benefit, risk, side effects, anti-aging information - Human Growth Hormone
by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Honey, I bought a HGH Supplement and... it shrunk my wallet!
One of the most important hormones secreted by the pituitary gland is HGH or human growth hormone. It stimulates the growth of muscles and bones, helps regulate metabolism, and influences sexual enjoyment. It can sharply increase the flow of sugar into muscle and fat, stimulate protein production in liver and muscle, and slow the production of fatty tissue. More prolonged effects of HGH -- blocking the uptake and use of sugars, causing blood sugar levels to rise, and increasing the production of fat and fat levels in the blood- - seem to counteract its immediate effects. These two actions are important because the body must adapt to the lack of food when fasting. Along with cortisol, HGH helps maintain blood sugar levels for the brain and mobilizes fat, making it available to other body cells as an alternative fuel. In many cases, it appears to work by activating a number of growth factors, the most important of which is insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I).
HGH Supplement - an
Many symptoms being part of the HGH deficiency syndrome in adults like decrease in muscle mass and bone mineral content, increase in fat mass, and skin atrophy are observed also with aging. Short term trials with administration to persons over 60 years old revealed that many of these symptoms could be reversed by HGH. However, recent reports of an association of high insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)-concentrations and increased risk of prostate, lung, colon and breast cancer as well as a possible decrease of insulin sensitivity prohibit currently the use of HGH hormone in an attempt to reverse a normal ageing process. Prospective, randomized and placebo-controlled long-term trials are necessary to prove safety and efficacy of HGH therapy in the aging population before it can be recommended. In addition, no data are available as to the right HGH dose and the correct monitoring. Expectations of society and the search for the fountain of youth should not motivate physicians to leave the firm ground of evidence based medicine and prescribe experimental therapies to healthy older persons, the least being the cost of such therapy which could run into thousands of dollars a year.
One year of HGH replacement therapy with a fixed low-dose regimen improves body
composition, bone mineral density and lipid profile of GH-deficient adults.
Eur J Endocrinol. 2005.
We have studied the effects on body composition and metabolism of a fixed low dose of growth hormone, 0.6 IU (0.2 mg)/day, administered for 12 months to HGH-deficient adults. Prospective open-label study, using 18 HGH deficient patients (11 women, 7 men; aged 21-58 years). All investigations were performed at baseline and after 12 months. Total body fat decreased and lean body mass (LBM) increased after therapy. Changes in truncal fat did not reach statistical significance, but a decrease varying from 0.72 to 2.78kg (1 to 8.7%) was observed in 72% of patients. Bone mineral density (BMD) increased at lumbar spine, total femur and femoral neck. Levels of total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol were lower after therapy, and their changes were directly associated with values at baseline. Insulin levels increased and the insulin resistance index worsened at 12 months. Side effects were mild and disappeared spontaneously. One-year of a fixed low-dose HGH regimen in deficient adults resulted in a significant reduction in body fat, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol, and a significant increase in LBM and BMD at lumbar spine and femur, regardless of normalization of IGF-I levels. This regimen led to an elevation of insulin levels and a worsening of the insulin resistance index.
Does HGH treatment help with obesity?
I have not seen any evidence that HGH treatment helps with obesity.
The gigantic OTC HGH supplement scam
Over the past few years, there have been untold number of over the counter HGH products that claim to work in a way similar to the real pharmaceutical HGH, or claim that their product stimulates HGH release. At this point none of the companies (as far as I know) have done any significant research to prove that their product has real HGH -like activity or has anti-aging benefits over the long term. In fact, almost none have done any research at all. Some of the HGH supplement scams include HGH spray, homeopathic, Ultimate, xenical, HGH releaser, HGH enhancer, real, natural, oral, etc. In my opinion, a huge waste of money is buying an over the counter HGH supplement.
Having said all this, it is possible that medical researchers may someday find a low dose of pharmaceutical HGH injection given at the appropriate times to appropriate individuals may improve health and extend life span, but that day is not here yet.
