Turn Back the Clock with Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
Growth hormone is released mostly at night during deep sleep from the anterior pituitary gland. Normal secretion is in a pulsatile fashion. Growth hormone is released in response to a hormone called growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) and there are peptides that mimic this hormone that can also stimulate release of HGH.
A negative regulator of growth hormone releasing hormone is somatostatin which ends the pulsing release of GHRH resulting in a decrease of HGH and ultimately IGF-1. GH stimulates production of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) in the liver and other tissues such as skeletal muscle. IGF-1 circulates through the bloodstream and will most likely be bound the most common binding protein of which there are 6 named IGFBP-3. Because GH release is pulsatile in nature, it is difficult to measure it as it’s release fluctuates throughout the day. Therefore, we look at the release of IGF-1 to determine the health of both your HGH production and release.
Ageing has a profound effect on release of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), described as ‘somatopause’in these cricumstances. Studies in both men and women have shown that the intensity of GH pulses is reduced. GH secretion declines by 50% every 7 years after age 18-25 in men.
Ageing tends to diminish the production of GH. Indeed, men seem to experience a more profound reduction in GH compared to women of a similar age. It could be that oestrogen in women has a protective effect on the rate of diminishing GH secretion. Many men and women undertake HGH therapies for anti-ageing effects.
- Body fat increases. Those who carry excess body fat have a profound suppression of HGH at any age.
- Testosterone and oestrogen in women have an impact on HGH levels. Lower levels of testosterone results in lower levels of IGF-1 and HGH.
- Lack of exercise: High Intensity Training or weight training can increase HGH and IGF-1, but a lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle can reduce it.
- Interrupted sleep can negatively impact your HGH secretion.
- Poor nutrition will have a negative impact on your IGF-1 production.
- Stimulate the release of your own HGH with GHRH– Growth Hormone Releasing Hormones. Depending on your age and condition of your pituitary you may be able to stimulate the release of your own hormones using a peptide called GHRH 1-29. This peptide hormone causes the release of human growth hormone from the pituitary gland which then causes an increase in IGF-1 (Insulin Like Growth Factor 1). Unfortunately, this therapy is currently not available in Europe as it has been discontinued by the manufacturer.
- Exogenous recombinant HGH-Human Growth Hormone or Somatropin-This is the most popular option for increasing your human growth hormone and subsequently your IGF-1 levels. This anit-ageing hormone is available in Europe and the UK under the name Genetropin®.
- Exogenous recombinant IGF-1-(Insulin Like Growth Factor 1)- This IGF-1 is available as Increlex®. This can be taken on its own or as an adjunct with HGH if you are found to be deficient in HGH or IGF-1. Some patients may be resistant to HGH and the therapy doesn’t have an effect. IGF-1 can offer the therapeutic benefits of HGH but acts more directly as it is a downstream effect of HGH. IGF-1 can also be taken concomitantly with HGH to improve insulin sensitivity which can help utilise carbohydrates and sugars in the blood more efficiently whilst shifting metabolism to burn fat as energy.
- Improved body composition by increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat mass
- Lowers blood pressure and reduces cardiovascular mortality and morbidity
- Anti-ageing effect through maintenance of chromosome telomeres
- May help patients with Fibromyaligia
- Higher IGF-1 levels associated with longer telomere length in healthy subjects
- IGF-1 levels greater in young adults. Starting by age 30 IGF-1 substantially declines compared to those of young adults
Balanced testosterone replacement therapy can help enhance the positive effects of improved body composition including lean body mass when combined with HGH therapy. Low levels of HGH/IGF-1 and testosterone are highly correlated to low bone density and increasing body fat and decreasing muscle mass. In fact, muscle mass can decrease by as much as 40% between the ages of 25 and 75.
Therefore, maintaining healthy HGH and testosterone levels are important for healthy ageing. As men age and hormone levels plummet they may also begin to suffer from metabolic syndrome – resulting in diabetes. Several studies have shown the link between low hormones and metabolic syndrome. This can be mitigated by maintaining healthy levels of testosterone and HGH, enabling them to work together synergistically.
- Low dose HGH improves body composition in as little as one month and the effects last 3 months later (Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2001 Jun;54(6):709-17 Ahmad AM1, Hopkins MT, Thomas J, Ibrahim H, Fraser WD, Vora JP
- HGH helps maintain lowered blood pressure helping to lower cardiovascular morbidity and mortality (Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2002 Apr;56(4):431-7 Ahmad AM1, Hopkins MT, Weston PJ,Fraser WD,Vora JP)
- IGF-1 preserves telomeres. Low levels of IGF-1 are associated with inflammation and ageing-related diseases (ischaemic heart disease, congestive heart failure). Both IGF-1 and TL diminish with age and are positively and strongly correlated with each other (Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Dec;79(6):751-9. doi: 10.1111/cen.12310. Epub 2013 Sep 4. Telomeres and endocrine dysfunction of the adrenal and GH/IGF-1 axes.Aulinas A1, Ramírez MJ, Barahona MJ, Mato E, Bell O, Surrallés J, Webb SM)
- Increased IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 levels after GH treatment, over 4 days, opens up the possibility of testing the therapeutic potential of hGH in patients with FM (J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Sep;84(9):3378-81.The growth hormone (GH)-releasing hormone-GH-insulin-like growth factor-1 axis in patients with fibromyalgiasyndrome.Leal-Cerro A1, Povedano J, Astorga R, Gonzalez M, Silva H, Garcia-Pesquera F, Casanueva FF,Dieguez C.)
- Higher circulating levels of IGF-1 are associated with longer leukocyte telomere length in healthy subjects (Mechanisms of Ageing and Development Volume 130, Issues 11–12, November–December 2009, Pages 771–776 Michelangela Barbieria, Giuseppe Paolissoa,Masayuki Kimurab, Jeffrey P. Gardnerb,Virginia Boccardia,Michela Papaa,Jacob V. Hjelmborgc, Kaare Christensenc,Michael Brimacombeb,Tim S. Nawrotd,Jan A. Staessene,f,Michael N. Pollakg,Abraham Avivb
- Age-related changes of serum sex hormones, insulin-like growth factor-1 and sex-hormone binding globulin levels in men: cross-sectional data from a healthy male cohort.Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2000 Dec;53(6):689-95.Leifke E1,Gorenoi V,Wichers C,Von Zur Mühlen A,Von Büren E,Brabant G.
- Synergistic effects of testosterone and growth hormone on protein metabolism and body composition in prepubertal boys. Metabolism Volume 52, Issue 8, August 2003, Pages 964–969☆ Nelly Mauras, a, Annie Rinia,Susan Welcha, Brenda Sagera,Suzanne P Murphyb
- Ageing, hormones, body composition, metabolic effects.World J Urol. 2002 May;20(1):23-7.Vermeulen A1.
- Testosterone and metabolic syndrome: The link. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Mar; 16(Suppl1): S12–S19. doi:10.4103/2230-8210.94248 Ranabir Salam, Achouba Singh Kshetrimayum,1 and Reetu Keisam2
- Elements in the pathophysiology of diminished growth hormone (GH) secretion in aging humans.Veldhuis JD, Iranmanesh A, Weltman A. Endocrine. 1997 Aug. 7(1):41-8
- Growth hormone and testosterone interact positively to enhance protein and energy metabolism in hypopituitary men.Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Aug;289(2):E266-71. Epub 2005 Feb 22.Gibney J1, Wolthers T, Johannsson G, Umpleby AM, Ho KK.