The Human Growth Hormone: Is this the answer to slowing down the ageing process or is it amino acids?
Hormones are secreted by the endocrine system & used at the cellar level for communication between body tissues including the brain, organs, other glands, muscles and other tissues of the body. Our growth, mood, digestion, respiration, sense of thirst and hunger, sexual functions, fat metabolism and most other bodily functions are all triggered by hormones.
The amount of hormone released or secreted by the endocrine glands is determined by the bodies need for that particular hormone at a given time. Once the hormone is secreted into the circulatory system it transported
by the blood to all areas of the body but only specific target cells react to their presence! Target cells contain receptors that respond to specific hormones being transported throughout the body by the circulatory system. There are receptors in each of our cells. Each of these receptor responds to specific a hormone’s unique amino acid chain or pattern. Once the hormone is bound to the receptor cell, a chain of genetically predetermined biochemical events within the target cell occurs.
The degree to which the target cell responds to the hormone depends on the number of target cells, genetics and the concentration of the hormone. In effect, the amino acid structure of the hormone is the key and the receptor is a lock. In order for the key, hormone, to fit the lock, receptor, the hormone-receptor complex must be an exact match. If for any reason this lock and key do not fit, cellular binding is disrupted, hormonal signals are interrupted and the communication is not complete.
In effect the “chemical / hormonal” phone lines are down.
Hormones also interact with other hormones to produce specific metabolic responses. In some cases the effect is synergistic, that is the cellular response is more than the sum of hormones involved (1+1+1= 4), they compliment each other. In some cases the effect is antagonistic, one hormone stops or reduces the action of another hormone (1 + 1 = 0).
There are two types of glands that compose the Hormonal System:
Exocrine glands secrete their hormones into ducts and body cavities, and include sweat glands, oil glands, and digestive glands.
Endocrine glands, by contrast, secrete into capillaries to be transported with the blood.
The endocrine glands release hormones into the blood stream, and include the pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, pineal, thymus, and hypothalamus.
In addition, there are organs of the body they contain endocrine tissue but that are not exclusively endocrine glands such as the pancreas, ovaries, testes, kidneys, stomach, skin and heart.
These hormones, glandular secretions, control many of our short term and long-term bodily functions. Although hormones are chemically diverse they are constructed from amino acids and cholesterol. They can be divided into three classes:
2. Proteins and Peptides
Amines are the simplest hormone molecule and are fabricated from amino acids.
Examples: thyroid hormones, epinephrine, and nor epinephrine. These hormones are extremely important in metabolism and energy production.
Proteins and Peptides are long chains of amino acids and are large molecules. Insulin secreted by the pancreas is an example.
Steroids are hormones that are fabricated from cholesterol. Examples include aldosterone, testosterone and estrogens
A natural and expected effect of aging is the decrease in function and effectiveness of body structures and tissues. The most obvious is our skin & eyesight.
Glandular function, metabolic function, endocrine system function, immune system function, proteins synthesis, protein assimilation and most other body functions are similarly affected by aging.
The effect of this is that the endocrine systems functional demise can be compared to the “chemical telephone lines” being down. The various parts of the body do not properly communicate with each other.
The intracellular & intercellular chemical instructions are interrupted and body parts in effect become hormonally isolated from one another. Messages that would normally prompt cellular rejuvenation are never sent or received. Consequently, cells grow old, losing natural healthiness. This process snowballs as we age.
As we age many, most, of our glands secrete less and less of the hormone they are designed to secrete. There are times when the regulatory systems do not operate properly. As we age this regulation becomes less efficient and hormone levels change. The amount hormones released by endocrine glands are determined by the bodies need for the hormone at a given time. However the endocrine glands can be stimulated to release more hormone, more frequently.
Replacing the hormones (HGH or Human Growth Hormone, Estrogen & Testosterone) which decline with age is as important to the treatment of aging as is replacing normal levels of insulin is to an insulin-dependent diabetic.
Women have seen a dramatic reduction in the infirmities of aging, + general health improvements, with the increased use of the hormone Estrogen as an effective Hormone Replacement Therapy.
What is Human Growth Hormone?
Human Growth Hormone (HGH or hGH) is the most abundant hormone produced by the pituitary gland (pituitary is one of the endocrine glands). The pituitary gland is located in the centre of the brain. HGH is also a very complex hormone. It is made up of 191 amino acids – making it fairly large for a hormone. In fact, it is the largest protein created by the Pituitary gland.
HGH secretion reaches its peak in the body during adolescence. This makes sense because HGH helps stimulate our body to grow. But, HGH secretion does not stop after adolescence. Our body continue to produce HGH usually in short bursts during deep sleep.
Growth Hormone is known to be critical for tissue repair, muscle growth, healing, brain function, physical and mental health, bone strength, energy and metabolism. In short, it is very important to just about every aspect of our life!
What is IGF-1?
IGF-1 stands for Insulin-like Growth Factor 1. IGF-1 is also known as Somatomedin-C. As important as HGH is, it does not last long in our bloodstream. In just a few short minutes our liver absorbs HGH and converts it into growth factors. IGF-1 is the most important growth factor that is produced. So, IGF-1 is a hormone just like HGH, but it is easier to measure in the body because it stays in our bloodstream longer than HGH. You can think of HGH as the hormone that gets the ball rolling, but IGF-1 does most of the work.
What is a Secretagogue?
A secretagogue (se-krtah-gog) is an agent that stimulates secretion. For now that is all you need to know about these agents with a funny name, but as we move on the functions of secretagogues and HGH enhancement will become important.
