Every time the Olympics or a major sporting event rolls around, scandals tied to the use of human growth hormone (HGH) lurk in nearby shadows.
The intensity of the negative narrative surrounding this substance means more often than not, we don't get the whole story.
Now, I'm not saying that HGH is not used in questionable ways. But this is only half the story.
I've taken a deep dive into the world of HGH and its synthetic version, sermorelin, and I've created the ultimate guide so that you have the full picture.
What Is Sermorelin?
Sermorelin is a synthetic version of a peptide similar in chemical structure to the growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH).
Recombinant gene technology is the process used to create the drug. It may also be referred to as sermorelin acetate and is available under the brand names Geref and Gerel.
The use of sermorelin in initial clinical settings was limited to the diagnosis of pituitary gland deficiencies and the treatment of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) found in children and adolescents (1). Later on, they extended treatment to adults diagnosed with adult-onset growth hormone insufficiency (2).
Bodybuilders and athletes, as well as those looking to age with grace, came into the picture when the release of the growth hormone (GH) was tied to increases in lean body mass and decreases in fat mass, increased exercise tolerance, maximized oxygen uptake, and enhanced muscle strength (3).
What Are Peptides?
Peptides are naturally occurring biological molecules. They are made up of between 2 and 50 amino acids.
You can find peptides in every cell and tissue in the body. Their role is to assist with or carry out critical functions that allow the body to stay healthy and in homeostasis.
What Is the Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone (GHRH)?
The Growth Hormone-Releasing hormone (GHRH) is an example of a peptide hormone. It is one of the body's chemical messengers or signaling molecules, and the hypothalamus produces it.
GHRH, when naturally sourced, is also called somatocrinin or somatoliberin. It may also be called growth hormone-releasing factor (GHRF or GRF), somatotropin-releasing hormone (SRH), or somatotropin-releasing factor (SRF).
When sourced using pharmaceutical means, it's called somatorelin.
The message sent by GHRH triggers somatotropic cells of the anterior pituitary gland to release GH (4).
The secretion of GH prompts the production of Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), also called somatomedin 1, in the liver. Its structure is similar to that of insulin, hence its name.
Brief History of Sermorelin
While there is a big debate over synthetic medications, we must not lose sight of an important fact.
These drug versions are created to address a challenge their natural counterparts cannot resolve adequately or sustainably.
This is true in the case of sermorelin. Researchers have identified two specific challenges that greenlit the way for its development.
Levels of HGH in the body do not remain static throughout one’s life. They fluctuate as you go from childhood to adulthood. They increase as we grow and are highest at puberty. As we approach middle age, levels taper off.
Damage to the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland can affect the production of HGH resulting in deficiency or overproduction. Tumors caused by gene mutation can also cause this.
People are diagnosed with a human growth hormone deficiency (GHD) when HGH levels are persistently lower than the expected average. Growth hormone replacement therapy (GHRT) is used to resolve this condition.
The First Challenge
GHRT traces its roots back to the mid-1940s and the late 1950s. Human cadavers or animals were the sources of GH during this time.
GH is species-specific. This means that the type you get from an animal works best on the same or similar animal (6). For optimal effects, researchers needed GH sourced from a human subject.
Medical practitioners needed 1 mg of HGH for daily patient treatment and required more than 360 human pituitaries to meet this dose (7).
Cadavers were in short supply. Limited amounts of GH from human sources caused supplies to dwindle.
The Second Challenge
In 1985, children in the United States treated with human-sourced GH got diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD).
CJD is a fatal degenerative brain disorder. The use of HGH sourced from humans stopped due to an abundance of caution and to avoid a health crisis. Treatment for GHD was limited to severe cases only (8).
Necessity is the mother of invention. With demand far exceeding supply, the development of synthetic GH began. In 1981, it became a reality.
The Chemical Structure of Sermorelin
Both the natural and the human-made versions are similar in structure, but they have one significant distinction.
The version the body makes consists of 191 amino acids, and the synthetic one has only 29 amino acids. This differentiation is the reason why its chemical name is GRH 1-29 NH2.
The selection of the 29 amino acids that make up sermorelin is not random. Researchers identified them as the ones that stimulate the pituitary secretion of HGH.
This is one of the advantages that synthetic versions have. Researchers can identify the exact compounds they need and ignore the rest.
How Sermorelin Works in the Body
Why did researchers need to identify the specific amino acids that stimulate pituitary secretion of HGH?
Because they wanted the drug to act as an HGH secretagogue. A secretagogue is a substance that triggers the release of another.
The makers of sermorelin wanted the drug to stimulate the anterior pituitary gland to produce HGH naturally. They did not want it to directly increase the levels of HGH in the blood as the body would not be able to self-regulate itself.
This could lead to issues like increased insulin resistance, swelling in the arms and legs (edema), joint and muscle pain (arthralgia), and enlargement of breast tissue in men (gynecomastia), among other unpleasant effects (9).
Benefits of Sermorelin Therapy
The effects produced when sermorelin therapy stimulates the production of HGH by the anterior pituitary gland can either be direct or indirect.
