Human Growth Hormone is a protein made by the pituitary gland. Growth hormone has many powerful effects. Its main function, as the name suggests, is to stimulate growth of the body. This is particularly important in children who need growth hormone to achieve adult height. Other effects include increasing bone strength, increasing muscle mass and strength, stimulation of organ growth, strengthening of the immune system and regulating sugar metabolism.
Adults suffering from growth hormone deficiency experience accumulation of body fat and decrease in lean muscle mass and strength; their exercise capacity is decreased as well as their bone density; their heart is weakened; triglycerides and cholesterol in their blood reach unhealthy levels; they have trouble sleeping and their overall sense of well-being declines. Treatment with growth hormone reverses those symptoms and conditions.
The anabolic (building up) effects of growth hormone - increase in exercise capacity and muscle mass among others create a potential for abuse. For that reason, its use is banned from Olympic sports and is only allowed in the United States to treat proven growth hormone deficiency that must be confirmed by lab tests. Growth hormone is illegal for use as an anti-aging treatment.
Because growth hormone is a protein, it has no effects when taken by mouth. It would simply get digested like food. It must be injected, typically under the skin, to take effect.
Treatment with HGH can lead to serious side effects such as an increase in blood sugar levels and even diabetes, swelling of joints, carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure and organ enlargement. Older adults are particularly susceptible to the side effects of HGH injections.
Growth hormone is released by the pituitary gland in response to a molecule called Human Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone (GHRH) or Growth Hormone Releasing Factor (GRF). A synthetic molecule with the same effects is called Sermorelin
Sermorelin stimulates the pituitary gland to produce and release the growth hormone in a natural way avoiding many of the side effects of HGH injections. Because Sermorelin is a polypeptide (a long chain of amino acids), it also has to be injected under the skin and will be digested if taken by mouth. The injections must be given on a daily basis since both the growth hormone and Sermorelin are broken down inside the body very quickly.