by Elmer M. Cranton, M.D.
Copyright (c) 2007 Elmer M. Cranton, M.D.
I am frequently asked about various forms of human growth hormone (HGH)
being marketed as a nasal spray, oral spray, tablet, powder, skin cream, or
capsule. Full page advertisements for such products are placed in major
newspapers. The following facts must be addressed in scientific and legal
terms before any such claims can be believed. In fact, in my opinion, they
are all scams―consumer fraud.
The following scientific facts contradict all such deceptive marketing:
1. HGH can only be absorbed in safe and effective amounts by injecting the
pharmaceutical grade of rHGH, which is expensive and only available on a
doctor's prescription. It is not significantly absorbed by mouth, by spray
or any other route.
2. Most so-called HGH releasers are composed of amino acids, primarily L-arginine, in large doses. A heaping teaspoon of L-arginine on an empty stomach will increase HGH release by the pituitary gland in a young person by up to 30%, for only a short time, and only in those people who already make a lot of HGH on their own and don't need any more. It will not cause HGH to be released to any significant degree in an older person, when it is needed to replace deficiency. The small releasing effect is progressively lost with age, and diminishes with time even in younger people.
3. HGH releasers are non specific and increase other undesirable corticosteroid hormones. They increase the pituitary release of ACTH, causing an increase in adrenal cortisone (corticosteroid) production. Cortisone (cortisol) in excess speeds aging while giving a temporary boost in energy and sense of well-being. This may explain testimonials of immediate "feel-good" effects of such products, unrelated to HGH.
4. HGH releasers have the same effect as ghrelin, an appetite stimulating peptide hormone. HGH releasers may therefore increase appetite and cause weight gain.
5. The effect of HGH releasers gradually fades with time, over a few months--called tachyphylaxis.
6. Some so-called HGH releasers contain raw animal brains, listed on the label as "hypothalamus" or "pituitary." The theory is that they contain a minute amount of HGH releasing hormone (GHRH) and related peptides. Raw brain tissue can spread mad cow disease, scientifically known as spongiform encephalopathy or Creutzfeldt Jakob disease. This is true of all so-called glandular products with freeze dried brain or pituitary ingredients.
HGH is large, fragile protein molecule with a molecular weight of 20,000. It
contains 191 amino acids in an exact sequence, with many fragile
cross-linkages that give it an important 3-D configuration. Its only
source is from human genes, using expensive and meticulous recombinant
DNA technology. HGH from any other source, even from other animals, does not
work in humans. There is no other source of HGH. There is absolutely no
naturally occurring plant source of HGH. HGH must be made using human
genetics, although human DNA can be used in cultures of microorganisms to
produce bioidentical human HGH. This is the only safe form of HGH now
commercially available, made by splicing human genes into
plant cells (bacteria) or embryonic mammalian cells, and then growing those
cells in a culture media.
A protein molecule as large as HGH cannot penetrate intact membranes to any significant degree. Most would be wasted if it were used in a nasal spray or orally. Manufacturing costs are high. HGH is so expensive that any waste at all becomes prohibitively expensive.
The technology to make HGH is patented by large pharmaceutical companies and, in most countries, is restricted by law to their use. The FDA restricts its use to a doctor's prescription.
The HGH molecule loses potency very rapidly when dissolved in solution. The molecule is folded and twisted on itself repeatedly. Activity in the body depends on fragile cross linkages between branches of this very large molecule, which hold it in an exact three-dimensional configuration. It works on cell receptors exactly like a key in a lock. Any change in shape blocks HGH activity, even if the chemical formula remains exactly the same. Those cross-linkages break easily and become unstable soon after dissolving in solution. Only with refrigeration can full biological activity be maintained for up to four weeks, also depending on pH and other solutes in solution. That's how fragile the molecule is. How then could activity be maintained for any time in a liquid spray at room-temperature?
For storage and shipping, HGH must be very carefully freeze-dried under a
vacuum to become a powder. It must be kept refrigerated after being mixed
into solution for use. Very large pharmaceutical companies with research
budgets in the billions of dollars have not been able to solve that problem.
HGH is classified as a pharmaceutical drug, strictly controlled by the FDA under state and federal laws and regulations. It is illegal to sell, prescribe, or dispense HGH except through a licensed pharmacy or clinic, and then only on a doctor's prescription in a bone fide doctor-patient relationship. To do otherwise is a criminal offense under the law.
Research studies proving benefit and safety have been published only for the injectable freeze dried power form of rHGH, taken by injection soon after dissolving into solution.
DR. CRANTON'S RESPONSES TO DECEPTIVE
CLAIMS ON MARKETING LITERATURE
CLAIM: This is the first orally absorbed HGH, 191 amino acids (protein
molecules) which are transported by a proprietary polymer matrix, allowing
it to be absorbed in the oral mucosa and then transported directly to the
COMMENT: HGH HAS NO BENEFICIAL EFFECT AT THE PITUITARY GLAND. HGH HAS ITS EFFECT ELSEWHERE IN THE BODY. IT IS PRODUCED BY THE PITUITARY GLAND.
