“What is the value of growth hormones and do they have any side effects?”
Growth hormones (also known as HGH) have become very popular in the last few years. There are many clinics that offer growth hormone injections as an anti aging solution. I think it is important to understand a few things about HGH as we are answering your questions. HGH is secreted by the pituitary gland (just below the brain) into the blood stream, and like all hormones has a direct effect on cells that respond to it. HGH has direct and indirect effects in many areas of the body including growth of tissue and adaptation to stress while having impact on aging, nutritional status, sleep and reproductive hormones. HGH’s effect on tissue synthesis is accomplished by its ability to form IGF (Insulin Growth Factor) in the liver which directly effects tissue growth. The activation of tissue growth from IGF can have favorable effects, but also can have unfavorable effects regarding cancer growth. As we age, the decline of HGH is steadily increasing abdominal and general body fat, increasing loss of muscle mass while having an effect on reproductive system and cognitive decline. Growth Hormone injections are now produced synthetically, and are occasionally needed in children that don’t produce enough HGH or may have genetic diseases that cause deficiencies. A study done in the 1990’s and published in New England Medical Journal (Dr. Rudman) reported with adult deficient HGH, improved areas of muscular development, bone mass, immunity, lowered body fat, lowered cholesterol as well as other positive benefits were attributed to HGH use. Remember there were negative complications in some situations as well. The point is that the FDA allowed for injections to be used for aging as a disease, and HGH as prevention and possible reversal of some symptoms of aging. Many doctors and clinics sprang up in areas (such as L.A. and Palm Springs) and regulated hormone use and administration making HGH use popular today. Some authorities suggest that the more feeble and frail, possible disease states, would be the best benefited with HGH. While most authorities agree if one is able to work out (weight lifting is optimal), nourish with proper nutrition (especially protein) and repair easily the use of HGH is not needed. Many supplements have been shown to improve the body’s ability to release its own HGH, but a lot of these studies are inconsistent and inconclusive at best. The use of the amino acid Arginine is mostly noted in this situation, but with mixed results. Also, homeopathic HGH has some statistical information on it. It would be worth asking a lot of questions of your doctor, and or clinic if you are considering using HGH before you make any decisions. Read lots of books, as an example the Susan Summers book; “I’m Too Young for This” is a pro-hormone use book. If you forgo the decision and decide not to use HGH, remember working out with weights will lower body fat and with good nutrition these are a great ways to keep muscle mass, good health, and longevity at any age. Please make sure you check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
Have a health related question?
Send us your question, your first and last name, and the city you live in to: email@example.com
Due to the number of responses, we will only be able to answer published questions.
- Heuther, Understanding Pathophysiology 5th, Elsevier elsevierhelath.com 2014, Pg. 429-35, 444.
- Hormonal response to L-argininesupplementation in physically active individuals.da Silva DV, Conte-Junior CA, Paschoalin VM, Alvares Tda S.Food Nutr Res. 2014 Mar 25;58. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v58.22569. eCollection 2014.PMID:24678288 Free PMC Articlehttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24678288
- Endogenous somatostatin is critical in regulating the acute effects of L-arginineon growth hormone and insulin release in mice.Córdoba-Chacón J, Gahete MD, Pozo-Salas AI, Castaño JP, Kineman RD, Luque RM. Endocrinology. 2013 Jul;154(7):2393-8. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1136. Epub 2013 May 21. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23696563
- The acute effects of L-arginineon hormonal and metabolic responses during submaximal exercise in trained cyclists. Forbes SC, Harber V, Bell GJ Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2013 Aug;23(4):369-77. Epub 2013 Jan 8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23319437
- The acute effects of a low and high dose of oral L-argininesupplementation in young active males at rest.Forbes SC, Bell GJ.Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011 Jun;36(3):405-11. doi: 10.1139/h11-035. Epub 2011 May 16 PMID:21574873http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21574873
- Cynober, Metabolic and Therapeutic Aspects of Amino Acids in Clinical Nutrition, CRC Press New York, NY. 2004. Pg. 503-4
- Arginine Stimulates Growth Hormone Secretion by Suppressing Endogenous Somatostatin Secretion JULIA ALBA-ROTH†, ALBRECHT MÜLLER, JOCHEN SCHOPOHL, and KLAUS VON WERDERAddress requests for reprints to: Dr. K. von Werder, Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt, Ziemssenstr. 1, 8000 Munich 2, West Germany.*This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (We 439/5-2).- See more at: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jcem-67-6-1186#sthash.SbZtH7zg.dpufhttp://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jcem-67-6-1186