Before we get to discussing SeroVital, a product that apparently naturally boosts human growth hormone, let me digress a bit…
Not long ago, Dr. Oz featured HGH (or human growth hormone) on a segment of his show called “Supercharge your body with Human Growth Hormone.” According to Oz, HGH is the ” key to feeling decades younger” and at one point, even goes so far to say that it will make you feel better “instantly.”
Obviously, Oz’s is not talking about taking the injectable form of HGH – you know, the expensive stuff that requires a doctor’s prescription and is administered via injection; the stuff guys like Sylvester Stallone use to get into awesome shape for their movie roles.
He’s talking about getting your HGH fix naturally.
Before we continue, let’s have a little bit of a refresher on Human Growth Hormone.
It’s a hormone produced in the pituitary gland and is critical to the proper growth and development of the child into the adolescent, into the adult. After we reach adulthood however, HGH levels begin fall and continue to do so as we get older.
Because HGH supplementation has been tied to mild weight loss, increased physical performance and greater well being (despite some evidence to the contrary; see here and here), it has been “advertised” as an “anti-aging” miracle. Accordingly, there’s been a great rush on the part of supplement retailers – never at a loss to cash in on any new rage or fad – to create some sort of natural HGH booster to be taken as an alternative.
This is nothing new. The first amino acid based HGH-boosting supplements were out years ago.
Now with that out of the way, let’s return to Oz’s feature…
According to the Oz show, the key to getting your body to crank out optimal amounts of HGH on its own comes down to three things…
- 8 hours of deep, recuperative sleep.
- Resistance training.
- Supplementing with key amino acids (glycine, ornithine, arginine and lysine).
While all of these “work” to some extent, none are particularly new or noteworthy.
And never mind the obvious – if you have not been getting your sleep, just doing that much will make you feel a TON better, simply because you are rested.
Same with resistance training; if your regular, after work routine consists of eating cheeseburger and fries and then dropping onto the couch and watching 3 hours of T.V. before hitting the sack, well then, getting to the gym and doing some resistance training is going to make a huge difference as well.
Yes, resistance training also raises HGH levels, but it is the activity which is going to be respnsible for the majority of the newfound well-being.
OK, so what about the amino acids?
Again, nothing new here – we’ve known for ages (despite Oz’s assertion that he’s been looking for a natural way to boost HGH levels forever) that high doses of select amino acids boost plasma HGH. For example…
- Here’s a clinical study that confirms glycine’s effect on HGH secretion.
- Here’s one that confirms ornithine’s effects on HGH.
- And another to confirm arginine’s effects.
If you check the studies, the first thing you’ll notice is that many are quite old. Heck, the one for arginine was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1969. So yeah… we’ve known about this for a long, long time. I’m not sure where Oz was looking for the natural HGH-boosting solution, but he obviously wasn’t looking very hard, or very well.
But here’s the thing; some studies have shown conflicting results (like this one using an arginine/lysine combination for instance), while others performed with lower doses have also shown little or no results.
This suggests the effects of amino acids on HGH levels is largely dose dependent – which is confimed by the studies referenced above; in every case, they used a TON of the amino acid in question.
This completely contradicts Oz’s recommendation to go the the health food store and buy an amino acid blend which contains those 4 noteworthy ingredients (glycine, ornithine, arginine and lysine). Average amino acid blends simply do not deliver the mega-gram doses needed to be effective. They usually offer up a few hundred milligrams of each amino per capsule. And as I have already shown you, a 2,000 mg combination of arginine ornithing and lysine did not affect plasma HGH.
And there’s yet another problem…
While high doses of certain amino acids have been confirmed to raise HGH levels, very few studies have been conducted to confirm such an elevation (which is generally short-lived) translates into any tangible benefits (i.e., weight loss, muscle growth, greater well being, etc). This one – again, performed with mega doses (6-10 grams of ingredient per day) on individuals between 65-84 years of age, did show a benefit.
Not that surprising, given the size of the dose in question.
Where does Sanmedica’s SeroVital HGH fit into all this?
SeroVital HGH is a HGH boosting amino acid supplement, the kind of which have been around for ages. While Oz doesn’t actually mention SeroVital by name (at least not in the segments I watched) he does reference a “study” that showed over a 600% increase in plasma HGH after supplementation. The study he was referencing was “apparently” performed on SeroVital.
Awesome, right? Where can I get some?
Let’s just hold on a second.
First, this appears to be an “in-house” study, and it does not appear to be published in any peer-reviewed journal that I could find (Oz convienently forgot to point this out). Any study that is performed by the same people who have the most to gain financially from a positive outcome needs to be viewed with some skepticism, at least until the results are confirmed by independent studies. Publishing in a peer-reviewed journal is important as it introduces the study’s methodologies to critique by other professionals.
Second, the study’s conclusion is consistent with what we’ve seen already in this discussion…
“Our results show that a single oral dose of these amino acids can significantly increase GH Levels after 120 minutes in healthy men and women. Whether these GH changes persist over a longer duration or have other positive effects is being further examined.”
And in the discussion, the study’s authors state…
“Future studies will examine whether regular increases in GH with oral amino acids increase strength and vitality.”
Of course, it would be nice if these “further studies” that actually demonstrated a tangible benefit of supplementation took place BEFORE the product was released for sale, but that’s pretty much par for the course in the supplement world.
Their bias starts to show in the next sentence…
“This indeed may be the case, since elderly subjects administered oral GH secretotgogues for 6 and 12 months have sustained increases in lean body mass and improved physical function.”
Uh-huh. With doses many, many, many times higher than what you are delivering in a single daily 4-capsule dose (we know this just by the logistics of capsule size – the product’s ingredients are not revealed on the web site). Anyhow, the bottom line on this study, even if you want to accept it entirely on face value is…
It raises HGH levels, but we don’t know if it increases strength and vitality.
That’s straight from SanMedica’s “mouth.”
Still want to buy some SeroVital?
At this point, you’re probably more confused than ever.
Don’t worry, the bottom line is pretty simple…
Unless you are willing to experiment long term with mega-doses of amino acids – which you will want to buy in bulk in powdered form as it’s not cost effective to take what you need via capsule – you are going to be very disappointed with the results.
After all, if supplements like Serovital-hgh really worked that well, why would people like Mr. Stallone bother spending truckloads of money for a prescription drug that needs to be delivered via injection? (Stallone had his own supplement company – if the stuff worked, you can bet he’d know).
HGH-booster supplements come and go – as they have for years now. People try them, are disappointed, and move on. While it’s anecdotal evidence at best, I have even tried one (MHP’s Secretagogue-One) and never noticed a darn thing.
While I love amino acids and take numerous ones for training purposes (branched chain aminos and glutamine) as well as arginine in my pre-workout supplement, I wouldn’t recommend any HGH-boosting supplement to anyone. The doses aren’t high enough, and the benefits, if any, are questionable.