AFTER ENTERING THE BLOOD STREAM, HGH QUICKLY ATTACHES TO RECEPTORS ON TRILLIONS OF CELLS THROUGHOUT THE BODY. THAT IS HOW IT WORKS. THE PITUITARY GLAND IS THE NORMAL SOURCE OF HGH. THE PITUITARY RELEASES HGH INTO THE CIRCULATION SO THAT IT CAN HAVE IT'S EFFECT ELSEWHERE.
CLAIM: The oral spray avoids inactivation by the liver.
COMMENT: IF IN FACT HGH COULD BE IS ABSORBED THROUGH THE MUCOUS MEMBRANES OF THE MOUTH (WHICH IT CANNOT) IT WOULD BE HANDLED IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY BY THE BODY AS INJECTED OR RELEASED BY THE PITUITARY. ONLY IF ABSORBED THROUGH THE LOWER INTESTINE, AS FOOD IS, WOULD IT GO TO THE LIVER FIRST THROUGH THE PORTAL VENOUS SYSTEM. BUT IN THAT CASE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES IN THE GUT WOULD HAVE DESTROYED THE HORMONE TO PRODUCE ONLY AMINO ACIDS
CLAIM: Until now, it has been virtually impossible to achieve oral absorption of the large HGH molecule. Previously, the only way was through injection into the bloodstream.
COMMENT: USING PATENTED TECHNOLOGY, THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY HAS DEVELOPED WAYS TO PARTIALLY ABSORB SOME DRUGS THROUGH THE SKIN AND UNDER THE TONGUE. BUT ONLY FOR SMALL, NON-PROTEIN MOLECULES LIKE NITROGLYCERINE. INSULIN IS A PROTEIN MOLECULE ONLY HALF AS LARGE AS HGH. IF IT WERE POSSIBLE TO ABSORB THAT KIND OF HORMONE BY MOUTH, BY SPRAY, OR THROUGH THE SKIN, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WITH DIABETES WOULD NOT NEED TO TAKE INSULIN BY INJECTION. RECENTLY AN INHALED SPRAY FORM OF INSULIN HAS BEEN DEVELOPED BUT ABSORPTION IS ONLY FIVE PERCENT IN THE LUNGS, WASTING NINETY-FIVE PERCENT.
CLAIM: HGH Oral Spray vs. Injections?
COMMENT: ONE UNIT OF rHGH is equal to 333,000 NANOGRAMS (0.333 MILLIGRAMS). A 4-UNIT VIAL CONTAINS APPROX 1.332 MG PURE RECOMBINANT HGH (rHGH) (1,332,000 NANOGRAMS). A 15 UNIT VIAL CONTAINS 5 MG OF PURE rHGH. SPRAY PRODUCTS HAVE MINISCULE AMOUNTS BY COMPARISON (IF ANY AT ALL).
CLAIM: Injected HGH goes into the bloodstream and is absorbed by the liver.
COMMENT: SOME HGH IS ALWAYS TAKEN UP BY THE LIVER BECAUSE PART OF ITS ACTIVITY IS IN THE LIVER. THE LIVER CONVERTS HGH TO IGF-1, A COMPANION HORMONE. OTHERWISE, IT WOULD BE LESS EFFECTIVE. HOWEVER, THE ULTIMATE DISTRIBUTION OF HGH WOULD BE EXACTLY THE SAME THROUGH ORAL OR NASAL TISSUES BY SPRAY (IF THAT WERE POSSIBLE, WHICH IT IS NOT) AS BY INJECTION.
CLAIM: Any excess by injection is destroyed or diluted in the blood.
COMMENT: THE HALF-LIFE OF HGH IN THE CIRCULATING BLOOD IS ONLY A FEW MINUTES AFTER RELEASE BY THE PITUITARY OR BY INJECTION. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT DESTROYED. IT IS RAPIDLY ATTACHED TO HORMONE RECEPTORS ON CELLS THROUGHOUT THE BODY TO HAVE ITS EFFECT. IT IS NOT WASTED. IT ATTACHES TO TRILLIONS OF CELLS IN THE BODY, ALL TYPES OF CELLS, WITHIN A FEW MINUTES, WHERE IT REMAINS FOR A MUCH LONGER TIME AND HAS ITS BENEFIT. INJECTED HGH IT IS NOT DESTROYED, BUT UTILIZED. IF HGH DOES NOT DILUTE IN THE BLOOD TO SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE BODY, IT HAS NO EFFECT.
CLAIM: This injected dose of HGH acts as a replacement dose, therefore shutting down production of HGH.
