' Growth hormone has long intrigued bodybuilders and other athletes. The perception is that it will promote muscular size while fostering a loss of bodyfat'a holy grail combination for physical enhancement and athletic performance. Other desirable aspects of growth hormone include its much publicized anti-aging benefits and various possible health-enhancing properties associated with maintaining optimal levels of it.
The two most common approaches to modulating growth hormone in the body have involved either pharmaceutical or natural methods. The pharmaceutical approach consists of synthetic growth hormone injections and the still experimental oral secretagogue drugs. Injections do work but are expensive for long-term usage. They may also have side effects, depending on the dosages and the length of time the drug is used.
The natural approaches, while safer and cheaper, have not generally proved as effective. Natural methods of increasing the body's GH output include taking various amino acids, such as arginine, ornithine and glutamine, as well as various amino acid by-products, such as GABA and its analog, GHB.
Why don't the safer, natural versions of GH stimulators work? A primary problem is getting the required nutrients to the active areas of GH secretion; i.e., the brain. The body has a number of built-in barriers to prevent the entry of substances into the brain. For example, large doses of amino acids'such as those required to effectively elicit a GH response'are often degraded by liver enzymes.
That such natural substances can stimulate an effective GH response is proven by a successful GH response when the same substances are allowed to bypass barriers, as in intravenous administration. Providing 30 grams of the amino acid arginine intravenously is so effective at inducing GH secretion from the pituitary gland that it was formerly used as a provocative test for pituitary GH release.
Drug companies have developed drugs called GH secretagogues based on the discovery that small amino acid linkages called peptides can elicit a significant GH release. Most of the drugs are still considered experimental, but the exciting aspect is that they're effective orally.
A natural product called Pro-hGH Symbiotropin is also a potent GH secretagogue, according to its developers. Since growth hormone itself is degraded within an hour after reaching the blood, the level of a primary GH product, insulinlike growth factor-1 (IGF-1)'which circulates in the body far longer thanks to protective binding proteins'is considered an accurate measure of GH output. From a bodybuilding perspective, that's important because IGF-1 is also considered the active anabolic component of growth hormone. Preliminary studies show that Pro-hGH Symbiotropin increases IGF-1 in various populations.
To find out more about the possible benefits of using Pro-hGH Symbiotropin, I interviewed Lawrence E. Dorman, M.D., who has practiced osteopathic medicine for more than 30 years in Independence, Missouri. Dorman specializes in nutritional and preventive medicine and has worked with several professional athletic teams. He has also researched Pro-hGH Symbiotropin and administered it to his patients and has a thorough knowledge of its potential benefits. IM: A recent widely publicized study implicated high levels of IGF-1 as a promoter of prostate cancer. Does IGF-1 promote cancer?
LD: That study was extremely flawed. If high levels of IGF-1 actually promoted cancer, then people would have to stop exercising immediately because exercise is a potent IGF-1 stimulus. Other physicians and I have examined this purported IGF-1/cancer connection, and we've all agreed that the study was likely funded by pharmaceutical companies that had their own agendas in mind.
In reality, the opposite is true. Since most types of cancer result from a failure of the immune system to curtail incipient tumors, IGF-1, as a potent immunostimulant, would serve to have a preventive effect against cancer.
IM: How would maintaining higher IGF-1 levels help to prevent diseases?
LD: Maintaining an optimal IGF-1 level throughout life would help prevent virtually any type of disease. A primary reason that older people show higher rates of various degenerative diseases is that the body gradually loses the ability to ward off such diseases. This loss is related to a lifetime of poor health habits, such as lack of exercise, obesity, lack of sufficient nutrients and chronic exposure to environmental toxins, as well as unbridled stress.
By stimulating the immune system, higher IGF-1 levels protect the body against the onslaughts of various stresses and associated diseases. When you examine chronically ill people, you always find below-normal IGF-1 levels. A study published in a major journal found that patients who had suffered heart attacks showed the highest death rates if they also had low IGF-1 levels.
IM: Assuming that Pro-hGH Symbiotropin is effective in increasing IGF-1 levels, do you expect a market flooded with Symbiotropin imitations?
LD: The Pro-hGH Symbiotropin product isn't easily duplicated for at least two reasons. The first is that duplication of the product requires an extensive knowledge of anterior-pituitary peptides. Only a few chemists in the world know how to produce those special peptides.
The second reason involves the delivery of the special peptides to target areas. Anyone attempting to duplicate Pro-hGH Symbiotropin would have to devise a way to successfully transport them across such hostile environments as the acidic gastric mucosa and get them into the blood without being destroyed. This process requires special 'chaperon' molecules, for which the chemistry is extremely obscure.
