Diminishing pituitary gland function can have far-reaching effects on the secretion of growth hormone. Growth hormone is essential for children’s growth, but adults also need it for healthy metabolism and bone mineral density, maintaining a good ratio of lean tissue to body fat, and for healthy skin. Growth hormone provides anabolic (tissue-building) effects. However, research shows that in aging men, the amplitude of pulsatile growth hormone release (the magnitude of the growth hormone pulse) declines by 50% every seven years after 18–25 years of age.103 Suboptimal pituitary function can therefore lead to a state of catabolism (tissue breakdown) that often manifests as:
- Decreasing lean muscle mass
- Increasing body fat
- Increasing waist size
- Rising levels of blood low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
Aging may affect a number of important stimuli needed for growth hormone release such as getting enough sleep and exercise. Meanwhile, inhibitors of growth hormone secretion can become more prominent — such as a growth hormone blocker called somatostatin as well as rising blood levels of free fatty acids and glucose.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to naturally slow down the rate at which growth hormone secretion declines. Firstly, somatostatin can itself be inhibited with cholinergic agonists such as choline.104 Secondly, human studies show that amino acids such as arginine and ornithine can help preserve and maximize lean tissue mass105-107 as well as supporting efforts to exercise more effectively — a key factor in increasing growth hormone production.
Thirdly, these anabolic effects can be complemented with the amino acids glutamine and glycine, which help to stimulate the release of endogenous growth hormone.108 Growth hormone is secreted in cycles during the day, with the greatest spurts occurring during exercise and shortly after falling asleep.
GH Pituitary Support Day Formula, which should ideally be taken before exercise, contains choline plus arginine and ornithine in the alpha-ketoglutarate form.