Regardless of age and gender, every human being is dependent on the human growth hormone for their overall health, physical function, and a general sense of well-being. During childhood, we rely heavily on growth hormones to ensure the development of our organs, muscle tissue, and bone growth as we transition from children into adults. Even after adulthood, growth hormone (GH) continues to have a vital role in our lives as it proceeds to regulate our metabolism and how our bodies utilize insulin to break down glucose from the carbohydrates we consume, ensuring that we maintain healthy body composition.
However, growth hormone levels will eventually start to decrease as adults begin to enter the later stages of their lives, gradually receding every year as they continue to age. Depending on the circumstances–such as unique genetics in their physiology, sudden trauma, specific illnesses, and other possible factors–an adult’s growth hormone levels may continue to remain below the normal standards for their age, causing a growth hormone deficiency (GHD). Due to the lack of growth hormone production inside the body, patients will typically lose their lean muscle mass and gain more body fat as they experience other symptoms, such as fatigue, decreased muscle strength, and reduced sexual function.
Thankfully, medical treatments such as HGH therapy can provide growth hormone medication that can boost growth hormone production and return GH levels to their former parameters. But although GH treatments can help restore your growth hormone levels, there is a downside. At times, growth hormone medications may cause other hormone levels to fluctuate as patients progress through treatment. When growth hormone levels increase, the sudden spike may also elevate or lower the body’s other hormone levels, causing a patient to experience other various symptoms that may hinder their treatment for GHD.
Such is the case with the cortisol hormone. When cortisol levels rise as a result of GH treatments, patients will experience issues such as a weakened immune system, slower recovery, improper healing from injury, as well as further impaired memory and cognitive capabilities. As such, many experts in the medical community usually recommend that patients avoid any hormone treatment that might raise cortisol levels and discuss other possible alternatives with their doctor.
Despite being a growth hormone treatment, one of those alternate options is Ibutamoren Mesylate, also known as MK-677. Over the last few years, Ibutamoren has become a popular growth hormone medication on online forums and other digital spaces as an effective agent for boosting growth hormone levels and treating conditions that lead to muscle wasting; making it a common topic of discussion when people consult with their physician about GHD treatment.
And there’s a good reason for that. Unlike other GHD medications, Ibutamoren can increase growth hormone production without affecting cortisol or other hormones in the body, allowing the patient to reap the benefits of the medication with minor complications. So, it makes sense that more people are showing an increased interest in taking Ibutamoren as part of their growth hormone therapy.
But before you ask a physician about prescribing Ibutamoren for your growth hormone deficiency, we recommend that you become more familiar with the mechanism of the medication and how it may affect your body during treatment. Today, we’ll go over what makes Ibutamoren unique compared to other growth hormone treatments, how the medication works, and what you can expect from therapy so that you’re better informed when you discuss potential treatment with your doctor.
What is Ibutamoren?
Ibutamoren mesylate (MK-677) is a non-peptide growth hormone secretagogue (GHS) and a selective agonist of the ghrelin receptor primarily used to stimulate the release of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in the body. Due to its ability to increase growth hormone production, Ibutamoren is commonly used as a regenerative medicine for adults struggling with age-related medical conditions–such as muscle atrophy and decreased bone density–that occur as a result of low growth hormone levels or growth hormone deficiency (GHD).
How Ibutamoren Works in the Body
As a growth hormone secretagogue, Ibutamoren has several mechanisms of action that help to promote increased growth hormone secretion. First, despite being a GHS, Ibutamoren doesn’t bind to the typical GH-releasing receptors to induce growth hormone production. Instead, the peptide attaches itself to the pituitary and hypothalamic receptors to directly stimulate growth hormone release. Through the hypothalamic receptor, Ibutamoren induces the secretion of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) directly from the hypothalamus, which can aid in faster GH production.
