Growth hormone has been hyped up as a super-supplement which can cure all sorts of problems from obesity to the many conditions associated with aging. Most of the reviews of HGH products overlook the basic fact that growth hormone is a natural hormone which is made by the pituitary gland – not some miracle cure that man discovered! Like with other hormones, a proper balance of growth hormone is essential for bodily functioning. Too much growth hormone can result in problems just like a growth hormone deficiency.
Though it is rare, a growth hormone deficiency can result in serious problems like failure to grow, congenital malformation, delayed puberty, obesity, exhaustion, and wasting away. While surges in growth hormone can cause muscle mass to increase and strengthen bones, it must be remember that HGH will also cause growth elsewhere throughout the body. Overgrowth can impair organ function or result in gigantism. Common problems from too much growth hormone include thickened bones, nerve pressure, muscular weakness, insulin resistance, and tumor formation.
Growth hormone has numerous functions in the body, most of which are considered “anabolic,” meaning that they build up or repair tissues. The main functions regulated by HGH include:
• Regulating growth, particularly height and also organ growth
• Stimulating the production of insulin-like growth factor
• Increasing the amount of calcium retained by bones
• Increasing muscle mass
• Promoting fat breakdown
• Promoting protein synthesis
• Stimulating immunity
If growth hormone levels become too high or too low, problems can occur with any of these core bodily functions.
As we age, our levels of growth hormone start to drastically diminish. Young adolescents will typically secret about 700 μg of HGH daily. By adulthood, a health person is only making about 400 μg daily. Adults who do not maintain a healthy diet, exercise, or control stress will likely make much less HGH. By the time you are a senior citizen, your HGH levels will likely have dropped by about 85% of your adult levels. When you are 80, your HGH levels will likely only be about 25 μg daily.
Even though scientists know that HGH is directly linked to the many symptoms of aging (like slowed metabolism, reduced energy, bone loss, and weakness), they are not sure why HGH levels decline with age. At first, it was theorized that the pituitary gland did not have the capacity to continue producing growth hormone throughout our lives. But this was disproved as the pituitary gland, with proper support, can produce high amounts of HGH. Another theory is that levels of a natural chemical called somatostatin increase with age. Somatostatin blocks HGH production, thus accounting for the low levels.
In the past, growth hormone treatment involved actual HGH extracted from the pituitary glands of cadavers. Then it was discovered that this form of extracted HGH could carry serious diseases. In the 1980s, a form of HGH was made in a laboratory with recombinant DNA techniques. This form of HGH treatment is highly controversial and has numerous known and unknown risks. Because HGH is a very delicate yet large molecule, it cannot be absorbed in any oral form, like pills or oral sprays, nor nasal sprays. However, there are supplements known as “HGH releasers” which can stimulate the pituitary gland to produce more HGH.