What are growth hormones?

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Marvin Bergsneider, MD
Neurosurgery
A growth hormone is a pituitary hormone that has direct effects on muscle and bone. It also stimulates special cells in the liver to make a hormone called IGF-1, which is an insulin-like growth factor. Both growth hormone and IGF-1 then circulate in the bloodstream and affect bone growth and muscle maintenance and muscle growth.

You are likely to have heard about growth hormones in relation to athletes. Professional baseball players have been caught doping growth hormones because it adds to their muscle bulk. Whether it adds to their strength or performance is unknown.
Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Growth hormone (GH) does more than just stimulate growth and cell reproduction; it also refreshes cells, restores skin's elasticity, and enhances the movement of amino acids through cell membranes. Growth hormone aids in your ability to maintain an ideal weight, too, effectively telling your cells to back off on using carbs for energy and use fat instead. Without adequate sleep, GH stays locked up in the pituitary, which negatively affects your proportions of fat to muscle. Over time, low GH levels are associated with high fat and low lean muscle.

Growth hormone affects almost every cell in the body, renewing the skin and bones, regenerating the heart, liver, lungs, and kidneys, and bringing back organ and tissue function to more youthful levels. Growth hormone also revitalizes the immune system, lowers the risk factors of heart attack and stroke, improves oxygen uptake, and even helps prevent osteoporosis.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.