Common Medical Sense", are available on Visit her website,, or call her office at 253-568-0841.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates