There’s nothing that chaps my hide more than a single supplement review coming from someone who has tried the supplement for a week (or sometimes less).
“My energy’s great!” “My skin is better!” “I’m training harder, faster, better than ever before!”
Really? Could it be the placebo effect? Could it be that (if you’re a woman) you’re at a more energized point of your monthly cycle? Could it be, well, that you got to try the product for free and you feel somewhat obligated to share the high points?
In fairness, it could be that I’m a very skeptical supplement buyer and my natural inclination is to look for scholarly papers and studies on a product rather than first-person reviews. I know that supplements can be incredibly beneficial for certain people working to achieve specific goals. I also know that there are a lot of supplements out there that don’t do what they claim, or that have negative side effects that no one talks about.
So, here’s my commitment to you: I’m going to do a review of the HGH (Human Growth Hormone) supplement, Growth Factor 9, but I’m not going to do a single review. I’m going to do three reviews. One at the start of my three month journey, one half-way through, and one at the end. I’m going to be honest about changes I make to my training routine, changes I make to my diet and all the pros and cons that I can personally attest to during the three month trial. Is this a scholarly review or a university study? Absolutely not. But I will be as open and honest as I can possibly be.
What is Growth Factor 9?
Maybe the better question is, “What is Human Growth Hormone?” HGH is a hormone naturally present in the body primarily during childhood and adolescence. This hormone is a major contributor to the growth and development that occurs throughout childhood and its presence affects everything from body composition to body fluids and bone growth. As puberty comes to an end, this naturally-occurring hormone decreases significantly.
The use of HGH injections
Since the 1980s doctors and athletes have been using synthetically-produced HGH injections for medical and non-medical purposes. Some of the FDA-approved uses of these injections include treatment of various genetic conditions that result in short stature as well as kidney insufficiency, muscle-wasting disease in HIV/AIDS patients and HGH deficiency.
More popular, however, are the non-FDA-approved uses of the injections by athletes, body builders and the like to promote muscle anabolism while reducing total body fat.
Without getting into the ethical ramifications of misusing FDA-approved HGH injections for non-FDA-approved purposes, the long-and-short of this is that “mums the word” from the FTC and the FDA on whether or not these injections are effective at doing the things that athletes use them for (i.e., increasing muscle mass, reducing body fat, etc.). That said, synthetic HGH is a banned substance by most sports-related governing bodies, so you have to assume that its affects can result in sports-related benefits.
Non-injected HGH supplements
Non-injected supplements of synthetic HGH have been on the market for some time, but it’s unclear whether these pill- and powder-form supplements have the same effect as prescription-based injectable HGH. Most studies indicate that orally-administered synthetic HGH is digested in the stomach and excreted as waste before it can be absorbed into the body. So while all those late-night infomercials make the products sound amazing, the reality probably falls short of the claims.
No really, what is Growth Factor 9?
Okay, now to get into Growth Factor 9. According to the company that makes the supplement, Novex Biotech (I know, I know, clearly not an unbiased source), Growth Factor 9 isn’t a synthetic HGH, but is a proprietary blend of amino acids that has been clinically proven to increase serum levels of naturally occurring HGH in the body. In fact, according to a double-blind, placebo-controlled study that included men and women between the ages of 18 and 70, Growth Factor 9 resulted in a mean increase of blood serum levels of Growth Hormone by 682-percent. The results of the study were presented at The Obesity Society’s 30th Annual Scientific Meeting.
What this essentially means is that, when taken in the same way that the supplement was administered during the clinical trial, you may, in fact, be able to increase your naturally occurring Growth Hormone. What the study doesn’t tell us, is whether the study participants saw positive physiological changes associated with HGH — changes like increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, improved energy and so forth. More testing would need to be performed to confirm this type of result.
Getting started with the supplement
I’ve actually had the GF-9 supplement sitting in my house for about a month now. I took it a few times, but because we were undergoing a cross-country move and my schedule was wonky, I couldn’t get in the habit. Now that things have settled down, I’m ready to get started. The regimen is this:
- Take 4 pills once a day, either first thing in the morning or last thing at night
- Take the pills on an empty stomach — if the pills are taken at night, you can’t eat for the two hours prior to taking them; if the pills are taken in the morning, you can’t eat for the two hours following taking them. This is going to be my major pitfall! I love eating, both in the morning and at night. Night is probably going to be my better choice, but it may take some effort to re-train myself not to night-snack.
- Workout and eat right! The website points out the obvious — this isn’t a magic pill that’s going to miraculously make your whole world better without corresponding work. You still have to put in the time at the gym and in the kitchen.
My starting point
As I said, the last month has been a whirlwind of moving and abnormal activity. Plus, the three months prior to that I was battling some winter blues and was really struggling with health-related motivation. My workouts were regular, but lacking in energy or extra effort. So, in all honesty, I’m starting at a “low point” for myself physically. While still healthy, my body fat percentage has slowly creeped up and my cardiovascular fitness has slowly inched down. Now that I’m in a new place, with my heart happy again and the sun shining overhead, I have the motivation to work harder and improve my fitness. This would happen with or without the GF-9, but what I’m hoping for is faster, more pronounced results than I would typically expect to see.
You see, I’ve been here before. I know that usually I can get myself from a “low point” to a “high point” with about six months of steady work. The first three months are usually dedicated to increasing cardiovascular fitness and strength, while the last three months are when I start seeing the physical results. My hope is that this time, I’ll start seeing the physical results by the last month of GF-9 supplementation. So essentially, two months of baseline work and fitness improvements, with the last month a more physical representation of the hard work I’ve put in.
So what do you think – will GF-9 spur me toward my goals?
Expect to see the next installment of my Growth Factor 9 reviews at the end of May 2013.