Hormones play a major role in the balance of blood pressure and blood sugar levels in your body. Several hormones such as adrenalin or cortisol may cause changes in blood pressure levels due to vasospasm or water retention.
At the same time, insulin is far from the only hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels. In fact, there is a group of hormones that counteract its action and elevate blood glucose.
Growth hormone is one of these hormones and it plays a role in both water retention and glucose metabolism.
Nevertheless, HGH therapy is considered safe and effective even for growth hormone deficiency (GHD) patients with comorbidities such as high blood pressure and diabetes. That’s despite the fact that HGH injections may increase insulin resistance or water retention.
In fact, untreated GHD leads to the accumulation of abdominal fat and obesity, which in turn is more likely to cause hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
On the other hand, HGH has beneficial effects on energy levels, exercise capacity, and weight loss which may help minimize the increase in insulin resistance or even lower it in the long term.
How growth hormone affect blood sugar (glucose)
HGH helps your body maintain stable blood sugar levels by counteracting the effects of insulin and stimulating the process of gluconeogenesis.
Gluconeogenesis is a constant process that runs in your liver but some hormones such as HGH can upregulate it. It involves glucose production from non-carbohydrate sources such as lactate, glycerol, and proteins.
That is why HGH is considered one of the several counterregulatory hormones for insulin.
Does HGH raise or lower blood sugar?
Since insulin secretion is not blocked after an injection, HGH will not cause a significant change in your blood sugar levels, unless you have diabetes. Most non-diabetic patients experience only a slight increase in fasting glucose.
Furthermore, HGH deficiency does not cause a drop in blood sugar levels since many other hormones also help maintain stable blood sugar levels and stimulate gluconeogenesis – most notably cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon.
Long-term GH deficiency may lead to fat accumulation around the internal organs and visceral obesity. Visceral obesity is a significant risk factor for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Therefore, GH deficiency can lead to hyperglycemia and diabetes in the long term.
Does growth hormone cause insulin resistance?
The effect of HGH on insulin’s function is indirect, so a spike in HGH will not block the release of insulin. Quite the opposite, insulin may also spike because HGH will reduce its effectiveness in lowering blood sugar.
That’s because HGH lowers insulin sensitivity, and scientists have suggested several possible mechanisms.
Studies suggest that HGH prevents glucose uptake by adipose tissue, which increases overall insulin resistance but also reduces the energy supply towards these tissues and their ability to build extra fat.
Furthermore, HGH also stimulates the release of fats in the form of triglycerides from adipose tissue and their uptake by muscle tissue, where fats can be used for energy.
During the process, levels of triglycerides in the serum increase, which is considered another possible mechanism for increasing insulin resistance.
Triglycerides are elevated in abdominal obesity and this may be a link between obesity and type 2 diabetes
Can diabetics take HGH?
Since HGH treatment can increase insulin resistance, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients may experience an increase in blood sugar levels, which calls for an increase in antidiabetic medications.
Official guidelines recommend adjusting the dose of insulin or antidiabetic medications in patients with diabetes and GHD who require HGH treatment.
If you have diabetes, the increased levels of blood sugar (hyperglycemia) will not reduce the effectiveness of HGH in treating your GHD symptoms.
Hyperglycemia also does not appear to suppress the natural GH secretion in healthy individuals, although it may lead to abnormal diurnal growth hormone synthesis with more daytime peaks.
Insulin resistance may also increase in non-diabetics on HGH. Still, thanks to the benefits of HGH treatment in reducing visceral fat, insulin sensitivity usually returns to normal after several months of therapy.
The largest meta-analysis so far, which was published in 2021, reveals that short-term HGH therapy may lead to a transient increase in insulin resistance. In contrast, more than 12 months of therapy is not associated with any changes except slightly elevated fasting glucose.
How growth hormone affect blood pressure
According to research, hypertension is relatively common in GHD patients who were not yet treated with HGH. While both systolic and diastolic pressure tends to be increased, scientists report that high systolic blood pressure is the more common finding in patients with growth hormone deficiency.
Hypertension (high blood pressure) in GHD likely occurs due to decreased production of vasodilators, increased arterial wall thickness, and higher resistance of the peripheral blood vessels,
Patients with GHD may also experience other cardiovascular problems, including reduced cardiac output and unfavorable lipid profile
According to a large meta-analysis, HGH therapy can lead to a slight reduction in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate. Yet, the researchers estimate that usually, diastolic blood pressure is the one most significantly decreased during the therapy.
Furthermore, HGH therapy has a positive effect on the structure of the heart in GHD patients. The scientists reported improved thickness of the cardiac muscle and better heart function (ejection fraction) after long-term growth hormone therapy.
These effects occur despite the fact that growth hormone increases water retention, renin secretion, and the volume of extracellular fluids.
Excess of growth hormone, on the other hand, may increase the risk of hypertension, as it is a common symptom in individuals with acromegaly.
Is it safe to use HGH for high blood pressure?
Individuals with hypertension can safely use GH therapy unless their high blood pressure is poorly controlled.
Studies report that HGH therapy is associated with clinically significant sodium retention. That’s likely because growth hormone activates the renin-angiotensin system but also exerts a direct action on the kidneys and their ability to excrete sodium.
The result of the increased sodium is significant water retention. Nevertheless, having high blood pressure is not a contraindication against growth hormone therapy.
That is, as long as the hypertension is properly managed with medications and lifestyle changes. In fact, many untreated GHD patients suffer from hypertension.
Taking HGH therapy may even help lower elevated blood pressure via various mechanisms. Animal studies suggest that the growth hormone may stimulate the production of vasodilators such as nitric oxide (NO) which results in a drop in blood pressure levels.
However, patients with hypertension should avoid taking large doses of GH, especially early in their treatment, as it can lead to significant water retention.
Does HGH raise blood pressure?
In GHD patients without high blood pressure, HGH therapy is not likely to cause elevated blood pressure.
On rare occasions, HGH treatment in children has led to a benign increase in intracranial tension. Currently, cases in adults remain extremely rare and resolve completely after decreasing the dose.
Are GH boosters safer?
HGH boosters are dietary supplements that usually contain amino acids that supposedly stimulate natural growth hormone production.
Yet, the available research is somewhat conflicting, so the effects of such supplements are uncertain at best. That’s because the studies showing beneficial effects are mostly industry-funded and biased.
Similarly, research on the effects of these amino acids on blood pressure is also mixed. Some studies report a decrease in blood pressure, while others suggest there is no effect.
Some of the most popular HGH boosters include SeroVital, Nugenix GH-Boost, and HGH-X2. These supplements contain proprietary blends, which contain various ingredients in unspecified doses. Taking them may have unexpected side effects, including changes in your blood pressure levels.