I expect that many companies will claim to have an equally effective knockoff version of Pro-hGH Symbiotropin, but they won't work as well. We've already tested a few products, and they didn't live up to hype.
IM: Obese people are often insulin-resistant and also show blunted growth-hormone-releasing patterns. Would using Symbiotropin have any benefits for such people?
LD: If you administer GH injections, the drug will initially produce insulin resistance and subsequent glucose intolerance. However, the opposite is true with a growth hormone secretagogue such as Pro-hGH Symbiotropin. We've found the product is so effective at increasing insulin sensitivity that elevated blood glucose levels rapidly decline. When we give it to insulin-dependent diabetics, we always warn them to closely monitor their blood glucose levels. We've taken a few diabetics off insulin therapy when they began using Pro-hGH Symbiotropin because of improved glucose control.
IM: Since a high blood glucose level is known to blunt GH release, would a lower-carbohydrate intake while using Pro-hGH Symbiotropin offer any advantages?
LD: You do want to limit carbohydrate intake a few hours before using Pro-hGH to elicit a maximal effect from it. You should also not consume any protein foods for at least three to four hours before using Pro-hGH Symbiotropin. Amino acids will compete with some of the components found in the supplement for uptake into the body.
IM: What's the best way to use Pro-hGH Symbiotropin?
LD: I'd recommend waiting at least an hour to eat anything after using it. It's not advisable to combine Pro-hGH Symbiotropin with food or supplements that would decrease the effectiveness of the product. That includes any type of protein or creatine supplement.
IM: Do you suggest consuming more protein while using Pro-hGH Symbiotropin?
LD: Most active people already consume high-protein diets, and using Pro-hGH Symbiotropin with such diets produces a synergistic effect. On the other hand, I think that even active people shouldn't ingest too much protein and they should consider mixing protein sources. That would involve consuming both animal and plant-derived proteins.
IM: Is there any type of dietary fat that should be emphasized while using Pro-hGH Symbiotropin?
LD: Monounsaturated fat, such as that contained in olive and canola oils, is a good type of fat to eat. It's less subject to oxidation and helps to maintain higher levels of protective high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol in the body.
IM: Should the focus be on lower-glycemic-index carbohydrates, which promote less insulin release?
LD: The type of carbohydrate is more of an issue with people who are just beginning to exercise. Regular exercise promotes more efficient usage of ingested carbohydrates, such as a greater glycogen storage capacity. Thus, most people have an enhanced carbohydrate uptake after exercise.
IM: What about using supplements that increase insulin effectiveness, such as chromium or vanadyl sulfate. Would they enhance Pro-hGH Symbiotropin's effects?
LD: Those supplements are fine; however, vanadyl is toxic to the kidneys after long-term use. I'd suggest using a safer vanadyl complex instead. Several of them are available.
IM: What's the purpose of the special legume contained in Pro-hGH Symbiotropin?
LD: The legume used in Pro-hGH Symbiotropin is a product of the rain forest. It contains an amino acid by-product called L-dopa that's a recognized GH releaser in the brain. Normally, the L-dopa would be destroyed in the gut before it got to the brain, but the chaperon molecules in Pro-hGH Symbiotropin can successfully shield it from being prematurely degraded.
IM: Why is the effervescence factor contained in Pro-hGH Symbiotropin so important to the product's effectiveness?
LD: The effervescence promotes rapid assimilation of the factors contained in Pro-hGH Symbiotropin. Those active factors, such as the anterior pituitary peptides, are fragile, and the longer they're exposed to hostile environments such as stomach acidity, the greater the risk of degradation. The effervesence helps to neutralize some of the potentially hostile exposures.
IM: Are there interactions between Pro-hGH Symbiotropin and any of the popular testosterone precursors now on the market?
LD: Androgen precursors, such as androstenedione, take totally different biochemical pathways than does Pro-hGH Symbiotropin. Androgen precursors are converted by liver enzymes into testosterone, while Pro-hGH Symbiotropin promotes peripheral IGF-1 synthesis and release, as in muscle. One touted androgen precursor, however, does increase IGF-1, and that's DHEA.
IM: What results can a bodybuilder expect after beginning to use Pro-hGH Symbiotropin?
LD: An initial effect would be increased exercise tolerance. That would translate into more intense workouts and better post-training recuperation. A person using it might be able to train faster, with less rest between sets, but that depends on prior physical condition.
IM: Since Pro-hGH Symbiotropin increases exercise recovery, would a person taking it be able to train more frequently or for longer sessions?