In the meantime, read some options on how to extend
For better memory and mind function, see memory
For those who wish to improve muscle mass, see Creatine.
For more stamina - see Energy
For better blood sugar control - Diabetes
For better vision, see Eyesight
For more better libido and a more youthful sexual passion, see below.
To help you eat less, see eat less web page.
Passion Rx --Medical Doctor formulated for Female and Male Sexual Enhancement
What about supplements that
enhance HGH release?
There are supplements that enhance the release of HGH, but whether this leads to long term beneficial effects is not known at this time. Research is gradually starting regarding the positive benefits of certain supplements in their ability to release HGH. One such combination is glycine, glutamine and niacin. See the research article below.
Two of the best ways to maintain healthy release are to exercise frequently, and to have deep sleep.
I been reading about HGH and its effects, and I have
read your website's section about the HGH and the Doctor's paper on it, but it
does not address products like GenF20 - and the so called HGH releasers. So I
was wondering if the Doctor has an opinion on these types of supplements? Also
since your products have produced excellent results in other areas, how come you
don't have any HGH releasers / supplements?
I have not seen any long term human studies that natural supplements individually or in combination promote consistent release of HGH which lead to clinical improvement in health status. Until then I do not have any intent in promoting such products. Even if there are certain supplements or combinations that promote HGH release consistently over time, how do we know this is a beneficial thing to do and will lead to increased longevity?
Dr. Steven Lamm promotes GenF20. On the website the
claims include: Simply take two of these capsules twice a day And within as
little as three weeks of using GenF20 Plus, as your HGH levels begin to increase
again, you can expect to begin enjoying benefits like: A more youthful
appearance Increased muscle tone Fat loss Increased metabolism A super-charged
sex drive Boundless energy and A strengthened immune system. What is your
opinion regarding the benefits of GenF20 endorsed by Dr. Steven Lamm?
I have not seen any long term human clinical studies regarding the effect of GenF20 on HGH release.
I read an article online, it said: "GABA - Human
Growth Hormone (HGH) StimulatorGABA is an amazing supplement that packs a number
of benefits for your body. Most dramatically, GABA has been clinically proven to
increase HGH production by over 600%! HGH production decreases with age, leading
to a number of physiological problems. Supplementation with GABA can help
restore back to youthful levels. GABA also helps your muscles relax, thus
reducing tension and stress."
We have not seen any studies that confirm this statement.
I keep receiving information in the mail about the product Sytropin. It is supposed to be a precursor to HGH and claims to be safe to use. What is your opinion of this product?
Sytropin is advertised as HGH spray. I am skeptical of such claims and have not come across any studies with this product.
I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer. The primary
source was found in tonsils. I had used HGH spray for about 1 1/2 yrs before
diagnos. Is there any evidence that relates HGH spray to oral squamous cell
There are dozens of HGH spray products on the market and each company has a different blend of substances so it is impossible for us to say. Even if we know what the ingredients were in the HGH spray product you are using, assuming the labeling is correct, it would still be very difficult to say that the HGH spray was the cause.
HGH side effects, risk, danger, caution
Although pharmaceutically made HGH (a complicated hormone made by joining about 190 amino acids) has been shown in certain studies to have short term anti-aging potential, long term consequences are unclear. Growth hormone excess can lead to a condition called acromegaly. There is no guarantee that real pharmaceutical growth hormone extends life span. In fact, in some animal studies, reducing the release of growth hormone extends life span. HGH supplement side effects are not known since each company marketing an HGH supplement has their own formula with different composition of ingredients.
HGH and Children
The results of a clinical trial suggest that human growth hormone therapy improves growth, body composition and potentially bone density in children with rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis, and growth retardation related to steroid treatment.
HGH use in children is associated with a higher risk of cancer in later years.
Cancer risk following HGH use in childhood: implications for current
Drug Saf. 2004.
