For those who are perhaps not as familiar with the endocrine system, it is a group of glands that secrete hormones that allow the body to carry out a plurality of functions. For context, hormones play a crucial role when it comes to growth, particularly during childhood and adolescence, as well as respiration and metabolism. They also play an integral part in reproduction, sensory perception, and even movement. In total, the endocrine system consists of eight hormone-secreting glands, which include the following:
- The ovaries in women
- The testes in men
While all of the hormones-secreting glands in the body are important, the pituitary gland, which is responsible for secreting human growth hormones (HGH), is, arguably, the most important one among them.
What Is Human Growth Hormone in Adults?
Human growth hormones in adults are fundamentally the same as human growth hormones in children as the pituitary gland, which sits close to the hypothalamus, is the one responsible for secreting them in all human beings irrespective of age. For those not aware, the hypothalamus is the small region of the brain that acts as a connector between the nervous system and the endocrine system. During childhood and adolescence, HGH works alongside insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) to facilitate growth.
Also known as somatomedin C, insulin-like growth factor 1 is a hormone that regulates the secretion of HGH in the pituitary gland, which allows for the healthy growth and development of bones and tissue in the body. In adulthood, these same hormones are still very much important; however, during this time is when their role in the body slightly changes. Rather than focusing primarily on the healthy growth and development of bones and tissue, they become more involved in the things that aid in supporting good overall health, some of which include the following:
- Building and repairing healthy tissue in vital organs, including the brain
- Helping to speed up the rate of healing following an injury
- Helping to repair muscles and other tissue following exercise
While we are on the topic, it should be noted that all of these things go a long way toward building muscle, burning fat, and boosting metabolism, all of which can make it easier for men and women to maintain a healthy weight.
Why Normal Levels of HGH Are Important Even in Adulthood
To better understand the importance of normal human growth hormone levels in adulthood, we should first take a look at what is considered optimal growth hormone levels for adult men and women. And to do that, we don’t have to look too much further than an article published by MedlinePlus, a trusted health information resource and part of the U.S.
National Library of Medicine. The well-researched article noted that normal HGH levels for men should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 0.4 and 10 nanograms per milliliter. And as far as women go, between 1 and 14 nanograms per milliliter are said to fall within the range of normal HGH levels. Generally speaking, men and women with normal HGH levels are usually in better health than those who have HGH levels that are too low.
How Can a GH Deficiency Occur and What Costs Are Associated With It?
When adult men and women suffer a decline in growth hormone production that causes their growth hormone levels to fall too low, which is often a byproduct of getting older, most will develop what is known as a human growth hormone deficiency (HGHD). You can follow this link as a source of more detailed information about growth hormone therapy costs. A hormone deficiency of this kind can bring about an onslaught of unpleasant symptoms. Some of the more notable ones tend to include the following:
- An increase in abdominal fat
- A decline in stamina and libido
- Changes in HDL and LDL cholesterol levels
- Low bone density and an increased risk of developing osteoporosis
- Changes in skin appearance
While aging is the most common cause of HGHD, it is by no means the only one. Studies show that any one of the following can also be a contributing factor for some individuals:
- Damage to either the pituitary gland or hypothalamus
- Tumors that form on the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, or both
- Radiation or surgical treatments used to resolve tumors affecting the pituitary gland, hypothalamus or both
A GH deficiency can also be congenital or acquired, which means that they can exist even before birth.
All in all, a growth hormone deficiency can cost adult men and women when it comes to their physical, mental, and even emotional health. Thankfully, there are prescription-based GH medications that can help boost low growth hormone levels and provided relief from most deficiency-related symptoms. What’s more, consuming a well-balanced diet and taking HGH-boosting dietary supplements can help in this regard as well. That said, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms commonly associated with a GH deficiency, it would be a good idea to speak with an endocrinologist as soon as possible.