What role does HGH play in the body?
Human growth hormone and IGF-1 have been shown to play a significant role in:
- Conversion of body fat to muscle mass
- Growth of all tissues
- Energy level
- Tissue repair
- Whole body healing
- Cell replacement
- Bone strength
- Brain function
- Sexual function
- Organ health and integrity
- Enzyme production
- Integrity of hair, nails, skin and vital organs
Basically, anything that goes on in your body is in some way tied to HGH. This is why HGH is often called the “fountain of youth”. Elevated HGH levels are what make you feel young again.
Does the body always produce HGH?
The good news is that your body must always produce HGH or you would not be able to function. The bad news is that as you get past about 20 years old, your body produces less and less HGH each year. By age 60 you will probably have lost 75% of the HGH that your body produced. If you are a numbers person, here is some average HGH secretion level:
- At 20 years old we average 500 micrograms/day
- At 40 years old we average 200 micrograms/day
- At 80 years old we average 25 micrograms/day
It was originally believed that the pituitary gland just didn’t have the capacity to produce large amounts of HGH as we get older. However, recent studies have shown that aging pituitary glands are capable of producing as much HGH as young pituitary glands, if it is adequately stimulated. This shows that the somatotrophe cell, the cell in the pituitary gland that releases HGH, does not “lose power” as we age.
The questions still remains, if the problem is not with the pituitary gland, then why does HGH decrease as we age? One theory is that the pituitary gland does not “know” it should be producing more HGH. Our body has a feedback loop that says when the IGF-1 levels decrease, produce more HGH. For some unknown reason it is possible that this loop is broken and the pituitary gland has a harder time getting the signal to produce more HGH as we age.
Another theory is that as we get older our Somatostatin levels increase. Somatostatin is a natural inhibitor to growth hormone. So, as we age the somatostatin levels increase and this leads to a decrease in HGH. This decline in Human Growth Hormone level is not irreversible.
- If you’re in your 30’s you can stimulate growth hormone release and keep your body supplies from decreasing.
- If you’re in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s or older there are nutritional programs to recharge your dwindling supply.
There are at least two methods of raising systemic levels of HGH.
- Manipulating HGH production by the anterior pituitary through specific amino acid and nutrient supplementation combinations. This research is extremely well documented.
Controlling Hormonal Secretions
The endocrine system communicates through hormonal secretions. The secretions are composed of amino acids. The messages between glands are composed of amino acids. Through supplementation of specific amino acids at specific times we can have a great effect, in effect, manipulate the hormonal system.
Specific glands use specific and unique combinations of amino acids and nutrients to trigger specific responses and glandular / hormonal secretions. By combining specific amino acids and other nutrients we can trigger desired responses to specific glands. Needless to say this is a powerful tool that needs to be used carefully.
Some of the human functions affected by Human Growth Hormone:
We all have seen people who in their ’50s look much younger. Probably their parents look much younger. Probably, for whatever genetic reason, their body produces more Human Growth Hormone than the average person.
The pituitary gland secretes Human Growth Hormone. The Hypothalamus is also involved in this process. The research indicates that certain amino acids and other nutrients have a very positive effect on the level, amount, of Human Growth Hormone created by the pituitary.
Through nutritional supplementation we can increase the level of Human Growth Hormone. This is a well-documented statement. Primary research from a variety of sources all indicate substantial increases in Human Growth Hormone levels. The same studies generally reflect changes in the human functions listed above.
The consensus of research is that the following amino acids and nutrients have an extremely positive effect on the pituitary gland secretions of Human Growth Hormone:
L-Arginine & L-Ornithine, L-Lysine & Arginine, Pyroglutamate L-Glutamine / Glutamine;peptides Glycine Niacin / B-3 Vit. C GABA Used in combination with each other and EXERCISE there is a synergistic effect.
Why are amino acids essential for HGH?
The human body is composed mostly of water. The second most common constituent is protein, or more specifically, “amino acid chains”. For humans, there are 8 essential amino acids and 14 non-essential amino acids that can be fabricated from the eight essential amino acids. From these 22 amino acids, being combined & arranged into varying specific chains, the human body fabricates all proteins. These are the basic building blocks that combine into literally thousands of “complex protein, amino acid chains”. Amino acids are organic compounds with at least one amino group and one carboxl group. The amino groups include at least one NH3 molecule. The carboxyl contains at least one COOH molecule. These molecules are combined in long chains to form proteins.
Amino acids are necessary for growth and cellular replication throughout the body.
- Amino acids are a major constituent for muscle, blood, skin, and internal organs.
- The proper functioning of the immune system is dependent on the presence of specific amino acids.
They control the pathway that allows hormones and enzymes to be released. In addition to being the building blocks of structure, amino acids in effect turn on and off the “chemical switches” that control our metabolism and body function. Amino acids are necessary for endocrine secretions, enzymes, and components of structure, elements of the immune system. Amino acids are precursors to many important micro-molecules such as dopamine, nor epinephrine, serotonin, and many other substances critical to health and well being. Amino acids are intimately involved in metabolism and glandular activity. Their presence is mandatory for glandular activity.
Treatment and Outlook
A study of these hormones of the body and their functions is very necessary as many skin conditions arise in which these hormones are involved. The skin treatment therapist is not required and in fact, should not audibly diagnose any hormonal dysfunction. We should however be able to understand the role the endocrine system plays in skin ageing, hirsutism and acne.