The therapeutic use of human growth hormone has caused concern, as it is anabolic and mitogenic, and its effector hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I is anti-apoptotic. As both hormones can cause proliferation of normal and malignant cells, the possibility that HGH therapy may induce cancer, increase the risk of tumor recurrence in those previously treated for a malignancy, or increase the risk of cancer in those with a predisposition, has resulted in concerns over its use. Malignant tumors have been induced in animals exposed to supraphysiological doses of HGH, whereas hypophysectomy appears to protect animals from carcinogen-induced neoplasms. In vitro, proliferation and transformation of normal haemopoetic and leukemic cells occurs with supraphysiological doses of HGH, but not with physiological levels. IGF, IGF binding proteins (IGFBP) and IGFBP proteases influence the proliferation of cancer cells in vitro; however, HGH is probably not involved in this process. Despite early concerns following a report of a cluster of cases of leukemia in recipients of HGH, there appears to be no increased risk for the development of leukemia in those treated with HGH unless there is an underlying predisposition. Even in children with a primary diagnosis of cancer, subsequent GH use does not appear to increase the risk of tumor recurrence. However, a recent follow-up of pituitary HGH recipients has suggested an increase in colorectal cancer. In addition, follow-up of oncology patients has suggested an increase in second neoplasms in those who also received HGH therapy. These studies emphasize the importance of continued surveillance both internationally with established databases and also nationally through single-centre studies in HGH patients.
Decreases in HGH occur with aging. Treatment of nonelderly HGH deficient adults with recombinant HGH improves body composition, muscle strength, physical function, and bone density, and reduces blood cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk, but is often accompanied by carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral edema, joint pain and swelling, gynecomastia, glucose intolerance, and possibly increased cancer risk. Reports that HGH augments lean body mass and reduces body fat in aged individuals increased use of HGH to delay aging effects. However, clinically significant functional benefits, prolongation of youth, and life extension have not been demonstrated. Moreover, marketing of HGH supplements and other hormone supplements largely ignores adverse effects.
HGH helps hundreds of children with a rare disorder that causes them to gorge on food, but for some, starting HGH treatment can worsen a dangerous nighttime breathing problem. Sleep apnea disrupts breathing during sleep and is common among morbidly obese children, including those with Prader-Willi syndrome, a disease that compels them to eat nonstop. Researchers say that uncovering how to treat obesity and related problems in children genetically wired to be overweight could help them better battle childhood obesity in general. HGH has shown to be one of the most effective ways to treat children and adults with Prader-Willi. But researchers found that starting HGH treatment can worsen or trigger sleep apnea in obese children exposed to colds, potentially leading to death. Source: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Jan 2006.
HGH supplement quackery in the news
Two Florida businesses and their owners have agreed to pay up to $20 million in consumer redress-the largest monetary judgment ever obtained in an Federal Trade Commission health fraud case-to settle charges that they deceptively claimed that their pills and sprays would increase consumers' human growth hormone ( HGH ) levels and provide anti-aging benefits such as weight loss and increased mental function. In addition, the Commission has issued warning letters to more than 90 Internet marketers making similar claims. The defendants named in the FTC's complaint are Great American Products, Inc. (GAP) and Physician's Choice, Inc. (PCI) both of Destim, Florida; According to the FTC, the defendants' advertising deceptively claimed that the dietary supplements Ultimate HGH and Super HGH Booster and the homeopathic sublingual sprays Master HGH spray and Super HGH spray will (a) significantly increase growth hormone levels, (b) provide the benefits purportedly shown in various studies involving prescription-only HGH injections, (c) reduce fat, cholesterol, and blood pressure (d) increase muscle mass, and (e) improve cognitive, immune, and sexual health. -- Source: Quackwatch
Long-term outcome of HGH therapy in children and adolescents.
Treat Endocrinol. 2004.
Lanes R. Pediatric Endocrine Unit, Hospital de Clinicas Caracas, Caracas, Venezuela.
