Growth Hormone - the real fountain of youth!
On July 5th 1990, America's most prestigious medical journal, the New England
Journal of Medicine, published a Human clinical study that changed the world of
anti-aging medicine forever.
Daniel Rudman, MD and colleagues reported the results of their 6-month trial of
synthetic Human Growth Hormone (hGH) with 12 elderly men, aged 61 to 81.
Astoundingly, without any change in diet, exercise, lifestyle, smoking etc., the
12 men gained muscle, lost fat, increased their bone density, thickened their
skin and expanded their livers and spleens almost 20%.
In effect, HGH reversed the biological age of the subjects by 10 to 20 years!
HGH, the history
Prior to Rudman's landmark study, HGH use had been restricted to two classes of
people: young children, whose Growth was severely stunted due to serious HGH
deficiency and adults whose pituitary glands had been damaged or destroyed by
injury, illness or radiation.
Prior to 1985,HGH was in extremely short supply. It was painstakingly extracted
from the pituitary glands of Human cadavers.
Human use of HGH began in 1958 when endocrinologist Maurice Raben injected HGH
into a dwarf child. The child began to grow normally and over the next 30 years
thousands of children were injected with cadaver derived HGH.
By 1985 the company that pioneered recombinant DNA technology, Genentech, had
produced the first synthetic HGH, opening the way to mass production of HGH.
HGH is an extremely large and complex Hormone, consisting of 191 specific amino
acids linked in a 3 dimensional structure. Because it is a complex protein, HGH
cannot survive digestion and must be taken by injection.
Genentech's product, Protropin, differed from natural HGH by one amino acid, but
this did not affect its performance in the Human body. The following year, the
Drug Company Eli Lilly succeeded in making a 191 amino acid HGH that was 100%
physically, chemically and biologically identical to HGH produced by the Human
Lilly's Humatrope was also approved by the USA FDA for both research and medical
use and became what many clinicians now consider the "gold standard" of
recombinant DNA produced HGH. Finally in 1996, thanks to the pioneering medical
and legal work of Dr. Edmund Chein, the FDA lifted its ban on the use of HGH for
GH clinical studies
From 1994 through 1996, over 800 people were treated with HGH at Dr. Chein's
clinic. In 1995, Chein began his collaboration with Dr. L. Cass Terry. Terry
used his skills as an academic researcher to help Chein turn the mass of
clinical data gathered from his patients, into a meaningful statistical profile
of results. These results would demonstrate to both scientists and the public,
the safety and efficacy of HGH in improving a broad array of Human health
parameters in adults.
Chein and Terry's data were published for the first time in Dr. Ronald Klatz's
1997 book Grow young withHGH.
GH is secreted by the pituitary gland, a tiny gland at the base of the brain.
It is normally secreted in pulsatile bursts, with the largest daily amount being
secreted in the first few hours of deep, slow wave sleep.
For reasons of convenience, Dr. Rudman in his 1990 study had given his 12
elderly men only 3 injections of HGH per week, at a high dose of 16 IU.
In a study published in 1996, Dr. Maxine Papadakis of UCSF reported mixed
results with the identical high dose, low frequency protocol of HGH injections.
Although both Rudman and Papadakis found significant multiple benefits,
especially on the body composition of the subjects, they also reported some
unpleasant side effects. These included carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist pain),
gynocomastia (enlarged breasts), pains in both large and small joints and edema
(excess fluid) in the legs.
Papadakis' team also noted, however, that the side effects disappeared or
decreased markedly within 2 weeks after the HGH dose was lowered by 25 to 50%.
Chein and Terry chose to adopt an injection regimen, which more closely
approximated the natural rhythms of normal HGH secretion. Their clinic patients
were taught to self administer HGH injections subcutaneously (just below the
skin), just before bedtime and upon arising 6 days per week. A weekly day of
rest from injections was taken to prevent the patient's pituitary glands from
getting "lazy" and ceasing whatever HGH secretion their gland was still
A dose of 0.3 to 0.7 IU of HGH was given twice daily, for a weekly total of
about 4 to 8 IU HGH. Thus, Chein and Terry's weekly dose was only about one
quarter to one half of the dose Rudman and Papadakis gave their patients 3 times
Chein and Terry have not found any major side effects among their 800 patients.