COMMENT: REPLACEMENT OF HGH IS GIVEN FOR AGE-RELATED DEFICIENCIES ONLY AFTER THE PITUITARY HAS PARTIALLY SHUT DOWN ITS PRODUCTION WITH AGE. IF THE PITUITARY STILL RELEASES FULLY EFFECTIVE AMOUNTS OF HGH, THERE IS NO BENEFIT FROM REPLACEMENT. REPLACEMENT RESTORES DEFICIENT LEVELS. IF THE BODY PRODUCES FULL AMOUNTS, IT IS WASTEFUL AND POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS TO GIVE MORE. IN EXCESSIVE DOSES, HGH CAN TURN OFF INTERNAL PRODUCTION. IF THE BODY IS NOT PRODUCING ENOUGH, IT IS QUITE SAFE AND BENEFICIAL TO RESTORE NORMAL LEVELS PRESENT THROUGHOUT EARLY ADULTHOOD. HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO SHUT DOWN SOMETHING THAT HAS ALREADY SHUT DOWN BECAUSE OF AGE.
CLAIM: One dose of so-called HGH Oral Spray is 25-50 nanograms (parts per billion) taken three times per day and acts as a stimulator, increasing production of HGH.
COMMENT: 25 NANOGRAMS IS ONLY 1/15,000TH OF AN EFFECTIVE DOSE OF HGH, EVEN IF IT COULD BE ABSORBED BY SPRAY. THE BODY WOULD HANDLE ABSORPTION EXACTLY AS IT WOULD AN INJECTION. NEITHER STIMULATES PRODUCTION. HGH WOULD MERELY REPLACE DEFICIENT PRODUCTION, IF AN EFFECTIVE DOSE IS INJECTED. 50 NANOGRAMS IS NOT ENOUGH TO HAVE ANY EFFECT.
HYPOTHALAMIC HORMONES EXIST IN THE BRAIN THAT DO STIMULATE THE PITUITARY TO RELEASE HGH. OTHER BRAIN HORMONES ACT TO BLOCK HGH RELEASE. HOWEVER, THOSE HORMONES ARE CONSIDERED DRUGS AND ARE STRICTLY CONTROLLED BY THE FDA IN RESEARCH STUDIES. MERCK PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANY IS RESEARCHING A PATENTED ORAL TABLET THAT STIMULATES HGH RELEASE, BUT THIS NEW DRUG HAS NOT YET BEEN SHOWN TO BE EITHER SAFE OR EFFECTIVE IN LONG TERM USE. IF MERCK IS SUCCESSFUL, IT'S POSSIBLE THAT THE FDA MAY APPROVE A NEW PRESCRIPTION DRUG TO PROMOTE RELEASE OF HGH BY THE PITUITARY. HOWEVER, RESEARCH SHOWS THAT HGH RELEASERS SLOWLY LOSE EFFECTIVENESS OVER TIME (TACHYPHYLAXIS).
CLAIM: There is no over stimulating of HGH by the spray.
COMMENT: THIS CLAIM MAKES NO SENSE. HGH DOES NOT STIMULATE HGH, IT REPLACES OR SUPPLEMENTS LOST PRODUCTION. THE DAILY PRODUCTION OF A 20-YEAR-OLD IS ABOUT 500,000 NANOGRAMS PER DAY. IN A 75 YEAR OLD IT'S ABOUT100,000. THE GOAL IS TO REPLACE HGH BACK UP CLOSER TO 500,000 NANOGRAMS PER DAY (500 MICROGRAMS OR 0.500 MILLIGRAMS.
CLAIM: There is no shutdown of your body's production of HGH with the spray.
COMMENT: WHY REPLACE HGH IF THE BODY HAS NOT ALREADY DEFICIENT IN PRODUCTION?
CLAIM: Because the spray is not diluted by the blood (8-12 pints in the body), there is no waste.
COMMENT: HGH MUST BE DILUTED AND CARRIED IN BLOOD OR IT CANNOT REACH THE CELLS IN ORGANS WHERE IT HAS ITS BENEFIT. THAT IS NOT WASTE, THAT IS BENEFIT.
CLAIM: Compared to the spray, others products are secretagogues, precursors and stimulants, with limited potential for increasing HGH.
COMMENT: IT'S TRUE THAT MOST PRODUCTS BEING MARKETED AS NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS OR SECRETAGOGUES HAVE LIMITED POTENTIAL FOR INCREASING HGH, ESPECIALLY FOR AGE-RELATED DEFICIENCY. HOW A SPRAY CAN BE ANY DIFFERENT, EVEN IF ABSORPTION WERE POSSIBLE, IS THE UNANSWERED QUESTION?
