In recent years, there has been a lot of hype and fanfare about the function of growth hormone and, in turn, its effects. Whether it’s from reports of incredible fat loss results or muscle growth levels defying genetics stories, human growth hormone(HGH) has become a panacea for bodybuilding woes. According to reliable statistics, up to 80% of professional athletes are experimenting with, or using, or even actively using human growth hormone as a supplement to their training program.
What is Human Growth Hormone?
Human growth hormone (also known as HGH, somatropin, or GH) is produced by the pituitary gland and consists of a chain of 191 amino acids. When we are small, most growth hormones’ functions are responsible for the normal growth of bones and other tissues, such as muscles. If too little of this hormone is produced, then we will grow up to be dwarfs; if too much is produced, then we will grow up to be giants and/or suffer from abnormal growth deformities. As we grow into adults, growth hormone is primarily responsible for keeping muscle mass in balance, serving as support for a healthy immune system, regulating our metabolic function, handling increased fat metabolism, and maintaining a healthy body composition later in life, as well as maintaining and repairing our skin and other tissues.
Our body’s peak human growth hormone levels begin to decline dramatically around age 30 after we pass through adolescence. By the time we reach age 60, our growth hormone levels drop to only 10% of what they were at puberty. Once the human growth hormone declines, many signs of aging will occur.
Some of these are
- Increase in fat
- Decline in muscle and lean body mass
- Skin becomes rough and dry
- Bone density decreases, and osteoporosis begins to manifest
- Decline in brain function and mental deterioration
- Decreased sexual drive
- Overall decline in physical and mental health
- Development of sleep disorders and reduced sleep quality
- Depression and fatigue
In addition, it is possible to reverse or improve these symptoms by starting human growth hormone supplementation after the age of 30. This is why you often hear quotes about human growth hormone: “the fountain of youth” and other similar statements. It can provide a better quality of life for those who are aging.
How is growth hormone released in your body?
Growth hormone is secreted via the pituitary gland impulsively and generally follows a circadian rhythm. Several stimuli can trigger the secretion of human growth hormone, the most effective being short, intense workouts and adequate sleep. During the first few hours of sleep (the deep sleep stage – about 2 hours after you sleep), the growth hormone inhibitor is turned off, and the growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) is turned on, thus producing the human growth hormone pulse.
The hypothalamus human growth hormone secretes growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). Human growth hormone and IGF-1, together, create a negative feedback loop that releases (GHRH) when their levels are elevated and, in contrast, weakens the human growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH).
Growth hormone suppressor (SS) is secreted by the hypothalamus, which affects the response of other body tissues to human growth hormone secretion. The relative response of GHRH to growth hormone suppressor (SS) decreases blood glucose concentrations. High levels of IGF-1 stimulate the growth hormone suppressor (SS) secretion.
Ghrelin, a peptide hormone secreted by the stomach, binds to the growth hormone receptor, creating a potent stimulus to growth hormone secretion. Ghrelin is a receptor for the growth hormone pro-secretin, which effectively promotes the secretion of growth hormone. The combined effect of intact Ghrelin signaling with growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) and growth hormone suppressor (SS) controls the amount and timing of growth hormone secretion.
The duration of growth hormone de-release is very brief. It is part of general metabolism and lasts about half an hour. During this half hour, it is transferred to the liver and other tissues and induced to secrete a peptide hormone called insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).