Our body’s size, health, and overall composition are largely determined by its ability to produce growth hormones, which are generated from the anterior pituitary gland, a tiny gland at the base of the brain. One of these hormones is the human growth hormone (HGH), which facilitates growth in children and maintains organ and tissue health throughout one’s life. However, as we get older (or, in the case of certain disorders, from childhood), our body’s ability to produce HGH diminishes, resulting in some of the changes we commonly associate with the aging process.
To that end, there has been a large interest in using synthetic HGH to stave off the aging process, which can ostensibly help maintain muscle and bone mass even into middle age and our later years. While HGH is often available for those suffering from specific childhood growth hormone deficiencies, it is becoming more common in adult therapies as well.
Despite this popularity, there are a number of concerns about the use of synthetic HGH in hormone replacement therapies; to that end, many patients consider hormone therapies involving sermorelin acetate as a safer, more ethical replacement.
What is Sermorelin?
Sermorelin acetate, or factor 1-29 NH2 acetate, is a growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) naturally produced by the brain. Its goal is to encourage the pituitary gland to produce and secrete human growth hormone (HGH). It’s not a growth hormone by itself, but instead a growth hormone secretagogue, a separate hormone that stimulates the production of HGH by binding specific receptors to increase HGH production and secretion.
When we are young, our bodies produce sermorelin acetate, allowing our pituitary gland to facilitate the production of HGH. HGH has the effect of regulating body composition and fluids, as well as facilitating muscle and bone growth, increasing metabolism and improving heart function. In order to produce the levels of HGH required to grow and maintain healthy brain and organ tissue, the body must produce equivalent levels of sermorelin acetate to facilitate its production in the pituitary gland.
How do sermorelin levels relate to age?
HGH is extremely important to human beings during childhood, as it facilitates the growth that occurs during the first twenty years of our lives. As with other hormones like testosterone, the human body typically produces the highest amounts of sermorelin acetate during puberty, leveling off in their twenties and beginning to slowly but steadily diminish once a person enters their thirties and forties. Older men tend to be more likely to suffer from lower levels of sermorelin acetate, as the aging process has slowed down the body’s production of the hormone.
What Happens When Your Sermorelin Levels Are Low?
As men age, they can be more likely to suffer from adult-onset growth hormone deficiency (AGHD), a phenomenon characterized by a relative increase in fat mass, and a commensurate decrease in muscle mass. Sufferers also experience lower energy levels, anxiety and depression. Furthermore, AGHD sufferers also have maladjusted lipid levels, raising their levels of LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides.
Overall, as HGH levels begin to slow down as we get older, we begin to experience the effects commonly associated with aging. These include weight gain, lower muscle mass, lower bone density, insomnia, and changes in our own personality and self-regard. Many different metabolic changes begin to occur, which can lead to greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome. These relate closely to many of the common causes of death for people over fifty years of age.
How much sermorelin should you have?
Unlike other hormones like testosterone, sermorelin has an extremely short half-life – approximately eleven to twelve minutes after administration, most sermorelin is rapidly cleared from circulation. Most adults have a clearance value of 2.4 to 2.8 liters per minute (L/min).
What causes AGHD?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the onset of AGHD:
- Pituitary tumors. Tumors and other injuries to the pituitary gland can result in a lack of sufficient HGH produced by the body.
- Head injury. Sufficiently severe head injuries in the right place can also harm the pituitary gland, resulting in diminished HGH production.
- Hypothalamic-pituitary disease. This is a disorder of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus that also results in lower production of HGH.
- Aging. As previously mentioned, over time the human capacity to produce HGH and sermorelin decreases slowly but steadily.
- Growth hormone deficiency during childhood. Some people who have GHD during childhood maintain it as they transition to adulthood.
What happens when your body does not produce enough sermorelin?
When the human body fails to produce sufficient levels of sermorelin, the pituitary gland is not motivated to produce HGH, leading to the following side effects:
- Lower muscle mass and body composition. As HGH levels diminish, fat mass takes up a larger proportion of the human body, and muscle mass decreases.
- Osteoporosis and lower bone mass density. HGH also plays a significant role in bone strength, making for weaker bones as those levels go down.
- Higher incidence of cardiovascular events. People who suffer from AGHD are also more likely to suffer from heart attacks, as HGH levels are not sufficient to maintain organ health.
How can it affect my everyday life?
While these physiological symptoms can have an effect on your physical health, having AGHD corresponds with real, practical deficits in your everyday life:
- Anxiety and depression. Sufferers of AGHD report higher rates of anxiety and depression due to the deleterious physical effects of not having enough HGH.
- Poor mood and self-control. Irritability, insomnia, and impulsivity can also be found in higher rates among people with diminished ability to produce sermorelin and HGH.
- Low energy and vitality. AGHD suffers also note that they experience general feelings of malaise and irritability, largely due to the damage the condition does to one’s own self-esteem and well-being.
As we get older, our physical appearance begins to change in ways we often can’t expect and do not want. However, by encouraging the stimulation of HGH, we can safely and effectively stave off those effects and increase our quality of life.
What is Growth Hormone Stimulation Therapy?
Growth hormone stimulation therapy (GHST) is a regimen that involves administering supplements of sermorelin acetate into the body as a replacement for the body’s natural production of the hormone. This is particularly useful for people who experience lower than usual levels of sermorelin production, as well as those who would like the benefits of HGH without taking it directly.
