Human growth hormone (HGH) is naturally produced by the pituitary gland. A synthetic version of HGH is available as a prescription drug, but its use is restricted in the U.S.
Legitimate Medical Use
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of HGH for treating a deficiency of natural HGH, as well as for certain other conditions, including HIV/AIDS. Its effectiveness in these cases is well-established by medical studies.
Questionable Medical Use
Some sources have suggested that HGH may be beneficial in slowing the natural ageing process in otherwise healthy adults. Although the medical evidence for this claim is questionable, products that purport to contain HGH are widely touted as anti-ageing drugs.
Use by Athletes
Studies have suggested that this synthetic hormone boosts muscle mass and reduces fat. As a result, HGH is widely abused by bodybuilders and athletes. Its use is restricted by most sporting organisations, including the International Olympic Committee.
Legality of Use
HGH is available by prescription only in the U.S., and so its possession by anyone who does not have a valid prescription for it is illegal. Penalties vary by state, as it is not included on the federal schedules of restricted drugs.
"Natural" HGH Products
A number of products are available online that purport to boost HGH naturally. These products, in general, do not contain any actual HGH, but only amino acids, which are supposed to increase natural hormone levels. They are legal, but their effectiveness is questionable.