The Real Story Behind Growth Hormone: Can It Safely Reverse Aging?
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The Real Story Behind Growth Hormone:
Can It Safely Reverse Aging?
Part II

          In Part I, you learned about the amazing benefits of human growth hormone. How it burns fat and builds muscle, reshapes physical contours; how it boosts immunity, strengthens the heart, improves memory, lifts mood and energy, rejuvenates the skin, improves sexual function, thickens hair, improves vision, reverses diseases and extends life.

But, you also learned that although hGH produces stunning results, there are recently discovered dangers that have been little know to the general public. The dark side of hGH is that it can have an unnatural stimulating action that can lead to a variety of problems. Problems like insulin resistance, diabetes, fluid retention, carpal tunnel syndrome, enlarged breasts, lowered output of the body's own growth hormone, and abnormal bone growth in the wrists, hands, and feet. And worst of all, that it may promote tumor growth. Not to speak of its prohibitive costs and difficult administration.

You also learned the real reason growth hormone declines with age. And that, surprisingly, the pituitary's capacity to produce growth hormone does not decline with age. The mystery of why hGH and IGF-1 levels decline are listed here again:

. Loss of hypothalamus sensitivity
. Decreased liver function
. Lack of deep sleep
. High blood sugar levels

Clearly, it is better to encourage the body to resume its natural production of growth hormone and IGF-1. The key to safely unlocking the benefits of growth hormone is to nourish and balance, not stimulate. This means supporting the liver, pituitary and hypothalamus with amino acids, herbal extracts, essential oils and growth hormone releasers. It also means avoiding reliance on single hormone supplements.

By activating the organs involved in the natural production of growth hormone and IGF-1, powerful anti-aging effects can be achieved with minimal side effects or long-term complications.

The organ that is the key to growth hormone conversion is the liver. It's little-know that most of the benefits of growth hormone are due to a substance known as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), not to the growth hormone itself. It is the IGF-1 that actually translates growth hormone's chemical signals into physical effects throughout the body. In fact, many doctors measure growth hormone levels not by testing for growth hormone itself but by testing for IGF-1.

The liver is the organ responsible for converting growth hormone into IGF-1. If the liver is not functioning optimally due to age, disease or diet, only partial conversion of hGH into IGF-1 will occur. As IGF-1 levels drop, the body will begin to feel the effects of premature aging.

Also, if fat accumulates in the liver, enzyme conversion and its other metabolic functions become sluggish - directly interfering with the conversion of growth hormone into IGF-1. As IGF-1 production slows, the effects of aging become more and more pronounced - even if the pituitary secretes adequate levels of the growth hormone.

The Safe Solution

But there are natural, safe ways to encourage IGF-1 conversion in the liver. Several nutrients, including dl methionine (a natural substance that prevents fat accumulation in the liver), Oregon grape root, and Chinese Wolfberry, have been shown to bolster liver function.

Chinese Wolfberry

One of the most intriguing anti-aging nutrients to surface during the last decade is the Chinese wolfberry, known botanically as Lycium barbarum. Extensive research in China provides evidence that wolfberry affords significant anti-oxidant and immune-stimulating benefits.

According to a report published by the State Scientific and Technological Commission of China, wolfberry benefits the body in the same way that growth hormone does: better eyesight, more robust immune response, lower body fat, lower blood sugar, and high levels of antioxidants, like superoxide dismutase (SOD).

A clinical experiment by the Ningxia Institute, Register No. 870306, October 1982 to May 1985, studied the effects of wolfberry on the immune, physiological, and biochemical indexes of the blood of aged volunteers. The results show that the wolfberry caused the blood of older people to noticeably revert to a younger state.

Researchers have discovered that wolfberry is rich in lycium polysaccharides, long chain sugars that have potent immune-stimulating effects. These polysaccharides appear to be highly effective in raising levels of immunoglobulin A (IgA), an immune protein that steadily declines with age. The ability of the wolfberry to reverse this age-related decline of IgA provides the strongest evidence of its anti-aging potential.

