Use of Growth Hormone Releasers (GHR) for better life?

It is with great interest that I read the article published by the HSI-Baltimore entitled "Human Growth Hormone – The End of Anti Aging?"

In summary, HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is the most abundant hormone produced by the pituitary gland, which is located in the center of the human brain. The pituitary gland secretes human growth hormone, which aids in a variety of health functions of the human body.

According to researchers, our levels of HGH begin to drop around the age of 30. Over the years, our levels continue to drop at a consistent rate. In fact, some experts claim that our HGH levels diminish by as much as 80% or more over time. Many researchers believe that this drop in our HGH levels is what causes many health problems and diseases associated with modern aging – such as weight gain, reduced energy, muscle loss, wrinkles, declining mental alertness, weakened immune system, vision problems and more.

According to the article, it is believed that there is a direct correlation between declining HGH levels and increased signs of aging: As our HGH levels drop, we experience more of the adverse effects of aging. Thus, it is believed that if you wish to effectively reverse the aging process, you need to increase your levels of growth hormone. If this theory correct, then it may be true that HGH is the key to regaining our youth.

There are several ways (injections, oral spray, releasers) to boost your HGH levels and the article promoted the use of a brand called "Symbiotropin Pro-HGH" as a safe (and cheaper) alternative to the injection of growth hormones. But is the use of GH releaser as "absolutely safe" as the article would like us to believe?

HGH releasers are natural combinations of amino acids and vitamins that are already in our bodies. One benefit to increasing your body’s natural production using an HGH hormone releaser is that your body won’t "crash" when the supplementation is stopped. When a hormone is injected, or otherwise introduced into the body the natural production slows down, and in extreme cases stops. This leads to a big drop in that hormone’s level in the body if the hormone therapy is stopped without tapering off. With HGH releasers your body is making the hormone and not relying on outside sources. Your body will gradually produce less if the supplement is stopped but only to the pre-supplement level.

HGH hormone releasers can give your body the boost it needs to start increasing its own growth hormone production. The results may be slower and not as dramatic as with injections but the long term effects, lack of side effects, and lower cost make this a good alternative for those seeking the benefits of growth hormone therapy.

However, I had a look at the formula of Symbiotropin Pro HGH and here is what I found out: These are the good old fizzy tablets – I say good old because Symbiotropin ProHGH is based on one of the oldest GH stack products.

This is basically the same formula that Nutraceutics has been selling for ten years. Ten years ago it worked pretty good. Unfortunately no attempt has been made to improve the formulation.

The main ingredients are:

  • Symbiotropin Blend 3650 mg
  • L-Glutamine
  • L-Arginine L-Pyroglutamate
  • L-Lysine Hydrochloride
  • Anterior Pituitary Powder (Porcine)
  • Glycine
  • Gamma Aminobutyric Acid

I always hate these blends that do not tell you how much of each ingredient you get. Any competitor can buy a hgh supplement and send it to a lab. Within 24 hours the lab can send them the exact formula. I guess some manufacturers just don’t want people to do an honest comparison. This HGH product used to contain broad bean for the l-dopa. The current version lacks that nice ingredient plus a couple of other good natural growth hormone releasers that have come on the market in the past decade. I am also surprised to see that the recommended product is not an herbal one (presence of anterior pituitary powder of porcine origins).

Although, the idea of using GHR seemed appealing for the reasons described above, the recommendation of Symbiotropin triggered some questions in my brain: Why not recommend a fully herbal supplement? And would this really be “absolutely safe” anyway?

Digging a little bit deeper, I found out that GHR contributes to an increase in the level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). It is IGF-1 that is responsible for growth and it stimulates the synthesis of lean muscle mass in particular. However, excessive levels in adults are associated with acromegaly. Acromegaly is not a fun thing with such manifestations as fatigue, coarse facial features, headaches, decreased vision, congestive heart failure, kidney stones, joint pains, and of particular interest to young men, impotence and a lack of sexual desire. It is said that acromegalics look more like each other than like their own family members. As a matter of fact, some pictures of bodybuilders on GH enhancers look suspiciously like the classic depictions of acromegalics. Acromegalics also have higher incidence of cancer especially colon cancer and pituitary tumors(2,5).

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health reported a connection between cancer risk and high IGF-1 levels in 1995. In 1998 researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that a high IGF-1 level is the single most important risk factor for prostate cancer and that high IGF-1 levels were present many years before the cancer was actually diagnosed. Other researchers have found that high IGF-1 levels combined with high testosterone levels are a potent risk. High IGF-1 levels have also been implicated as strong risk factors in breast and colon cancers and now lung cancer is about to be officially added to this list. Recent research has shown that artificially increasing IGF-1 levels in mice accelerates the growth of cancerous tumors(5-10).

Dr. Samuel Epstein, MD, a professor at the University of Illinois School of Public Health says that "Taking supplements to increase your IGF-1 levels is reckless, extreme, and bordering on the criminal". Dr. Derek LeRoith of the National Institutes of Health agrees and says that there is now enough evidence that taking GH supplements when you are not deficient will increase the risk of cancer and acromegaly.

Says Dr. LeRoith "If you ask me if I would take them, the answer is a definite no". Dr. Michael Pollak, a member of the Harvard team who reported the prostate cancer connection also condemns the use of GH enhancers by normal, healthy individuals. Dr. Pollak points out that growth hormone supplementation has a definite place in medicine in cases where people are deficient and need to increase their IGF-1 levels from sub-normal to normal. However, people who have normal levels would run a significantly increased risk of acromegaly and prostate cancer if they were to take GH enhancers on a sustained basis. Dr. Pollak is also concerned about giving IGF-1 to older people with normal levels for their age. He says the benefits are uncertain and the risks unknown.(5,11-13).

A distinguished group of researchers at the University of Bristol in the UK recently voiced their concern about the increasing use of IGF-1 and growth hormone enhancers by bodybuilders and elderly people trying to recapture their youth. Says Dr. George Davey Smith "People using growth hormone and IGF-1 enhancers are unlikely to be aware of their potentially harmful effects".(14)

So my question is who’s right and who’s wrong? Is the use of GHR as described in the report safe enough? If yes, what should we be looking for in GHR (as it looks like that the market is flooded with many brands, which effectiveness is very difficult to decipher)?

I’ll be looking forward to reading any knowledgeable person on the matter.

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Brian Kennedy

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