Chapter 2 - Secret 1 - Anti-Aging Hormones
As discussed in the earlier chapter, one of the accepted theories of aging is the hormonal theory, which advocates that aging is a disease characterized by declining hormonal health.
on the work done in the area of growth hormones is becoming well known and widespread.
People are especially interested in it and want to know if the incredible things
they have heard about it can be reproduced for them. These reported results
range from the extreme to the realistic results reported in studies done on
the administration of human growth hormone. Can
Hormone replacement therapy extend the average life span? The answer is a decided
YES. The reason we know this to be true is due to the successful
experiments done by those involved with hormone replacement therapies. For instance,
estrogen replacement therapy in post-menopausal women has cut their rate of
heart attack and stroke significantly and prolonged their life span. Research
studies with human growth hormone have been encouraging better because human
growth hormone is pervasive in the body. Let us now take a look specifically
at human growth hormone (hGH).
What Is Growth Hormone (hGH)?
Growth hormone is a small protein molecule containing 191 amino acids in a
single polypeptide chain. It is the most abundant hormone secreted by the pituitary
gland. Its rate of production peaks during adolescence when accelerated growth
occurs. Production rate decreases 14% every decade into old age. Generally,
however, it remains in abundant supply waiting to be secreted into the body.
For some cause yet to be identified, this all-important gland ceases to secrete
the hormone, which tells the body to repair the cells. By receiving decreased
amounts of growth hormone over time the body begins to age. Daily
secretion from the pituitary gland diminishes with age to the extent that a
60 year old man secretes 25% of the hGH secreted by a 20 year old man.
Actually secretion decreases due to lack of instructions from the hypothalamus
to growth hormone releasing hormones, which are, as their name implies, hormones
which act to release. Adding to this already decreasing dimension is the fact
that receptor sites for hGH also become desensitized
after a certain age. This causes less growth hormone to be released.
hGH is actually released in pulses that take place during the day, but are
especially prominent during the beginning phases of sleep. Soon these pulsates
are converted in the liver (within 20 minutes) to Insulin-like Growth Factor
Type I (IGF-1). Although IGF-1 is not insulin, it acts like insulin in that
it promotes glucose transfer through cell membranes into the cell. More importantly,
IGF-1 elicits most of the effects associated with growth hormone. It is measured
in the blood, and this is significant because it enables us to measure the amount
of growth hormone currently being released. Lastly, many factors affect the
ability of the body to release hGH and form IGF-1. These factors include physical
and emotional stress, chronic liver dysfunction, poor diet and genetic predisposition.
Other factors leading to decrease of hGH release are obesity, zinc and magnesium
deficiency, or an increase in blood sugar and/or insulin levels. On the other
hand, factors increasing hGH include calorie restriction, testosterone or estrogen
levels, high doses of amino acids: L-Argentine, Glutamate, Lysine, intense,
sustained exercise, as well as an increase in calcium.
Growth Hormone was first discovered in 1912 by Dr. Harvey Cussing, but
was first isolated from human and monkey cadavers through glandular extraction
in 1956. Only two years later it was being used to treat dwarf children by injection.
In 1989 came the landmark double blind study by Dr. Daniel Rudman. The
results of this study conclusively showed that with the use of GH, age reversal
was possible. This study included adult men who had measured deficiencies in
growth hormones. These men were all between the ages of 61 and 73. They were
injected with GH made from recombinant DNA synthesis. In 1990, Dr. Rudman's
results were reported in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
- Lean Body Mass +8.8%
- Bone Density +1.6%
- Adipose Tissue (Fat) Mass -4.4%
- Skin Thickness from 4 sites +7.1%
Summary: skin thicker, muscles were bigger, age-related stomach fat was disappearing, lost bone from spine was restored.
The effects of six months of human growth hormone on lean body mass and adipose-tissue mass were equivalent to 10-20 years of reversed aging. Here the most significant result relating to anti-aging exists between the ratio of muscle to fat. To appreciate the full import made by this relationship and the implications it carries, a quote from Robert Klatz's book Stopping the Clock will suffice: "...it helps to recall the way our muscle-fat ratio tends to change as we age. Some 80% of a young adult's body are lean body mass: muscles, organs, and bone. Only 20% are fatty (adipose) tissue. For most people, after age 30, muscles atrophy, partly from genetic programming, partly from underuse. Every decade thereafter an average of 5% of lean body mass is replaced by fatty tissue, so that by the time most of us reach age 70, we've gone from an 80-20 lean-fat ratio to a ratio that is closer to 50-50.
