HGH and Brain Function: Important Facts You Should Know
Human growth hormone is implicated in many cognitive functions, including memory, learning, psychological behaviors, locomotion, and neuroprotection. Receptors for HGH can be found in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and choroid plexus. As we explore HGH and brain function, it is important to note that HGH can cross the blood-brain barrier. Although most HGH production occurs in the pituitary gland, localized synthesis of growth hormone has been identified in the brain.
The connection between HGH and brain health is not one to overlook. That is why a growth hormone deficiency can lead to forgetfulness, impaired cognitive functions, dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
One reason for low levels of HGH, brain cancer, is due to a tumor affecting either the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. Other causes of growth hormone deficiency include aging, chronic illness, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and opiate abuse. Comprehensive blood analysis and physical examination can rule out some of these other issues.
What Do HGH Receptors in Brain Control?
HGH receptors can be found throughout the brain. While an increased abundance is located in the regions controlling learning and memory, all other cognitive functions are at risk of decline. The use of HGH for brain function improvements is already well documented. Men and women over sixty who have been using growth hormone deficiency treatment have shown tremendous improvements in memory recall, the ability to learn new tasks or information, cognitive processing, focus, and more.
There is also a connection between HGH and brain function for emotional well-being. Some of the HGH receptors do help promote emotional health. That is why many adults diagnosed with low HGH levels complain about feelings of depression, stress, irritability, and anxiety. HGH helps trigger essential hormones and endorphins that improve mood, well-being, and quality of life.
HGH Benefits for Brain Injury Recovery
The use of HGH for brain injury extends to two distinct yet equally serious subjects:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Opiate abuse and addiction
Each of these issues can cause severe mental and emotional decline. Patients suffering from a TBI can have impaired brain functions anywhere on the scale, from mild to extreme. Depression, once again, is a common symptom. Treatment with HGH for patients with traumatic brain injury can help to reverse changes in mood and improve the overall quality of life.
HGH brain repair benefits for TBI patients involved in one study included:
- Significantly improved motor speed in finger tapping in the dominant hand
- Enhanced cognitive processing speed
- Statistically significant improvement in verbal learning and memory
A look at HGH and brain function in adults who have been subject to opiate abuse tells an entirely different story. Opiates are known to destroy brain cells. Continued use can inhibit and interfere with a process called neurogenesis – the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus. Without proper neurogenesis, new cellular growth cannot keep up with the destruction stemming from opiate abuse. Cellular death, also called apoptosis, can lead to declining memory and cognitive functions.
Dementia and Alzheimer’s – How HGH Helps Protect the Brain
Human growth hormone is neuroprotective. It has a profound influence on the central nervous system. Some HGH benefits for brain health and function include promoting the proliferation of essential neural stem cells.
An important area of research is focusing on neurodegenerative conditions such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. In ALS, for example, there is a loss of motor neurons in the brain stem, the anterior horn of the spinal cord, and in the motor cortex. As many as two-thirds of ALS patients may also be GH deficient. Because HGH stimulates insulin growth factor 1 production, it provides indirect benefits by way of IGF-1. Enhanced IGF-1 levels in the brain provided significant motor function improvements in ALS studies. GH resistance may be an issue for some ALS patients. More research is necessary for this area.
Other HGH benefits that may have an impact on patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis include:
- Helping remove free radicals that activate protease – a substance implicated in apoptosis
- Increasing proliferation of myelin sheath cells to protect the CNS (MS patients)
- IGF-1 has potent neuroprotective and neurotrophic factors that aid the peripheral and central nervous systems
- Impacting the repair of damaged axons (microtubular regeneration)
- Aiding in the growth and regrowth of dendrites – crucial for connecting neurons to relay communication throughout the brain