The wolfberry has been a dietary staple for hundreds of years in the West Elbow Plateau of the Yellow River in Inner Mongolia. The people in this region live to be over 100 years of age - 10 to 20 years longer than the average person in the rest of China.

It's All in the Hypothalamus

Many scientists believe the real reason the pituitary slows its production of growth hormone is because of the hypothalamus losing its sensitivity -not because the pituitary is unable to secrete GH. This is due not only to age, but to exposure to environmental chemicals (petrochemical residues, herbicides, fungicides, synthetic personal care ingredients, etc.).

In fact, the hypothalamus is even more important than the pituitary in regulating GH levels. Unless the hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary, the pituitary will not produce growth hormone. This chemical signal, known as GHRH (growth hormone releasing hormone), is the key to GH production by the pituitary.

So what causes the hypothalamus to hold back its production of GHRH? Researchers believe it is due to the decreased ability of the hypothalamus to detect and react to blood levels of many key elements, including thyroid hormone, growth hormone, GABA (gammaminobutyric acid), IGF-1 levels, and even the amount of sugar in the blood stream.

This is why restoring and resensitizing the receptors of the hypothalamus can lead to dramatic increases in growth hormone levels. It can also generate enhanced production of TRH (thyrotropin releasing hormone), the agent responsible for stimulating the thyroid gland to produce thyroxin, a hormone which increases the body's metabolic rate and lowers blood sugar levels.

Because the resensitization of the hypothalamus leads to a more coordinated production of all hormones and growth factors, you get the benefits of growth hormone — without the side effects associated with hGH injections.

Vicia Faba and Sesquiterpenes

There are two substances that can both safely enhance hypothalamus function and re-sensitize receptors: Vicia faba and essential oils high in sesquiterpenes.

Vicia faba contains unusually high concentrations of L-dopa, an amino acid that has been shown in several studies to restore the sensitivity of the hypothalamus. L-dopa works by re-sensitizing the hypothalamus to hormonal signals from the rest of the body, leading to an increase in the production of GHRH, and as a result, growth hormone, according to the highly regarded Soviet researcher, Vladimir Dilman.

William Sonntag, professor of physiology at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, showed that L-dopa restored growth hormone pulses to that of younger levels. This produced the same fat loss and muscle gain triggered by growth hormone alone - without the side effects. A study conducted by the National Institute of Aging also documented the ability of L-dopa to increased growth hormone levels in men over 60 years of age to that of young adults.

European studies have shown that essential oils high in sesquiterpenes, such as myrrh, (Commiphora myrrha), clary sage (Salvia sclarea), and sandalwood (Santalum album), oxygenate and stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.

Research presented in Grasse, France, in 1995 showed that when high-sesquiterpene essential oils are inhaled, they exert an extraordinary action on the limbic system of the brain, an area which comprises the hypothalamus, pituitary, and pineal glands. Brain scans revealed a dramatic increase in activity in the hypothalamic region of the brain following inhalation of the essential oils of frankincense, myrrh, and sandalwood.

Another researcher, Alan Hirsch. M.D., Director of the Smell and Taste Research Foundation in Chicago has shown that several fragrances - including peppermint - exert a highly stimulating effect on the hypothalamus of the brain. Peppermint seems to act specifically on the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus, which regulates many basic drives, including the sense of satiety (the feeling of fullness generated by eating). During his clinical trials, the aroma of peppermint generated dramatic reductions in weight in people who had previously been unsuccessful in any sort of weight reduction program.

Inadequate Deep Sleep

As we grow older, sleep becomes shorter and shallower. Because most of our growth hormone is produced during slow wave deep sleep (also called stage IV delta wave sleep), inadequate deep sleep can result in slowed growth hormone production. A deficiency of deep sleep can also undermine resistance to viral and bacterial infections since the immune system is far more active during this time.