Minor joint aches and pains and slight fluid retention are the only side effects
they have found, and these generally disappear in the first month or two of
Chein and Terry believe their lower dose; natural rhythm HGH protocol is
responsible for the minimal incidence of severity of side effects in their
Based on the results of randomly selected questionnaires from 202 patients, aged
39 to 74 (15% women), Chein and Terry reported many outstanding benefits of
their low dose, high frequency HGH program.
Over 80% improved, while 72% noted significant fat loss. 60 to 70% found
improvement in skin texture, thickness, elasticity and wrinkle disappearance,
while 38% reported new hair Growth. 55 to 71% found improved healing capacity
and healing of injuries, while 73% reported increased resistance to common
A high incidence of improvement in sexual functioning and menstrual/ menopausal
health was noted.
Also 62 to 84% of subjects enjoyed increases in energy levels, emotional
stability, positive attitude and memory.
To fully understand the significance of the positive results reported by Rudman,
Papadakis, Chein and Terry (as well as many others too numerous to mention in
this short article), it is necessary to understand the basics of the biology of
HGH is one of many Hormones secreted by the pituitary gland. Hormones are
chemical messengers that help guide, direct and control the complex integration
between (and physiologic functions of) our organs, tissues and cells.
Just as there is a hierarchy of control in an army, with generals directing
colonels, who direct majors and captains, with orders eventually directing the
corporals and privates to action, so the Human glandular system is ordered and
The general of the hierarchy is the Human brain, which affects the connecting
link between the nervous system and the glandular system- the hypothalamus. The
hypothalamus portion of the brain, activated by nerve signals from elsewhere in
the brain, secretes releasing Hormones, which in turn cause the pituitary to
release its Hormones.
Pituitary Hormones, such as ACTH, thyrotropin and luteinizing Hormone, trigger
other glands to release their Hormones.
ACTH triggers the adrenals to secrete cortisol, thyrotropin causes thyroid
Hormone release and luteinizing Hormone activates the sex glands to release
Finally, these primary action Hormones affect their target tissues- e.g. the sex
Hormones control the reproductive organs, thyroid Hormone activates brain,
liver, heart and muscles, while cortisol alters immune, brain and fat tissue,
Out of all the various pituitary Hormones, GH has the most universal action,
ultimately affecting every cell of the body. Unfortunately, GH shows the
greatest and most precipitous drop with age.
GH and its age related decrease
According to data from the April 1995 Journal of NIH Research, a healthy
10-year-old might secrete 2000mcg GH per day. By age 20 GH secretion has
already dropped to 700mcg per day (a 75% drop!). 400mcg is secreted on average
by 30, while from 40 to 80 GH drops from about 325mcg to 225mcg per day.
Yet ironically, research has shown that the somatotrophs (GH producing cells
within the pituitary) of elderly people are frequently making as much GH as
young people! The problem then lies with defective GH release and not
Many factors (possibly including some nutrients) enhance GH release; many all
too common factors also inhibit GH release.
Intense exercise, adrenaline mediated stress, emotional excitement, fasting and
calorie restricted diets enhance Growth Hormone release.
While the "state of siege" stress Hormone cortisol, insulin excess and insulin
resistance, obesity (especially abdominal obesity) and high blood levels of free
fatty acids, all inhibit GH release and at the same time that our cells are
becoming less sensitive to GH's effects.
When the pituitary in response to hypothalamic releasing factors secretes GH,
it only remains in the bloodstream for minutes. During this brief flare of
activity, GH induces the liver to produce various Growth factors, especially
Insulin like Growth Factor One (IGF-1).
