Human growth hormone (HGH), aka Somatotropin is produced by the all powerful pituitary gland in the middle of the brain. It is responsible for regulating our bone and muscle growth and body composition from childhood to adulthood. HGH also helps to regulate sugar and fat metabolism and even heart function. HGH directly stimulates the production of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which has growth-promoting properties on every cell in the body.
Synthetic HGH was developed in 1985 and is FDA approved for a number of uses in children and adults. Recently HGH has been receiving a lot of praise in hormone replacement therapy for adults, being touted as a miracle drug to increase the body’s natural healing ability and recovery time in the face of injury. As a complement therapy to regenerative medicine, HGH supplementation has proven quite valuable, especially in older individuals as the production of HGH decreases as we age.
HGH is a hormone that is most secreted at night while we are sleeping. This is because HGH is not produced when insulin is high. Insulin and growth hormone play antagonist roles against one another. When one is high, the other is low. Not enough sleep and overconsumption of food will lower your growth hormone and decrease your ability to regenerate muscles, bones and connective tissue. Constant snacking and consumption of sugary beverages throughout the day is an absolute detriment to the secretion of growth hormone. HGH declines naturally as we age and to compound poor lifestyle choices on top of this, the decline of healthy HGH levels is accelerated. The good news is supplementation, under the careful guidance of a physician, will work to restore HGH to their proper levels.
HGH supplementation first gained attention in 1990 when the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that showed a statistically significant increase in lean body mass and bone density for men over the age of 60. According to Dr. Allan Dunn, an orthopedic surgeon in Miami, who has been using HGH therapy for improving recovery time in his patients claims HGH has the incredible ability to stimulate cartilage production to be 100% hyaline cartilage. Hyaline cartilage is the natural form of cartilage that occurs in our joints. Most operations to repair cartilage create a different form of cartilage called fibrocartilage which is a form of scar tissue that is not as smooth or elastic as hyaline cartilage and can limit movement and create pain.
HGH is known to improve physical capacity of individuals through stimulating collagen synthesis in the skeletal muscle and tendons, increasing muscle strength and improving exercise performance as a result. According to a study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, long term HGH administration showed a significant increase in muscle strength and lean muscle mass in a group of healthy men between the ages of 50 and 70. Furthermore, a study conducted at University of California’s Department of Medicine a randomized, controlled, double-blinded study for six months in 28 healthy older men with low baseline plasma IGF-1 showed the supplementation of HGH enhanced collagen deposition during the wound-healing phase, thus helping the healing process.
HGH administration is only by prescription and through injection. However the mode of administration affects the bioavailability. When injected subcutaneously, the bioavailability of HGH is approximately 75% with a 3.8 hour half-life, which is the best route of administration because when injected intramuscularly, bioavailability goes down to 63% but half-life is 4.9 hours. While the half-life of HGH is short regardless of how it is administered, the total affect far outlast the half-life. The significant and dramatic increases in IGF-1 brought on by the use of HGH will stretch well past the 24 hour mark. IGF-1 is produced when HGH is secreted. IGF-1 has a myriad host of benefits as evident by the chart below. In terms of regenerative medicine, higher IGF-1 stimulate healing on many levels.
In a therapeutic setting, HGH doses will fall in the 1-3 IU per day range. HGH supplementation of 1-2 months is all that is needed to heal joint traumas, but an optimal cycle for increasing bone density, muscle strength and weight loss is 3-4 months with little to no side effects. The addition of HGH to a regenerative medicine protocol utilizing stem cells and platelet rich plasma is a potentially powerful healing aid for joint rehabilitation as well as overall restorative benefit.
Now, HGH therapy is known to be very safe, however, it is a synthetic and substitutes the body’s own production of HGH, and it should be administered by a physician via injection. What if a patient wants to stimulate their own pituitary gland to produce more human growth hormone and not have to be injected with anything. Luckily, there is a great option here as well with peptide therapy. HGH releasing peptides such as Sermorelin and Ipamorelin, amino acid chains that stimulate the pituitary gland to produce HGH. These differ from synthetic HGH replacement therapy, which seeks to directly replace HGH in the body. The effects of Sermorelin and Ipamorelin are regulated by the pituitary gland from releasing somatostatin (a growth inhibiting hormone that indicates high levels of HGH), so that overdose of HGH is difficult if not impossible. These peptides have no side effects and do not create a spike in cortisol, prolactin, and acetylcholine levels.
Another growth hormone secretagogue is Ibutamoren Acetate, which is not classified as a peptide. These three stimulate the pituitary gland to release stored growth hormone. Using growth hormone secretors unlike HGH supplementation allows the body to increase production of its own growth hormone, so in many cases may be a favorable alternative. Unlike HGH injections, peptide therapies take longer to work, usually 3-6 months before full effects are noticed. However, they can be used indefinitely. These HGH secretagogues can also be administered orally via troche, a small lozenge that dissolves under the tongue daily, which absorbs directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach, the first-pass metabolism of the liver, and absorbing directly into the buccal circulation.
At Ocyon Regenerative Medicine we integrate all the complementary therapies that are proven and safe to assist our patients on their path of regenerating new tissue and getting back to doing what they love in the most optimal way.
Effects of Growth Hormone Administration on Muscle Strength in Men over 50 Years Old.
International Journal of Endocrinology. Volume 2013, Article ID 942030, 6 pages.
Improvement of fracture healing by systemic administration of growth hormone and local application of insulin-like growth factor-1 and transforming growth factor-β1. The Bone Journal, July 2002, Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 165-172
Effect of growth hormone replacement on wound healing in healthy older men. Wound Repair Regen. 1996 Oct;4(4):421-5.
Acceleration of wound healing by growth hormone-releasing hormone and its agonists. PNAS October 26, 2010. 107 (43) 18611-18615
Human growth hormone (HGH): Does it slow aging? Mayo Clinic