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Growth Hormone Deficiency

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Definition

Growth hormone (GH) deficiency exists when this hormone is absent or produced in inadequate amounts. The growth hormone, also known as somatotropin is a protein that is synthesized and secreted by cells called somatotrophs in the anterior pituitary. It is a major participant in control of several complex physiologic processes, including growth and metabolism.

The pituitary gland releases growth hormone in quick spurts into the bloodstream at various times throughout the day. Once released into the bloodstream it remains active for only a few minutes, but long enough to stimulate its uptake into the liver. The liver must then convert the GH into growth factors.

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Functions

The growth hormone maintains youth, body tone, vitality and mind function for both men and women. Growth Hormone modulates cellular metabolism and delays onset of degenerative diseases.

Direct Effects are the result of growth hormone binding its receptor on target cells. For example, the growth hormone stimulates the fat cells to break down triglyceride and suppresses their ability to accumulate circulating lipids.

Indirect Effects are mediated primarily by a insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which is secreted from the liver and other tissues in response to growth hormone. A majority of the growth promoting effects of growth hormone are actually due to the action of IGF-1 on its target cells.

Growth
The major role of GH is to stimulate the liver and other tissues to secrete IGF-1. IGF-1 stimulates proliferation of chondrocytes (cartilage cells), resulting in bone growth. GH seems to have a direct effect on bone growth in stimulating differentiation of cartilage cells (chondrocytes). IGF-1 also appears to be the key player in muscle growth. It stimulates both the differentiation and proliferation of muscle cells (myoblasts). It also stimulates protein synthesis in muscle and other tissues.
Metabolism
Growth hormone has important effects on protein, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism. In some cases, a direct effect of growth hormone has been clearly demonstrated. In others, IGF-1 is thought to be the critical mediator and in some instances it appears that both direct and indirect effects are at play at the same time.
Mood
&
Emotions
GH is a powerful brain hormone that is believed to stimulate and control areas of the brain that regulate moods and emotions. Certain chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters are dependent on the effects of GH to help them carry their messages between brain centers. Deficiency of GH hampers the appropriate psychological functioning of the brain and the result can be manifested in the form of anxiety, depression and worry for no apparent reason.

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Control

Production of growth hormone is modulated by many factors, including stress, exercise, nutrition, sleep and existing growth hormone levels. However, its primary controllers are:


Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH) which is secreted by the hypothalamus and stimulates both the synthesis and secretion of growth hormone.


Somatostatin (SS) which is produced by several tissues in the body, including the hypothalamus. Somatostatin inhibits growth hormone release in response to GHRH and to other stimulatory factors such as low blood glucose concentration

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Causes

Idiopathic
Growth Hormone Deficiency occurs in some children for no apparent reason
Familial
In some children it may be inherited or run in families (familial).
Congenital

Hypopituitarism may be congenital, resulting from abnormal formation of the pituitary or hypothalamus before the child is born,

Acquired
Damage to the pituitary or hypothalamus during birth, pituitary tumor (craniopharyngioma), severe head injury or serious illness like meningitis or encephalitis.
Aging
The age-related decline in GH secretion involves a number of changes in the GH axis, including decreased serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and decreased secretion of growth hormone-releasing hormone from the hypothalamus. The cause of the age-related decrease in GH secretion is thought to result, in part, from increased secretion of somatostatin which is the GH-inhibiting hormone.

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Symptoms

  • Aging skin with wrinkling and pigmentation
  • Gray hair
  • Poor vision
  • Restlessness
  • Memory Loss
  • Increased colds and illnesses due to weakened immune system
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Fatigue, overall malaise and feeling of being unwell
  • Increased levels of bad to good cholesterol
  • Decreased energy and stamina
  • Decreased sexual arousal and pleasure
  • Increased body fat, shrinking muscle mass and loss of strength
  • Increased cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis, diminished bone density and strength
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Lack of deep sleep

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Implications

Low or absent growth hormone (GH) secretion levels may result in a a number of different physical and emotional symptoms. Feeling tired, listless, easily fatigued and having a lack of motivation are often reported by people who have a deficiency of this vital hormone. Some individuals may also report feeling anxious, irritable, losing interest in sex and a sense of gloom and pessimism about their lives. Because of these effects, persons with GHD may tend to avoid contact with others, show signs of stress in their marriage and experience a gradual decrease in their productivity at work. Quality of life begins to decline and the affected individual often suffers in silence. Negative and sad feeling may dominate your mood, and positive or joyful feelings can be dampened. An affected individual could feel unable to enjoy life and lack the motivation to make changes in their circumstances.

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What You Can Do

Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy (GHRT)

The Latest Anti-Aging Research states that growth factors hold the key to reversing and delaying the aging process!

GH replacement can be self administered daily via. a subcutaneous injection (injection under the skin with a very small insulin type needle). Symptoms occurring at initiation of therapy include muscle or joint pain, headaches and blurred vision. These typically resolve with time and can be minimized by starting with low doses and slowly working up to therapeutic levels. By contrast, symptoms of GH excess include musculoskeletal pain, peripheral edema, and carpal tunnel syndrome. These symptoms can be largely alleviated by lowering GH dose.

Growth Hormone replacement therapy must be done under the care of a licensed physician who can monitor growth hormone levels regularly. NEVER take up a growth hormone replacement therapy without the advice of a qualified physician

GH Replacement Therapy is used to Treat:

  • Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency Syndrome (GHDS)
  • Dwarfism
  • Hypopituirism
  • Pituitary Tumor
  • Normal effects of Aging

Benefits of Growth Hormone Replacement Therapy

Increases energy
Ehances mood and memory
Gives a sense of well being
Restores bone and muscle mass
Improves skin texture and elasticity
Reduces wrinkles
Restores youthful hair color
Helps reduce body fat and weight
Helps restore libido and sexual performance
Reduces blood pressure and cholesterol

Growth Hormone Releasers are inexpensive but do not offer the same benefits as hGH products. Releasers provide the building blocks for human growth hormone. While these are components of true GH, they are several chemical conversion steps away from actually being GH. Releasers are not the same as true human growth hormone. It has been shown that GH release is stimulated by B vitamins, niacin, choline, pentothenic acid and the amino acids like L-arginine, L-lysine, L-glutamine, L-ornithine and glycine.

Secretogogues are hGH supplements. Secretagogues contain minute amounts of human growth hormone substance. Absorbing small amounts of a synthetic hormone can cause the pituitary gland to secrete more of its own natural human growth hormone into the bloodstream.

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For More Information

Human Growth Foundation

MAGIC Foundation for Children's Growth

Little People's Research Fund, Inc.

Little People of America, Inc.

National Organization of Rare Disorders

The Magic Foundation

Yale Nw Haven Health

Palm Beachpost.com

Discovery Channel

WebMD

Health Scout

American Accreditation HealthCare Commission

MD Advice

Health Canada

N.O.H.A.R.M

Golden Age Health Canada

Ethnic Medicine Information from Harborview Medical Center

The Cross Cultural Healthcare Program

Health Web

LifeMD

Men's Health Canada

C Health

MEDLINEplus

MayoClinic

Healthfinder

Med Broadcast.com

Birth Disorder Information Directory

BC Health Guide

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Growth Hormone Deficiency