What is growth hormone?
Growth hormone (GH) is a hormone produced by the cells of the pituitary gland, a small gland found in the brain. GH production begins early in the womb and continues throughout life, though at a lesser rate. GH release is altered by several factors.
GH secretion is increased by:
- Growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH), a hormone released by the hypothalamus (a part of the brain);
- Ghrelin, a hormone produced in the gut;
- High protein meals;
- Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia). Insulin can be used to create low blood sugar levels. In normal circumstances, this would result in increased GH secretion. If this does not occur, GH deficiency may be diagnosed.
- The main female sex hormone oestrogen;
- Other hormones such as dopamine, alpha-adrenergic agonists (released during times of stress) and beta-adrenergic antagonists (beta blockers); and
- Exercise, infection, and trauma.
THE ROLE OF HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE
Human growth hormone is produced by your pituitary gland. In kids, human growth hormone supports growth and development. Over the course of your lifetime, human growth hormone continues to do some important things, such as support your brain’s function, the development of lean muscles and your metabolism.
In general, your body’s production of human growth hormone is at its highest level when you’re a teenager. As you get older, your pituitary gland produces lower levels of this growth hormone. Because research shows that obese adults have less HGH than individuals who maintain a normal weight, many people suspect that the hormone can facilitate weight loss.
How does HGH help you lose weight?
HGH can help you burn fat by stimulating lipolysis. This is a metabolic pathway through which stored fat breaks down into fatty acids. When the molecules are released, the fat cells shrink.
These fatty acids can be burned when your body needs extra energy or they will return to fat storage if unused.
One of the most notable enzymes (lipases) which facilitate the process of fat breakdown is hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL).
Experiments reveal that growth hormone stimulates HSL which helps your body mobilize fat from the adipose tissues. Normally, HGH has a pulsatile secretion, and fat breakdown begins around 1-2 hours after a peak.
Furthermore, GH prevents the entry of fatty acids back into the adipose cells by blocking another enzyme – lipoprotein lipase (LPL). That’s the enzyme that helps the muscle and fat cells in your body uptake fatty acids.
Studies suggest that HGH inhibits the activity of the LPL in fat tissue, without affecting its expression in skeletal muscle or heart tissues. Thus, fatty acids can be used for energy by muscle cells but can’t be stored back into the fat cells.
Due to the depot-specific effects of growth hormone, it most noticeably reduces the fat distributed around the abdomen and internal organs. The accumulation of fat around these areas is one of the most common symptoms of GHD and it can be reversed by HGH therapy.
Furthermore, patients on HGH therapy report an increase in muscle mass and energy levels, reduced blood pressure and cholesterol, better sleep, mood, and memory.
How long does it take to see results in fat loss?
You may experience a significant reduction in the amount of abdominal subcutaneous fat as soon as 6 weeks after starting HGH therapy. The rate of fat loss and the timeline of the other HGH results will depend on the severity of your condition, individual sensitivity, and dosage.
A higher dosage may speed up the effects but also increase the risk for adverse reactions such as water retention. Thus, it is best to follow your doctor’s advice on how much HGH to take for weight loss and symptom relief.
Growth hormone helps with fat loss by breaking down and mobilizing fatty acids. However, the molecules are not necessarily oxidized, unless your body needs the extra energy. Thus, adding exercise to your daily routine and eating fewer calories will significantly speed up fat loss.
Furthermore, whole unprocessed foods tend to be less energy-dense than their processed alternatives. A diet based on whole foods can be a great starting strategy for creating a sustainable caloric deficit and losing weight faster.