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Do You Suffer From AGHD?

January 13th, 2021

As people age their bodies lose the ability to produce many important hormones. The deficiencies and imbalances that result can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, insomnia, depressed mood, and decreased sex drive.

The culprits that come to mind when we think of age-related hormone decline are oftentimes estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone…or perhaps DHEA, pregnenolone, and thyroid.

But there’s another critical hormone that also decreases with age…one that may not be front of mind when thinking about hormone decline. And the symptoms it causes when its levels are low can overlap with the symptoms that occur when other hormones are deficient.

We’re talking about growth hormone (also known as human growth hormone, GH, or HGH).

You may be aware that growth hormone replacement using recombinant growth hormone has received a lot of negative attention over the years as a result of athletes using it to enhance performance. Like anabolic steroids, using growth hormone for this purpose is controversial and is banned by most sports organizations.

However, reduced levels of growth hormone in adults as they get older is a recognized…and treatable…medical condition. It even has a name: adult growth hormone deficiency (or AGHD).

So how do you know if you suffer from AGHD and what can you do about it?

First, we need to understand what growth hormone is and what it does.

Growth Hormone Basics

Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and its most crucial job is to make children and teenagers grow until they reach adulthood.

But its work doesn’t end there. Growth hormone continues to be important beyond childhood, helping to control a number of important physiological processes for people of all ages, including:

  • Blood glucose regulation
  • Accumulation of muscle mass and bone density
  • Metabolism
  • Cholesterol balance and fat storage
  • Brain function
  • Sleep

Interestingly, your pituitary gland doesn’t release a constant flow of growth hormone. Instead, growth hormone is released episodically, in pulses that occur every three to four hours in response to the hypothalamus secreting a hormone called “growth hormone-releasing hormone” (or GHRH).

When the need for growth hormone is reduced, the hypothalamus secretes another hormone called somatostatin to stop its release.

Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency

As an adult, your body is no longer growing and no longer needs the high levels of growth hormone present in children and teens. However, if your pituitary gland doesn’t produce a sufficient supply of growth hormone to perform its other vital functions, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Loss of lean muscle mass, strength, and stamina
  • Reduced bone density
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Higher levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol as compared to “good” (HDL) cholesterol
  • Fatigue
  • Lower sex drive and decreased sexual function
  • Insomnia
  • Mood issues like depression, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings
  • Slower healing
  • Compromised immunity
  • Loss of skin elasticity

In the medical world, this gradual loss of growth hormone production is called adult growth hormone deficiency or sometimes somatopause.

And since many of the symptoms associated with AGHD (e.g. muscle loss and increased body fat) overlap with the symptoms commonly associated with other hormone deficiencies, a lack of growth hormone needs be included as a possible cause for the many issues that are symptomatic of “aging”.

What to Do

So what should you do if you exhibit some or all of the symptoms described above?

First…call Renew Youth and let us check your hormone levels. We’ll provide you with a lab requisition and send you to a local collection site for a simple blood test.

If your growth hormone levels are low, there are a couple of solutions:

  1. Our doctors can prescribe growth hormone replacement using recombinant growth hormone. This is accomplished via injections that are done each night before bed.
  2. Our doctors can prescribe growth hormone stimulating peptides (also known as secretagogues). These peptides work by stimulating the pituitary gland to produce more of its own growth hormone. One benefit to this approach is that growth hormone production is controlled by the pituitary and is released episodically, which is a bit closer to natural. A caveat is that how well this treatment works will depend on how well the pituitary responds to being stimulated.

At Renew Youth, we know the symptoms associated with aging can have more than one cause, including decreased growth hormone production.

To learn more, call us at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to set up your free 30-minute consultation.

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