Health Sciences Institute e-Alert
August 12, 2003


Dear Reader,

If you’re, say, a few years on either side of 50 years old, then your pituitary gland is doing a far less efficient job of releasing somatotropin (or human growth hormone – hGH) into the bloodstream than it did when you were 20. And as you grow older, your pituitary’s hGH output will diminish a little more each year.

Now you might think, “When I was 20 I was still growing. At 50, I just don’t need as much growth hormone anymore.” But, of course, it’s not that simple. HGH stimulates not only growth, but also the maintenance of bone tissue and muscle mass. In addition, it helps facilitate brain function, energy levels, overall metabolism, proper cell division, and the repair of damaged DNA within cells.

Um… what did I come in here for?

So if your pituitary gland isn’t providing a good supply of hGH, you may experience less energy, memory loss, reduced sex drive, decreasing muscle and skin tone, impaired eyesight, bone loss, and hair loss. This condition is called somatopause, and I don’t have to tell you that all of its symptoms are signs we associate with aging.

Fortunately, there are ways to increase your hGH levels and slow down your body’s aging process. But tinkering with hormones can be dicey business. Just ask the millions of women who are coping with menopause by using hormone replacement therapy. And just as with HRT, there’s more than one way to boost hGH, but the results are not always ideal.

Bad feedback

An HSI member named Don recently sent an e-mail with these questions: “What can you tell us about products which stimulate the pituitary gland to produce the body’s own growth hormones? Are these products safe? Where can I obtain research data on this?”

The data question is the easiest to answer. When I typed in “hGH” in an Internet search engine for scientific research, the result showed more than 25,000 items, appearing in hundreds of different journals. So there’s plenty of research on this topic – some of which I’ll tell you about in a moment. But first I’m going to let HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., field Don’s other questions:
“HGH is a hormone, of course, but different from those used in HRT. It can be taken directly by expensive injection, to the tune of about $1100 per month.

“The idea with the pituitary stimulants is that it’s safer to stimulate the body to increase its own production than to supply the actual hormone from outside the body, and I agree with this assessment. In the case of outside (exogenous) intake of growth hormone, you run the risk (well proven in past research) of what’s called ‘feedback inhibition,’ where the body will cut back on its own production since you’re willing to supply the body with the hormone from the outside without it having to bother.

“With pituitary stimulants, the body’s doing the producing, so there’s no feedback inhibition. However, there’s no long term research data available on the use of agents like arginine, ornithine, GABA, and others to stimulate the pituitary to increase output of human growth hormone… it’s just too new to know much concerning the long haul. It has been shown that some of the products do work. There are also some excited users of such products. Whether there’s a downside remains to be seen.”

Measure of quality

I can confirm Dr. Spreen’s comment about “excited users,” because when we first told you about natural supplements that stimulate the pituitary gland to release hGH (in the October 1998 HSI Members Alert) we examined case histories of patients who had reported benefits such as increased energy, reduced blood pressure, improved sexual potency, weight loss, and diminished wrinkles and age spots.  These case reports were based on ground-breaking research conducted by pharmacologists James Jamieson and L.E. Dorman, D.O., who developed a formula of natural compounds (including specific amino acids, proteins, and botanical extracts) designed to stimulate receptors in the pituitary and hypothalamus glands that prompt the release of available stores of hGH.

The formula, called Symbiotropin Pro-HGH, has since been shown to be several times more effective than the far more expensive growth hormone injections, but with zero feedback inhibition. And according to a new study (sent to me just last week by HSI Medical Advisor Martin Milner, N.D.), Pro- HGH was shown to significantly improve Quality of Life (QoL) scores in middle-aged subjects.

The study examined 16 women and 9 men with an age range of 41 to 78 (the mean age was 59 years). Questionnaires revealed that each of the subjects began the test with scores on the QoL-AGHDA (adult growth hormone deficiency assessment), which indicated severely reduced QoL, due to somatopause. After using Pro-HGH for a period of 3 months, each of the subjects showed statistically significant improvement in QoL scores. Furthermore, there were no adverse events reported.

Dr. Milner has posted more information about Symbiotropin Pro- HGH for our members on his clinic’s website at

Pass on the pasta

In addition to supplementing with natural pituitary stimulants such as Pro-HGH, there are other measures you can take to enhance your growth hormone production.

The first dietary step is to maintain a low-carbohydrate diet, which helps keep insulin levels low. Foods like pasta, potatoes, and refined sweets register high on the glycemic index because they cause a rapid increase in your blood sugar, which stimulates the production of insulin. When there’s too much insulin in your blood, your body reacts by producing a chemical called somatostatin. Somatostatin suppresses insulin release, but it also suppresses hGH release. Foods rich in carbohydrates but low on the glycemic index include beans, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. (Nuts and seeds also contain an amino acid combination favorable to the production of growth hormone.)

Excess dietary fat can also block the production and release of hGH, so it’s best to limit fat intake to 20-30 percent of your daily total calories. Additionally, many longevity experts advocate reduced caloric intake and even occasional fasting as a good way to stimulate hGH production. The highest levels of growth hormone are released when we sleep and when we fast for at least 24 hours. (Note that fasting is not suitable for everyone, so always consult a physician or health care professional before attempting a fast.)

Regular exercise is also a good way to prompt an hGH increase. But for best results, don’t eat for at least two hours before exercising because elevated insulin levels may counteract the release of growth hormones.

Some of these steps to slowing the aging process are easier said than done, but the reward is priceless: the possibility of greater longevity, with a healthier, more energetic mind and body.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute