Monday, January 19, 2015

Growth Hormone & GHRH Eliminate Body Fat in the Obese: Up to 23% Subcutaneous & 28% Visceral Fat Loss in 12 Weeks - Natural GH Boosters Still Practically Useless

GHRH analogues like tesamorelin trigger the release of growth hormone.
Beyond its effects on bone growth and musculoskeletal anabolism, growth hormone (GH) plays in important role in the regulation of lipid metabolism, body fat distribution, inflammation and vascular health.

Outside of studies in patients with frank GH deficiency (GHD), there is yet relatively little "non-broscientific" N=1 evidence of the effects of growth hormone administration or the use of agents like tesamorelin, which act like the hormone that triggers the release of growth hormone, on the amount and structure of body fat. And guess what!? In the obese these agents work like a charm and are considered a safer alternative to regular growth hormone injections.
Don't forget to work out, if you want to lose fat - Try  HIIT, for example.

Never Train To Burn Calories!

Tabata = 14.2kcal /min ≠ Fat Loss

30s Intervals + 2:1 Work/Rec.

Making HIIT a Hit Part I/II

Making HIIT a Hit Part II/II

HIIT Ain't For Everyone
In the obese, GH plays an intriguing role in the development and maintenance of superfluous body fat. As you can see in Figure 1, there is a self-reinforcing cycle of increased visceral fat and reduced GH in states of abdominal obesity.
Figure 1: Self-reinforcing cycle of increased visceral fat and reduced GH in states of abdominal obesity (Stanley. 2014).
Against that background it is not self-evident, but also not exactly surprising that the provision of tesamorelin, a synthetic form of growth-hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) which is used in the treatment of HIV-associated lipodystrophy to non-HIV infected obese individuals led to a slow, but steady decline in visceral fat mass (see Figure 2).
How valuable are natural growth hormone boosters: If you are into GH peaks on graphs in papers, they are very valuable. If you are looking for real-world results, though, they are useless. GABA for example will transiently spike your growth hormone levels but ameliorate the response to natural triggers like the exercise induced decrease in blood glucose (Cavagnini. 1980). GH boosters will also flatten the natural diurnal peaks. Accordingly, the area under the curve, i.e. the total amount of GH your body produces, will be more or less identical. This is why GABA, one of the most potent, and arginine or lysine, two other often advertised natural GH boosters, are unlikely to have significant effects on your physique - muscle- and fat-wise.
Figure 2: Percent changes in visceral and saturated fat in HIV infected subjects after tesamorelin treatmend (Stanley. 2014).
The decrease in visceral fat went in the HIV infected patients of the study went hand in hand with increases in basal and peak growth hormones secretion and lead to significant, albeit less pronounced reduction in liver fat and intra-muscular triglicerides, both of which are significantly related to systemic insulin resistance and the development of type II diabetes.

Unfortunately, the results in Figure 2 indicate that the effect was reversed in those subject who got a placebo instead of tesamorelin in the 2nd phase of the 2x 26 week study.
Is GH dangerous? Well, in the studies cited here there benefits prevailed. In the study by Nam et al. for example, the researchers observed not just reductions in body fat, but also significant increases in glucose disposal rate compared to the exercise + diet alone group. The same goes for the serum glucose levels and insulin- and FFA-area under the curve during an oral glucocse tolerance test, as well as the long-term blood glucose measure HbA1c and LDL levelswhich were all signifcantly decreased after GH treatment. This does not exclude, though, that GH can entail unwanted side effects like joint pain and peripheral edema, which are yet rarely seen in scientific studies, unless the hormone is administered in excess.
GH works in "normal" overweight individuals, as well, but scientists are still hesitant to test it, probably because this may entail an increase in the already huge interest in GH treatment for lifestyle purposes.
Figure 3: Effects of 12-week treatment with 0.15 IU/kg body weight growth hormone per week or exercise + 25kcal/kg body weight diet alone in a 18 newly diagnosed obese type 2 diabetic patients (Nam. 2001).
Still, similar results have been observed in non-HIV infected individuals, where the combination of "regular" growth hormone and exercise boosted the total and visceral fat loss and turned the lean muscle loss of the eighteen newly-diagnosed obese type 2 diabetic patients (age 42--56 y, body mass index 28.1+/-2.7 kg/m²; Nam. 2001). 
Suggested Read on the Muscle Building Prowess of GH: Slow Down to Build Up? 4x Higher Growth Hormone After Slow (4s) Eccentric Biceps Curls, But What's It Worth? Find out more!
Bottom line: While it may sound like a miracle drug, the data in Figure 2 does also indicate that it is no permanent solution to the obesity problem. Without a total reversal of the dietary and non-existent "exercise" habbits in the obese, the visceral fat that is lost within 26 weeks is back in the abdominal cavity after another 26 weeks (see T-P = tesamorelin first, placebo second group in Figure 2).

As a means to propel the weight loss success of those who are willing to turn their lives upside down and - allegedly - as a dieting help in chemical athletes, GHRH analogues like tesamorelin may make sense, whether they are healthy is yet as questionable as whether similar weight loss in the obese cannot be achieved without the use of drug  | Comment on Facebook!
  • Cavagnini, F., et al. "Effect of acute and repeated administration of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) on growth hormone and prolactin secretion in man." Acta endocrinologica 93.2 (1980): 149-154.
  • Nam, S. Y., et al. "Low-dose growth hormone treatment combined with diet restriction decreases insulin resistance by reducing visceral fat and increasing muscle mass in obese type 2 diabetic patients." International journal of obesity and related metabolic disorders: journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity 25.8 (2001): 1101-1107.
  • Stanley, Takara L., and Steven K. Grinspoon. "Effects of Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone on Visceral Fat, Metabolic and Cardiovascular Indices in Human Studies." Growth Hormone & IGF Research (2014).