Difference Between Steroids and HGH Essay

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Ergogenic Aid

When discussing and pondering the broader subject of steroids and other substances that aid the body in getting stronger and healthier, one word or term that is likely to come to mind is “anabolic”. However, the use and employment of steroids and supplements has multiple layers and types that must be considered. One of the other terms to consider is ergogenic. Regardless of the type of steroid or body aid, there is an intended and desired effect on performance. There is also the related, yet different, use of what is known as human growth hormone, or HGH. As with all medicines and treatments, there are medical risks when it comes to the use or abuse of steroids of any type, which would include ergogenic. While some people are prone to disavow and condemn the use of steroids and/or supplements across the board, here are a number of findings and assertions that can be made and not all of them are negative.


In the broader sense, there are steroids that can and should be used to restore or maintain health. One common example would be the prescribing of prednisone as a means to “prop up” the body so that it can fight a virus. Indeed, the use of antibiotics are useless when it comes to viruses. The body has to win the fight itself. However, this can be aided through the use of steroids and antibody-related methods such as vaccines. Steroids that are designed to help muscles also have a narrow scope where their use is expected and normal. There are non-steroids that are referred to as ergogenic aids. Just like steroids, there are legitimate and healthy ways to make use of ergogenic substances. A very common example of an ergogenic substance would be creatine. Other examples include antioxidant blends and vitamin mixtures. DHEA and synthetic testosterone are others. Some of these substances are banned while others are not. For example, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and other anti-doping bodies keep close tabs on testosterone levels and whether the testosterone present is synthetic or natural. It is possible to get a waiver for legitimate testosterone replacement therapy, or TRT. However, the overall level of testosterone cannot exceed certain levels. Even if a given ergogenic aid is not an anabolic steroid, it can be considered a performance-enhancing drug (PED) nonetheless, thus why they are banned in many sports circles and organizations. Anabolic steroids and ergogenic aids are often lumped together and treated the same because they can cause unfair performance habits. They can also cause damage, sometimes permanent damage. Just a few things that can happen include edema, acne, scrotal pain (in men), nausea, increased urination, personality disorders/aggression, nervousness and euphoria.
The last of those is commonly called a “steroid rush”. More serious damage includes liver tumors, psychosis, hypertension and dysplastic changes. Despite this, the ability to exercise longer and harder is what brings the allure to anabolic steroids and ergogenic substances, legal or illegal (Ahrendt, 2017).

Many people conflate steroids and human growth hormone, or HGH. However, that is a big misnomer. This is because HGH and anabolic steroids are not the same thing. It is important to define the terminology involved. Anabolic, by definition, means a substance that enhances the metabolism or complex chemical synthesis. The term anabolic can technically refer to HGH, although the differences start from there. The only other similarities they share is that both can be prescribed by a doctor, they are illegal to use outside of that doctor/patient relationship and they are both hormones. HGH is indeed a hormone. It regulates and stimulate the necessary and needed processes in the body. This is especially true as a person ages from childhood to adulthood. Indeed, there is a lot of bone and muscle growth that occurs over that period. HGH is a necessary building block to make that work. Even after that period is over, HGH is still needed for things like cellular growth. However, HGH production in the body tends to fall off and wane as a person gets older. The body feels this happening. Indeed, there is the common complaint of many people in their 40’s that they are “getting old”. There are some doctors that prescribe HGH as a means to help their patients, although this is done in a deliberate and careful way. It is very much like testosterone in this regard, and for the same reason. HGH is actually superior to anabolic steroids in that they are much more “available” to the body. The body is much more able to use and harness HGH as compared to anabolic steroids. Even if steroids and HGH are very different, the effects that are commonly rendered from HGH are very attractive to those that use it. Hair and nails look better, fat burning is better and bone health all tend to be improved n people that use HGH, legally or illegally (Gaines, 2017).

Using too much HGH or in the wrong way, however, is dangerous. There is a reason it….....

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Ahrendt, D. (2017). Ergogenic Aids: Counseling the Athlete. aafp.org. Retrieved 19 November 2017, from http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0301/p913.html

Gaines, R. (2017). Is HGH (Human Growth Hormone) a Steroid? [FAQ]. Health Gains. Retrieved 19 November 2017, from https://healthgains.com/blog/growth-hormone/is-hgh-a-steroid/

Mayo. (2017). Doping: Do you know the facts about performance-enhancing drugs?. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 19 November 2017, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/performance-enhancing-drugs/art-20046134?pg=2

WebMD. (2017). Anabolic steroids: Topic overview. WebMD. Retrieved 19 November 2017, from https://www.webmd.com/men/tc/anabolic-steroid-abuse-topic-overview#2

WebMD. (2017). HGH (Human Growth Hormone): Uses and side effects. WebMD. Retrieved 19 November 2017, from https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/human-growth-hormone-hgh#2

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