"The increase in fatty tissue is related to a variety of cardiovascular problems, whereas the loss of lean body mass is part of what causes the elderly to lose energy, strength, and mobility. Anything that can slow or reverse the trend towards more fatty tissue in effect slows or reverses the aging processes itself."
Although drugs and therapies that claim to reverse aging are nothing new, only
Dr. Rudman's study passes the gold standard of drug testing: controlled, randomized,
double-blind clinical study with reproducible results.
The following are 15 common signs of declining hormonal health. How many of them apply to you?
- Do you go through mood swings easily?
- Do you anger easily?
- Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
- Is your sex life declining?
- Do you have problem concentrating?
- Do you often get cold or feel sick?
- Is your total blood cholesterol over 240?
- Is your HDL cholesterol under 50?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
- Does the skin on your face and neck appear to hang?
- Is it getting harder to exercise?
- Is your grip strength weakening?
- Is your endurance level less?
- Is your breathing more labored when you exercise hard?
- Are you age 45 and above?
If you answer positively to many of these questions, consult an anti-aging
physician for further evaluation. You may need hormonal replacement. If you
answer negatively to most of the questions above, chances are your hormonal
health is within normal limits and no intervention is necessary.
Numerous symptoms exist which indicate a hGH deficiency. These symptoms can be broken down into at least four different categories.Symptoms in anabolic tone include: reduced lean body mass, reduced skeletal muscle strength, reduced exercise performance, increased body fat, and increased abdominal fat.
- Symptoms in lipid effects: increased LDL cholesterol and decreased HDL cholesterol; in bone defects: osteopenia (lack of bone).
- Symptoms in protein synthesis: thin skin, lack of collagen, decreased size of organs, decreased nail and hair growth.
- Symptoms in mental health:
reduced energy, emotional instability, poor
memory, and concentration, depression, and reduced sex drive.
Effects in hGH enhancements are numerous as well. The loss of fat and wrinkles is reported as well as the growth of hair and a gain in muscle. Improvements in sex drive, brain function, vision, immune function and cholesterol profile have been widely determined as well.
Some of the most exciting and phenomenal studies in medicine today involve hormones and hormone replacement. Here we have called it "the defining secret" because, for centuries, on all continents, humans have practiced medicine in a way which could extend life. Still today we are learning from Chinese, Japanese, American Indians, etc. who have pioneered the paths to modern medicine. It was, however, the scientific discoveries and development in hGh in this century, which has elevated the possibilities for age longevity to a qualitatively different level than they have ever existed in human history. Clinical trials in hGh proliferate with the passing of each year. Dr. Rudman's studies in Human Growth Hormone came to define a new era in anti-aging medicine. This is because they came to document, scientifically, that a substance can be administered to human beings that could engender age reversal. Even before this study existed, the research into human hormones had been growing by leaps and bounds. Along with DNA research, it holds the bright possibilities for extending life.
Since Dr. Rudman's landmark study in the field of hGh, over 100 reputable studies have been performed which have documented the safety and legitimacy of this outstanding therapeutic approach. Four distinctive methods have emerged which either enable hormones to be replaced or stimulate the release of hormones. With the exception of one of these methods, all have been found to be successful in replacing, releasing or stimulating a particular hormonal response.
These four methods are:
- Direct human growth hormone injections
- Growth Hormone Releasing Factors (GHRF)
- GH boosting hormone replacement
- IGF-1 Replacement
The following is a brief summary on each of these categories:
For years after Dr. Rudman's study, the therapeutic approach to dominating the growth hormone field was done by injection of human growth hormone. Many inconveniences, however, sprung up as a result of using this method. Fortunately, these difficulties were not safety related but became, as we said, matters of inconvenience. For one, the injections were expensive, running high as $1,000 per month. Since the objective of this type of procedure was to mimic the body's release pattern of hGH throughout the day, the dosages tended to be low though delivered in higher frequencies. As can be imagined, many people complained about having to poke themselves daily with needles. Besides the pain and inconvenience associated with this, people often had vascular problems associated with finding veins and new sites to inject. No major side effects were reported, with the exception of some minor joint aches and pains, as well as fluid retention. This tended, however, to disappear in the first month or two.