Initially, HGH was extracted from the pituitary glands of human cadavers, but its use was discontinued following the transmission of the Creutzfeldt-Jakob virus. After the development of recombinant HGH (somatropin) in 1985, an 'unlimited' commercial source has been available, allowing for the treatment of a large number of short HGH-deficient and -sufficient children. Refinements in both the dosage and the frequency of administration have allowed HGH -deficient children to reach nearly normal final heights, although mostly they are still below their target heights. Decreased bone mineral densities and increased concentrations of fasting and postprandial lipids, coagulation factors, and several independent cardiovascular risk factors have been reported in HGH -deficient children and adolescents and appear to improve with HGH administration. The short-term administration of HGH to mostly non- HGH -deficient short children with Turner syndrome, chronic renal insufficiency (CRI), intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), and idiopathic short stature (ISS) has resulted in increased growth velocities. In addition, the final height of patients with Turner syndrome and CRI appears to improve with the long-term administration of HGH. Final height data are still lacking in adolescents with IUGR, but height standard deviation score and final height predictions appear to improve with therapy. Based on the incomplete and inconclusive available data, one must conclude that HGH treatment of children with ISS cannot be advised. The use of HGH at replacement doses in children with HGH deficiency has resulted in rare and generally reversible adverse effects. The long-term administration of pharmacologic HGH doses to short, mostly non- HGH -deficient children must, however, still be viewed with caution, as long-term complications cannot as yet be fully evaluated. HGH therapy must be individualized and should be limited only to children with severe short stature or a significantly decreased growth velocity, to children under considerable stress due to their short stature, and to patients in whom low HGH or low insulin-like growth factor-1 secretion might be the rate-limiting factors for growth. The cost of the medication and the inconvenience of daily HGH injections to otherwise mostly healthy short children must also be taken into account.
HGH treatment attenuates age-related changes in hippocampal short-term plasticity and spatial learning.
Downregulation of the HGH /insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)axis is one of the most robust biomarkers of mammalian aging. Reports have suggested that age-related changes in secretion of HGH and IGF-1 contribute to the development of some peripheral characteristics of the aged phenotype including decreased bone density and lean body mass. Recent work has focused on the identification of a role for age-related reductions in HGH and IGF-1 in the development of cognitive impairments associated with aging. In the current study, we report that aged (30 month-old) Brown NorwayxFisher rats demonstrate impairments in spatial learning compared with adult (10 month-old) animals, and that 4-month treatment with HGH (300 μg twice daily) attenuates age-related learning impairments. In conclusion, we suggest that age-related decreases in HGH and IGF-1 contribute to cognitive decline, in part, via alterations in hippocampal short-term plasticity. Changes in plasticity may reflect a shift in the balance of hippocampal inhibitory and excitatory function.
Effects of an oral mixture containing glycine, glutamine and niacin on memory,
HGH and IGF-I secretion in middle-aged and elderly subjects.
Arwert LI, Deijen JB, Drent ML. VU University Medical Center, de Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HVAmsterdam, The Netherlands.
Nutr Neurosci. 2003 Oct.
Aging is associated with declining activity of the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor-I (HGH - IGF-I) axis and with a decrease in cognitive function. The stimulatory effect of an orally administered nutritional supplement, mainly containing glycine, glutamine and niacin on the HGH - IGF-I axis and on mood and cognition was investigated. Forty-two healthy subjects (14 men and 28 women, aged 40-76 years) were enrolled in a randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial. They received 5 g of a nutritional supplement or placebo, twice daily orally for a period of 3 weeks. At baseline and after 3 weeks, blood was collected for measurement of serum HGH and IGF-I levels and mood and cognitive function were tested. The nutritional supplement ingestion for 3 weeks was found to increase serum HGH levels with 70% relatively to placebo, whereas circulating IGF-I levels did not change. Mean HGH (+/- SD) increased in this group from 3.23 (+/- 4.78) to 4.67 mU/l (+/- 5.27) (p = 0.03). HGH increase was not associated with improvement in mood or memory. Correlation analyses, however, revealed that individual increases in IGF-I, but not HGH, were associated with improved memory and vigour. It is concluded that an oral mixture of glycine, glutamine and niacin can enhance HGH secretion in healthy middle-aged and elderly subjects.
