Sermorelin and Ipamorelin: Anti-aging peptides
Written by Leann Poston, M.D.
You may have heard about the plethora of dangers associated with injecting growth hormones for anti-aging. You may have also weighed the anti-aging benefits of growth hormone with the risks. Don’t take a chance on your health! There are safer ways to increase growth hormone levels in your body and reap the benefits. Namely, using sermorelin or ipamorelin or both.
In this overview, we will consider what is known about these compounds from the scientific literature. As a caution, there are no miracle drugs, and each of us, with our variations in metabolism and genetic profiles, processes medications in different ways. With that said, take a look at the scientific evidence on the benefits of anti-aging peptides.
Controlling the release of growth hormone
The pituitary gland secretes growth hormone. Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) and growth hormone-releasing peptides (GHRP) such as ghrelin stimulate its release. Another hormone, somatostatin, inhibits the release of growth hormone. The regulation of growth hormone (GH) in your body is complex, but just this much of the pathway shows that two compounds stimulate growth hormone release and another inhibits its release. Together these three substances keep growth hormone (GH) levels under tight control. Injecting human growth hormone (HGH) overrides this feedback system and, by doing so, causes side effects and risks. Not to mention the fact that injecting human growth hormone (HGH) for anti-aging is illegal (Walker, 2007).
The pituitary gland is commonly called the master gland. It releases hormones that have many jobs all over the body, but as we age, its ability to produce and distribute these chemical messengers declines. After puberty, growth hormone (GH) levels decrease exponentially. Some studies report a 14% decline per decade and others up to 50% every seven years for adult men (Iranmanesh et al., 1991; Giustina & Veldhuis, 1998). Combine this with a decreased capacity to produce GHRH (in another part of your brain called the hypothalamus) and decreased responsiveness by the pituitary to GHRH, and you can see why growth hormone deficiency is inevitable with aging (Russell-Aulet et al., 1999).
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What does growth hormone do?
Growth hormone (GH) is at its highest levels up through the 20s and then begins to drop. Growth hormone stimulates the production and release of IGF-1 from the liver. IGF-1, while circulating in the blood, stimulates growth in all cells including muscle, bones, and organs. Increases in IGF-1 from increased release of growth hormone has the following effects:
- Building muscle mass, which increases strength
- Burning fat for energy, which increases energy levels and endurance and keeps weight under control
- Increasing bone density
- Promoting testicular growth and development and stimulating the production of male and female sex hormones
- Increasing exercise capacity
- Strengthening cardiac muscle
- Thickening skin which can help prevent wrinkles
- Affecting brain function and fluid memory (Devesa et al, 2016).
It is easy to see the correlation between the functions of growth hormone, the drop in growth hormone levels as we age, and the symptoms of aging. This is why research is ongoing to evaluate the potential of peptides as anti-aging molecules.
Abbreviations and terms:
- GHRH: Growth hormone-releasing hormone. Stimulates the release of growth hormone (GH).
- GH: Growth hormone naturally produced in the body and regulated by GHRH and ghrelin which stimulate its production and release and somatostatin which inhibits its production and release.
- HGH: Human growth hormone. An injectable form of GH which acts as GH in the body and is not subject to natural regulation in the body.
- Growth hormone secretagogues: Synthetic forms of GHRH and ghrelin that stimulate the release of GH from the pituitary gland and are subject to natural regulation in the body.
What is sermorelin? An anti-aging peptide
Sermorelin is a growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) secretagogue. It is not a human growth hormone (HGH). Sermorelin contains the first 29 amino acids (building blocks of protein) in GHRH. In the 1970s, Nobel Laureates R. Guillemin and A. Shalley found that only the first 29 amino acids are responsible for stimulating the production and release of human growth hormone from the pituitary gland (Nobel Prize, 1977).
Sermorelin stimulates the natural release of growth hormone (GH) from a specialized bundle of cells in your brain called the pituitary gland (Walker, 2006). Unlike growth hormone injections, when you inject a growth hormone secretagogue, the body’s normal checks and balances for hormone levels remain intact. To demonstrate the effectiveness of sermorelin, University of Washington investigators evaluated the increase in IGF-1 after six months of nightly sermorelin injections. IGF-1 levels rose approximately 35% (Hersch & Merriam, 2008).
Sermorelin, through its ability to stimulate the release of GH and subsequently increase circulating IGF-1 levels, has the following potential anti-aging benefits:
- Increased metabolism and energy levels, with decreased fatigue
- Increased lean muscle mass, decreased deterioration of existing muscle, and increased ease of creating new muscle
- Decreased body fat percentage
- Improved immune response, injury recovery, and wound healing
- Greater bone mineralization and bone density
- Improved cardiac function/heart health
- Better and more restorative non-REM, slow-wave sleep (Smith, 2005).
