Alternatives to Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

Mike CarragherAge Management, Anti-Aging, belly fat, Dr. Carragher, Dr. Mike's Tips, fatigue, HGH, Hormone Optimization, Human Growth Hormone, loss of energy, low energy, low libido, low sex drive, Sex, The Body Well, Visceral Fat, weight gain2 Comments

GHRH, GHRP-6 & GHRP-2: HGH Secretagogues

In my Age Management Medicine Practice, I have been prescribing some of my patients an alternative to Human Growth Hormone (HGH) with great results. This alternative is a prescription medication called Sermorelin Tri-Blend, which is a combination of three substances: GHRH, GHRP-6 and GHRP-2, all which stimulate HGH production and secretion.

I’m going to talk about these in detail, but first I’d like to talk a little about hormonal changes and decreasing HGH levels as we age.


We all age. It’s part of life.

Most of us hope that as we age, we can maintain the highest quality of life possible. That we can keep as much of the energy, strength, and appearance we enjoy in youth.  At the same time, most of us hope to be spared the impairment that comes with chronic, degenerative diseases.  Hormones are key players in our ability to feel and look young – as well as stave off the degenerative diseases of aging.

You see, as we age, hormone levels change. Typically, the hormones we like at high levels – fat burning, energy producing hormones – will fall.  And the hormones we like at low levels – fat storing, energy depleting hormones – tend to rise.  With this change, we look and feel older. Hormones often fall into a deficiency range, below the levels associated with the best health outcomes.  This is when intervention with hormone optimization can be extremely beneficial.

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is one of these hormones. Unfortunately, it isn’t available to everyone who needs it, largely due to its price tag.

What Is HGH and What Does It Do?

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a hormone that is secreted by a small gland at the base of the brain called the pituitary.  It works on several different body tissues to promote healthy metabolism. HGH is an essential hormone in childhood to ensure proper growth and development; without HGH, you’d be a dwarf. HGH levels start to decline gradually from about age 21 onward.  It is widely believed that many of the changes associated with aging are due largely to a decrease in HGH levels.

What Are the Symptoms of HGH Deficiency?

  • Increased body fat, especially around the waist
  • Sleep disturbances/insomnia
  • Anxiety and depression
  • High LDL “bad” cholesterol & high triglycerides
  • Decreased sexual function and interest
  • Fatigue
  • Greater sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Decreased muscle mass (lean body mass)
  • Less strength, stamina and ability to exercise without taking a rest
  • Loss of bone density

Why Is Human Growth Hormone So Sought After?

Growth hormone replacement therapy using HGH has been used by many Age Management practitioners as one of the most effective ways to treat Adult Onset Growth Hormone Deficiency, which often occurs with aging.  HGH’s beneficial effects have made it one of the best ways to treat age-related decline.

Benefits of HGH include:

  • Improved energy levels
  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased lean body mass
  • Enhanced skin thickness and elasticity
  • Increased collagen production
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved healing time and reduced infection rates after surgery
  • Increased bone mineral density
  • Improved cholesterol profile
  • Improved exercise capacity
  • Decreased recovery time between workouts
  • Improved mood and overall well-being

Sounds pretty good, right?

So Why Aren’t We All Taking It?

The biggest barrier to pharmaceutical HGH use is cost.  HGH is very expensive and therefore typically available only to people who can afford it.  Also, most doctors don’t know how to evaluate and monitor patients accurately for HGH deficiency.  It is important you be evaluated by a physician experienced in Age Management and optimizing HGH levels.

There are lots of products on the market that claim to raise HGH levels: pills, creams, sprays and powders.  These were designed to take advantage of the fact that most people can’t afford pharmaceutical-grade injectable HGH.  But buyer beware!  None of these benefits have been objectively measured with the use of pills, creams, sprays or powders.

HGH Secretagogues: An Alternative to HGH

Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH), Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-6 (GHRP-6) and Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide-2 (GHRP-2) are three substances in a class of medications called secretagogues. Secretagogue is the name given to a substance which causes another substance to be secreted. GHRH, GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 are all substances that stimulate HGH secretion by the pituitary gland in the brain. GHRH works by one mechanism and GHRP-6 and GHRP-6 work via another mechanism.

In my practice, we use a combination of all 3 of these secretagogues in order to maximize natural HGH production and secretion by the pituitary gland and give patients similar benefits to injecting HGH itself. In my practice, they are proving to be viable alternatives to the more expensive HGH therapy.

