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Growth hormone is manufactured in the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is located in the brain region. It’s very small (about the size of a pea) but it’s very powerful.
In conjunction with the hypothalamus gland located nearby, the pituitary gland is nicknamed the master gland of the body because of its responsibilities and oversight in the function and secretions of other hormone glands in the body.
The pituitary gland produces more than growth hormone (somatotropin). It also produces thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH, which regulates not only structure but function of the thyroid gland. The pituitary is also responsible for the manufacture of adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal cortex to secrete cortisol and weak androgens.
The pituitary gland also produces gonadotropins including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH also known as luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), which is responsible for pigmentation of the skin.
The pituitary gland also manufactures prolactin, which stimulates the development of breasts during pregnancy as well as milk secretions following delivery.
The functions of the pituitary gland are overseen by the hypothalamus region of the brain. The hypothalamus is responsible for a number of functions including regulation and maintenance of fluid levels, enzyme levels, temperature, and other autonomic functions including heart rate, breathing rate, and so forth.
In regard to growth hormone, the hypothalamus transmits growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) to stimulate growth hormone secretions. If the hypothalamus region wants the pituitary to decrease or inhibit secretions it sends the neurohormone somatostatin.
There are many other hormones in the body such as oxytocin, testosterone, thyroid hormone (thyroxine), and antidiuretic hormone. Every hormone in the endocrine system is carefully balanced. In the event that pituitary gland or hypothalamus gland function is compromised, deficiencies or overstimulation of hormones is possible. Find out more here.
Growth hormone function produces a number of direct as well as indirect actions on the body. For example, some of the direct metabolic effects include metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. It has an effect on blood glucose levels and a number of other anti-insulin properties.
Indirect actions include but are not limited to growth and manufacture of insulin-like growth factors (such as IGF-1, manufactured in the liver). Insulin-like growth factors can have an effect on skeletal as well as extraskeletal growth and formation. For example:
While this may sound great to bodybuilders, it’s also important to know that these actions can get out of control and contribute to a condition known as acromegaly or abnormally enlarged bone and other support of tissues in the feet, the hands, and in the facial features.
High levels of growth hormone can also cause enlargement of other internal organs such as the intestines. This often results in a protruding or bloated belly – often noted in bodybuilders.
High levels of growth hormone in the body can lead to a number of medical issues and conditions.
That’s why individuals seeking to increase levels should always proceed with caution. Hormones are extremely powerful and can affect not only physical attributes, but emotional and mental changes.
Bodybuilders commonly engage in growth hormone injections, often combined with anabolic steroid use (such as testosterone), to increase muscle mass in a short period of time.
However, it should be noted that higher than normal levels of growth hormone in the body can not only interrupt and interfere with other hormones, but also contribute to alarming side effects.
Hyposecretions of growth hormone can result in what is known as pituitary dwarfism in children. At the other end of the spectrum, hypersecretions can result in gigantism. Other imbalances can affect amino acid blood levels, trigger hypoglycemia, low levels of fatty acids and release of stress hormones.
Before considering supplements or injections, especially when you’re healthy, carefully assess benefits and side effects. Be on the safe side.
Talk to your doctor about growth hormone function and natural growth hormone supplements or injections and how they can affect a healthy or unhealthy body.
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