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Growth Hormone Releasers: Interview with James Jamieson

IRONMAN has featured several articles extolling the virtues of a growth-hormone-releasing supplement known as Symbiotropin. Its growth-hormone-releasing formula differs from more simplistic nutritional routes of promoting growth hormone release, such as using one of a number of amino acids. While the amino acids, including arginine and ornithine, appear to provoke a GH response when given intravenously, the response when you take them orally is far less certain.

Symbiotropin, which is marketed by Muscle-Link as GH Stak, was developed to bypass the body’s considerable natural blocks that impede the absorption of nutrients designed to elicit a growth hormone release. That’s possible due to its unique “chaperone” delivery system. The chaperone system is a proprietary carbohydrate complex that prevents the premature destruction of Symbiotropin’s active ingredients, including a pituitary complex known as GH secretagogues, which is similar to that found in experimental oral GH-releasing drugs. The formula is further bolstered by a natural bean extract found in the rain forest, which some studies show contains L-dopa, an amino acid derivative known to evoke a GH-releasing response.

It’s all the brainchild of pharmacologist James Jamieson Jr., who brings an impressive pedigree to the field of pharmaceutical development. His family has been in the pharmaceutical-manufacturing and -development business for more than a century. His grandfather produced products under the family name and developed formulas for major drug companies. His father was a consultant for several major drug companies and was instrumental in developing the first in-office diagnostic blood analyzing machine for use by physicians.

Jamieson himself developed several devices for drug manufacturing and also produced innovative drug delivery systems. His accomplishments include developing Triaminic children’s cough formula, the first oral form of acetaminophen (sold as Tylenol and other brands), the first soluble vitamin E supplement, the first UV sunscreen, the first sustained-release vitamin C supplement and many other drug delivery systems. He holds more than 100 drug patents and has served as a valued consultant to major drug companies.

Since introducing Symbiotropin, Jamieson has retooled it into a group of supplements targeted at active athletes and those engaged in regular exercise. The latest version is called Pro-HGH Sport. Recently, I talked with Jamieson about Pro-HGH Sport and also about some of the questions and controversies involving previous versions of the formula.

Q: Symbiotropin was formerly available as an effervescent tablet, yet the newer Pro-HGH Sport formula comes in powder form. Why the change? Are the powdered individual servings easier to absorb?

A: The bioavailability of Symbiotropin, whether in an effervescent tablet or effervescent sachet [small bag] is the same. The primary difference is that the new Pro-HGH Sport formula is a third-generation product with newly added synergistic ingredients. We interviewed many focus groups of sports fitness consumers and found that they preferred the sachet form for convenience and faster dissolution properties over the tablet form. We always listen to customer requests and try to respond as long as it doesn’t adversely affect the quality or effectiveness of the product. Since we’ve manufactured these types of sachets for the pharmaceutical industry, we already had the technology and manufacturing expertise.

Q: When were the first clinical presentations on Symbiotropin made?

A: In October 1997 we were the first nutraceutical company to present clinical data on human growth hormone secretagogues to one of the oldest and largest anti-aging medical societies, the American College for Advancement in Medicine [ACAM].

Q: For the benefit of readers who may be unfamiliar with the terms, please explain the meaning of secretagogues and chaperone molecule technology.

A: Among the many topics of drug research and development, two hot areas stand out. You’re familiar with the Human Genome Project, which is a concerted effort to map the human genome, or gene patterns. The technology is being used not only in the prevention but also the treatment of various diseases, and small proteins are where it’s at in terms of drug development. They’re very profound substances. I’ve been working with small proteins and peptides since the late 1950s. In essence, these secretagogues are small, precisely sequenced and rationed peptides that are linked to an effective delivery system so that they get to the brain receptor level.

Without this unique proprietary chaperone molecule technology, there’d be no way to protect and stabilize the molecular structure throughout the digestive system, into the blood and, finally, to targeted key receptors.

