Measuring GH Levels
Most people over age 35 have a decline in GH secretion from the pituitary gland. Normally, GH is released in pulses and pituitary secretion is highest during the beginning phases of sleep. Some of the GH in the bloodstream binds to GH receptors on the liver causing the liver to manufacture a powerful compound called Insulin like Growth Factor - Type 1 (IGF-1), which is also referred to as Somatomedin C.
Clinicians measure GH activity in a number of ways all of which have advantages and disadvantages. Random measurements of serum GH concentrations are of little significance because of the pulsatile nature of GH secretion and the short half-life of GH in the blood of about 20 minutes. Measurements of blood and saliva IGF-1 are the most common tests performed to measure GH activity because of IGF-1’s long half-life of about 20 hours, but some variance may occur because IGF-1 levels may fluctuate throughout the day by as much as 30%. Other clinicians use 24-hour urine collections to measure GH levels, since some of the GH secreted will appear in the urine. Even this test has problems because obesity, diet changes and exercise levels can cause fluctuations in the readings.
Endocrinologists use several methods to check for GH deficiency including infusions of GHRH or infusions of the amino acid arginine. A blood level of GH is measured to establish a baseline then a stimulating agent is given that causes the pituitary gland to secrete GH. The amount of GH released by the pituitary is then measured several times. If the amount of GH released is too low the doctor will be able to identify a GH deficiency.
Since GH deficiency causes a characteristic group of problems a health questionnaire is a quick way to identify a possible GH decline. If an individual has a number of these identified problems they can then follow up with clinical laboratory testing or a trial of a science-based nutraceutical rejuvenation program.
Do you lack a positive outlook, feeling of well-being and drive?
Do you have less energy and vitality than you did when you where 10-20 years younger?
Even with increased training, are you not able to reach your full potential?
Has your weight increased as you have gotten older?
Have you lost muscle and gained fat as you have aged?
Is your cholesterol level higher now than when you where younger?
Do you wake up aching and stiff?
Has your skin become drier, thinner and more wrinkled?
Does your skin have age spots or visible capillaries?
Do you feel like your memory and concentration have declined?
Has your sex drive declined over the years?
Do you have trouble falling and staying asleep or feeling refreshed after sleeping?
Has your level of fitness and enthusiasm for exercise decreased over the years?
Do you have sagging skin?
Is your hair thin or gray or do you have slow nail growth?
As you have aged, do you find you heal more slowly?
Is your eyesight or hearing failing?