The effect of human growth hormone on athletic performance is not determined, reports WebMD. Although HGH and products that claim to stimulate its production are available over the counter and marketed for building muscle or reducing fat, there is no available evidence that the products are effective for these purposes.
Doctors prescribe somatrem and somatropin, synthetic versions of human growth hormone, to treat growth hormone deficiency, kidney disease and Turner's syndrome in children, according to Mayo Clinic. Adults use it to treat growth failure and the weight loss caused by AIDS. HGH also treats short bowel syndrome in adults caused by the surgical removal of a portion of the small intestine or disease in the intestine, adds WebMD.
The pituitary gland produces HGH, and it is responsible for the growth process in children and adolescents, the regulation of bone and muscle growth, and sugar and fat metabolism, explains WebMD. HGH levels decrease as the body ages, but claims that man-made HGH offers anti-aging properties are also unsubstantiated. The hormone is not FDA-approved for these purposes. Individuals who use HGH are at increased risk for diabetes and cancerous tumors. Other side effects include edema, high cholesterol, carpal tunnel syndrome, and nerve or joint pain.