Q: You’ve mentioned hormone cascading in the past when discussing GH release. What exactly is it?

A: Cascading refers to body processes involving hormones from substrate materials, or starting substances. Say you start with an acetate pool in the liver and adrenal glands. That acetate is converted, or cascaded, into cholesterol. The cholesterol, through the actions of specific enzymes, is cascaded into pregnenolone, which is the initial step in the enzymatic conversion to other steroid hormones and so on. Thus, cascading refers to changing one hormone into another through enzymatic conversions.

With the body in optimal balance, the cascading procedures work smoothly; however, you have to be careful not to upset the delicate biochemical process with an imbalance of synthetic molecules. The synthetics won’t cascade properly, or they’ll cascade the wrong way—and you can get into trouble. A good example is the way certain pro-hormones take pathways into undesired hormone synthesis, such as androstenedione converting into estrogen instead of testosterone. That can obviously lead to side effects. ALL Q: What are modulators?

A: Modulators are comparable to a computer or other electronic device. They act like a sound board: Information comes into them and is intensified. They can also lower frequencies, making things more efficient. The body doesn’t work with everything in high gear or low gear. Thus, modulating involves kicking a process up or down as the need arises. With synthetic molecules, there’s often no modulation, so the hormone receptor sites are bombarded and then shut down. Properly formulated nutraceuticals will function as highly effective modulators, simulating a natural releasing, pulsatile effect of hormones, which allows your body to work far more synergistically.

Q: How does the concept of body balance, or synergy, relate to adaptogens?

A: Adaptogen is another recent term, and it refers to the way that certain herbs modulate stress reactions. Biological activity related to adaptogens has been documented in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The term refers to the way specific substances can work in bipolar ways. A notable example is the Chinese concept of hot and cold ginseng. That means the adaptogen, in this case ginseng, can allow the body to adapt to its conditions and stress. Thus, the adaptogen effect may calm you or excite you, depending on need.

Pro-HGH Sport contains adaptogens called phytogenins that have been identified and properly balanced. They work in concert with the modulators and cascading systems in the product to foster enhanced body biochemical balance. The phytogenin chaperone molecule contained in Pro-HGH Sport is geared more toward anabolic effects in men and women. It cascades and has a perpetual liposomal effect.

Q: That sounds like a potent biological effect. Would the product be contraindicated for certain medical conditions?

A: Pro-HGH has been used safely by people who have hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, chronic pain, immune dysfunction and many other common diseases.

Q: Has the chaperone molecule oral delivery system used in it ever actually been tested for efficacy, or is it a matter of examining the rise in insulinlike growth factor 1, or IGF-1, levels with use of the product?

A: We have clinically tested the delivery system in several studies and continue to do so in ongoing studies. We are presently reviewing data from Brazil, where the primary research featured the effects of Symbiotropin on skin rejuvenation. That study showed phenomenal effects on skin elasticity, tone, wrinkles and the resolution of aging spots.

We also recently collaborated on a study with an international health insurance provider. Here we looked at the effects of Symbiotropin on such chronic diseases as hypertension, diabetes, chronic pain and osteoarthritis. The results demonstrated a lowering of both the dose and frequency of medications used to treat those diseases, as well as a significant improvement in the therapeutic relief of symptoms.

You must understand how the body naturally modulates, cascades and adapts in regards to hormonal interaction of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis [HPA]. If you just rely on IGF-1 as a marker for efficacy, the picture will become rapidly distorted. IGF-1 will naturally decline as you increase lean body mass. The body also tends to use IGF-1 in place of insulin, which lowers blood IGF-1 levels. Few people realize that there are seven fractions of insulinlike growth factor, not just IGF-1. Also, the three binding proteins, IGBF 1-3, have to be correlated. So you can see that it’s not just a matter of what happens to IGF-1.

