Cassandra Rodriguez of Houston, TX asks: GROWTH FACTOR 9, does it really increase muscle mass or just another over hyped supplement?
Growth Factor 9 is promoted as a Clinically Tested Human Growth Hormone Support. The Company's literature only sites one study that shows that growth hormone increased in individuals after taking Growth Factor. One study hardly shows enough data to conclusively show that Growth Factor 9 is a worthy investment.
Does growth hormone help increase muscle mass in the first place?
GH is secreted by the pituitary gland, usually when you're sleeping or during high-intensity workouts. Once secreted, the activity of HGH normally only lasts for around 10-20 minutes. During this short duration, it binds to fat cells, causing them to break down into triglycerides and preventing these fat cells from uptaking lipids. HGH also binds to muscle cells, leading to the release of growth factors and multiplication of the cells.
Another bodybuilding benefit of HGH is that it travels to the liver and induces the secretion of Insulin-like Growth Factor One (IGF-1). When IGF-1 is released, it stimulates protein synthesis in muscles and encourages amino acid uptake. Research suggests that these actions help to create a moderate anabolic effect that GH lacks on its own (9). IGF-1 also acts very much like insulin and can increase the metabolism of carbohydrates. Higher IGF-1 levels lead to carbs being converted to glucose and used as energy, rather than being stored as fat.
Does the ingredients of Growth Factor 9 Help Increase Growth Hormone Levels?
Lysine and Arginine
Suminski et al.  tested their effect in 4 trials in sixteen young healthy men. Trial 1 performed exercise and ingested placebo, trial 2 ingested 1,500 mg L-arginine and 1,500 mg L-lysine immediately followed by exercise, trial 3 same as trial 2 only without exercise and trial 4 no exercise and placebo. No differences in growth hormone levels were noted between the exercise trials. Growth hormone was increased in trial 3 where amino acids were ingested without exercise.
Another study supplemented with 1,200 mg of L-lysine and 1,200 mg of L-arginine increased human growth hormone levels within 30 minutes and peaked after 90 minutes with its human growth hormone concentrations elevated up to 8 times greater than basal levels . When 11 competitive weightlifters (aged 19-35) were supplemented with combined L-arginine, L-ornithine, and L-lysine twice a day (2 grams each) there was no significant differences between serum human growth hormone levels on 24 hour level . So, it seems that low dose amino acid supplementation provides no ergogenic value.
Exercise alone is a powerful human growth hormone secretion stimuli and these amino acids don’t seem to increase it further. However, at rest they seem to increase growth hormone significantly.
Many bodybuilders consume amino acids before strength training in belief that this will increase exercise-induced growth hormone release. We found no appropriately conducted study that would show that oral supplementation with amino acids prior exercise would further increase growth hormone levels.
Interestingly lysine competes with arginine for absorption and entry into cells.
Oxoproline is a natural amino acid derivative that’s found in a wide array of proteins.
There isn’t a lot of information about the derivative because it hasn’t been studied thoroughly. This is also one of the reasons why people don’t really know whether to opt for HGH supplements that feature this ingredient.
One thing to keep in mind is that oxoproline is natural and safe. It’s found in many foods and it’s also found in the human body.
When added to growth hormone supplements, oxoproline is most often derived from glutamic acid. This acid has been studied and a couple of clinical trials suggest that it may have a positive impact on important hormones like HGH.
Researchers are still uncertain whether oxorpoline itself has a relationship with HGH production, whether it has a direct impact on the synthesis of the hormone. Alternatively, this may happen through the metabolite’s conversion to arginine.
Arginine synthesis is a well-known stimulus for the launch of the growth hormone production process in the pituitary.
In addition, the glutamine will convert into glutamate – yet another mechanism that’s linked to higher levels of growth hormone production.
A few clinical studies have been carried out to test these claims.
NAC is a slightly modified version of the sulfur-containing amino acid cysteine. When taken internally, NAC replenishes intracellular levels of the natural antioxidant glutathione (GSH), helping to restore cells’ ability to fight damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS).
NAC is a promising anti-oxidant, but no information was found to show that it has any affect on growth hormone levels.
in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a relatively small amount of glutamine significantly increased growth hormone levels.4 The study subjects were given either a placebo or 2 grams of glutamine to drink. At 30 and 60 minutes after supplementation, their blood samples were analyzed for plasma growth hormone levels. Those who consumed glutamine had markedly increased growth hormone levels, while the placebo group exhibited no change in growth hormone levels.
Another study adds to the evidence that that glutamine boosts growth hormone levels. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 42 healthy middle-aged and elderly adults, the subjects consumed either a placebo or 5 grams of a nutritional supplement composed mainly of glutamine, glycine, and niacin. The supplement was ingested twice daily for three weeks. At baseline and at the study’s end, the investigators analyzed the participants’ blood. Ingesting the supplement led to a 70% increase in serum growth hormone levels compared to placebo, leading the researchers to conclude that an oral mixture of glutamine, glycine, and niacin can enhance growth hormone secretion in healthy adults.
Schizonepeta (aerial parts) powder
Schizonepeta has a fair bit of animal and in vitro evidence investigating possible roles in the immune system, and although it appears to be anti-inflammatory overall (a moderate level and anti-inflammation, with one study finding it comparable to Indomethacin and two studie concluding it less effective than Dexamethasone) it appears to have some selective anti-inflammatory effects.
Schizonepeta has not been shown to have any affect on growth hormone levels.
The Ingredients of Growth Factor 9 are a Proprietary Blend
When you have a supplement that's a proprietary blend, that means you don't have how much of each ingredient you are getting in the dosage.
After reviewing that ingredients above, we've shown that Glutamine is the only strong ingredient that leads to an increase in growth hormone levels. I would've included l-lysine, but there's evidence that l-arginine competes with l-lysine for absorption into the cell. Oxoproline looks promising, but not enough research has been done to establish a more definitive link to an increase in growth hormone levels.
Would I Recommend Taking Growth Factor 9?
Growth Factor 9 costs an upwards of $100 per bottle. You can buy l-lysine and glutamine collectively for significantly less money and get a greater benefit on your growth hormone levels. With that said, no, I do not recommend wasting your money on Growth Factor 9.
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