HGH vs Steroids: What Are the Essential Differences?

Contrary to popular belief, human growth hormone (HGH) and steroids are not the same things. Learn about the important differences between human growth hormone and steroids as well as their similarities. Most importantly, we’ll explore the potential benefits and dangers of combining HGH and steroids in a single regimen.

What is HGH?

Human growth hormone (HGH) is a potent anabolic (pro-growth) hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. HGH is responsible for facilitating various physiological tasks, such as:

Molecular Representation of HGH

…And many more.

Without adequate HGH levels in the blood, patients experience a slew of negative health effects such as chronic fatigue, muscle loss, weight gain, “brain fog,” and increased susceptibility to pathogens like the flu or COVID-19. 

When HGH levels in the blood drop too low, as measured through lab testing, the patient is diagnosed with a condition called growth hormone deficiency (GHD), which requires treatment. 


Synthetic HGH (known as somatropin and marketed in the US under various brand names such as Genotropin and Omnitrope) is a lab-produced compound that perfectly matches natural HGH from a molecular standpoint. Technicians utilize recombinant DNA technology to produce somatropin.

Here, it’s critical to emphasize that HGH has been granted full US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for the treatment of adult growth hormone deficiency (GHD).

What are steroids?

The term “steroids” appears often in pop culture, but most people who use it don’t necessarily understand the precise definition. 

WebMD defines steroids as “chemicals, often hormones, that your body makes naturally. They help your organs, tissues, and cells do their jobs.”

It’s important to delineate between different types of steroids, as not all forms of steroids work the same way in the body, nor are they all illegal. 

Corticosteroids, for instance, belong to a class of steroid drugs that are designed to tamp down inflammation by limiting the immune system response. These drugs are typically prescribed by doctors to combat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis as well as asthma and multiple sclerosis. You may have been prescribed corticosteroids at some point, like millions of other Americans. 

Do not confuse corticosteroids with anabolic-androgenic steroids, otherwise known as anabolics or simply steroids, which are commonly used by athletes for performance and muscle-gain purposes.

Anabolic steroid

Per research published in The Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, we have compiled a long list of adverse effects associated with anabolic steroid use. 

Adverse Effects Associated With Anabolic Steroid Use

Are anabolic steroids legal?

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines steroids as “synthetically produced versions of testosterone, the male hormone used to promote muscle growth, enhance athletic performance, [and] improve physical appearance.” 

In the legal/law enforcement world, “steroids” generally only refer to illegal testosterone.

On the street, anabolic steroids are known by various names, such as:

  • Juice
  • Roids
  • Gear
  • Arnolds
  • Gym Candy

Why HGH is not an anabolic steroid?

Synthetic HGH, containing somatropin, is often confused with steroids even though it’s not. There are critical differences between HGH and illegal anabolic steroids. 

Here’s why HGH is not a steroid, in a nutshell:

  • HGH is a peptide hormone, meaning it’s made up of small amino acid chains. This is a completely different molecular makeup than anabolic steroids
  • HGH performs physiological functions that are distinct from the activities of testosterone, the male sex hormone (androgen) 
  • The pituitary gland in the brain produces HGH; there are no anabolic steroids produced in the same location
  • HGH is sanctioned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be legally manufactured and sold with a valid prescription; anabolic steroids are fully illegal in the United States
HGH Anabolic steroids
Legal? Yes, with a prescription No
Safe? Yes, under a doctor’s supervision No
Main ingredient Somatropin Testosterone cypionate
Structural classification Peptide hormone Steroid hormone
Common side effects Carpal tunnel syndrome, insulin resistance, edema (swelling) High blood pressure, mood swings, severe body aches

Why is HGH so often confused with steroids?

Here is why HGH might often be confused with steroids:

  • HGH is commonly used in conjunction with anabolic steroids by bodybuilders and professional athletes because both substances support muscle development. 
  • Both steroids and HGH are usually injected via needle for maximum efficacy 
  • Black market retailers often combine HGH with steroids in a single package, or “stack.” Combining HGH, steroids, and other supplements is a common practice often called “stacking” within the bodybuilding subculture.

HGH Therapy

Contact us to find out if human growth hormone therapy is right for you.

Can you take human growth hormone with anabolic steroids?

Taking HGH in combination with steroids is common practice among athletes and bodybuilders, but is it safe? 

The answer is clearly “no.” Here are the reasons you should avoid taking HGH and anabolic steroids together. 

The risk of negative drug interactions

As any two drugs might do, HGH and steroids may interact negatively with one another, potentially leading to devastating side effects. Doctors will not supervise the use of steroids, in conjunction with HGH or alone, because they are illegal, so you might not be aware of these negative interactions before it’s too late. 

For instance, as just one example, research shows that the combined administration of HGH and steroids can result in reduced HDL levels. HDL is the “good” kind of cholesterol that clear the blood vessels of fatty deposits, so lowered HDL has serious implications for cardiovascular health. 

There are many more potential negative consequences associated with simultaneous HGH and steroid use.

We’ve discussed the legal risks of purchasing illicit steroids on the black market, including fines and jail time. But the other, more important, reason to avoid black market supplements is the risk of contamination. 

Research published by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that as many as one in ten (%10) of medical supplies imported from the Third World to be sold on the black or gray market are either fake or substandard. 

Percentage of medicines that are substandart or falsifed
Percentage of medicines that are substandart or falsifed

The bottom line is that, because steroids are not regulated, it’s simply impossible to know what ingredients are contained within a package – many of which could potentially interact negatively with HGH.


For all the reasons we’ve discussed here, HGH and steroids are not the same things. Anabolic steroid use is strictly prohibited by law under all conditions, whereas synthetic HGH is a legitimate, legal, FDA-approved medication with a better safety and efficacy record than steroids. 

If you require testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), there are legal, effective clinical interventions to replace steroids. Contact us to learn more. 

Don’t throw away your money, risk jail time, and gamble with your health by resorting to illegal steroids. If you’re serious about balancing your hormones to achieve optimal health and peak physical and mental performance, HGH For Men Clinic is here to guide you through the journey.

Get in touch

Please get in touch and our expert support team will answer all your questions about HGH therapy.

8199 West River Street

Brooklyn, New York 11224

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