Stem cell therapy and HGH have been talked about a lot lately. People seem to be confused on what the difference is between the two types of injections. For example the NYdailynews discusses a sensitive situation that Payton Manning was facing recently because people are confused on the difference between the two treatments.

If you’re unaware of Peyton Manning’s stem cell therapy endeavor, we’ll bring you up to speed. Payton manning suffered neck injuries a few years ago, which lead him to surgery. After a few failed surgeries on his neck he decided to undergo stem cell therapy to essentially expedite the recovery. Professional athletes have been taking advantage of stem cell therapy to heal more fully after an injury or heal more fully and more quickly after surgery. Stem cell therapy is not banned in professional sports so there should be no controversy.

After Peyton’s stem cell treatments people were saying that he was taking advantage of treatments or supplements that are banned by the NFL. The type of treatments people were confusing with stem cell therapy was HGH or Human Growth Hormones.

Peyton is one example of a professional athlete being accused of using HGH. The Yankees pitcher, Bartolo Colon is another athlete who was accused. Colon, 38, received stem cell therapy on his pitching shoulder and wrist in 2010. His doctor, who performed the treatment even said that Colon didn’t take advantage of human growth hormones. However, since people don’t understand how stem cell therapy or human grown hormones work, they assumed he was abusing treatments that are banned by the Yankees.

If you’re still confused on what the difference is, we’ll explain exactly what HGH and Stem Cell Therapy are.


Human growth hormones are just like stem cells in the sense that they exist in everyone at all times. HGH is produced in the pituitary gland and is a very important part of growth when you’re a child. When you have growth spurts it’s from HGH. These hormones are also in charge of regulating body composition, body fluids, growing bones and muscles, metabolism and even heart function. HGH isn’t just something created in a lab, it’s a very important hormone.

However, just like stem cell therapy these hormones or cells can be concentrated, harvested and injected for treatments. Here’s a few reasons why the FDA approves HGH according to

  • Turner’s syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects a girl’s development
  • Prader-Willi syndrome, an uncommon genetic disorder causing poor muscle tone, low levels of sex hormones, and a constant feeling of hunger
  • Chronic kidney insufficiency
  • HGH deficiency or insufficiency
  • Children born small for gestational age
  • Short bowel syndrome, a condition in which nutrients are not properly absorbed due to severe intestinal disease or the surgical removal of a large portion of the small intestine
  • HGH deficiency due to rare pituitary tumors or their treatment
  • Muscle-wasting disease associated with HIV/AIDS

However, in most situations people use HGH for reasons that are not FDA approved. Many people use HGH in addition to other drugs, which are supposedly used for performance enhancement, such as steroids. People believe the combination of HGH and Steroids will build more muscle and improve their own athletic abilities.

Also people take advantage of HGH because they are told that HGH is the cure to aging and the fountain of youth. However, there is no evidence to support these claims.

With everything you just learned about HGH it’s easy to see how it can be confused with stem cell therapy, especially in athletes. They’re both injected and they can both be used to heal a particular part of the body.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy, on the other hand is completely different in many ways too. Stem cells aren’t approved to treat any of the problems that HGH treats. Also stem cell therapy is not proven to have any effect on muscle growth or athletic ability, which is why it is allowed by professional sports and the Olympics. However, stem cell therapy is proven to help people with orthopedic conditions and to also help people heal faster and more fully after surgery.

Stem cells are either taken from a part of your body or donated to a stem cell therapist from a mother after a C-section birth. The stem cells are concentrated, sent to an FDA approved lab and then injected into the patient’s problematic area. These problematic areas are areas such as an arthritic knee or an area around a surgical incision. Stem Cells are used to treat some of the following treatments:

  • Knee arthritis
  • Hip degeneration
  • Torn ACL
  • Worn Cartilage
  • Injured tendons
  • Surgical wounds
  • Lower back pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Cuff Tear

Since the treatment process of HGH and stem cell therapy are similar (injection) it’s easy for people to mix up the two treatments. However, stem cell therapy has no performance enhancing benefits and is completely ethical, completely safe and can be very effective for orthopedic conditions and for getting athletes back in the game quicker after surgery.


WEBmd (2014, December 30). Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

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