Read Also: Conclusions of sermorelin studies
How is sermorelin prescribed?
Sermorelin is used as a prescription medication to treat growth hormone deficiency in children. It is prescribed off-label to counteract the symptoms of anti-aging due to a decrease in growth hormone (GH) release over time. Sermorelin is injected subcutaneously (under the skin). It is typically injected at night to mimic the action of growth hormone-releasing hormone in the body.
The typical recommended dosage for sermorelin to treat adult-onset decreased growth hormone production is 100 to 300 mcg per day. It can take three to six months to get the full benefit from sermorelin injections.
It is best to inject sermorelin at least 30 minutes before or after food consumption. Ideally, inject sermorelin at least two hours after eating dinner, so food does not interfere with the release of growth hormone and IGF-1. Staying well-hydrated is also strongly recommended. Foods with a high glycemic index cause spikes in insulin, which can reduce growth hormone (GH) production. Reducing your intake of foods with a high glycemic index can help you optimize your growth hormone levels and help you lose weight and decrease your risk for diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
What is ipamorelin? An anti-aging peptide
Ipamorelin is a growth hormone secretagogue that acts on a different receptor than sermorelin providing an additive effect. Ipamorelin mimics ghrelin as sermorelin mimics GHRH. Ghrelin is produced in the stomach during times of fasting or hunger. It acts at both the hypothalamus and pituitary to increase growth hormone levels (Hersch & Merriam, 2008). Ghrelin increases hunger and therefore affects metabolism, inhibits stored fat breakdown, and stimulates the release of growth hormone.
Ipamorelin stimulates the release of growth hormone in a very selective way. Studies on the benefits of ipamorelin demonstrate the following anti-aging benefits:
- Increase bone density (Svensson et al., 2000)
- Increases body fat loss in obese adults (Kim et al, 1999)
- Increased muscle mass (Andersen et al, 2001)
In summary, ghrelin is one of three hormones that regulate growth hormone release from the pituitary gland. The first is GHRH (sermorelin). Then there is somatostatin (which stops the release of growth hormone). Last but not least is ghrelin (ipamorelin), which also stimulates the release of growth hormone but using a different receptor (Tritos & Kokkotou, 2006)
Ipamorelin is legally prescribed off-label to counteract the symptoms of anti-aging. Ipamorelin is typically prescribed combined with sermorelin. The recommended dosage for Sermorelin/Ipamorelin injection for anti-aging is one 200 to 300 mcg injection daily at bedtime.
Read Also: What is Ipamorelin?
“While the effects of these two GHS differ clinically, they have synergistic effects on GH release, and therefore supplementation of both substances may be more effective than either alone in aging.” —Merriam et al., 2000
The side effects of sermorelin and ipamorelin
All medications have the potential to cause side effects. Providing your health care provider with your complete medical history, all known allergies, and a list of all prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, including herbs and supplements, go a long way towards reducing the risk of side-effects from any medication. In addition:
- Advise your health care provider specifically if you are taking any corticosteroids or thyroid medications. Untreated hypothyroidism is a concern when prescribing sermorelin and ipamorelin.
- The side effects of subcutaneous injections can include pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. Good injection techniques and careful attention to infection control can minimize the risk.
- Rare side effects may include dizziness, flushing, headaches, itching, dry mouth, sleepiness, difficulty swelling, hyperactivity, and increased hunger.
- As with all medications monitor for signs of an allergic reaction such as itching, rash, difficulty breathing, or facial or lip swelling.
For any concerning side-effect, especially an allergic reaction, seek immediate emergency care.
Read Also: Sermorelin versus Ipamorelin
Purchasing the anti-aging peptides: Sermorelin/Ipamorelin
Since sermorelin and ipamorelin both require a prescription. Purchasing sermorelin or ipamorelin from an online pharmacy without a prescription is risky. The easiest, most convenient way to determine whether these medications are right for you is to make a telemedicine appointment with one of the licensed health care providers at Invigor Medical. After completing your medical history forms, you will meet with a licensed health care provider via telemedicine. Your prescription will be sent to a licensed online pharmacy and then shipped to your home. Invigor’s pharmacy is Olympia Compounding Pharmacy, and its license is #PH27414, which you will find is valid and active.
Read Also: Guide to help you buy sermorelin online
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.
- Walker R. F. (2006). Sermorelin: a better approach to management of adult-onset growth hormone insufficiency?. Clinical interventions in aging, 1(4), 307–308. https://doi.org/10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.307
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