The best way to measure success is with so-called quality of life assessment measures. That’s the yardstick used to measure the success of products in Europe, and they’ve been doing it like that for decades. What it means is that they use research study parameters that evaluate improvement in daily living characteristics, such as mood, self-esteem, energy, pain relief, training capacity, lean muscle gains, fat losses and so on.

The chaperone molecule contained in the Pro-HGH Sport formula has more than one activity. It’s also a component of the delivery system. It protects the fragile peptides and cofactors in the product. It has a bio-enhancing effect. With pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals I’ve used chaperone molecules in the manufacturing of topical, oral, and injectable formulations. They have a hormone-modulating effect because they are carrier molecules for the active ingredients.

Q: How has the medical community responded to the idea of using Pro-HGH as a growth hormone replacement?

A: The response has been outstanding. The original Symbiotropin has been recommended to complement various treatment protocols by leading American physicians and those abroad. Many doctors use it as a stand-alone or as an adjunct to patients on HGH injections and other hormone therapies.

Q: I’ve read that one reason why oral HGH secretagogue drugs aren’t yet commercially available is that while they work for a while, the beneficial effect wears off with time and continued use. Would a similar downgrade in effectiveness occur with Pro-HGH Sport?

A: That simply isn’t true. Price margins drive drug research development and marketing. Separate receptor sites have been identified in the hypothalamus and pituitary for both secretagogues and injectable GH. They clearly work by different mechanisms of action. Our experience confirms that adherence to proper nutrition and efficient exercise protocols, along with Pro-HGH use, leads to continued improvement. Q: If a healthy young bodybuilder or athlete with normal or even high levels of IGF-1 took Pro-HGH Sport, would you still expect to see a rise in IGF-1 indicative of GH release?

A: You can’t just look at IGF-1; you want to normalize all the hormones in a modulating and cascading profile. Besides, if it were a lean athlete, you’d expect isolated assessments of IGF-1 to be lower than normal. Pro-HGH Sport could aid workout intensity for that person and help to add lean mass. At the brain level it will help improve neurotransmitter function, leading to improved energy, mood and focus. Q: Would the product work better in older people, who often show lower levels of IGF-1 or growth hormone?

A: Yes, it will be very effective in older people. Initially, our clinical research focused on the product being used as an anti-aging adjunct. We were looking to complement or replace growth hormone injections in our medical markets around the world.

Q: Some people have voiced concern about manipulating GH levels, since the resultant rise in IGF-1 has been associated with breast and prostate cancers. Is that a legitimate concern?

A: What we’re doing with Pro-HGH Sport is modulating and adapting hormone levels. We’re boosting and balancing immune function. In fact, Symbiotropin has been used as an adjunct in chemotherapy to help relieve the malaise and debilitation often associated with elevated levels of natural killer cells. A well-publicized study two years ago analyzed prostate cancer incidence, prostate specific antigen [PSA], and IGF-1 levels. The results showed an inverse relationship between IGF-1 levels, PSA and prostate cancer incidence. In fact, they found that the higher the PSA levels were above 2.8, the lower the IGF-1 levels.

Q: What’s your opinion of other alleged commercial HGH-releasing supplements, such as sublingual HGH supplements?

A: An essential key to efficacy resides in the delivery systems of a product and their bioavailability to appropriately reach strategic receptor sites. Once at the receptor site the molecule has to be recognized and a conversion then occurs. You can take the same raw material from the same drum made by five different people and find that one guy’s stuff works and the other four fail. That’s true regardless of whether the product is a pharmaceutical, antioxidant, protein powder or any other type of product.

To prove the efficacy of our product, we’ve invested considerable money on clinical testing. We recently received clinical data from two new studies. One was a two-year study of 1,290 patients in Europe, and the other a yearlong study from Saõ Paulo, Brazil. We’ve presented clinical data on Symbiotropin to about 15 international physician and anti-aging societies over the past three years.