Because of its role as a selective agonist of the ghrelin receptor, Ibutamoren also binds to the ghrelin hormone secretion receptors (GHSR) in the brain to mimic the action of ghrelin – a neuropeptide produced in the human stomach that sends signals to the brain through the central nervous system to stimulate hunger – which results in an increased appetite. As ghrelin sends messages to the brain prompting you to eat, it also sends signals to the pituitary gland to release more growth hormone, thus further increasing growth hormone production.
During these mechanisms of action, Ibutamoren also helps to decrease the number of somatostatins found in the body. Somatostatins are hormones that are released from the hypothalamus and work to inhibit or prevent the release of growth hormones to ensure that GH levels remain maintained within certain parameters. With Ibutamoren limiting your body’s level of somatostatin activity, this allows for more GH to be released during secretion, thus increasing your growth hormone levels.
Different Names for Ibutamoren
It’s not surprising if you’ve never heard of the Ibutamoren peptide before. Since its creation, the compound has gone by many developmental code names: MK-677, MK-0677, LUM-201, L-163, and the brand name, Oratrope. If you hear anyone refer to these code names, just remember the person is likely referring to Ibutamoren.
For adults struggling with physical deterrents as a result of growth hormone deficiency, Ibutamoren can provide many improvements, such as:
Increased Muscle Mass
As Ibutamoren stimulates the release of growth hormone and IGF-1, the increased production of the two hormones help to reduce body fat, which makes it easier to produce and maintain lean body mass. As the body slims down, the additional secretion of growth hormone also stimulates an increase in muscle size and overall strength. In one study focused on 24 obese males, research revealed that men were able to achieve significantly increased lean muscle mass and improved metabolism after two months of Ibutamoren treatment.
Reduced Muscle Wasting
Not only can Ibutamoren help develop and even rebuild lean muscle growth, but it can also reduce and even reverse the muscle wasting caused by the protein loss induced by harmful dieting or food consumption. In one study, eight healthy young adults were given Ibutamoren to test if protein catabolism caused by food deprivation could be reversed. At the end of the study, results revealed that Ibutamoren effectively reversed the protein loss, signifying that the medication would not only work as an effective treatment against metabolic conditions but also could be used to treat and even prevent muscle wasting.
Improved Bone Density
There have been several studies that suggest using Ibutamoren as a long-term growth hormone treatment can help to significantly increase bone density in elderly adults and people struggling with obesity. In one study, researchers found that growth hormone-stimulated osteoblast activity and increased bone turnover (the process in which old bone is replaced with new bone tissue) in elderly patients. Another study that also focused on the use of growth hormone treatments in the elderly population found that Ibutamoren in particular increased bone building. One study saw ibutamoren increase bone turnover in healthy obese men, while another found that Ibutamoren increased bone mineral density in postmenopausal women and even prevented osteoporosis. However, because growth hormone increases the rate of bone turnover, bone density usually tends to decrease before it increases in strength, which is why it may take over a year for bone density to improve.
Better Sleep Quality
Growth hormone has long been known to improve overall sleep quality. Since Ibutamoren stimulates growth hormone production, it is assumed that it can also have an indirect effect on sleep quality. One study revealed that Ibutamoren greatly improved REM (rapid eye movement) sleep duration, which further enhanced sleep quality in young and elderly patients.
Reduced Aging And Increased Longevity
The natural decrease of your growth hormone and IGF-1 levels play a major part in the aging process as you get older. However, increasing growth hormone production may counteract that effect through treatment. In a double-blind randomized study, daily Ibutamoren treatments increased GH and IGF-1 levels in 65 adults between the ages of 60-81 to the same parameters as healthier, younger adults, without any serious side effects. In the previously mentioned study involving obese males, those same volunteers also saw their growth hormone profiles rejuvenated after taking Ibutamoren.
