The Muscle Life: Sweat & Testosterone. Sports Medicine Physician Curated.

So you wanna know about Growth Hormone? Part I: Growth Hormone Basics

Part I: Growth Hormone Basics

Growth Hormone (GH) is certainly a very sexy and compelling topic as of late. Use of GH became a rage starting in the late 1980s, eventually becoming outlawed by all athletic governing bodies and bringing down some big names in both athletics and Hollywood. The use of GH continues to rise, not just by celebrities, but by the average person next door. It may be popular, but what’s the real deal with this once coined “Fountain of Youth”? What does it really do? Will it make you bigger, faster, leaner, younger?

Here’s Part I of a review on Human Growth Hormone (Somatotropin). This first part discusses the background and basics.

Part I: Growth Hormone Basics

  • Growth hormone is produced, stored, secreted from the brain’s anterior pituitary which lies at the base of the skull in a small depression called the “sella Turcica” (Turkish saddle).
  • Growth hormone is secreted maximally until the late teens/early 20s…then GH reliably declines at a rate of about 10%-15% every decade.
  • Initially obtained from cadavers, now it is almost exclusively produced via recombinant DNA technology.
  • GH is secreted at higher baseline levels in women, but the secretion pattern is much more erratic/volatile in men.
  • GH is a peptide (protein) hormone that binds and acts on cell membrane receptors on target cells.
  • What cells/tissues are a target for GH? All cell types and tissues.
  • Some of the major tissues targets: bone (liner growth in puberty), fat (helps to break down), muscle (increases synthesis of various proteins), liver (notable for directly causing IGF-1 production in the liver and elsewhere).
  • Much of the effects of Growth Hormone is believed to be secondary to the increased production/secretion of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1). In very simple terms their effects can be considered synonymous. 

coming next   PART II: Growth Hormone Research Findings 

  • Findings of well designed studies on GH effects on body composition: Increased Lean Mass, Decreased Fat Mass, Increased Extracellular water.
  • Effects on Skin (thickness, sebaceous gland production)
  • Effects on Athletic Performance
  • Effects on the Psyche

later    PART III: Maximizing Your Growth Hormone & IGF-1 Production

  • What is known to increase GH and it’s effects.
  • Ways to maximize your GH production.

Truth / Inspiration

Common Sense: New FDA warnings for Testosterone, Anabolic Steroids

According to the FDA, new warnings on the use of testosterone/ anabolic steroids. Basically new labels and warnings will be including heart and mental side effects as well as the previously warned effects.

In addition to the new Warning, all testosterone labeling has been revised to include information in the Abuse and Dependence section about adverse outcomes reported in association with abuse and dependence of testosterone/AAS, and information in the Warning and Precautions section advising prescribers of the importance of measuring serum testosterone concentration if abuse is suspected.

Truth / Inspiration

"Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can cure the patient with food. Our medicine should be food and food should be our medicine."

Stay Hydrated!

All About Staying Hydrated
Inadequate hydration is the most likely factor preventing anyone from performing their best during competition, fortunately it can be readily addressed. Adequate hydration is crucial to the body’s natural processes. Water loss as little as 2% of your body weight can start to increase your core body temperature and increase the possibility of heat related illnesses including heat stroke. It is paramount to ensure that you are adequately hydrated during extended exertion and competitive events. Here is a guideline to ensure dehydration doesn’t happen to you.

Drinking fluids before, during and after exercise. It is a good idea to ensure you are well-hydrated starting days before your competition. It will ensure your body has had ample opportunity to rebuild and recover from previous workouts and be optimally able to handle coming competitions. During exercise, it’s a good rule of thumb to drink at least the same amount you’ve lost mostly during sweat, but also through urine and breathing.

The general rule has been to drink at least 8 x (8 oz) glasses per day, which is just shy of 2 Liters and men should take up to 12 glasses per day. However, if you are exercising or competing, your fluid requirements will be even higher.  In addition to your base needs, drink at least 16 oz of fluids for every pound of weight lost during exercise. It’s a good idea to weigh yourself before and after competition to get an idea of how much water your body has lost. Remember, if you will be competing for longer than 1 hour, taking in carbohydrates in your fluids, such as with sports drinks, will help you perform optimally.

Warnings sings that you may be dehydrated.Any symptoms of hotheadedness, headache, unable to catch your breath, weakness or fatigue may be signs of dehydration. Thirst may be a late sign of dehydration and means you have already lost a significant amount of water. Other serious symptoms include visual changes, confusion or muscle spasms. Drink fluids immediately and seek appropriate medical attention. During a competition it is not appropriate to push through any of these symptoms, as your chances of falling ill are significantly increased.

Know your fitness level.It is also important to note that if you are not an acclimated athlete there is an increased risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as the body is not conditioned to tightly regulate itself during extended exertional states. If you are not a currently conditioned athlete, you should be more cautious to the possibility of suffering from dehydration or other exertional or heat illnesses. The disproportionate number of those who fall ill during mass events are recreational competitors or those who have not trained appropriately. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you think you may need it.

Truth / Inspiration

"Nobody ever drowned in his own sweat."
— Ann Landers
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