What is HGH?
HGH, hCG, HRT, BHRT, TRT. We sure use a lot of abbreviations and acronyms in medicine that might cause confusion. The biggest confusion seems to be between HGH and hCG. What is HGH? HGH stands for human growth hormone and hCG stands for human chorionic-gonadotropin.
We’re going to focus on HGH today. But, quickly hCG is a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It is used today in fertility treatments, weight loss (HCG Diet), and to raise testosterone levels in men.
HGH is human growth hormone. It is responsible for skeletal and organ growth and is the major repair or rejuvenation hormone. It is not approved for anti-aging purposes though it is prescribed for individuals deficient in HGH who are displaying signs or symptoms of a HGH deficiency.
How to Boost HGH
Because of its rejuvenating properties there has long been interest in finding ways to boost HGH levels. We’ve already discussed the symptoms of low HGH before in this post. So, what can you do if you are low in HGH?
There are three main approaches to boosting HGH.
- Nutritional strategies including nutritional supplements.
- Prescribed injections.
There are nutritional and exercise strategies to boost HGH that are frequently overlooked.
First, increasing protein intake can naturally help increase HGH levels. Secondly, HGH gets converted into IGF-1 which in the end mediates most of growth hormone’s functions. IGF-1 stands for insulin growth factor-1.
Structurally IGF-1 looks very much like insulin. Insulin and IGF-1 share the same receptors on the cell. If you eat foods that trigger insulin then IGF-1 is blocked from cell receptors and unable to function. Since most of the day’s production of growth hormone is produced while asleep it’s important to avoid consuming carbohydrates in the evening that will raise insulin levels blunting the effects of IGF-1. So it’s essential to consume a low glycemic diet.
Are there HGH supplements and products? Yes there are. Arginine has been shown to boost growth hormone but the exact dose isn’t known. Much of the research on arginine and growth hormone deals with intravenous arginine. Orally, anywhere between 5,000 mg and 8,000 mg and upwards has been touted to raise growth hormone levels. Arginine is an amino acid and found in protein – one reason to consume more protein.
There are other products called growth hormone secretagogues some of which can be obtained directly from the manufacturer and others like SecretropinRX that requires a prescription from a physician even though it is basically a food supplement containing a variety of amino acids and peptides that have been shown to raise growth hormone levels.
One challenge with these products is that the recommended doses are for individuals who have very low levels of HGH. If you have levels that are already mid-range you will need to monitor your IGF-1 levels closely as you may find it drops if you take the recommended dose. You most likely need a lower dose. That’s one reason why SecretropinRX is only available through a prescription.
For adults who have a growth hormone deficiency, human growth hormone injections can be prescribed. These are daily self-administered subcutaneous injections. This requires testing by a physician to confirm low HGH and a prescription with regular monitoring.
There are other injections gaining popularity that can stimulate the anterior pituitary to produce and release more growth hormone. One such product is Sermorelin. Sermorelin is growth hormone releasing hormone or GHRH. GHRH is naturally made in the hypothalamus of the brain and stimulates the release of growth hormone by the pituitary gland.
Other injectable peptides exist that also stimulate production and release of growth hormone by working on the hypothalamus and pituitary. These include GHRP-2 and GHRP-6. All of these increase growth hormone which then increases IGF-1. Injectable IGF-1 replacement therapy has been available in Europe for several years and is now available and being tested in clinical studies in the United States.
One potential problem with direct HGH and IGF-1 injections is that you can override the body’s natural negative feedback loop. The body also does develop some tachyphlaxis (resistance) to HGH over time which means higher and higher doses are needed to provide the same clinical effect.
A negative feedback look works like the thermostat in your house. A thermostat will allow the temperature to rise to a certain level then shuts off the heater once that predetermined temperature is reached. Our hormones work by a similar mechanism. There appears to be a maximum desirable level of hormones for all of us though that level for any given hormone might vary from person to person. This negative feedback loop prevents any hormone from getting too elevated and out of balance.
With Sermorelin and GHRP-2 and GHRP-6 this negative feedback loop stays intact. This basically means it’s hard to overdose and reach an HGH or IGF-1 level that is too high or unhealthy using these products.