Hello and welcome to my blog
This one is about supplements and biochemistry. There are a large number of supplements out there which claim all sorts and most of them are just crap. However there are compounds out there which offer lots of genuine benefits, but what is the catch?
Today we are briefly looking at growth hormone and IGF-1. There is a lot more to say about these hormones but the blog will get too complicated if I try and put it all into one post.
The benefits of growth hormones are pretty extensive and include:
anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, faster recovery from exercise, healing tissue, neuron growth, improved brain function, increased bone density better vision, injury repair, better skin, hair growth, better sleep, improved immune system, improves some cases of fatty liver, anti-obesity and increase in lean muscle.
This is why people like to use it as a supplement. So below is a very brief description of where growth hormone comes from naturally in the body.
Growth hormone release is not continuous; it is released in a number of ‘bursts’ or pulses from the pituitary gland every three to five hours when insulin levels are low (growth hormone and insulin oppose each other). Insulin is usually low in the morning, in between meals, during fasting, during and post workout and at night.
Growth hormone release is caused by another hormone (growth hormone-releasing hormone) which is released from a point higher up in the brain (the hypothalamus) and it causes the pituitary gland to release the growth hormone, this is why people like to use supplements like GHRP-2, Mod-GRF, Ipamorelin, hexarelin and such like.
Growth hormone travels in the blood to the liver, its major target organ and stimulates production of Insulin like growth factor -1 (IGF-1). This means that MOST of the effects of growth hormone are mediated or caused by IGF-1. IGF-1 ultimately inhibits growth hormone production by a negative feed back loop, saying ‘We have enough growth hormone at the moment, thank you’.
This is why people like to take IGF-1 as a supplement (IGF-LR3 and IGF DES) as it has all the benefits of growth hormone and as I have just said, most of the effects of growth hormone are mediated by IGF-1. Growth hormone is very expensive, not legal in some countries and can be fake. IGF-1 used to be very expensive but now is now more affordable, although sometime the quality if non pharmaceutical grade IGF-1 can be low, particularly IGF-LR3 as it is a large peptide which can degrade if not stored properly. There are subtle differences between the exact biochemical effects of IGF-1 and growth hormone, but that is beyond the scope of this blog.
So as you can see there are lots of ways to manipulate growth hormone using supplements or lifestyle.
Is it safe to take these hormones?
This is a complicated question. It depends on a lot.
For 1 month in a sensible dose, yes probably, but not certainly.
IGF-1 and growth hormone will make ALL tissue grow, including organs, particularly in high doses (some men say their penis got bigger!). The scientific literature is very mixed about whether growth hormone or IGF-1 CAUSE cancer or not, but taking a growth factor of any kind for long periods if a tumor is present is very very unwise.
This topic is one of those for you to do your own research!