Restored Brain Function
It is widely believed that Ibutamoren may also work as a nootropic – a supplement that improves cognitive function – since it binds to the ghrelin receptor and is effective at mimicking the actions of the ghrelin hormone, which can have nootropic effects on the central nervous system that stimulate higher cognition. Even though this theory is not yet etched in stone, it is likely that Ibutamoren may have an indirect effect on brain function in other ways.
Ibutamoren increases IGF-1 levels, which improves learning and memory retention. As we previously discussed, Ibutamoren also enhances REM sleep duration and promotes better sleep quality, which is vital for healthy cognitive performance. Although more research is required to understand Ibutamoren’s ability to improve human cognition, these mechanisms show that Ibutamoren has promising potential in enhancing brain function.
Accelerated Healing and Recovery
It is well documented that growth hormone prompts healing and tissue regeneration. Since Ibutamoren increases growth hormone levels, it can speed up the recovery process at a much faster rate.
Treating Growth Hormone Deficiency
As a GHD treatment, Ibutamoren can increase growth hormone, IGF-1, and IGFBP-3 levels in children born with growth hormone deficiency. And it does this without affecting the concentrations of cortisol, glucose, insulin, thyroxine, or other hormones that may impede a child’s well-being during treatment. Unfortunately, that isn’t the same for everyone. In one study, research revealed that while Ibutamoren did help increase growth hormone and IGF-1 levels without raising cortisol in men with GH deficiency, it also increased their glucose and insulin levels.
Side Effects of Ibutamoren
Because Ibutamoren helps to increase growth hormone production, studies reveal that the peptide may indirectly cause certain side effects as a result of newly elevated GH levels, such as:
- Periods of increased appetite
- Mild muscle pain
- Flushing of the face
Generally, these side effects are minor and will usually lessen over time as the treatment progresses for most patients. However, depending on your age and medical history, you may experience other potential side effects during treatment. As previously discussed, patients will also have elevated blood glucose levels and reduced insulin sensitivity after taking Ibutamoren, which correlates with symptoms such as insulin resistance reported by people with high growth hormone levels. Due to the changes in insulin tolerance and glycemic control, adults will need to carefully check their carbohydrate intake and closely monitor their insulin and blood sugar levels while taking Ibutamoren.
In one study focused on elderly patients with hip fractures, Ibutamoren increased blood glucose levels and elevated blood pressure, leading to several cases of congestive heart failure. However, in these cases, many of the patients had a prior history of heart failure. Thus, if you’re an aging adult with previous heart failure, you may want to consult with your physician before starting Ibutamoren treatment.
Patients with a history of cancer should also avoid taking Ibutamoren as increased levels of growth hormone and IGF-1 have the potential to promote cancer growth. Make sure to discuss your entire medical history with your physician so they can weigh the advantages of the benefits against the potential risks and side effects of Ibutamoren to determine if the medication will be a safe treatment for you.
How to Use Ibutamoren
Unlike other growth hormone secretagogues and GHRPs, which may require injections, Ibutamoren comes in a tablet form, which you only need to take once a day orally on an empty stomach with a glass of water.
Since Ibutamoren isn’t FDA-approved, there isn’t an official dosage that is recommended for using MK-677. Depending on the individual case, physicians may prescribe various dosages of Ibutamoren, ranging from 2 mg to 50 mg, although 25 mg is the most commonly suggested dose recommended by most doctors and researchers as a treatment for growth hormone deficiency. Administering Ibutamoren at 25 mg every day has been shown to significantly increase growth hormone and IGF-1 levels without causing any serious side effects.
Normally, physicians will start new patients with a minimum dose of 10 mg or less to allow their bodies to adjust to the medication before gradually increasing the dosage as their treatment progresses. In many cases, 10 mg is usually enough for most adults to see changes in their muscle mass and other aspects of their physical health.
Ultimately, your physician will determine the best Ibutamoren dosage for you based on the magnitude of your specific issues with growth hormone deficiency, your medical history, and your body’s response to the medicine during treatment. However, most specialists will rarely prescribe Ibutamoren dosage past 25 mg for GHD.
