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.
In This Article
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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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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
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. Clients often choose to buy Ipamorelin and Sermorelin as a combination for compounded benefits.
“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
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:
For any concerning side-effect, especially an allergic reaction, seek immediate emergency care.
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.