Journal takes aim at growth hormone advertisers
The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is taking action against advertisers it says are improperly using its name to hawk human growth hormone HGH as an anti-aging remedy, the journal announced Wednesday. Besides posting cautionary information on its Web site about the anti-aging abilities of growth hormone and supplements that claim to boost natural growth hormone, NEJM has contacted the attorneys general of two states to look into advertisers that cite the journal in marketing their products. The moves come in response to consumer complaints NEJM has received over advertisers' use of the journal's name. In 1990, NEJM published the findings of a small study that suggested injections of human growth hormone, or HGH, might boost lean body mass in older men. According to the journal, this article has been cited in "potentially misleading" advertisements for HGH or dietary supplements that purport to be "releasers" of the body's natural HGH supply. "We were getting a lot of complaints about the use of the journal's name" in marketing HGH products, Dr. Jeffrey M. Drazen, an NEJM editor, told Reuters Health. "We want to make sure people understand we're not endorsing any product," he said. To that end, two articles, one by Drazen, are being published in the February 27th issue of NEJM. The other article is by Dr. Mary Lee Vance of the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, who in 1990 wrote an editorial that NEJM published with the HGH findings in question. In both the new and old articles, Vance stresses that the true usefulness and safety of giving HGH to healthy older adults is unknown. In the 1990 study, six months of HGH injections given to 12 men ages 61 to 81 appeared to boost lean body mass while decreasing fat mass. But whether HGH made a difference in the men's strength, fitness or quality of life was not measured. What's more, Vance writes in the new article, anti-aging products sold on a number of Web sites--including oral or inhaled versions of HGH and supplements touted as natural HGH releasers--have no evidence to back them up. According to Drazen, ads for these supplements are apparently directing readers to the journal's Web site. He said that the 1990 article receives far more "hits" than any other article published that year. From now on, anyone who reads the article on NEJM's site will also see Drazen's and Vance's articles as a counterbalance. Since January 31, an editor's note has warned readers that the article has been used in "potentially misleading" ads. And the full article, plus Vance's original editorial, were made available for free. Normally, only short summaries of NEJM articles can be viewed by non-subscribers. Drazen said the journal has contacted the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New Jersey and is awaiting their responses. Whether action can be taken against any advertisers is uncertain, but "we think their claims are false and misleading," Drazen said. HGH is naturally produced by the brain's pituitary gland. Because HGH production declines with age, some have proposed that synthetic HGH might serve as a potential fountain of youth. Synthetic HGH injections are approved for some conditions, including HGH deficiency. But whether healthy older adults can benefit remains in doubt. Some studies have backed up the 1990 research showing that HGH treatment might alter older adults' body composition, but real changes in participants' strength and endurance have not emerged. On the other hand, researchers have found the potential for HGH side effects, including swelling of the arms and legs, joint pain and diabetes. SOURCE: The New England Journal of Medicine 2003;348:777-778,779-780.
HGH no fountain of youth, study suggests
Information and articles of interest
5-htp for serotonin support
Carnosine is an antioxidant
saw palmetto herb
Sitosterol or beta sitosterol
Please could you tell me if homeopathic HGH supplement is safe? I would like to try it if it is and thought you would be the best person to ask as I have a couple of your excellent books, on DHEA and Melatonin, and wouldn't take a step into this area without your advice.
Homeopathic HGH supplement, in a nutshell, is a big scam, and those who make undocumented claims regarding this HGH product make the natural health industry look quite untrustworthy.
Hie, remember your former article on
HGH and how it would feed any tumors, already growing in the body? I have some
skin tags, and I believe they resulted from taking HGH, from Germany, because
they started popping up, only after I had been taking them for some months. What
is your intake on this revelation?
It is possible that skin tags could be stimulated by HGH, but we can't say for sure.
I've been hearing a lot latley in the
media about the health benefits of HGH. Reports are describing it as the miracle
drug that reverses the aging process among of a whole host of other benefits.