One of the best-studied antioxidants for promoting deep sleep is melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland.

Melatonin's ability to raise growth hormone levels was analyzed in several clinical studies (Smythe et al., 1974; Valcavi et al., 1993). In the most recent study, melatonin produced a twofold increase in growth hormone levels in a group of adult men when combined with GHRH (growth hormone releasing hormone).

Greg Fahy, Ph.D., of the Naval Medical Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, is convinced that growth hormone levels fall due to declining melatonin levels. It is widely accepted that both melatonin and growth hormone levels fall in sync as the body ages, and Fahy believes that decreasing melatonin levels may be the cause.

Fahy states, "It may be that the reason melatonin is good for you is that it stimulates growth hormone release."

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforata) increases levels of serotinin, the daytime equivalent to melatonin. Serotinin is a neurotransmitter intimately linked with relaxation and normal limbic function of the brain. It may be the most underrated natural hypothalamus supporter yet identified.

Amino Acids: Safe Growth Hormone Releasers

Some amino acids are natural secretagogues (growth hormone releasers). Some of the most effective secretagogues include L-glutamine, L-arginine, L-ornithine, and L-lysine. Individually, they safely promote the natural release of growth hormone from the pituitary.

The amino acid L-arginine has displayed particularly noticeable promise in increasing hGH levels by blocking the production of growth-hormone inhibitors (ie., somato-statin). One study at Kent State University in Ohio showed that oral doses of L-arginine produced dramatic increases in growth hormone levels. The most effective dosage was 160 mg. per kilogram of body weight.

When combined with L-lysine, L-arginine's effects on growth hormone levels are amplified. A. Isidori combined 1.2 grams of L-arginine with 1.2 grams of L-lysine in a 1981 study at the University of Rome. The combination increased hGH levels 10 times over what was achieved with L-arginine alone (Isidori et al., 1981). Even though a second study in Baltimore, Maryland, could not replicate Isidori's findings, other researchers have shown the L-lysine/L-arginine combination may increase thymic hormone secretion.

L-glutamine has also been researched for its hGH-promoting effects. In a study at Louisiana State University, Thomas Welbourne, showed that oral doses of at least two grams of glutamine per day raised hGH levels over four times that of a placebo.

Many researchers have been exploring the growth hormone-enhancing effects of various combinations of these amino acids. The results indicated a powerful synergistic effect when specific amino acids are combined in the proper ratios. Vincent Giampapa, M.D., Director of the Longevity Institute International, used L-ornithine, L-arginine, and L-glutamine to dramatically elevate hGH levels.

GABA (gammaaminobutyric acid) is another nutrient that can amplify growth hormone production. Several studies have examined GABA's role in regulating growth hormone levels, including one conducted at the University of Manitoba Department of Medicine. According to this study, the amount of growth hormone released by the pituitary is directly related to blood serum levels of GABA. This means that the lower the level of GABA in the blood, the lower the level of GH. Other studies have achieved similar results (Cavagnini, et al., 1980; Acs et al., 1992).

Vitamin B-6, magnesium and zinc are also pivotal in maintaining optimal pituitary function. At least twice the RDA (recommended daily allowance) is needed for routine maintenance: 800 mg of magnesium, 30 mg of zinc; and 4 mg of vitamin B-6.

Besides hGH, the pituitary secretes 10 different all of which are necessary for balance (homeostasis) in the body. By prompting the pituitary to secrete more of all hormones rather than just hGH, the side effects associated with hGH alone are avoided.

Five Important Lifestyle Changes to Ward Off Premature Aging

1. Avoid Petrochemicals

Scientists have long known that some agricultural and industrial chemicals have potent estrogenic effects. However, recent research indicates that these chemicals may also tie up growth hormone IGF-1 receptors, thereby preventing growth hormone from exerting its beneficial effects throughout the body.

