What is Human Growth Hormone (HGH)?
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a small protein made by the pituitary gland and secreted into the bloodstream mainly at night whilst you sleep. HGH production is produced in the hypothalamus of the brain and in the intestinal tract and pancreas and is a complex set of hormones.
The pituitary gland will put out HGH in bursts typically when you sleep however the levels of HGH can rise when exercising or you sustain injury. Under normal conditions, more HGH is produced at night than during the day, whilst your body has time to repair and grow. This constant change in HGH levels in the blood makes it a more complex hormone to study and accurately identify whether you have a hormonal imbalance with HGH. Typically the human body will produce a rise in HGH during childhood, peaks during puberty, and declines from middle age onward.
HGH acts on many tissues throughout the body, it also stimulates the growth of cartilage and bone production. In people of all ages, HGH promotes the utilization of fat, increases protein production and changes blood sugar levels. HGH also raises levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1).
How Growth Hormone Deficiency Can Age You
Ageing has a profound effect on release of HGH, described as ‘somatopause’ in these cricumstances. Studies in both men and women have shown that the intensity of HGH pulses is reduced as we age. HGH secretion declines by 50% every 7 years after age 18-25 in men.
Ageing tends to diminish the production of HGH until very little is produced. Men seem to experience a more profound reduction in HGH compared to women of a similar age. It could be that oestrogen in women has a protective effect on the rate of diminishing HGH secretion. Many men and women undertake HGH therapies for anti-ageing effects and to maintain proteins.
How Low Growth Hormone Levels Affect Your Health
- 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.
What HGH Treatments are there?
- 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.
- Exogenous recombinant IGF-1-(Insulin Like Growth Factor 1) – 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 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.
What Are The Benefits of HGH Therapy?
- 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
The Benefits of Combining Testosterone and HGH Therapy
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.