However the HGH injections are very expensive and I was wondering if you had a
supplement that would help stimulate production of HGH in the human body.
Not at this time, and I am not sure if it is desirable to stimulate HGH for prolonged periods.
I came across a website promoting
an HGH product. This is what they say: "Tthe only safe and reliable way to raise
your HGH levels is by supplementing your diet with HGH precursors. These HGH
precursors cause your own body to increase it's production of HGH naturally. An
HGH precursor must include important amino acids and
natural substances that are known by science to increase HGH levels. After much research, GenF20 HGH is the brand I choose to take. It has an impressive list of ingredients that have been proven by science to increase HGH production naturally."
We don't generally comment on other products. We stand by the information on this page regarding HGH and HGH precursors.
I am in my eighties -- hard workout
three times a week -- never sick, etc. -- skinny build. Is HGH okay as a general
physical stimulant in old age and where can I get it?
Do you mean HGH injectable by prescription or untested over the counter HGH wannabee supplements? Either way we don't think there is enough research to recommend the use of HGH unless a person is deficient in this hormone.
I was reading on your website because I
am considering experimenting with HGH supplement. Is it true that your entire
body grows including your hands and feet? Also is it true that your penis will
increase in size? Also how close is prescription HGH to over the counter HGH
Adults using pharmaceutical HGH do not grow in height, but certain bones in the skull and perhaps other body parts may grow. Penis does not increase in size with HGH medication use. Prescription HGH is completely different than the over the counter HGH supplements. There is no comparison.
I have found the information on your
web site to be so straight forward and very helpful. I have learned a great deal
from you and the web site. I have a question that when you have time, I would
really appreciate some of your insight on this subject. I have recently read a
couple of articles from other sites, that claim that supplementation of amino
acids to increase hgh release are not very effect once you have reached the age
of 45 years and older. This was taken from the the hgh section of the life
extension manual, "There are a number of substances that increase the natural
secretion of HGH. Some of them are amino acids. The most effective and
economical way of causing this HGH release seems to be taking 2 grams of the
amino acid L-glutamine in the morning and taking 10 to 30 grams of the amino
acid L-arginine before bedtime. Both of these amino acids must be taken on an
empty stomach. Amino acids are not very effective in people over the age of
about 45. I am very curious about this statement and thought that you might
would share some insight on this subject. Thanks in advance and please keep up
the good work as I recommend Your site to many people who are interested in
getting good information on supplementation.
As of January 2011, I have not seen any long term human studies that taking glutamine and arginine supplements increases HGH formation and release consistently over time. And even if these amino acids did release or form additional HGH, this may not be a healthy thing for the body. Excess HGH may have harmful effects. Also, one has to consider the potential side effects from high dose arginine supplementation and the cost of the arginine. Rather than focusing on how to manipulate a particular hormone level in the body, one should focus on overall health improvement through various natural ways.
Would you have an opinion please and do
you carry any version of Human Growth Hormone. HGH and how it helps or doesn't
with the aging process. There seems to be many versions, injections from
clinics, powder dose, tablet dose. I am 45 years of age and currently take the
following. These are spread over 3 meals per day. Most are from Physician
Formula and would you take HGH with it. Very healthy diet on top of all, high in
oily fish, fruits blueberries, oats, veggies, still trying to understand lipids
and how to incorporate naturally. Any advice appreciated. Is this a good mix of
antioxidants, supplements for aging?
Asthaxathin 2 x 2mg mg daily
Carnatine 400 mg daily
L Carnatine 600mg daily
CLA Tonalin 2000mg daily
Alpha Liponic Acid 200 mg daily
Chromium Picolinate 400mg daily
Glutamine 1000 mg daily
Salmon oil 6000mg daily
Joint formula 4 per day
Diet Rx 3 per day
I can't give personal advice but using high amounts of supplements without breaks may cause harm in some cases, for instance the high amount of chromium picolinate and alpha lipoic acid.