HGH: Getting and using the ‘fountain of youth’ hormone

Human growth hormone (HGH) can help you feel younger, leaner, more energized and more sexual. So it makes sense that there is a lot of interest in HGH supplementation as a means to being healthier and more fulfilled.

Last week I shared information with you on the health benefits and safety of HGH. But if you want to give it a go, you need to know about blood testing for HGH levels, getting a prescription for it, costs, and the HGH ‘versions’ you can get without a prescription.

Controversial use of HGH

Unfortunately there is a definite ongoing controversy about the use of HGH in clinical care. The FDA and many state medical boards (who can take away the license of your doctor) feel doctors should only prescribe HGH for clearly-defined abnormal conditions of HGH deficiency. Actually, growth hormone deficiency in adults is rare. It is classically caused by a pituitary tumor (adenoma), surgical resection of the pituitary, or radiation therapy that has damaged the pituitary gland. Synthetic human growth hormone is approved to treat adults who have one of these true growth hormone deficiencies or such severe cases such as muscle wasting from HIV infection.

Why are we told that it is should not to be used to reverse the normal and expected decline in growth hormone due to aging, or for those of us who want to look and feel younger longer, and prevent disease? If your doctor looks for the few possible adverse effects to HGH that are listed below, then why not, right? Anti-aging and wellness physicians look at the use of HGH very differently than the allopathic medical world. Remember that with HGH we can prevent illness, reverse the progress towards inflammatory chronic diseases, and keep you feeling younger for longer.

Getting a test and a prescription

The problem with simply getting a prescription for HGH by a prescribing physician is that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only allows it to be used in cases of documented insufficiency.

That means that you must be tested and have low levels of HGH, done by measuring your serum IGF-1 level. The prescribing of HGH is closely monitored by state licensing agencies and your doctor needs to follow the rules or be at risk for sanctions.

Determining your level to be “adequate” or “deficient” varies by lab and physician. Therefore, the decision to prescribe HGH should be based not only on lab results but also on your clinical findings much like testosterone supplementation for anti-aging purposes.

In other words, if your symptoms, signs, risk factors, etc. show a need for supplementation and your levels are near the bottom of the normal range or below, you deserved to supplement with HGH. I suggest you’ll want to find a physician trained in anti-aging and restorative medicine who knows how to prescribe it for you.

HGH secretagogues: you don’t need testing or a prescription

If you ingest HGH it will be completely destroyed in the stomach and intestinal tract. Good news: there is another way to increase your HGH besides injecting the actual hormone. The oral pills or sublingual sprays made mostly of amino acids assist your hypothalamus and pituitary to increase natural human HGH secretion. These are called secretagogues.

Growth hormone secretagogues work the best for men younger than age of 45 in general, but their effectiveness to cause natural release of HGH is highly variable from person to person — reported to work well even up to age 64. [1] Our understanding of the way HGH is secreted and how it works are not completely clear. The quantity that is secreted into the blood is tiny, on the order of a milligram per day in adults. Therefore, an average adult only produces about one teaspoonful during their lifetime. Moreover, HGH is released in many small pulses throughout the day and one larger one at night so it is especially difficult to mimic with supplementation.

One effective and lower cost recipe for boosting natural HGH secretion recommended by anti-aging doctors is the following: 2 grams of L-glutamine in the morning and 10 to 30 grams of L-arginine at bedtime. Arginine is the amino acid that stimulates the release of nitric oxide, which dilates small arteries — very useful for reducing high blood pressure. It is believed that L-arginine inhibits somatostatin, the hormone that blocks growth hormone production. In this way L-arginine becomes a HGH “releaser.” In order to boost effective HGH release, take these amino acids for about 6 weeks, and then stop them for 2 weeks.

Additionally, there are other important nutrients and minerals that act as cofactors to greatly enhance the growth hormone “releasing” effect of L-arginine. This includes vitamins A, B5, B6, B12, C, E, folic acid, minerals, and other amino acids. [2]

For oral secretagogues to be effective you need be careful with the following:

  • Take your secretagogue on an empty stomach (30 min before or 2 hours after completing a meal) in order to keep other amino acids and insulin from interfering
  • Certain drowsy medications blunt the amino acid “HGH-releasing” effect and/or block natural HGH release: Benadryl (diphenhydramine), Sominex, Nytol, and Tylenol-PM
  • Alcohol in amounts greater than an ounce within 2 hours of taking the secretagogue can block it too

There are many expensive secretagogues you can find online. The best brands will offer a 60-90 day full money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with your results. For examples, learn more about Sytropin at http://www.sytropin.com/ or GEnf20 at http://www.genf20.com/.

To feeling good,

Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options

[1] Welbourne, T, Increased plasma bicarbonate and growth hormone after oral glutamine load. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1995;61:1058-61.
[2] http://www.lef.org/Vitamins-Supplements/Item01049/Innerpower.html?olditem=01004

Dr. Michael Cutler

By Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder of the original Easy Health Options™ newsletter — an advisory on natural healing therapies and nutrients. His current practice is San Diego Integrative Medicine, near San Diego, California.