Equally fortunate was the fact that there were no reported cases of cancer or serious degenerative illnesses. Although when a patient would go off hGh injections, it was reported that he would experience some decrease in energy level. Even so, it was found that bodily composition would essentially remain unchanged -- that is, if accompanied by an exercise and diet program. Although injections of Human Growth Hormone maybe not be the program of choice for many people, statistics demonstrate overwhelmingly its impressive effectiveness.
Dr. Rudman's highly successful and respected study on hGh has previously been discussed in some detail. There were as we also mentioned other studies, which soon flourished afterwards. Following on its heels was a study done at the same institution at which Dr. Rudman had completed his original work, a few short years after his death. The following information was taken from this study at the Medical College of Wisconsin between 1994-1996.
Recipients of hGh were given low dose/high frequency dosages. The information was compiled from 308 randomly selected self-assessment questionnaires that were completed by 202 patients.
- 88% reported improvement in Muscle Strength
- 81% reported improvement in Muscle Size
- 71% reported improvement in Body Fat Loss
- 81% reported improvement in Exercise Tolerance
- 83% reported improvement in Exercise Endurance
- 71% reported improvement in Skin Texture
- 68% reported improvement in Skin Thickness
- 71% reported improvement in Skin Elasticity
- 51% reported improvement in Wrinkle Disappearance
- 38% reported improvement in New Hair Growth
- 55% reported improvement in Healing of Old Injury
- 53% reported improvement in Back Flexibility
- 53% reported improvement in Sexual Potency/Frequency
- 73% reported improvement to Common Illness
- 62% reported improvement in Duration of Penile Erection
- 57% reported improvement in Frequency of Nighttime Urination
- 57% reported improvement in Hot Flashes
- 84% reported improvement in Energy Level
- 62% reported improvement in Memory
Findings such as these, which became nearly commonplace, began causing quite a stir in the medical industry, which precipitated a huge demand for human growth hormone. However, interest in becoming injected with hGH never reached anything approaching critical mass. Perhaps the cause for this ever happening lies not only in the method of delivery - injection which is troublesome for most.
Although this category includes some unlikely paired elements; they all have in common the fact that they all encourage the pituitary to release growth hormone. This category is rather wide because it includes; for instance, activities the body does to naturally release GH as well as takes in nutrients which trigger the release of GH. The two nutrient supplements known to stimulate the production of GH are Secretagogues and Amino Acids.
Funny name: secretagogue (pronounced se cre' ta gog). A secretagogue is a natural polyamino acid chain that is postulated to cause the pituitary to release growth hormone. It is the precoursor to hGH. While hGH causes the body to act as if the pituitary has released growth hormone, a secretagogue actually causes the release of it. So with a secretagogue, the bodies own natural processes produce growth hormones. They do not act as growth hormones at all; they stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone.
Probably more than anything else the inconvenience and unnaturalness of hGH lead to the discovery of Secretagogues. Simply, for years it was believed that the pituitary gland, where growth hormone is produced, dries up as a natural effect of aging. Science, though relatively recently discovered that in fact plenty of growth hormone resides in the pituitary but that it merely stops secreting as age progresses. The trick was to discover an agent, which could stimulate the pituitary to start secreting hormones again. Scientists discovered that certain combinations of amino acids spurred the pituitary gland to release growth hormone. Experimentation led to perfecting the right combinations.
Two different camps, however, emerged in approaching how to make the most effective secretagogue. Some believed that secretagogues should be derived from natural substances and others believed synthetic substances were just as effective. Synthetic secretagogues are currently unavailable for use since they are still under in clinical trials.
This is just as well, however, since natural secretagogue is the most practical approach since there are no side effects. In comparison with hGH their potency is low, as is their efficacy. Since these are orally taken, they can be a first line approach for those who may not want to be on hGH injections right away.
Amino acids are also known in this field as GH Provocateurs. They provoke the stimulation of growth hormone. They are the least expensive of the GHRH Factors. To produce sufficient amounts of GH, one consumes relatively large doses of amino acids. These particular amino Acids include Glutamine, Arginine, Lysine and Ornithine.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It is a conditional amino acid, meaning that the body may not be able to synthesize it when under stress. It causes GH secretion as well. Traditionally it has been used in helping strengthen the immune system. Normal anti-aging intake is 50mg to 1gm for 2 times a day.
Glutamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain. It is essential for proper brain function or it help to remove ammonia from the brain and lung. It is vital for maintaining proper immune function, kidneys, pancreas, bladder and liver.
In a higher quantity, it becomes one of our body's most powerful anti-oxidant. Many people, especially those in weight training, add this amino acid to common protein drink due to its benefit in muscle metabolism effect. In such case, supplementation of 2-3gm/day is quite common. For those who plan to take extra Glutamine, it is best if the dosage divide the doses through out the day, can be up to 4 servings/day.
Over supplementation of glutamine will contribute to ammonia load. Free form of L-Glutamine is known to produce a strong anticatabolic effect by athletes, which neutralizes the cortisol that accompanies the strenuous exercises.
Other ingredient that potentate Glutamine action include:
- Glysine - help to induce the cell-volumizing effect.
- Alanine - help preserve muscle glutamine concentrations by converting it to blood glucose during calorie restriction.
- AKG (2-4 gram / day is common use for body builders). This is a direct precursor to the synthesis of glutamine in the body
Anti aging benefit of glutamine are many, including -
- Improve Immune function thus prevent infection (infection can cause cellular damage/ increase stress/ aging process), thus slowing aging process.
- Help overcome daily stress thus prevent oxidative damage, (oxidative damage causes cellular damage).
- Prevent catabolic effect from cortisol thus prevent acceleration of aging process.
- It causes extra Growth- Hormone release; 2 gram of glutamine was shown to cause a fourth fold increase in Growth Hormone level. Thus help to slow the aging process.
- Improve the kidney function thus improve our detoxification system.
Lysine - is an essential amino acid which affects bone formation, height, and genital function. It boosts the effects also of arginine. Dosage is 1 gram on an empty stomach one hour before bedtime and before exercise.
Ornithine - is a nonessential amino acid. It is used to synergies and potentate the effect of Arginine. Dosage is one gram at bedtime. More than 2-5 grams have been know to cause diarrhea.
Certain hormone have a synergengistic effect to boost on body's secretion of GH. This knowledge constitutes a major contribution to anti-aging medicine. Hormones other than growth hormones decline with age as well. It is thus necessary to replace them to ensure one's youth and health. Replacing these other hormones, for one, makes work better (regardless of whether we're talking injectibles, scretagogues or provocateurs). Secondly, different hormones do different things in our body. Thirdly, raising the levels of other hormones will decrease the amount of hGH needed. Some of these hormones are estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and Melotonin.
Progesterone - functions in many capacities. It is often taken to counter the effects of estrogen, normally used by women during postmenopausal. It also goes by the prescription . Natural progesterone is available as well and is known to have far fewer side effects. Progesterone has many functions. First, it is both a precursors to other adrenal hormones and a GH stimulant as well. It likewise promotes lipolysis (breakdown of fat) and protects against endometrial cancer. It is known to eliminate the risk of endometrial cancer when given with estrogen for 10 or more days per cycle. Lastly, progesterone normalizes levels of blood sugar, zinc and copper.
Testosterone is a male sex hormone and the most potent stimulant of GH. It decreases with age, starting in mid 40's. Only 40% of men's youthful level of testosterone still exist at age 80. Studies have shown that the loss of it accounts for the "pot belly" and loss of muscle mass in middle aged men. Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is as powerful an anti-aging effect as estrogen or progesterone replacement in women. Many benefits are associated with taking testosterone such as renewed strength, improved balance, raised blood cell count, increased libido, lowered LDL and cholesterol. It also stems the loss of bone mass in men. However, TRT is not without side effects. These are known to be: higher levels of PSA (prostrate specific Antigen) and a rise in hematocrit. It is advisable to do the PSA test every 6 months and a 3 hear ultrasound to check for any abnormalities when taking testosterone. Total hormone replacement including melotonin and DHEA may actually have immune rejuvenating and cancer surveillance properties that protect against prostrate cancer. Testosterone can be given as intra-muscular injection, suppositories, a patch to the scrotum, as oral micronized capsules, or sublingual lozenges.
