This year, at the 30th Annual Scientific Meeting of the San Antonio Obesity Conference, experts from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Louisiana State University took the stage and told attendants about an oral supplement that has the potential to become the coveted and long-awaited “fountain of youth” pill.
Through the years, there have been countless claims from nearly every “natural” supplement company that one herbal supplement or another was a magic pill that would cure all of life’s ills, from arthritis all the way to cancer. However, at the Obesity Conference this year, Pennington Biomedical experts explained that their double-blind clinical trial of an orally administered compound can increase human growth hormone levels by a shocking 682%.
Human growth hormone is naturally produced in the pituitary gland which is a gland inside the brain itself. The growth hormone is responsible for stimulating muscle growth, shrinking fat cells, and increasing healthy blood flow to the skin. The pituitary gland slows down the creation of HGH when a person passes their mid-twenties, and continues to decline the older you get.
For many years, wealthy patients have been receiving injections of HGH from doctors in order to maintain a youthful appearance, high energy levels and essentially fight off the effects of aging. The cost of those injections typical reach upwards of $15,000 a year.
The announcement at the Obesity Conference by the Louisiana State University experts, led by Dr. Amy Heaton, PhD, suggests that the once exclusive treatment may soon become accessible in pill form to the general population.
Naturally Increasing the Human Growth Hormone
While HGH injections involved introducing the human growth hormone to the human body from an external source, Dr. Amy Heaton explained at the conference that the oral compound, which will go by the brand name SeroVital, actually encourages the pituitary gland to increase levels excreted HGH.
Dr. Heaton explained to conference attendees:
“…its unique amino acid formulation encourages the pituitary gland to produce HGH at more youthful levels. This is actually better than HGH injections, because rather than making your body dependent on an outside source of the hormone, SeroVital provides a more natural way of increasing serum (blood) HGH levels in the body.”
According to the study, the amino acid blend increased “endogenous HGH levels by a mean of 682% not only in young athletes, but for ‘ordinary’ men and women of a wide age range.” In another study, the compound was shown to increase the body’s metabolic rate – which ultimately has a significant impact on weight loss.
According to the developers, the only drawback to SeroVital-hgh is the fact that the compound has to be taken on an empty stomach, twice a day. It will also initially cost consumers approximately $100 a month to maintain the high level of HGH hormone in the body. Those promoting the product say that “most people” taking it will benefit from reduced wrinkles, a drop in body fat, an increase in lean muscle mass, stronger bones, elevated mood, higher energy and even an increased sex drive.
The Science Behind the Amino Acid “Compound”
Although the promoters of this product are trying to make it sound as though it is an amazing discovery of some kind of “fountain of youth” amino acid compound, the truth is that scientists have known for many years that certain amino acids have the ability to stimulate the growth hormone.
According to a 2002 paper published in the Journal of Nutrition titled “Use of amino acids as growth hormone-releasing agents by athletes”, researcher Antonio Chromiak described how weight-lifting athletes have been taking certain amino-acids orally in order to promote “greater gains in muscle mass and strength”. According to the paper, results of taking the amino acids orally are unproven (as of 2002). In fact, Chromiak found that oral levels required to achieve the same results as injected growth hormones would cause “stomach discomfort and diarrhea”.
“…no appropriately conducted scientific studies found that oral supplementation with amino acids, which are capable of inducing GH release, before strength training increases muscle mass and strength to a greater extent than strength training alone. The use of amino acids to stimulate GH release by athletes is not recommended.” (4)
Dr. Stephen Barrett wrote an article, revised in 2009, titled, “Growth Hormone Schemes and Scams” which details how marketers have used the idea of HGH as a “fountain of youth” for many years in order to promote certain products.
“The drive to popularize growth hormone began about 20 years ago with publication of the book ‘Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach’, by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. The book’s central premise was large amounts of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and and other substances would cause people to add muscle, burn fat, and live much longer. Although their advice had no scientific basis [3,4], Pearson and Shaw made hundreds of talk-show appearances that boosted sales of the substances they recommended.” (5)
Barrett explained that the book’s publication was followed by numerous amino acid products that all claimed to “cause overnight weight loss by increasing the release of growth hormone.” Barrett actually quotes fellow Dr. Robert Butler of the International Longevity Center-USA, who warned that anti-aging medicine is “largely a scam”.
Dr. Butler wrote that negative side effects of trying to artificially increase your human growth hormone levels could lead to negative side-effects, such as an “increased risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and behavior changes.”
Butler actually suggests that the opposite may be true – that lower growth-hormone levels at an older age many be an indication of better health.
“It might even turn out that lower growth-hormone levels are an indicator of health. Research findings indicate that mice that overproduce growth hormones live only a short time, suggesting that growth-hormone deficiency itself does not cause accelerated aging, but that the opposite may be true. . . . Doctors who claim to have the ability to measure ‘biomarkers of aging’ and favorably affect them are not scientifically-based .”
In other words, while a “Fountain of Youth” pill sounds like a pretty nice invention for those struggling toward middle age and beyond – and the lower metabolism and waistline battles that go along with it. Ultimately, the adage from Joan Welsh still holds true: “A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.”
Do yourself a favor, and opt for the stairs. You’ll be better off for it.