Recombinant human growth hormone, more commonly known as rHGH, is a commonly used growth hormone treatment in a number of scenarios.
Growth hormones are produced by the human body, the pituitary gland to be specific.
In some cases however, insufficient growth hormone may inhibit stature as well as cellular reproduction. Until recently, growth hormone was developed following extraction of the hormone from human pituitary glands.
However, today, growth hormone is created through recombinant DNA technology. What does this mean?
The Food and Drug Administration defines rHGH as somatropin, a generic term.
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rHGH functions the same way as “regular” growth hormone with one difference.
The term recombinant means that it is created by molecular cloning or genetic recombination that combines a number of materials from several different sources.
In basic terms, recombinant DNA, for example, is the general term applicable to a fragment of DNA that has been created by combining two different DNA strands.
The same process of “cloning” when it comes to HGH has been used to treat a number of growth hormone deficiency conditions.
Synthetic HGH is manufactured through a process known as rDNA synthesis. In this process, batches of E. coli bacteria are placed in Petri dishes.
The genetic code or blueprint is then inserted into the bacteria through viruses that are made to carry this code.
From here, the bacteria start producing HGH. This artificial Human Growth Hormone is also known as Somatropin or rHGH (recombinant HGH).
It is identical to naturally produced HGH in terms of its nature and properties. The method of rDNA synthesis was first carried out successfully by Genentech in the year 1979.
Pharmaceutical companies and scientists have been using this technology ever since. It is now used to not only produce synthetic Human Growth Hormone but many other artificial hormones and complex proteins as well.
At one time, Human Growth Hormone was produced differently from how it is produced today. Before the 1980s, the rDNA technique had not been invented.
Therefore, endogenous human growth Hormone was extracted from the pituitary glands of human corpses.
However, only small amounts of up to 1 milligram could be extracted in this way. It was only after the advent of the rDNA technology that the Human Growth Hormone could be produced in larger amounts.
The first recorded instance of extraction of HGH from cadavers for medical use was in 1958. After that, HGH extracted from corpses was commonly marketed until 1985.
Despite the extraction of HGH from cadavers being common until 1985, the FDA banned this method of extraction. There was one understandable reason why they did so.
During this extraction process, the hormone could not reach a 100% level of purity. There were many contaminants present in the extracted mixture.
One of the impurities was prions, which are a very harmful, structurally deformed proteins that are known to cause brain damage. These prions led to patients being at risk of Creutzfeldt-Jakob’s Disease (CJD), which is a fatal disease of the brain.
A total of 26 cases was discovered where patients injected with the cadaver-derived Human Growth Hormone contracted CJD.
The risk of CJD and other similar brain diseases was finally eliminated when the rDNA technology was introduced.
With the rDNA technique, 100% pure HGH product could be manufactured.
The first synthesized rDNA Human Growth Hormones were called Somatrem and Protopin. The latter was not identical to the HGH in terms of chemical structure.
However, it was accepted as a substitute for the naturally produced Human Growth Hormone because it carried the same properties and had the same effects on the human body.
The first ever 100% chemically identical artificial version of the Human Growth Hormone was synthesized by Swedish company Vitrum pharmaceuticals in the year 1987.
rHGH therapy is often prescribed to children diagnosed with some kind of deficiency.
Benefits of rHGH in children include not only growth spurts, but for many, improved motor development, reduced body fat ratios, and increased muscle strength.
Very few negative interactions have occurred when injections are overseen and monitored by a physician.
This is true of both pediatric patients and adults and the elderly. However, too much in the human body can lead to unpleasant and adverse reactions including acromegaly.
When it comes to growth hormone therapies for children, careful monitoring is required with regular visits to the doctor’s office.
Growth as well as any potential side effects are monitored and doses may be adjusted every three to four months.
Children being treated with HGH do experience a variety of benefits in regard to growth and development, but the treatments are costly and may range anywhere between $10,000 to as high as $30,000 a year.
Synthetic growth hormone known as somatropin is not safe for everyone. According to drugs.com, somatropin should not be used if you’ve been diagnosed if you have been diagnosed or are:
Benefits when it comes to adult GH deficiencies are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
However, recombinant human growth hormone replacement therapies can provide benefits to adults and the elderly, such as:
When overseen and monitored by a physician, HGH treatments are generally considered safe. However, the injections are prescription only drugs.
However, there are a few natural supplements on the market today that can help increase HGH levels without requiring a prescription.
These methods are considered safer, more natural, and most importantly, legal.
Synthetic forms of HGH are popular among athletes, bodybuilders, or those wishing to fight aging, as well as lose weight.
However, products on the market will differ not only in strength but ingredients.
Some of the ingredients contained in synthetic hormone supplements can include but are not limited to:
The letter “L” placed in front of amino acids such as those listed above specifies that the amino acid is innate “free-form” or is not attached to other amino acids that combine with peptides to form protein chains.
It also implies that the amino acid is in the form that the body would create on its own, making it more absorbable.
Proteins are made up of amino acids that contain nitrogen. Amino acids are building blocks of proteins.
Each amino acid is classified as a compound with an amine group at one end and an acid group at the other as well as containing a distinctive side chain.
Essential amino acids are those that cannot be developed or synthesized by the body or that are not synthesized in amounts that are sufficient to meet a person’s physiological needs.
Many of the supplements available on the market today are designed to enhance a person’s own pituitary gland to synthesize and release GH.
Bovine GH is the version used in cattle to produce milk. This stimulation is believed to enhance metabolism and improve muscle development.
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