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.

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