SOME SECRETAGOGUES SOLD AS NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS, SUCH AS ARGININE, MAY INCREASE EXISTING PITUITARY HGH RELEASE BY UP TO 30%, IF TAKEN IN LARGE DOSES ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. A 75-YEAR-OLD PERSON WITH ONLY 30% REMAINING DOES NOT GET MUCH BENEFIT FROM A 30% INCREASE (THAT ONLY INCREASES THE TOTAL TO LESS THAN 40% OF THE MOST DESIRABLE LEVEL). ARGININE IS ALSO EXPENSIVE.
CLAIM: What is HGH Oral Spray made from? This signal messenger hormone is a plant-based all natural product made from microorganisms. There are no animal products used, only HGH and other minerals.
COMMENT: THERE WOULD BE NO HGH IN A NATURALLY OCCURRING PLANT PRODUCT. HGH STANDS FOR "HUMAN" GROWTH HORMONE. IT EXISTS IN NO OTHER SPECIES OF PLANT OR ANIMAL, ONLY IN HUMANS, OR OTHERWISE MANUFACTURED USING HUMAN GENES IN MICROORGANISMS WITH RECOMBINANT DNA BIOTECHNOLOGY.
CLAIM: Have any results been proven? Positive results have been proven in 75% of tested cases (3 out of 4 people).
COMMENT: WHERE ARE THE TABULATED BEFORE AND AFTER OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENTS OF BENEFIT IN SUCH A A CLINICAL STUDY--NOT JUST MARKETING TESTIMONIALS MADE BY THOSE WHO STAND TO PROFIT FROM SALES. WHERE IS THE RESEARCH DATA? NONEXISTENT!
CLAIM: This is a safe product.
COMMENT: PROBABLY TRUE. HOWEVER, IT IS SAFE AND UNCONTROLLED BY THE FDA ONLY BECAUSE IT DOES NOT CONTAIN SIGNIFICANT HGH. HGH CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS IF NOT USED IN THE PROPER WAY IN SAFE REPLACEMENT DOSES. IT IS NOT SAFE IF IT CONTAINS HYPOTHALAMUS, PITUITARY OR OTHER RAW BRAIN TISSUE, WHICH CAN TRANSMIT MAD COW DISEASE.
CLAIM: The dosage when taken orally is 1/1000 (100 nanograms) of the dosage physicians use when injecting patients with HGH.
COMMENT: THAT SMALL A DOSE WOULD HAVE NO EFFECT, GOOD OR BAD.
CLAIM: This stimulating dose works by being absorbed into the feedback system of the Pituitary Gland.
COMMENT: MORE NONSENSE TO DECEIVE SCIENTIFICALLY UNSOPHISTICATED CONSUMERS.
CLAIM: FDA approval is not needed. This is a dietary supplement and not a drug. Therefore, under the dietary supplement of DSHEA act, it does not have to be FDA approved.
COMMENT: IF IT CONTAINS A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF HGH, THEN IT IS FDA REGULATED BY LAW! IF IT IS NOT FDA REGULATED IT IS BECAUSE IT DOES NOT CONTAIN SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF HGH. IF THE AMOUNTS OF HGH ARE SO TINY THAT THEY CAN HAVE NO PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT, GOOD OR BAD, THE FDA MAY EXEMPT THAT PRODUCT―THAT DOES NOT MEAN APPROVAL.
CLAIM: It acts as a master balancer for the body. It regenerates and helps to repair the body.
COMMENT: IMPOSSIBLE! THAT IS TRUE ONLY FOR THE REAL INJECTED FORM OF HGH IN DOSES OF 300,000 NANOGRAMS OR MORE PER DAY.
THE FOLLOWING HAVE BEEN PROVEN BY OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENT IN SCIENTIFIC STUDIES PUBLISHED IN PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC JOURNALS, BUT ONLY WITH THE INJECTED TRUE HGH.
• 15% average decrease in fat.
• 8% average increase in muscle and lean body structures.
• Improved skin texture resulting in a more youthful appearance.
• Skin 7% thicker. Fewer skin wrinkles.
• Increased bone density, reversal of osteoporosis.
• Faster healing of any type of injury, fracture, or wound.
• Greatly enhanced immunity and resistance to infection.
• Enhanced brain function, retention of intellect with aging.
• Improved sex drive. Improvement in overall physical and mental well being.
• Improvement in sleep disorders, better quality of sleep.
• Improved exercise tolerance. Improved mineral balance. Improved mood, with less depression and fatigue.
NONE OF THE ABOVE BENEFITS HAVE BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY MEASURED WITH ORAL TABLETS, CAPSULES, CREAMS, OR SPRAYS, ALTHOUGH SOME UNSCIENTIFIC "BOUGHT-AND-PAID-FOR" RESEARCH CLAIMS ARE DECEPTIVE IN THAT REGARD.
Copyright © 2012 Elmer M. Cranton, M.D., all rights reserved