Misinformation abounds when it comes to selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), and that includes substances like MK-677 (Ibutamoren) and human growth hormone (HGH). Neither is actually a SARM, for example, but they often get lumped into the same category. The two substances have a similar goal — to increase growth hormones in the body — though, but they have different ways of achieving that end.
The important thing to know is that these substances are not SARMs but hormones, and are responsible for spurring growth in youth, repairing damaged muscle tissue, regulating metabolism, and providing other benefits to the human body’s natural processes. In a clinical setting, synthetic versions of these products are used to treat a variety of diseases and conditions.
This guide will examine HGH and MK-677 in both their clinical applications and their potential for increasing athletic performance, the differences in how they work in the human body, their potential side effects, and the potential benefits they offer.
The Differences Between HGH and MK-677
Although suppliers often mislabel MK-677 as a SARM, neither it nor HGH is actually a SARM. Here are some facts to know upfront:
What to Know About HGH
HGH is a peptide hormone naturally produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration. Synthetic HGH (Somatotropin) increases the presence of growth hormone in the body, which can facilitate muscle development and cell proliferation. Growth hormones also stimulate the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is important for childhood growth but also has an anabolic effect on adults. Athletes and bodybuilders have thus used HGH to improve physique and athletic performance since the 1980s, but most athletic and anti-doping organizations have since banned synthetic HGH in competitive sports.
HGH is approved for medicinal use with a doctor’s prescription, but it is otherwise unable to be sold legally in the U.S. The legal issues surrounding HGH make it difficult to source and it is therefore often prohibitively expensive.
MK-677, on the other hand, is an experimental drug that the FDA has not yet approved for human consumption, but it can be purchased online for research purposes. It is a growth hormone secretagogue that chemically mimics the hormone ghrelin, commonly known as the hunger hormone. Because ghrelin causes the pituitary gland to secrete growth hormones and boosts IGF-1 levels, it may have the potential to assist with processes such as building lean muscle mass, enhancing bone density, and accelerating fat loss — similar to HGH.
There are some similarities and differences between MK-677 and HGH. Synthetic HGH must be administered by injection, for example, whereas MK-677 or orally bioavailable. HGH needs to be injected multiple times daily, compared to one daily oral dose of MK-677. Most athletic and anti-doping organizations have banned both HGH and MK-677 in competitive sports. Both are believed to increase lean muscle mass, enhance bone density, accelerate fat loss, and promote wound healing, but there are potential side effects to keep in mind as well.
MK-677 vs. HGH: Understanding the Potential Side Effects
Ongoing testing and research is a must in any performance- or body function-enhancing substance. HGH has had extensive clinical testing going back to the 1980s, but using it to build muscle and improve athletic performance has not been definitively proven in a clinical setting. MK-677 is still in pre-clinical testing, but researchers have observed some potential side effects:
HGH Side Effects
Some side effects of HGH include nerve, muscle, or joint pain, plus swelling due to fluids in the body’s tissues. Carpal tunnel syndrome, numbness and tingling in the skin, an elevated cholesterol levels have all been observed, as has an increased risk for diabetes
Separately, synthetic HGH drives a high price in illicit markets, and bad actors have thus counterfeited such drugs. There’s no telling what is in these counterfeit drugs or which side effects researchers experience by taking them.
MK-677 Side Effects
Very little research has been done on MK-677, but one 2008 study noted the following side effects in patients who received it daily for two years:
- Mild, transient lower-extremity edema
- Transient muscle pain
- Increased appetite which subsided in a few months
A separate MK-677 study was terminated early due to a safety signal of congestive heart failure in a limited number of patients, however and some research indicates that prolonged use of MK-677 may compromise glucose tolerance.
It’s important to emphasize that the FDA has not approved HGH or MK-677 for human consumption outside of a clinical setting. HGH can be taken legally with a doctor’s prescription, but MK-677 is available only as a research chemical. The limited research on the latter also means drug interactions between MK-677 and other common drugs, including alcohol, are unknown.
Potential Benefits of MK-677 and HGH
Despite the possibility of some side effects, these drugs also appear to offer a wealth of potential benefits. Additional research will be needed before a link can confidently be made between these chemicals and any positive reactions, but here are a few of the potential perks that have so far been observed:
Since the early 1980s, HGH has been used by doctors to provide a host of positive benefits, including:
- Increasing lean muscle mass and muscle cell hyperplasia
- Accelerating fat loss while preventing muscle wasting
- Enhancing bone density
- Shortening healing and recovery time
- Enhancing cognitive performance.
HGH has also been studied extensively as an anti-aging agent with mixed results.
MK-677 aims to provide similar benefits to HGH by mimicking hormones that cause the body to produce more natural growth hormones. Here are some of the potential benefits researchers are looking into from MK-677:
- Increasing growth hormone levels
- Increasing muscle mass and bone density, accelerating muscle growth, and facilitating fat loss
- Improving immune functions
- Enhancing sleep
- Reversal of growth hormone deficiency
- Increasing appetite for those struggling to consume enough calories
All together, MK-677 shows potential to provide similar benefits to HGH but in a more accessible, affordable, and easier-to-use product. Researchers may uncover additional benefits as they perform their studies.
Buying MK-677 online can be risky, and those qualified and interested in acquiring MK-677 for research purposes should do so from a trusted supplier. Sports Technology Labs has its products tested by third-party laboratories to ensure 98% purity — the same standard used by laboratories, universities, and chemical suppliers worldwide. Quality is essential when performing personal research on the efficacy of body-enhancing substances.
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