It’s easy to just copy a product, make a few bucks, then take the money and run. Many of these companies have done just that; however, they haven’t been successful at making ersatz versions of Symbiotropin for various reasons. They can’t get the key chaperone molecule; I’ve got it. They can’t get the precise sequenced peptides; I’ve got them. I have a partnership with the world’s leading filtration pharmaceutical company, an option not open to others. In short, other companies simply cannot hope to duplicate the mechanisms behind Pro-HGH Sport.

If you took five grams of Pro-HGH Sport and went to a health food store to price the stuff based on the ingredients, it would cost you far more than the product itself. Most manufacturers use heat when stabilizing their powders, capsules or tablets. In contrast, Pro-HGH Sport is manufactured in a “cold room,” with precise humidity and temperature control. That’s necessary to protect the fragile peptides and co-factors activated in the glass. Heat destroys those vital product constituents.

I do think that some homeopathic remedies may have value. I know the ideas behind vaccinations; I’m familiar with attenuating [weakened] organisms. But if I can’t measure the amount of suspected biological activity, then I’m not interested. As far as I’m concerned, some of the proposed GH- releasing supplements are just expensive water.

Q: Some people have criticized your product because they note that the specific growth hormone ligand/receptor has yet to be identified and so Pro-HGH would just be an inexact, shotgun approach to promoting GH release. How do you respond to such comments?

A: With gene mapping, we’re identifying many types of unique receptor sites, and many of them have previously been identified in research studies. We know that HGH is a natural substance in the body and also how it works—even though we don’t yet know every gene or gene switch. To put it another way, God made the pituitary gland to release GH and other hormones. So am I going to wait until I can identify every mechanism associated with growth hormone’s activity? No, I’m not, and neither have the pharmaceutical companies.

Q: Another criticism of Pro-HGH is that the pituitary peptides included as active ingredients are derived from porcine, or pig, pituitary glands and that they may harbor prions, which are linked to the onset of various encephalopathies, or degenerative brain diseases, such as new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Is that a legitimate danger?

A: According to the Creutzfeldt-Jakob Foundation, animals that contribute to the development of the disease are sheep, goats, mink, mule deer, elk and cows. Pigs aren’t mentioned as a source of disease transmission. HGH is a protein consisting of 191 amino acids in a single chain with a total molecular weight of 22,000 daltons. Porcine anterior pituitary peptides have the same sequence of amino acid configuration. Without those extracts, we’ve found a significant reduction in product effectiveness. Over the past several decades I’ve used glandular extracts because they provide therapeutic adjuncts in a three-dimensional form that the body’s hormone receptors recognize, appropriately respond to and begin the biochemical cascading pathways. Glandulars have been used not only as hormone sources but also as support for similar tissues. European physicians have for many years developed protocols for applications of glandular therapies. One of the early protocols involved using thymus gland extract for purposes of immune system stimulation.

We use pristine American glandular extracts, with the porcine sources bred solely for medicinal purposes under highly regulated conditions. Those conditions control and monitor grazing, hygiene, feeding, breeding and slaughtering. The animals are raised in a pharmaceutically controlled environment and carefully processed.

Pro-HGH Sport incorporates the use of anterior pituitary peptides, which have been shown to have effects on anterior pituitary support and function. Through advanced processing, such as ultrafiltration and xenogeneic cell and tissue suspension, the activity of the peptides exceeds most live cell pituitary extracts.

People who worry about the purity of porcine sources should realize that heparin, an anticoagulant used for more than 50 years, is extracted from pigs. Forms of insulin in use for many years were likewise based on porcine sources. Yet there has never been any reported incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease with their extended use.

Q: What’s the most efficient way for a bodybuilder to use the new Pro-HGH Sport formula?

A: Pro-HGH Sport is best taken on an empty stomach, about one hour before eating. A high-protein meal after a workout is best. We’ve tested the efficacy of taking the product either in the early morning or before bed. It works well either way. The suggested serving size is based on bodyweight. Athletes weighing more than 200 pounds have had excellent results taking the product two or three times a day. IM

Editor: You can purchase GH Stak (pro-HGH) at

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