Growth Hormone and Peptides
At Optimal Wellness MD, we are often asked about Human Growth Hormone and other Peptide Hormones and whether our patients might benefit from using them.
Human Growth Hormone or HGH is a peptide hormone made by the pituitary gland, located on the underside of the brain. It causes the liver to make a second peptide hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 triggers cell growth and division all over the body, causing growth in size when you are a child and rejuvenation and repair of the body tissues and organs when you are an adult. We make much less HGH when we are adults than we do as a child, but it is still a vital hormone for good health, even at these lower levels. People with deficient levels of HGH may develop premature cardiovascular illness and tend towards obesity. Other symptoms that may be noted with deficient HGH are frailty, wrinkles, osteoporosis, loss of muscle, weakness, depression, and poor healing of injuries.
Some people are deficient in the production of HGH due to pituitary damage from a head injury or other diseases, alcoholism, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and poor protein intake in their diet. Fixing correctable dietary and lifestyle issues can sometimes return HGH levels to normal; however, if the cause is pituitary damage, you may need HGH replacement to remain healthy.
HGH is currently a controlled drug in the United States. It can therefore only be prescribed for limited reasons.
The conditions we can prescribe HGH for in this country are Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency, Childhood Short Stature, wasting diseases such as AIDS, severe burns. It is specifically prohibited for bodybuilding or improving athletic performance.
To prescribe HGH, we have to show that you have a deficiency in HGH production. This is done with an HGH stimulation test. If you make enough HGH during this test, we cannot diagnose you with HGH deficiency and we cannot prescribe HGH. If you do not make enough HGH during the test, you do have a deficiency and we can prescribe it. We will likely get an MRI scan of your pituitary to determine whether there is a structural reason for deficient HGH.
We will only prescribe HGH to patients with documented HGH deficiency and we monitor blood levels to make sure your IGF-1 levels are maintained in a safe range and that you are not developing any side effects.
Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides, such as Sermorelin and Ipamorelin are alternatives to HGH in some patients. They work by stimulating the pituitary gland to release more HGH. Sermorelin can only cause the pituitary to release normal levels of HGH, so overdosage is not a significant risk.
Most peptides and Growth Hormone must be injected daily to be effective. They do not work if swallowed or rubbed on as a cream.
Other newer peptides include Ibutamoren (MK677), BPC-157, Epithalon, Melanotan, Bremelanotide. Reported uses include improvement of body composition, improved wound healing, improved libido in men and women. These compounds have varying degrees of scientific research. Some have not been tested on humans; others have been tested on humans and are being marketed as drugs. We have evaluated the scientific literature and can advise you on the safety, efficacy, and regulatory status of these products.