LD: While the product does promote greater recovery capacity, it doesn't give you a license to purposely overtrain, either. You still have to use common sense. Pro-hGH Symbiotropin will, however, partially compensate for the blunted GH release that occurs with overtraining through an upgraded peripheral IGF-1 synthesis. The localized IGF-1 will serve to maximize muscle repair processes after training.
IM: Since younger people usually have higher IGF-1 levels than older people, what's the advantage for them of using a product such as Pro-hGH Symbiotropin?
LD: Even younger people will show improvements in muscle strength and endurance. Since IGF-1 also strengthens connective tissue, such as that found in joints and ligaments, using the product will offer a degree of protection from injury.
IM: You mentioned earlier that DHEA can also raise IGF-1 levels. Does that mean Pro-hGH Symbiotropin and DHEA are a synergistic combination?
LD: Older people using both show higher IGF-1 levels; however, I believe DHEA use should be reserved for people over age 40. Younger people have higher DHEA levels, making use of this hormone superfluous. I suggest that anyone contemplating using DHEA should have his or her DHEA-S levels measured by lab analysis. That will provide information concerning the proper dose of DHEA to use.
IM: Can using Pro-hGH Symbiotropin lead to a side effect profile similar to that of injected GH?
LD: Carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful wrist impingement, is often a common side effect of GH-injection therapy. With Pro-hGH Symbiotropin we've seen this side effect only when people take too great a dose and then only in women. As to the reason the effect occurs only in women, we haven't yet determined it. But the effect is extremely rare and only happens if the product is misused.
IM: Should someone considering Pro-hGH Symbiotropin undergo any prior medical tests?
LD: I'd suggest getting a lab measurement of endogenous IGF-1 levels before using the product so you can see your baseline value of GH response.
IM: Would increasing the recommended dose of Pro-hGH Symbiotropin produce greater effects?
LD: Pro-hGH Symbiotropin is a growth hormone modulator. It doesn't give you the constant stimulation associated with GH injections. However, the constant bombardment of GH cell receptor sites that occurs with injections makes the drugs less effective over time. Pro-hGH Symbiotropin is more of a gentle stimulus to GH release, but any product that works can be abused.
IM: Is that the reason you suggest cycling and not taking Pro-hGH Symbiotropin every day?
LD: Taking breaks from using the product every few days maintains its effectiveness while also preventing any side effects from occurring. The brief rest periods also maintain receptor efficiency, thus preventing the receptor downgrade that commonly occurs with growth hormone injections.
IM: Are there any known contraindications to Pro-hGH Symbiotropin use?
LD: The only problem we've noticed thus far has to do with the citrus naturally contained in Pro-hGH Symbiotropin. People allergic to citrus should not use the product. We do, however, have a citrus-free version coming out soon.
IM: Would Pro-hGH Symbiotropin affect the activity of other hormones, such as thyroid output?
LD: We have some evidence that it enhances thyroid output.
IM: Synthetic GH secretagogues often also increase cortisol and prolactin levels. Would Pro-hGH Symbiotropin share that effect?
LD: An increased cortisol level would be of concern to athletes because of the established catabolic effects associated with that adrenal hormone. We haven't seen any increases in cortisol levels with Pro-hGH in any age group.
IM: Why do you recommend against people using artificial sweeteners when they take Pro-hGH Symbiotropin?
LD: The supplement contains special pharmaceutical sugars that are part of its proprietary chaperon delivery system. Artificial sweeteners interfere with the function of those special sugars, and that could potentially decrease the product's effectiveness.
IM: Given a choice, is it better to take Pro-hGH Symbiotropin first thing in the morning before eating or at night before bed?
LD: For most people the better choice is at night. The reasoning here is that in most cases meal consumption has occurred several hours earlier, thus allowing the active elements in Pro-hGH Symbiotropin to have a clear pathway to target tissues. In addition, the greatest physiological GH release occurs during the initial stages of deep sleep, and Pro-hGH Symbiotropin will aid the deep-sleep stage as well as provide a synergistic boost to the naturally occurring GH peak at that time.
IM: GH injections promote sodium retention. Does Pro-hGH Symbiotropin also do that?
LD: Pro-hGH Symbiotropin itself contains minuscule amounts of sodium and doesn't foster any sodium or water retention. We've even observed a lowering of blood pressure in people who had hypertension after they began using Symbiotropin.
Editor's note: Pro-hGH Symbiotropin, a.k.a. GH Stak, is available from Muscle-Link. Call 1-800-667-4626 to order with a credit card, or go to the Muscle-Link Web site at www.muscle-link.com. IM