Sermorelin therapy is simple, especially when thoroughly supervised by a wellness professional. Patients are given a prescription of a multi-dose, injectable vial, which contains a powder disk containing sermorelin acetate. The powder combines with bacteriostatic water to form the solution found in the injectable vial.
Most sermorelin therapy regimens involve the patient self-administering a dose into the body fat, just under the skin with a small needle. Most regimens will involve injecting you with more frequent doses of sermorelin at the beginning of therapy (known as a loading period), then tapering off over time. Sermorelin encourages drowsiness since growth hormones are typically released by the body when we’re asleep; it’s recommended that patients take their doses right before bedtime.
When this sermorelin is administered into the body, it goes to the pituitary gland and binds to the appropriate receptors, encouraging the pituitary gland to produce greater amounts of HGH. Given this added stimulation, the pituitary produces more HGH than a body suffering from AGHD or otherwise diminished growth hormone production would normally make. This encourages the kind of health and physiological benefits that come with the HGH levels of a younger person.
Why Do People Get Sermorelin Instead of HGH?
While there are absolutely instances of people directly taking HGH to improve their overall strength and well-being, especially athletes and older people hoping to minimize the effects of the aging process. However, the use of this therapy is extremely controversial, as there have been noted reports of serious side effects in some patients. The Code of Federal Regulations, for instance, prohibits the use of HGH in adults, save for some special cases like those suffering from dwarfism or AIDS.
Some concerns about the direct application of HGH therapy include the mitogenic nature of the hormone, which may awaken latent cancers or lead to diabetes and other disorders. Other potential side effects include early development of carpal tunnel syndrome, increased resistance to insulin, edema (swelling of the arms and legs), muscle and joint pain, and gynecomastia in men. While research is still pending on the long-term effects of HGH therapy, it is generally considered to be fairly risky and not worth pursuing.
However, with sermorelin therapy, the only HGH being produced is that generated naturally by the body’s pituitary gland. All the treatment does is increase the levels of GHRH in the body, thus signaling to the body to synthesize HGH on its own. This side-steps many of the potential side effects and long-term potential problems of HGH therapy, while achieving similar results. By motivating the body to produce HGH on its own, sermorelin therapy is generally considered safer and more ethical.
What are the Effects of GHST?
- Reduces cellulite. As sermorelin maintains the body’s more youthful composition, it also prohibits the development of cellulite and fatty deposits, resulting in a smoother appearance.
- Increased energy. Sermorelin encouragement of HGH production aids greatly in facilitating higher energy and vitality levels in patients.
- Greater mood and memory. Cognition levels have been shown to increase in the wake of sermorelin therapy, due to the higher levels of HGH in patients’ systems.
- Better lean muscle mass. Sermorelin therapy, and its ensuing increase of HGH levels results in the body producing more lean muscle, aiding in body composition.
- Lower body fat. Commensurate with the increase of lean muscle mass is the loss of body fat in the wake of sermorelin therapy.
- Better skin tone. HGH has been shown to play a part in smoother, more even skin tone, reducing acne and blemishes and other problems with complexion.
- Lower blood pressure. Sermorelin also encourages broader health benefits and improvements to a client’s physiology, including lower blood pressure.
- Lower cholesterol. Along with low blood pressure, low cholesterol is another way in which sermorelin therapy facilitates greater heart health overall.
Is it safe?
Semorelin therapy is perfectly safe and healthy, particularly when a regimen is supervised by wellness professionals, in conjunction with recommended lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
Synthetic sermorelin has existed for quite some time on the commercial market as an alternative to the synthetic rhGH, meant to treat stunted growth in children; however, it is much better suited to use in adult anti-aging therapies (and far safer than HGH) for the following reasons:
- Its effect on pituitary function is mild, natural, and very difficult to overdose on; the body naturally produces the inhibitory neurohormone somatostatin to offset doses of endogenous HGH.
- HGH therapy presents a constant stream of HGH into the body, as opposed to sermorelin, which encourages an intermittent or episodic release of HGH by the pituitary gland.
- Sermorelin therapy simulates the normal physiology of the body, preventing it from building up a resistance (i.e. tachyphylaxis).
- In the aging process, one of the first things to fail is the growth hormone neuroendocrine axis – sermorelin increases the pituitary reserve by stimulating pituitary gene transcription of HGH Messenger RNA, which preserves more of this axis.
- Aging also leads to hypophyseal hormone failure; sermorelin slows this cascading failure down, which also preserves a more youthful appearance and physiology.
In short, sermorelin therapy is a much safer and preferable alternative to HGH therapy, particularly for older patients. Rather than risking the potential side effects of HGH, including overdose and building up a resistance to the hormone, GHST simply encourages the body to increase more of what it naturally produces.
How Do You Get Started with GHST?
If sermorelin therapy is something you would like to get involved with, the best plan is to seek out wellness professionals that specialize in anti-aging hormone therapies, particularly sermorelin treatments. With their help and supervision, you can begin an effective regiment of sermorelin therapy, in conjunction with proper diet, exercise, and other lifestyle changes.
This content was reviewed by Dr. Gary Kawesch. Dr. Kawesch graduated from Yale University, getting his degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He then got his medical degree at the UCLA School of Medicine. He completed his internship in internal medicine at USC’s Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, and his ophthalmology residency at the UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute. For over 18 years, Dr. Kawesch was one of the foremost ophthalmic surgeons in the US and has consulted with and was a team doctor for seven professional sports teams in California. He continues to work with the Oakland Raiders. He trained with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and helps men increase their vitality, lifespan and overall healthspan.