This is why thorough intestinal cleansing to prevent the build up of chemicals and toxins is so important. This is also why avoidance of synthetic or petrochemical-based personal care products is essential.

Essential oils like rosemary, lavender, and clove can contribute to dissolving petrochemical residues and counteracting cell membrane thickening that reduces receptor sensitivity to GH. This is because many essential oils possess a chemistry similar to the phospholipid structure of the cell membrane.

During D. Gary Young's clinical research in California during the 1980s, he observed firsthand the ability of essential oils to open cell membranes and enhance nutrient absorption. He conducted over 10,000 blood studies on patients in which he compared essential oil-enhanced nutrients to nutrients alone. Based on this research, he began combining essential oils with foods as well as herbs and achieved phenomenal results.

D. Gary Young's success with essential oil-enhanced herbal and nutrient formulas eventually led him to begin distributing these formulas through his medical practice and now through his company, Young Living Essential Oils, located in Payson, Utah.

2. Multi-hormone Replacement

Multi-hormone replacement better mimics the body's natural homeostasis and is far superior to using growth hormone alone.

One prominent medical researcher, Thierry Hertoghe, M.D., believes that there is a strong synergy between hormones.
"If you give two, three or four, it's like you're giving eight because of the synergistic effect. You get the best effect when you fill in all the gaps."

Other researchers agree. "It may be," says Dr. Klatz, "that multi-hormone replacement with testosterone, DHEA, melatonin, and growth hormone offers the best defense for men against prostate cancer."

John Lee, M.D., an expert on natural progesterone and author of WHAT YOUR DOCTOR MAY NOT TELL YOU ABOUT MENOPAUSE, has long emphasized hormone balance, not stimulation:

"Though each hormone is unique, hormone balance involves a complex harmonious blend of all hormones. I tend to think of hormones as instruments in an orchestra — the harmony we seek is the proper contribution of all the instruments together not only in pitch but also in volume and rhythm. The same is true of sex hormones and thyroid hormone."

Preliminary research indicates that natural progesterone significantly enhances the beneficial effects of growth hormone. However, only natural, soy-derived progesterone offers any benefit, since it is identical to that secreted by the body. Synthetic progesterone (i.e., Progestin) are chemically very different from natural progesterone and plagued with side effects and long-term complications, such as increased cancer risk, depression, mood swings, decreased libido, and weight gain.

Some of the best forms of natural progesterone are topical creams that work through transdermal absorption. During the past several years, an avalanche of progesterone creams have hit the market with progesterone content ranging from almost none to over 1,000 mg. per ounce. With quality control being so haphazard, the public can have no guarantee of cream quality.

D. Gary Young has recently developed a transdermal cream, which encourages the body to make its own progesterone and other needed hormones using Pregnenolone. Pregnenolone is a key substance which plays a central role in all reproductive processes and is the building block from which DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, estriol, estradiol, testosterone, and other hormones are created in the body. It is highly discriminative and only converts to other hormones if they are needed by the body, reducing the risk for side effects, which are sometimes experienced with DHEA and other hormone precursors. It does not have any negative side effects, even after decades of use.

3. How Fasting and Diet Enhance GH

Fasting can be one of the most potent natural inducers of growth hormone release. Ray Walford, M.D., a leading expert on aging and author of the 120 Year Diet, suggests a two-day-a-week fast as an efficient way to cut down calories for life extension. Other researchers have shown that limiting caloric intake by 20% or more dramatically increases growth hormone and IGF-1 levels.

Why does fasting increase longevity? Researchers believe that reduced levels of glucose in the blood triggers the hypothalamus to release GHRH, which, in turn, promotes higher growth hormone levels.

4. Supporting Thyroid Function

Maintaining low blood sugar levels is one of the most effective ways to enhance growth hormone production. This is because low blood sugar levels are one of the key signals that alerts the hypothalamus secrete GHRH, the hormone responsible for telling the pituitary to produce growth hormone.