While HGH has some direct benefit on the health, metabolism and structure of our
trillions of cells, much of HGH's benefit is mediated through IGF-1 and other
Growth factors HGH induces.
Between them, GH and IGF-1 help deliver to our cells the raw materials needed
for repair and renovation.
hGH the ultimate anti-oxidant?
According to Doctors Thierry Hertaghe and Vince Giampapa the latest European
research indicates HGH and IGF-1 can go beyond the current antioxidant based
anti-aging remedies in slowing, preventing and reversing aging at the cellular
Grace Wong of Genentech has shown that as we age cell proteins, as well as the
DNA and RNA that provide the blueprint for making protein and other needed cell
constituents, suffer ever accumulating damage.
A major cause of this age related cellular degradation is the ever-increasing
incidence of free radicals released during normal cellular activity. These free
radicals activate protease's, destructive enzymes that damage and degrade
essential cell proteins and structures.
Antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, SOD, etc., can reduce cellular levels of
free radicals and thus reduce activation of the damaging proteases.
But HGH can actually activate a cellular defense force of protease inhibitors.
Thus, even if high levels of free radicals can�t be avoided, the protease
inhibitors prevent the free radicals from triggering cell destructive proteases.
Thus Hertoghe and Giampapa note that HGH and IGF-1 can do what antioxidants
cannot. Antioxidants can only reduce damage to already existing cell proteins
and structures. HGH and IGF-1 help pull into the cell the nutrients needed to
repair renovate and rebuild cellular structures. IGF-1 can even deliver nucleic
acids (the building blocks of the genes) right into the protected citadel of the
cell nucleus, where the DNA and genes, which direct our cellular architecture,
Thus unlike antioxidants, HGH and IGF-1 don't just reduce cellular damage, they
actively promote the healing and regeneration of aging cells.
As recently as the early 1980's, many medical texts focused on HGH's role
primarily as the Hormone necessary to achieve normal height and bone
development. Yet the clinical Human researches, as well as the basic research on
GH of the past 20 years, has now shown that HGH/ IGF-1 affects every aspect of
GH enhancing the immune system
One of the many systems that weakens as we age is our immune system. Infectious
ailments that might barely bother a healthy 20-year-old may be fatal to a
typically immune compromised elderly person.
A key biomarker of aging is the "involution" or disappearance of the thymus
gland. The thymus gland is the director and activator of the immune system. It
secretes Hormones such as thymosin and thymoietin, which regulate the immune
The thymus also transforms immature T-cells into programmed germ killing
warriors. Researchers have been able to reverse the thymic atrophy of old rats
through HGH, so that their thymus glands became as large and robust as the
thymus glands of healthy young rats.
It is now known that the activity of all major immune cell types, such as
T-cells, B-cells, natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages, can be beneficially
altered by GH/ IGF-1.
Greg Fahey of the Naval Medical Research Institute, Bethesda MD, has noted that
immune restoration has multiple benefits. These include improved ability to make
DNA, have normal cell division, normal insulin sensitivity, normal thyroid
Hormone levels and more normal brain chemistry.
GH affecting insulin and physical make-up
GH's ability to normalize age impaired insulin sensitivity is an exciting area
of current research. Clinical studies with HGH routinely show reductions in
Human body fat with simultaneous increases in lean body mass (muscle and organ
For example, in 6 months of HGH treatment at Sahlgrenska Hospital in Sweden, HGH
deficient adults lost 20% of their body fat. Most of this fat loss occurred in
abdominal fat, reduced by 30%, compared with a 13% reduction in peripheral (e.g.
arm and leg) fat.
It is increased abdominal fat that is strongly correlated with increased
incidence of heart attacks, hypertension and diabetes.
In a short term 1994 study with 9 obese women, just 5 weeks of HGH treatment was
sufficient to show significant fat loss and lean tissue gain. In this double
blind crossover study, the women lost an average of 4.6 pounds of body fat
(mostly abdominal), while their lean body mass increased 6.6 pounds.
