The production of natural growth hormone produced by the anterior pituitary gland in your body is part of a complex feedback loop. The secretion of natural growth hormone (GH) is a tightly regulated process controlled by growth hormone-releasing hormones (GHRH) and growth hormone-releasing peptides (GHRP) that stimulate growth hormone release and somatostatin, another hormone, which inhibits GH release. When a laboratory produced human growth hormone (HGH) is injected into the body, this feedback loop is overridden. Overdosing and unwanted side-effects may occur.
You’re about to find out all the ways that GH and HGH are different, but for now, just know although they seem similar, they are the biochemical equivalent to Coke and Pepsi. Each of the following fundamental reasons alone would be enough to convince us to choose a peptide such as sermorelin (which increases GH naturally in the body) over utilizing exogenous (from outside the body) HGH. However, when comparing sermorelin vs. HGH, it is worth the time to consider all of the factors that go into a decision as important as whether or not to begin hormone or peptide therapy.
You wouldn’t know it, though, because there are anti-aging clinics all over marketing HGH therapy for mitigating the inevitable decline that comes with the years. Although this legal status is loosely enforced at best, the question is if HGH were legal, would it even be worth using it for anti-aging? Well, studies looking at HGH specifically for anti-aging suggest probably not. In a review of 31 high-quality studies testing HGH for its efficacy as an anti-aging treatment showed increases in lean body mass (muscle, bone, organs) and decreases in fat mass in a majority of test subjects, but high rates of side effects such as fluid retention, joint pain, breast enlargement, and carpal tunnel were also observed (Harvard Health Publishing, 2018).
Keep in mind that these studies ranged from 2-52 weeks, and we know that long term use of exogenous HGH has been associated with the risk of developing acromegaly (enlarged hand, face, feet), an enlarged heart, and growth of cancerous tumors, particularly in the prostate (Erotokritou-Mulligan, 2011). Truthfully, there isn’t too much known about the risks of prolonged HGH use, but considering the confirmed side effect profile, it definitely doesn’t seem worth the gamble unless you have been diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency (which is incredibly rare).
We previously posted an article going over sermorelin, its benefits, and how it works in the body, but it is definitely worth going over its mechanism of action again. Sermorelin is a peptide that is technically classified as something called a growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). This means that it stimulates the production and release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. Unlike HGH injections, which artificially increase the levels of growth hormone in the blood, sermorelin and other compounds like it simply and elegantly persuade your own body to increase levels in the blood. These conditions are highly favorable because it preserves the natural regulation of growth hormone levels in the blood.
Endocrinology is the study of the approximately 50 hormones and their related tissues, organs, and systems. This field of biology is deceptively complex. Each hormone has multiple actions within the body depending on which tissues, organs, or organ systems you are looking at. They also interact with one another in a variety of often confusing ways. Sometimes hormones work together, other times they fight each other, some allow others to work, and others don’t have much research behind them at all. Even with all this confusion, understanding the impact that administering exogenous HGH has on the hormonal balance within us is relatively simple.
Growth hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day, with the largest release typically taking place at night time just before bed. Many pulses are released throughout the day, but the major point to keep in mind here is that growth hormone levels don’t normally stay elevated for long, except for when you are injecting HGH. When taking HGH injections for anti-aging, sports performance/recovery, or just building muscle, the blood levels have what is called a square-wave effect. This is when levels rise to a level where they are maintained for some time until they drop back to baseline quickly. Normally growth hormone follows a curve where levels gradually rise and fall. The chronically elevated presence of growth hormone can wreak havoc on GH receptors throughout the body, much in the same way that consistently elevated levels of insulin eventually leads to insulin resistance; chronic GH elevation can cause receptor resistance (Walker, 2007).
Taking sermorelin or another GHRH at bedtime can facilitate deep, restful sleep, which in and of itself is linked to the increased pulsatile secretion of GH from the pituitary in the brain. The better you sleep, the better every system in the body functions. It is important to note that because sermorelin stimulates your own natural GH release, you can take it during the day if it works better for your schedule without any adverse effects.
Along with sermorelin, a class of peptides called growth hormone-releasing peptides (GHRPs) are often utilized in an anti-aging protocol. GHRPs work by stimulating the release of growth hormone using a separate receptor. Stacking GHRH and GHRP together stimulates the production and release of growth hormones (Carreira et al, 2013). Not everyone will need to incorporate both of these tools but it is nice to know that you can have all bases covered if needed.
So when comparing sermorelin vs HGH and if you are seeking an alternative to HGH treatments for anti-aging, sermorelin and many other peptides are quickly becoming a promising and effective option. More and more research and clinical application of peptides is revealing the relative safety and effectiveness for a variety of anti-aging purposes. General health and longevity focused practices such as exercising, ensuring proper nutrition intake, and maintaining healthy relationships is always going to take precedence over any other strategy, but sermorelin specifically and peptides in general should absolutely be considered.
Luckily, we are living in an amazing time and have the ability to speak with and consult a medical professional from the comfort of our phones. Sermorelin vs HGH therapies are just another example of why seeking out guidance from a knowledgeable and reputable medical professional is so essential. At face value, the treatments are incredibly similar but upon closer examination, they are vastly different.
While we strive to always provide accurate, current, and safe advice in all of our articles and guides, it’s important to stress that they are no substitute for medical advice from a doctor or healthcare provider. You should always consult a practicing professional who can diagnose your specific case. The content we’ve included in this guide is merely meant to be informational and does not constitute medical advice.