Growth Hormone Plays a Role in Controlling Blood Sugar
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Human Growth Hormone (HGH, GH, Somatotropin) performs a broad range of critical functions in the body: the growth of muscles, bones, and crucial organs. Additionally, growth hormone is the key to regulating several hormonal pathways.
Growth hormone also keeps our metabolisms running at a high pace, which helps to burn fat and boost our energy levels. When we add up all of the vital roles growth hormone plays in maintaining our good health, it is easy to see its importance in battling the aging process.
The role of growth hormone is vast, to put it mildly.
And recent research has discovered another growth hormone benefit
Growth hormone plays a role in controlling blood sugar. Glucose is a simple sugar and maintaining glucose balance is essential in preventing and treating the diseases that result from either hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).
Glucagon and insulin are the two most significant regulators of blood sugar levels in the body. Growth hormone levels have been shown to influence the action of insulin-like-growth-factor 1 (IGF-1). Glucagon is a protein hormone that causes an increase in the sugar content of the blood by increasing the rate of glycogen breakdown in the liver.
Glycogen is defined as the main form of carbohydrate storage in animals and occurs primarily in the liver and muscle tissue. It converts to glucose as required by the body for energy.
Growth hormone mimics the effect of glucagon by counteracting insulin and lowering glucose levels in the body.
Growth Hormone Homeostasis
The vital takeaway is this: growth hormone levels in the body must be in homeostasis. Homeostasis is defined as a state of equilibrium, as in an organism or cell, maintained by a self-regulating process. In other words, growth hormone levels must be in balance. Too little can cause problems and so can too much.
In the past, studies have concluded that people who produce too much growth hormone may be at risk for developing diabetes. To further investigate this conclusion, a recent study looked in-depth at the two pathways that growth hormone affects glucose homeostasis: direct and indirect. Let’s take a look at what the research has concluded about each pathway.
In the direct pathway, growth hormone acts similar to glucagon by starting a process called gluconeogenesis, which is the formation of glucose, especially by the liver, from non-carbohydrate sources, such as amino acids, and the glycerol portion of fats.
Researchers have concluded that people with high growth hormone levels have genes that exert a strong effect on gluconeogenesis. In fat tissue, growth hormone increases fatty acid synthesis, which may lead to insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is a severe medical condition that lowers the ability of cells to react to the action of insulin in transferring glucose from the bloodstream into muscle and other tissues. Insulin resistance is usually directly related to obesity and is a warning sign of the beginning of type 2 diabetes.
In other words, insulin is "knocking" on the door of muscle. The muscle hears the knock, opens the door, and lets the glucose enter. But insulin resistance does not allow the muscle to hear the knocking of the insulin (the muscle is "resistant").
The pancreas gland then makes more insulin, which increases insulin levels in the blood and causes a louder, incessant “pounding." Eventually, the pancreas pumps out way more insulin than is needed and the muscles continue to ignore the pounding by staying resistant.
If a person can produce enough insulin to get over this resistance, blood glucose levels remain in a healthy range. Once the pancreas is exhausted, blood glucose rises, initially after meals, then later even in the fasting state.
This eventually may lead to type 2 diabetes.
However, to counter this, growth hormone in muscle cells produces triglycerides and causes an uptake of fatty acids, which reduces insulin sensitivity. This decreased insulin sensitivity is theorized to be a direct effect of growth hormone on glucose performance, although this has not been confirmed in human trials.
Growth hormone indirectly affects blood sugar levels by regulation of IGF-1, which acts similarly to insulin in the body. Studies have demonstrated that IGF-1 can cause glucose uptake from the bloodstream in an attempt to lower glucose levels.
Low Growth Hormone and Glycemic control in adults
Low growth hormone levels occur when the pancreas gland is not producing growth hormones in sufficient qualities to meet the body’s rebuilding and maintenance requirements. Low levels of growth hormone are usually connected to low levels of IGF-1, and this combination wreaks havoc on the body’s crucial metabolic highways.
The improvements in blood sugar levels in people receiving growth hormone replacement therapy are thought to be a result of the development of cells that do not respond to insulin. Growth hormone has been shown to reduce body fat and strengthen muscles, which lowers blood sugar.
While promising, larger studies are needed to confirm this observation.
The importance of maintaining growth hormone homeostasis
Getting the right balance of growth hormone is critical. As previously discussed, too little growth hormone in the body can result in a wide array of health problems: weight gain, loss of strength, osteoporosis, fatigue, brain fog, joint aches, insomnia, and a host of other issues.
But excess growth hormones can be a problem as well. Growth hormone replacement therapy is not something to attempt on your own.
And that is where our clinic can help
Our trained and experienced staff of medical professionals will guide your growth hormone replacement therapy every step of the way. We will begin with a detailed evaluation of your present condition, develop a treatment regimen, and closely monitor your therapy.
There are several proven benefits of growth hormone, and it appears that battling diabetes is yet another reason to begin experiencing what growth hormone can do for you!
Contact us for a FREE, No-Obligation discussion concerning human growth hormone replacement therapy.
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