GH induced losses of abdominal fat take on added significance from the
viewpoint of endogenous (body produced) HGH release. Obese men make 25% less
Growth Hormone daily and have a pulsatile GH release that is only 25% as much as
a normal weight men!
It is the interaction of insulin with HGH/ IGF-1 that seems to be responsible
for GH's anti-fat pro-muscle benefits.
As people age, their cells become more insulin resistant, frequently accompanied
by increased blood insulin levels at the same time. Yet as we age, not all cells
become equally insulin resistant. Unfortunately, it is the lean body mass cells
(muscle and organ tissue) that primarily become insulin resistant. Fat cells may
even increase their insulin sensitivity!
Since insulin helps fats, sugars and amino acids from the blood enter cells,
this means that our cardiac, nerve and muscle cells are being starved as we age,
meanwhile our fat cells are being gorged. But insulin doesn't just help food
enter our fat cells, it also directs them to turn that bonanza into body fat!
When HGH levels become adequate once again, however, it seems to reverse the
situation. It directs the action of insulin toward feeding our precious heart,
brain, muscle and other organ cells, while minimizing insulin's direction of
food into fat cells. Also, fat cells have HGH membrane receptors and when
adequate GH activates these receptors it triggers a process called "lipolysis,"
breaking down existing fat.
In a very real sense, GH puts fat cells on a diet and on fat burning "exercise
programs" at the cellular level!
GH and brain protection
GH has also been shown to benefit the brain and mind in many ways. Scientists
have discovered HGH receptors in different parts of the brain, yet it seemed
that the giant HGH molecule could not pass through the blood brain barrier.
Research then discovered how HGH injections could influence the brain.
When HGH was injected into the leg, there was a 10-fold increase in HGH levels
in the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain. Researchers also discovered
that HGH seems to rebalance neurotransmitter levels, increasing mood elevating
levels of beta-endorphin, one of the brain's chief "feel good" biochemicals,
while simultaneously lowering excessive dopamine levels.
Excessive dopamine produces feelings of agitation, irritability and
quarrelsomeness- the "grumpy old men" syndrome.
Also, research with both pituitary damaged HGH deficient adults as well as age
related HGH deficient adults, has consistently shown an antidepressant, mood
elevating HGH effect.
Many of the pituitary damaged (or removed) adults studied in Sweden became
withdrawn, depressed, socially isolated, passive and pessimistic. After HUMAN
treatment, many of these adults once aging became sociable, friendly, outgoing,
The patients treated by Drs. Chein and Terry also noted improved stress
resilience, more positive outlook, more joy and peace in life.
Neuroscientists have also found evidence in both Humans and animals that HGH may
actually reverse the typical brain shrinkage that occurs with age. While some
brain cells die over the course of a lifetime, it is even more the myriad of
dendritic connections between neurons that disappear with age. It is this ever
changing, even renewing (if we're healthy and active) neuronal web that forms
the basis for all learning and memory.
GH/ IGF-1 seems to protect brain cells from death under non-ideal conditions.
hGH also stimulates various nerve Growth factors in the brain, which in turn
cause new dendrites to sprout.
GH in conclusion
The 1990's have brought the Human race- for the first time in history- the
technology to reverse the generally inevitable and debilitating decline in HGH
hGH research over 30 years has demonstrated with a wealth of detail, (way beyond
what can even be hinted at in this short article), that HGH is the Hormone of
Human rejuvenation and regeneration.
Even the elderly can attain HGH assisted recovery of lost strength, health and
vigor of body and mind.
It is just in time, for the diet and lifestyles of late 20th century Westerners
are almost perfect for producing catastrophic HGH decline.
Even in late youth and middle age, our carbohydrate, fat and calorie rich diet
promotes insulin excess and high blood fats, combined with abdominal obesity,
which reduces HGH secretion and effect. Our "couch potato" lifestyle fails to
provide the intense exercise stimulus needed to produce pituitary HGH release.
