A person comes to this world most often with a weight of no more than 4 kg and a height of 50-52 cm. During life, these parameters change, for which growth hormone, or somatotropin (somatropin) is responsible. Before we get acquainted with the peculiarities of the influence of this hormone on the human body, we turn to the history of its discovery.
Growth hormone was discovered in the 20s of the 20th century, and in 1944 it was obtained in crystalline form from the pituitary of animals. Human somatotropin was isolated in 1956, and in 1958 was introduced to a child in whose body it was not produced. As a result of the therapy, the child began to grow, which prompted a similar use of this hormone in the future.
How to get somatotropin?
However, soon there was a problem with the method of obtaining this hormone. At that time, the only source of somatotropin was the human brain, namely the brain of already dead people. To get a few drops of this hormone, the brains of thousands of dead were required. Cadaveric material came from Africa, and during the production of somatotropin, the resulting material was not sterilized, but was pasteurized, because when heated somatotropin was destroyed. Subsequently, many children who received this hormone developed a rare viral disease, therefore, it was forbidden to receive somatotropin in this way.
Thus, it became necessary to synthesize somatotropin artificially, which was a difficult task, since the growth hormone consists of 191 amino acids. The situation was saved by genetic engineering, which appeared in the 80s of the 20th century, and provided methods for cloning human proteins. So in 1985, somatotropin was synthesized.
What is somatotropin?
Somatotropin is a polypeptide hormone produced by the body’s largest gland, namely the pituitary gland in its anterior lobe. The composition of this hormone is 191 amino acid residue. Growth hormone is responsible for the most part for the growth of our body, and the greatest amount of this hormone is produced at night. That is why babies and young children need a lot of sleep to grow. After the growth hormone is released into the bloodstream, it enters the liver, where it turns into insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).
IGF-1 is responsible for the activity of growth hormone in our body, and the growth of the body is not always uniform, but stepwise. The first growth spurt occurs at the beginning of our life and lasts up to about two years. The second jump happens in preschool age, and the third in adolescence. And even when the production of growth hormone slows down, it continues to influence the physical and mental state of our body. The slowdown in the production of growth hormone begins at the age of 20 years, and scientists estimate that its level decreases by 15 percent every ten years. It is not surprising that in the body of most people who have reached the age of sixty, only 25 percent of the growth hormone is produced.
Somatotropin - Growth Hormone
Growth hormone is often called the “youth hormone”: it is often used as part of anti-aging therapy. Many celebrities resort to anti-aging treatments using growth hormone and benefit from increased muscle mass and vitality, improved physical and mental performance, improved libido, improved skin condition and general well-being.
For athletes, of course, interest is the ability of growth hormone to increase muscle mass and promote fat burning. The world of bodybuilding, for example, met with growth hormone in the early 80s of the last century, and its appearance significantly affected the successful development of this sport. The athletes of those times were strikingly different from those who built their bodies back in the 70s before the growth hormone appeared.
For a long time it was believed that the only place where growth hormone stimulates the formation of IGF-1 is the liver. At the moment, it is already known that muscle cells also have growth hormone receptors and are able to form IGF-1. A prerequisite for this is that a sufficient amount of testosterone, insulin and thyroid hormones is supplied to muscle cells (as well as to liver cells). Also noteworthy is the fact that IGF-1 in the cells of muscle tissue affects not only the growth and division of the cell itself, which contains the receptor, but also the neighboring cells. Thus, it can be noted that somatotropin is the most powerful anabolic and lipolytic hormone for bodybuilders, and the effect of growth hormone depends not only on its genetic program, but also on our diet.
The production of growth hormone has a positive effect on the entire body. It strengthens the immune system, stimulates the growth of muscle and bone tissue and helps reduce fat reserves, therefore, is very popular among athletes.
Growth Hormone Functions:
- Stimulates the division and reproduction of cartilage cells;
- Promotes calcium retention and bone mineralization;
- Stimulates the growth of cells in all organs of our body;
- Improves metabolism;
- Restores damaged cells;
- Promotes protein synthesis;
- Prevents protein breakdown;
- Supports the immune system;
- Stimulates the breakdown of fat;
- Improves glucose transport.
Symptoms of somatotropin deficiency in the body are different depending on the age at which its deficiency occurs. In children, this is manifested by small stature, the causes of which are most often genetic predisposition. In adults, this is manifested in the form of an increase in fat reserves, mainly in the abdomen, a decrease in muscle and bone tissue, thinning and wrinkles in the skin, the development of depression and a state of fear, a decrease in vitality and deterioration of general well-being. However, there is also such a thing as an overabundance of growth hormone, which is most often manifested in adolescence in the form of gigantism.
Somatotropin from birth comes with us, without it we could not grow and lead a full life. The growth of cells, muscle mass, bone tissue - all this is at the mercy of growth hormone. And although with the passage of life his level in the body decreases, he still continues to have a beneficial effect on us, maintaining overall mental and physical health.