One of the best ways to keep blood sugar low is through supporting thyroid function. If the thyroid is underactive, it may lead to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels and, thus, lower-than-normal growth hormone production.

Many people call the thyroid the energy gland for the entire human body because the hormone it secretes, thyroxin, is important in the conversion of glucose into energy. If not enough iodine is present in the diet, the thyroid cannot produce adequate quantities of thyroxine to maintain aqequate energy levels and lower blood sugar levels.

Increasing your intake of dietary iodine along with zinc and Coenzyme QlO may be the easiest way to increase thyroid hormone function. Gary Young, , achieved excellent results in his clinical practice by using kelp (a sea vegetable rich in iodine), Coenzyme QlO, zinc, potassium, and the essential oil of myrtle (Myrtus communis).

5. Exercise: The Best Kept Secret For Releasing GH Naturally

Sustained high-intensity exercise is one of the most effective natural growth hormone releasers. Activities such as running and resistance training (weight lifting) have been shown to increase the quantity of growth hormone in the body by increasing the sensitivity of the hypothalamus.

Even moderate-intensity exercise may be enough to promote improved GH release. A study conducted at the University of Florida by Stephen Borst compared the ability of various forms of exercise to increase GH levels. Moderate weight training in particular produced dramatic increases in growth hormone levels. (Borst et al., 1994)

Fitness legend, Dr. Bob Delmonteque, has been practicing this prescription for over 60 years. He has used a combination of correct nutrition, resistance training, and aerobic exercise to achieve an astounding state of conditioning even at an advanced age. At 80 years old he looks better than most men do at age 20 - with mental powers to match. "I have a memory like an elephant," he recently told an interviewer.

Dr. Delmonteque has continued to gain muscle and strength even at his advanced age. "Some people believe you can't gain muscle after age 60," he said. "But I have continued to prove them wrong. And since I have started using D. Gary Young's Wolfberry products, I have gained an inch and half on my chest and an inch on my arms — all solid muscle. To avoid blowing out the seams in my Brioni suits, I've had to buy a whole new wardrobe."

How Different Exercises Effect Growth Hormone Levels

Stationary BikeMod.145% increase
High166% increase
Running (men)Mod.None to moderate
Running (women)High266% increase
Weight training85%*400% increase
70%* 300% increase
*percent of maximum lift capacity.
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 1994

Why Oral Nutrient Sprays Offer a Superior Drug Delivery System

A new form of nutrient delivery has recently gained prominence among progressive physicians and health practitioners: Oral Mucosal Absorption (OMA). Radically different from pills, patches, or injections, OMA promises to redefine the way we look at nutrient delivery.

One of the problems with many of the studies that tested the anti-aging effects of growth hormone was that researchers used hGH injections administered several times a week. However, this created negative side effects because such injections were not timed to coincide with the body's natural cyclic release of growth hormone, which occurs several times a day (with the largest burst occurring two hours after falling asleep). Mimicking the timing and dosage of these natural GH pulses is important in order to skirt the side effects and unlock the rejuvenating potential of growth hormone.

This is why oral sprays represent such a breakthrough in natural GH release. Users can now take doses of growth-hormone-releasing nutrients several times a day, allowing them to more closely mimic the natural cyclic secretions of GH by the pituitary.

Oral sprays may also be far more efficient in delivering growth hormone than either pills or injections since they are sprayed directly inside the mouth. Doctors have long known that the inner lining of the mouth near the cheek area (known as the "buccal cavity") is exceptionally rich in surface blood vessels. In fact, according to the PHYSICIANS DESK REFERENCE HANDBOOK, oral absorption is approximately 90% efficient, having twice the efficiency of transdermal patches and five times the efficiency of capsules and tablets.*

*(Condensed, revised and reprinted from the Essential Edge, April, 1999, [by permission] by independent distr. R. James)

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