The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a hormone that plays a huge role in the normal development of children and adolescents as the name implies. However, it also plays a role in adults.
HGH deficiency in adults typically leads to
- Higher levels of body fat,
- Lower lean body mass, and
- Decreased bone mass (osteopenia).
HGH only lasts a few minutes in the bloodstream. It goes to the liver for metabolism, where it is converted into a number of other growth factors, the most important of which is Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1).
Scientists first harvested HGH from cadavers in the 1950s, but only synthesized it in labs in the early 1980s. Soon afterwards, it became a popular performance-enhancing drug. Normal levels of HGH peak in puberty (as you might expect) and gradually decrease thereafter.
Growth hormone is typically secreted during sleep and is one of the so-called counter-regulatory hormones. HGH along with cortisol and adrenalin tell the body to increase the availability of glucose – so it counters the effect of insulin.