Monday, October 6, 2014

Human Growth Hormone: Is it the 'Fountain-of-Youth' hormone some anti-aging 'experts' are touting? Should you consider hGH replacement therapy?

     Natural human Growth Hormone, abbreviated as hGH and medically known as Somatotropin, is a truly amazing and essential hormone, but sadly it is not a fountain-of-youth hormone.  In this article I’m only going to discuss hGH’s role in fully mature adults.  hGH is also produced synthetically, since 1985, and is available only by (very expensive) prescription via low-dose injections.  The synthetic form of hGH is known generically as Somatropin but is sold through prescription under many different brand names, usually ending in ‘-trope’ or ‘-tropin’.  There is absolutely no oral tablet or capsule form of hGH that is legitimate because it is destroyed in the stomach during digestion.  There is absolutely no supplement that will boost your own hGH production.  Those are all false claims and marketing ploys, unregulated by the FDA.  The only synthetic form of hGH that is real, is available by prescription injection only.  You are an idiot if you were to ever try to buy black market hGH and administer it to yourself and that is as far as I am going to discuss black market hGH because I refuse to waste your time.
In adults, hGH is secreted by the pituitary gland in sporadic short bursts throughout the day, peaking at night about an hour after we first fall asleep and enter our first deep-sleep phase - which is why if you take nothing else away from reading this article, simply by ensuring you go to be at the same time each night and don’t miss that critical first cycle of sleep, you will be accomplishing one of the best things you can do to maximize your natural hGH production.  Other natural occurring times when hGH is secreted is in direct response to intense exercise, physical trauma, and during periods of fasting/hunger.  More on this later, as we can deduce simple strategies to maximize our hGH based on this information.

hGH helps restore and regenerate all soft-tissue, synthesize protein (leading to increase in muscle mass and overall anabolic state), promotes the utilization of fat, improves lean-body mass and body composition, protects bone density, and raises levels of the companion hormone, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1).  IGF-1 is often the marker used to test for hGH levels in the bloodstream.  Because hGH is secreted in short, sporadic bursts throughout the day, it is very difficult to accurately test for baseline levels.  However we know that hGH peaks during puberty and then tapers off slowly from middle-age adulthood onward.  This would seem to imply that as we age into our forties and beyond we all must eventually become deficient in our hGH production and further that it would make sense for all of us to benefit from hormone replacement therapy.  There are many longevity clinics and unethical doctors out there touting hGH replacement therapy as an ‘anti-aging’ therapy, not to mention, some athletes seeking hGH to improve performance and faster recovery.  With all the benefits listed earlier, there certainly does not seem to be a downside to hGH, or replacement therapy to restore levels to normal.  But the risks far outweigh the benefits when we interfere.
As many post-menopausal women will tell you, (if you dare ask!), hormone-replacement therapy is very complicated and not without many negative side-effects.  It seems that even the best endocrinologist doctors still cannot duplicate what naturally occurs with our own hormone production levels and ratios, and even if they are coming close, sometimes it seems we are just meant to age in a certain manner with a natural tapering of hormones as Mother Nature intended.  The main drawback of hGH replacement therapy is no doubt the cost, at a minimum of $1000 per month for prescription injections.  Who can afford that?  In addition, all hormone replacement therapy also needs to be closely monitored by a doctor and cycled accordingly, as it will lose its efficacy and cause the body to shut down its own production otherwise.
There are clinically-diagnosed medical cases where adult hGH replacement therapy is warranted such as pituitary or hypothalamus disease, or damage from radiation therapy.  But seeking a prescription for ‘longevity’ or ‘anti-aging’ or improved athletic performance is never a good idea and quickly leads to bigger problems such as edema, joint pain and swelling, high LDL cholesterol levels, carpal tunnel syndrome, and hyperglycemia.  Furthermore Growth Hormone causes ALL tissues to grow not just your vanity muscles, including all your organs, even your heart.  You don’t want to mess around with the synthetic stuff.

Especially when it is so much easier, cheaper and safer to maximize your GH levels the old-fashioned way - through simple diet and exercise strategies.  As I mentioned early on in the is article, (and in many of my past articles), intense exercise, directly and immediately triggers a huge hGH surge.  So does fasting, and Intermittent-Fasting as I have also discussed before, is a fasting strategy that can be applied to simultaneously exploit a planned fat-burning window, trigger GH, minimize insulin, all without risking muscle-catabolism or break down, when done properly.  Lastly, as I mentioned in the very first paragraph, if you truly want to protect your peak GH secretion window, do not let anything interfere with your bed time and your first phase of deep-sleep, approximately 1.5 hours after you first fall asleep.  And remember this:  Unless you’re shelling out at least $1000 per month for low-dose hGH prescription injections, you are getting ripped off, what you think you are getting is fake – placebo at best, and dangerous at worst!


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