Our quietly desperate, stressful lives which we can neither flee from nor fight,
causes chronic cortisol excess in many, inhibiting HGH release and promoting HGH
stultifying obesity. Our modern self indulgence and lack of discipline makes it
hard for most people to benefit from the cheapest and most researched method of
increasing both pituitary HGH secretion, as well as cellular sensitivity to HGH-
systematic under-eating, also known as long term caloric food reduction.
Thus HGH injections may provide the "jump start" our lives need, both to reverse
(some of) our accumulated aging, as well as increase our own HGH production and
release, with consequent rejuvenation and regeneration. Those wishing more detail
on HGH, as well as an excellent technical HGH bibliography, are referred to the
excellent book; Grow young with HGH by Ronald Klatz and Carol Khan (San
Francisco, Harpers 1997).
Low levels of GH and high levels of Insulin are both associated with obesity
Lactic Acid may be the trigger substrate for GHRH (Growth Hormone releasing
GH levels generally and peak GH levels particularly drop 40% from age
twenty-thirty and another 40% from age thirty-forty. There is a further drop
beyond this with increasing age.
All GH levels, especially exercise induced GH release, decline rapidly through
the thirties (Bazzare 1975, Prinz 1976, Zadik 1985).
GH blocks Insulin activity, stopping Glucose uptake into muscle cells.
High Glycemic Carbs block GH releasers.
It is GH's similarity to Insulin that causes fat loss by blocking Insulin's
conversion of Glucose to fat.
GH encourages the use of fat for energy (Murad 1980).
Both GH and Insulin are required for muscle Growth.
10 Grams of oral Arginine powder 1 Hour (1.5 Hours for capsules) produces GH
release sufficient for fat burning and muscle Growth when coupled with peak
output exercise. (Individuals over 200 lbs probably need 12 Grams of Arginine.)
While Thyroid Stimulating Hormone may release GH, Thyroid Hormone itself
(Thyroxine) does not.
The Hypothalamus produces GHRH which causes the Pituitary to release STH. There
may be a number of intermediary and/or supplementary Hormone secretions from
various glands We are unaware of any definitive research on which Hormones
trigger or block other Hormone secretions and in what order or at what levels.
Among the secretions affected, in addition to GH, are Prolactin, Luteinizing
Hormone, Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone and, as
previously mentioned, Insulin.
The point is that while the muscle press applauded GH releasers and has now
become almost dismissive of them and is now dealing with Insulin in somewhat the
same way, the picture is far more complex then any of these journals have
reported. As an example, to insure GH releaser effectiveness, a five hour time
window is necessary, 3 hours before and two hours after. This window can be
manipulated through the use of other substrates. Niacin, for example can be used
to more rapidly reduce blood sugar levels but careful attention to dosage levels
and timing are absolutely essential to the use of GH releasing nutrients.
Moreover, this was made clear by Pearson and Shaw when they first introduced the
idea to the bodybuilding world. (Though the Baryology (weight-control) research
community had been aware of it for some time before.)
The GH release effect of Arginine is through Acetyl-Choline release.
Acetyl-Choline levels must be kept high if GH release efforts are to be
Low Potassium levels (as from diuretics), block GH release.
Phenylalanine and/or Tyrosine do not cause GH release but are involved in CCK
production and thus appetite control.
Ornithine is twice as effective as Arginine in causing GH release.
Since Arginine causes an Insulin release, even in the absence of raised blood
sugar levels, it produces a form of reactive hypoglycemia which accounts for a
small portion of its GH Release action. This portion of the Arginine generated
GH release is less affected by the proximity of dose administration to other
The use of Melatonin may encourage GH release through the same mechanism as
Tryptophan, the increase in serotonin levels at night.
The use of B-6 (pyridoxine) to augment exercise-induced GH release may work in
individuals over age 30. If it does, it would require a 600 Mg oral dose 45
minutes before exercise. There are two problems with this approach: If it is
used frequently, peripheral neuralgia may develop. Even occasional use can
produce psychological depression which may last for days afterward.
by James South MA
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