What is HGH?
Human growth hormone (HGH) is a protein made up of a chain of 191 amino acids. HGH (somatotropin) is one of the most abundant hormones secreted by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Once released by the pituitary gland it is quickly taken in by the liver and converted into growth factors, the most important one being IGF-1.
These growth factors are the messengers that carry the messages to the cells of the body. This communication regulates the growth of cells, telling them when to live and when to die. Cell reproduction slows unless the cells are prompted by the growth factors of HGH.
The Decline of HGH With Age
During the growth and development stage of life human growth hormone is responsible for proper growth and development. Once adulthood is reached HGH is still important in that it effects almost every cell of the body and helps to keep the cells and systems healthy. Healthy levels of HGH account for things such as good muscle/fat ratio and high libido and sexual function, however, as age progresses the pituitary gland releases lower and lower amounts of HGH into the bloodstream for the body to use.
Human Growth Hormone's Role in Aging
Clinical studies show a direct correlation between decreasing HGH levels in adults and the effects of aging. Human growth hormone deficiency in adults is called "somatopause".
Decreased levels of human growth hormone and other hormones reduce the body's ability to function properly. For instance, the growth hormones that are responsible for forming muscle mass; human growth hormone, testosterone, and thyroid, all drop dramatically as we get older. For this reason, the ratio of fat in our body increases and the ratio of lean muscle decreases even if we exercise and eat properly, and even if we do not actually gain weight.
On average, after age 35 the amount of body fat expands by 50%, while the lean body mass (LBM) that forms muscles, bones, and the vital organs actually shrinks by 30%.
The amount of human growth hormone released by the pituitary gland after the age of 21 to 31 falls by about 14% per decade. This means that HGH in the body is reduced by half at age 60. On average 20 year olds have a level of about 500 mcg, 40 year olds have about 200 mcg, and 80 year olds have only about 25 mcg of HGH.
We now know that the body literally breaks down and wears out due to the lack of hormones; specifically human growth hormone and its growth factors.
Lisa Wells, RN
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