Best Time to Take Ibutamoren
Finding the best time to take Ibutamoren will depend on your personal goals for treatment and how your body responds to the medicine. Many patients choose either to take Ibutamoren at night before going to sleep or after waking up in the morning. However, due to the potential side effects that may accompany Ibutamoren, there are pros and cons for each timeframe.
As we’ve previously discussed, increased hunger is a common side effect of Ibutamoren. If you take your prescribed dose first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to feel hungry afterward. Luckily, you’ll have the entire day to eat as much as you need to satisfy your appetite. This can be very beneficial to patients who have lost a considerable amount of muscle mass from GHD, as the hunger pangs you’ll feel after taking Ibutamoren may prompt you to eat heavier meals that help increase muscle growth. Unfortunately, this can also become a problem if you’re attempting to lose weight, since the hunger cravings stimulated by Ibutamoren treatment may become overwhelming, causing you to break from your diet and eat more than intended, thus making it more difficult to eliminate any previous or newly accumulated weight gain.
One other important thing to remember is that Ibutamoren also causes lethargy. So if you take your dose in the daytime, there’s a good possibility that you may feel too sluggish and tired to proceed with the rest of the day. If you have work or other duties and responsibilities in the daytime, you may prefer taking your dose at night so you can be at your best in the daytime.
Of course, taking Ibutamoren at night also has its pros and cons. Naturally, since the medicine will most likely make you tired and is known to improve sleep quality, taking your dose at night before bedtime will ensure that you achieve longer REM sleep and feel more rested for the next day.
But then there are the hunger pangs. If you have a ravenous appetite in the evening, there’s a good chance you may eat a heavier meal at night before you go to sleep. That means that you’ll be laying on food as your body rests instead of being active and burning through calories, thus, increasing your chances of experiencing weight gain, which can become problematic if you’re trying to shed excess body fat. This can also turn into an issue if you’re hoping to gain more muscle since the lethargy that you’ll experience from taking the dose at night will make it more difficult to work out and fully utilize the benefits of having an increased appetite. However, no matter what time frame you choose, you will have to take Ibutamoren at the same time each day for you to maintain consistency.
How Can I Get The Best Results From Ibutamoren Treatment?
To ensure that you’re receiving extensive monitoring and the most appropriate Ibutamoren dosage to effectively treat your growth hormone deficiency, you’ll need expert guidance from a medical professional certified in hormone replacement therapy. That’s why it’s important to make an appointment with the hormone specialists at Renew Vitality. Our team of physicians has years of experience administering effective growth hormone treatments and is dedicated to providing top-notch medical care that can help you safely increase your growth hormone levels and improve your overall health. By combining our growth hormone treatments with healthy dieting and regular exercise regimens, we can help you to restore your muscle mass, increase your bone density, enhance your sex drive and improve other physical impairments caused by growth hormone deficiency. Schedule an appointment at any of our Renew Vitality clinics in the United States so you can get started on overcoming your growth hormone deficiency and improving your overall health today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Due to increased growth hormone production, Ibutamoren can not only improve skin elasticity and reduce wrinkles, but it also enhances the healing of wounds, scars, and spots found on the skin.
No. Although Ibutamoren can increase growth hormone, which is closely associated with testosterone production, it has not been shown to increase testosterone levels.
Currently, Ibutamoren is not FDA-approved as a long-term treatment, which means that any purchase or sale of the medicine without a doctor’s prescription is indeed considered illegal.
Yes, Ibutamoren does have some effect on the brain, as the peptide works frequently elevates levels of ghrelin, which sends signals to the brain to induce hunger. However, current ongoing studies are still working to determine the full scope of Ibutamoren’s effect on the brain.
That will depend on your medical history and the potential interactions that may occur with other medications that you take. Your physician will ultimately be the one to determine if taking other supplements along with Ibutamoren is the best course of action for treatment.