Estrogen represents an entire family of female related hormones. For one it reduces heart diseases and controls LDL cholesterol. It is often used to prevent hot flashes and mood swings associated with menopause. Other benefits include: the preventing of heart disease and rapid decline of bone density after menopause, the improvement of body composition, protecting against Alzheimer and stimulating GH.
DHEA is the most abundant of all steroids and is released from the adrenal glands. Cholesterol actually makes DHEA and is told to do so when the pituitary releases ACTH, which in turns signals the cholesterol. DHEA is involved in the manufacturing of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and coritcosteroids. The decline of DHEA parallels that of growth hormone. By age 65, the body makes only 10-20% of DHEA that was made at age 20. I t has been shown in animal studies to act as an agent of anti-obesity, anti-cancer, anti-autoimmune disease, anti-stress, anti-infectious disease. In other words, it is an all around anti-aging drug. It may also boost the function of the brain as the brain tissue contains 6 times more DHEA than any other tissue in the body. As far as anti aging is concern, effects may come about by increasing IGF-1 levels. Furthermore, DHEA is an inexpensive alternative to GH. Dosage range is between 25-50mg per day. DHEA levels should be measured intermittently and a resting cycle should periodically be observed.
Melotonin is a hormone with powerful antioxidant properties. It is reportedly an immune booster, cancer fighter, heart helper mood elevator, and natural sleeping agent. The organ, which secretes melotonin, is the pineal gland, the timekeeper of the brain and that that controls our circadian rhythms. Dosage varies from person to person. Low dosages of .3mg to l mg. can reduce the time to fall asleep as well as increase the quality of sleep. Some people require as much as 60mg to before it begins working. Normal recommended starting dosage is 0.5mg. to l mg. before bedtime. If you decide to increase the dosage do so up to 5-10mg per day as needed. This is contraindicated in: pregnant or nursing mother, children, women trying to conceive, people who are on prescription steroids or who have mental illness, severe allergies, or immune system cancers such as lymphoma.
With IGT-1, science is attempting to manipulate IGF-1 levels, which would then produce the responses needed to affect age reversal. At this particular time, work done in the field on IGF-1 is so new there is not much to report. It will be years before clinical trials are completed. Another problem to be solved before it is approved however is how the FDA will classify it since it is neither a pharmaceutical nor a supplement.
With such questions yet to be resolved one may wonder where is the science of growth hormone is headed. Ideally, it looks as if science will soon discover a small, cheap, safe pill that a person could take every day to raise hGH levels - a kind of anti-aging aspirin. This would be the ultimate secretagogue. Extensive clinical trials are already underway.
A good supplementation program, precision anti-aging exercise program, a healthy diet, and the right mental health are vital because they work synergistically with hGH to promote hGH secretion. For instance, as far as exercise and growth hormone secretion are concerned, athletes who train heavily are known to maintain youthful levels of hGH right into their 70's. There is not coincidence that all major studies of exercise show that the results, compared to hGH therapy, are similar. This includes increase bone density, increase muscle mass, reduction of cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides, decrease in body fat, increased life expectancy. Exercise and diet both promote the control of insulin. Not surprisingly, hGH dosage is decreased with vigorous exercise.
In addition, hGH can be enhanced with supplements such as Chromium Piccolinate which lowers circulating insulin and blood sugar. Finally, a Multi-hormonal Replacement enhancement such as estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, testosterone, and melotonin can give an added boost to the secretion of hGH.
With regards to hGH Diet enhancement, it is recommend that 50-60% of food in-take should consist of the carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables. It is highly recommended that one takes complex carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, as compared to rice and potato. Complex carbohydrates break down slowly, and therefore restrict abrupt insulin rise in blood. Protein should account for 20-30% and fat 10-20% of the remainder of food consumption. These percentages of food intake represent the necessary amounts to cause hGH to be released.
Permit us a word on hGH production and exercise. Current studies are not conclusive as of yet. Test results with athletes whose initial IGF-1 were near optimal contribute to our conclusion that hGH will not be over-stimulated in people who have close to optimal hGH levels. It is nonetheless, it is most prudent to check IGF-1 levels every 6 months. IGF-1 levels which are below normal and have been restored to normal levels, it is advisable to back off any rigorous pace set to increase these level.