How Does GHRH Work?

GHRH stimulates HGH secretion by stimulating the Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone Receptor. Stimulation of this receptor initiates a signal that results in increased production and secretion of HGH by the anterior pituitary gland in the brain. As a result, HGH is secreted into your bloodstream.

How Do GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 Work?

GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 are distinctive from GHRH and do not have any action on the GHRH receptor, but mainly act upon another receptor, the HGH secretagogue receptor, which is known as the ghrelin receptor. Ghrelin is a powerful stimulator of the release of human growth hormone from the anterior pituitary gland.

GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 act upon the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in order to stimulate release of HGH. They provide a signal to the body to initiate HGH secretion and its release. In addition, they inhibit Somatostatin, which is a hormone responsible for inhibition of HGH release. They also have an action on somatotrophs (pituitary cells) which encourage the discharge of GHRH, which may lead to further release of HGH from somatotroph stores.

Are HGH Secretagogues Safe?

GHRP-6, GHRP-2 and GHRH are extremely well tolerated with a very low possibility of potential adverse effects and. When these secretagogues are injected, your body will only utilize the amount it requires to produce a healthy quantity of HGH. They do not cause the body to generate too much human growth hormone. These secretagogues, if used properly and under the supervision of a physician specializing in their use, are a tremendously safe and useful approach of raising natural HGH production.

How are HGH Secretagogues Used?

I use a product called Tri-Blend which is a combination of GHRF, GHRP-2 and GHRP-6. They are administered by an injection under the skin with a tiny needle once daily prior to bedtime, just like HGH. The time of injection is important because Sermorelin complements the stimulation which naturally occurs during sleep and thereby facilitates the nighttime release of HGH that is characteristic of youth.

How Will You Know They’re Working?

Patients usually report improved sleep quality within the first few weeks of therapy.  This typically comes along with improved mood and increased energy levels. After 3-6 months of therapy, most people report noticeable body changes like increased muscle tone and a leaner physique.

Like most peptide hormones, GHRH, GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 take about 6 months before full effects are noticed.  Like HGH, they are metabolized quickly and therefore require daily dosing. Their action causes a chain reaction that results in elevated and sustained HGH levels.  So it does take some time to see the maximal benefits you’re looking to achieve.

A More Affordable Alternative

GHRP-6, GHRP-2 and GHRH are cost effective alternatives to HGH. The expense is on average half of the expense of HGH replacement therapy. It appears that the potential treatment benefits provided by both HGH secretagogues and HGH replacement therapy are the same. But the mechanism by which these results are obtained differ considerably.

Do You Need To Take Them Forever?

In many instances, no.  HGH secretagogues can have an ongoing effect in which HGH levels can be sustained after the last injection.  Initially, like HGH, it needs to be injected every day.  But once optimal results are achieved, you can often be switched to a maintenance protocol eliminating the need for daily injections and further reducing the cost of therapy.

How Do You Get Started?

The starting place for any hormonal optimization program is a thorough evaluation including a blood draw to measure current levels and see if you are a candidate for therapy.  Hormones do not exist in a vacuum, so a complete hormonal profile should be obtained.  As well, diet, medical history, exercise, lifestyle factors and supplementation should all be taken into account before a protocol is initiated.  By addressing these other factors, dosing can be kept to a minimum.

I strongly recommend an evaluation by a physician specializing in Age Management Medicine to determine a program best suited for your goals and to be sure you receive appropriate and responsible recommendations and monitoring.

You owe it to yourself to proactively take charge of your health before disease and decline take charge of you.

For an evaluation with Dr. Carragher, please call (323) 874-9355.

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2 Comments on “Alternatives to Human Growth Hormone (HGH)”

  1. Jepacar

    Since HGH in part of the pituitary gland hormones, I was wondering what can it help to improve pituitary function? I have an adenoma there and I haven’t had my period since I am 24 years old, now I am 42. I got my period back for a short time (enough to have my only child) by taking Dostinex, but the side effects of this medicine drove me crazy! so I stopped. Now I am on a Ketogenic and AIP diet, I don’t eat anything else but clean meat/fat and some veggies, plus taking Omega 3 and probiotic. I don’t have gallbladder so I take digestive enzymes and Bile. Thank you so much for your articles, I haven’t been able to find a functional endocrinologist here (Toronto-Canada)

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