Home » Growth Hormone doses: Just how much?

Growth Hormone doses: Just how much?

December 13, 2023

Stories of up to 16iu a day, Dave Palumbo's size 15, 16 and 17 shoes and why today's bodybuilders are leaner but don't look it

HOW much growth hormone to take for optimal results is a debate with no ending.

Some say doses of 2iu a day is plenty, others advise to take as much as you can tolerate.

American bodybuilder Paul Barnett is one person very open with his usage.

Recently he revealed on social media that had worked up to 16iu of GH per day.

He told frontdouble.com: “I talk to quite a few pros behind the scenes and the saying I’ve heard a lot is, ‘Take as much as you can afford and tolerate’.

“Until this year the most I ran was 9iu. I’m currently at 16 and I do see a difference in fullness and density.”

One thing he also revealed on his social media posts, however, was his lethargy, writing: “I’m tired all day. Still trying to figure that out.”

Former bodybuilder and coach and host of Rx Muscle, Dave Palumbo, does not see much benefit in running higher doses.

Speaking to frontdouble.com, he said: “I feel 2-4iu per day is deal for maximum muscle growth with least side effects. Length of time on GH is more important than how much you use daily.”

But whether the man himself adhered to such growth hormone doses during his competitive days is another question. Research and you can find a few memories of when he sold his old shoes. They started at size 15, then 16, then 17.

Maybe Palumbo discovered the ‘most side effects’ from higher doses for him was excessive foot growth and that is why he is now advocating lower-dose use. Maybe that will remain a mystery.

There is no one size fits all for growth hormone doses

The point is, however, that as usual these things are person dependent. What works for one may not work for another. It is a case of trial and error.

In the case of Barnett, for example, while he might be lethargic on 16iu a day, some might be OK.

On the tiredness issue, coach Justin Harris of Troponin Nutrition and 1st Detachment said: “It’s probably due to insulinogenic nature of IGF-1. Similar to how you feel sleepy after a large high carb meal.”

COMPARISON ROUND: How bodybuilders looked at the 1999 British GP (top) v the 2015 Mr Olympia

One difficulty for people considering their GH dose is often the debate around how bodybuilders looked in the 1990s compared to today.

You will often hear criticism from 90s bodybuilders about the condition of today’s athletes. Dorian Yates, John Hodgson, Flex Wheeler and Rich Gaspari have been particularly vocal about how ‘their day’ showed more granite-like physiques in comparison to today’s line-ups.

Harris says: “Long term high-dose GH use is the reason people think the 90s bodybuilers looked better. Guys today are leaner than they were back then, but the GH thickens skin so much at high doses that, even though everyone is leaner than they used to be, their conditioning doesn’t seem better – and often seems worse.

“It’s understandably hard as an athlete to know that about the 1990s guys and today’s guys and make the decision to use low-dose GH when, for any short-term timeframe, your look will always be better with higher dose GH; rounder muscles, fuller muscles, lower body fat, higher body weight, etc.

“It’s only with long-term use of high doses that the thicker skin, structural changes, reduced glycogen storage (likely due to insulin resistance) etc start to develop and then it’s even harder to go to 2iu GH because you’re losing your look – and dropping the GH dose will only accelerate that.”

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