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What is Human Growth Hormone?

written by: AngelicaMD•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 3/31/2011

What is human growth hormone? In this article you will learn about the human growth hormone, where it is located, and why levels of the hormone increase and decrease.

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    The Importance of the Human Growth Hormone

    What is human growth hormone? The human growth hormone (HGH) is a peptide hormone that is important in both adults and children. The HGH in children promotes their growth. In adults, the hormone plays an important role in metabolism. The stimulating formation protein that enhances tissue growth is caused by HGH.

    As a person ages, the amount of human growth hormone that is secreted starts to decrease. The amount of the hormone that is present in the body can be measured by levels of insulin growth factor (IGF-1). The HGH is considered to be the cell generator of the body. So the effect that this hormone has on the cells of the body is very profound.

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    The Human Growth Hormone Location

    The human growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland of the brain. It is a natural hormone and is considered to be a "key hormone" because of its powerful control over so many functions of the body. HGH is responsible for a person's energy, vitality, youth and many other benefits.

    Another name that the human growth hormone is given is the "Master Hormone." HGH controls many organs and body functions and is directly responsible for tissue repair. Other important functions include cell replacement, brain function and enzyme function. Without the human growth hormone, there would not be the proper growth of the cells, bones, muscles and organs.

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    The Synthesis and Secretion of HGH

    As a person gets older, the decreased secretion of the hormone can cause a person to gain weight. Doctors have tried to increase the secretion to help people control their weight gain. A genetically engineered HGH has been approved by the FDA called Serostim. The recombinant hormone has not only helped in a reducing the gained weight of a person but has remarkably been used for the treatment for AIDS wasting syndrome.

    The production of the human growth hormone can increase or decrease because modulated factors such as stress, exercise, nutrition, amount of sleep, and the actual amount of the hormone itself. The primary controllers of the hormone are two hypothalamic hormones and a hormone that is located in the stomach:

    • Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) is a hypothalamic peptide hormone that controls both the synthesis and secretion of the growth hormone.
    • Somatostatin (SS) is a peptide hormone that is produced by several different tissue of the body. The hormone decreases the release of the hormone in response to GHRH and low blood glucose concentrations.
    • Ghrelin is a peptide that is released from the stomach and stimulates the release of the hormone.
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    References

    Mayo Clinic: Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Does it Slow Aging? - http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/growth-hormone/HA00030

    Growth Hormone (Somatotropin) - http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/hypopit/gh.html

    Web MD: GH (Growth Hormone) Test - http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/growth-hormone

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