When it comes to fighting the ill effects that tend to come with the aging process (e.g.poor body composition, affected mood and problems with mental and physical performance), perhaps one of the best strategies is to stimulate the body’s natural production of growth hormone (GH).
One often-overlooked method for encouraging GH production is the peptide ipamorelin – which, under proper medical supervision, can be a good part of a comprehensive hormone therapy regimen.
What is Ipamorelin?
Ipamorelin is a pentapeptide – a hormone composed of five amino acids – that emulates the natural growth hormone release found in the human body.
In essence, it’s a growth hormone releasing peptide (GHRP), an analogue of ghrelin, the ‘hunger’ hormone known for its stimulation of appetite. Ipamorelin binds to the ghrelin receptor, inducing the release of growth hormone. This increases the number of GH-releasing cells (somatotrophs) in each pulse of growth hormone, which is done by suppressing somatostatin, a hormone that inhibits GH production.
Much like other peptides, ipamorelin stimulates growth hormone release in a similar manner to the growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), which facilitates many of the benefits for which patients seek it out.
Ipamorelin acts as a method of growth hormone (GH) restoration. When used as a therapy, it stimulates the pituitary gland, thereby producing a greater amount of endogenous growth hormone in the human body. Rather than artificially injecting yourself with artificial growth hormone, ipamorelin allows the body to naturally produce said hormone.
What Are the Effects of Having Low GH Levels?
In order to understand what ipamorelin does, it’s important to first understand the effects of low levels of growth hormone in the human body.
Growth hormone is chiefly responsible for the development of our body composition, bone density, and overall growth during childhood and adolescence. As we age, however, our ability to produce GH begins to diminish, leading to a lot of the deleterious effects we typically associate with aging.
There are many who also experience adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD), a condition in which people lack the normal levels of growth hormone required to maintain normal body composition. This can be caused by a number of things:
Severe head injury. Some sufferers of head trauma have experienced damage to the pituitary gland, which then affects their ability to produce GH.
GHD from childhood. Many adults have had a growth hormone deficiency (GHD) since they were young, which often results in conditions such as pituitary dwarfism. This condition tends to persist through to adulthood.
Pituitary tumors. Diminished GH production can also result from the presence of tumors located on the pituitary gland.
Hypothalamic-pituitary disease. This condition can also affect the pituitary gland’s ability to produce GH.
How Does Ipamorelin Therapy Work?
Ipamorelin can be administered either as a subcutaneous injection or a tablet set under the tongue before bed to take advantage of the growth hormone spike that occurs during that time of day.
When ipamorelin is administered, the hormone goes to work, stimulating the pituitary gland to release higher levels of human growth hormone in the body. From there, cells mobilize, traveling to the muscles of the body to facilitate muscle growth and development.
Generally, the recommended dose for ipamorelin is 200 to 300 mcg per day. Most ipamorelin treatments last from eight to twelve weeks, though they can sometimes last longer, and a single dose of ipamorelin can last up to three hours; go beyond these doses, however, and you can create potentially disfiguring cartilage and bone growth, which is why it’s always good to consult a medical professional.
When administered correctly, ipamorelin can work in a “pulsatile fashion,” working with the natural chemistry of the body without using up the existing reserves of growth hormone already present.
The length of an ipamorelin regimen is generally up to the patient, but certain lengths of therapy are used for certain purposes.
Most take ipamorelin for a short period of three to six months, often for its fat loss benefits and to improve their body composition..
However, others might use ipamorelin peptide therapy for longer periods of time (six to twelve months) to take advantage of its anti-aging effects, such as greater body composition, improved sleep, improved cognition and more.
Benefits of Ipamorelin
There are a variety of conditions for which ipamorelin can be an effective therapy:
While aging’s an inevitable process for all of us, the natural processes that occur in our bodies can be slowed with age-management therapies like ipamorelin. Ipamorelin and similar peptide therapies have been linked to better sleep, improved mood, greater energy, body composition, and more.
Long-term use tends to facilitate greater age-management properties than short-term regimens. It has also been said to promote stronger joints and connective tissues, as well as improved skin tone.
Improving bone density
Whether through aging or disease, bone density is a common symptom of aging and can be addressed through ipamorelin therapy.
Ipamorelin encourages the liver to produce IGF-1, a growth factor hormone, similarly to the way it produces insulin. IGF-1 triggers the formation of body tissues, as well as bone regeneration.
Studies have shown that ipamorelin treatments have resulted in greater rates of bone formation and resorption in subjects due to the response of the pituitary gland to the hormone’s introduction into their system.
Ipamorelin therapies can also result in greater immune system function, which helps to stave off disease. Like many other growth hormone peptide therapies, ipamorelin is commonly used in patients with HIV to improve their immune systems.
Patients experiencing growth hormone deficiency can also use ipamorelin to shore up their limited production of GH, thus reducing the symptoms of the condition. This works for both adults and children with GHD; one study indicated that GHRHs like ipamorelin can be effective in stimulating pituitary GH secretion, resulting in greater growth velocity without any toxicities or negative side effects.
Hair, nail and skin growth
In addition to normal age management, one major factor behind patients’ use of ipamorelin is its ability to maintain the health of their skin, nails and hair.
The aging process tends to reduce levels of collagen in our skin, leading to a loss of elasticity and the development of wrinkles. Meanwhile, our hair cells lose the pigment cells responsible for melanin formation, and our nails become dry and cracked.
With GH therapies such as ipamorelin, the increased levels of human growth hormone produced result in thicker, shinier hair, clearer skin, fewer wrinkles and stronger, healthier nail growth.
Who Uses Ipamorelin?
People Over 40
As previously mentioned, the aging process causes a natural decrease in our bodies’ ability to secrete growth hormone. With proper medical supervision, ipamorelin therapy can provide a safe, effective method of encouraging your body to produce more GH. With these greater GH levels, patients can fight off the effects of aging, resulting in healthier bodies they can maintain later in life.
Individuals Suffering from GHD
Whether developing the condition in childhood or as an adult, sufferers of growth hormone deficiency can use ipamorelin treatments to address the shortcomings in their endocrine system. Ipamorelin can provide substantial assistance in shoring up such deficiencies, provided they are administered with proper medical supervision.
People Hoping to Improve Body Composition and Bone Density
Regardless of age or pituitary health, patients can also use ipamorelin to help reduce fat mass, increase muscle mass and create stronger bones. Since GH facilitates progress in all three areas, hormone treatments like these go a long way towards getting people to their preferred level of physical health.
Getting Started with Ipamorelin
If you think Ipamorelin’s right for you, the best step is usually to consult a professional.