Direct effects occur in cells that have growth hormone receptors. For those that don't, HGH works through the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) that comes mainly from the liver. This type of effect is indirect.
These direct and indirect effects are responsible for creating the many benefits we associate with sermorelin therapy.
1. Increases Muscle Strength and Size
Collagen is a type of protein and a significant component of muscle tissue. It is made up of conditionally essential amino acids called glycine, proline, and arginine.
Studies show that when HGH is secreted, it may promote the formation of collagen in the tendon and skeletal muscles. This may help you exercise better and may also increase your muscle strength (10, 11).
2. Accelerates Fat Loss
A study on obese people showed they lost body fat faster when they combined a low-dose growth hormone treatment with dietary restrictions.
3. Increases Energy Expenditure
4. Promotes Bone Growth
Bone mass increases from when you're born through childhood. It peaks when you are in your mid-20s and then starts to decline slowly. The process picks up the pace as you age.
5. Accelerates Healing From Wounds or Surgery
The wound-healing process requires protein production, cell proliferation, and migration. These functions are enhanced by the creation of IGF-1, thus helping surgical wounds, especially chronic ones, heal quicker (20, 21, 22).
6. Improves Sleep Quality
The type of sleep that our bodies need the most is called deep sleep. This takes place in the 3rd and 4th stages of your sleep cycle. You feel more rested and refreshed when you wake up from this type of sleep.
7. Improves Mental Cognition
The decline in neurogenesis is tied to age-related cognitive decline. Mental cognition is how we learn, process, and understand new things.
Your mental cognition also gets a boost from the fact that your sleep quality is improved which we touched on above.
8. Increases Skin Density
Your skin starts losing collagen when you get to 30 years of age. As I mentioned earlier, the secretion of collagen is boosted by HGH production.
9. Reduces Anxiety and Tension
10. Strengthens Cardiovascular Function
When HGH and IGF-1 levels are insufficient, there is an increase in body fat and insulin resistance. You also experience hypertriglyceridemia, which is high levels of triglycerides in the blood.
11. Enhances the Immune System
Your immune system helps keep your body safe from illness, infection, bacteria, and germs. HGH influences cell regeneration including that of the immune cells.
Is Sermorelin Safe to Use?
Yes, sermorelin is safe to use. Side effects are few and not severe or frequent.
There are no reports from clinical trials of drug abuse or dependence while undergoing Sermorelin therapy.
Side Effects of Sermorelin Therapy
When you stick to your prescribed dose, sermorelin has a low occurrence of side effects. This is because it's designed to help the body regulate its own production of HGH.
Because it acts in this way, it allows the body to self-regulate, a process known as ‘normal feedback.’ Normal feedback is the body's protective mechanism. It responds to high levels of HGH by bringing them back down naturally.
The benefit of this is that you don't experience sudden drops in hormone levels or any of the adverse effects that occur when that happens.
At the injection site, you may experience pain, swelling, or redness. This is expected but if either of these worsens, notify your doctor.
Also, alert them and seek immediate medical attention if you experience any vomiting, dizziness, headache, throat/airway itching, and breathing difficulties. These could be an indication of an allergic reaction to the drug.
Sermorelin Dosing Chart
The recommended sermorelin dosing chart is as follows.
50-100 mcg taken before bed, 2-3 days consecutively with one day off then repeat.
100-200 mcg taken before bed, 3-4 days consecutively with one day off then start over.
100-200 mcg taken before breakfast and bed, two times daily with zero days off and at least 3 hours between doses.
- A dosage taken once a day before you sleep creates therapeutic and injury repair effects.
- Taking multiple doses or dosages at higher concentrations levels creates higher GH and IGF-1 levels which leads to muscle gain, fat loss, as well as injury repair.
- Take your dose either on an empty stomach or with protein. Fats and carbohydrates dull the effects.
- Sermorelin has a short half-life, between 11-12 minutes. It clears from circulation quickly (2.4-2.8 L/min). This is why the effects are better when the drug is taken frequently.
Sermorelin Dosage Bodybuilding
The sermorelin dosage for bodybuilding usually starts at 500 mcg, and it’s taken at least three times daily.
Sermorelin Dosage Weight Loss
The sermorelin dosage for weight loss usually starts around 200 mcg. You’ll see effects faster if you take an equal amount of a GHRP like ipamorelin multiple times a day and exercise and eat a balanced diet as well.
The best way to determine the right dose for you is to get blood work done. If you take the test often, you can adjust the amount of sermorelin as needed.
What Happens If You Miss/Skip a Dose
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. However, skip the treatment if you’re almost due to take the next one. Do not double up the dose to catch up.
Sermorelin for sermorelin therapy is available as a prescription-only drug. It is intended for use via subcutaneous (under the skin) application.
The drug may come in either a 0.5 mg or 3.0 mg vial. Contained in the 0.5mg vial is 0.5 mg sermorelin acetate powder, usually in the shape of a disc. The 3.0 mg vial contains 3.0 mg sermorelin acetate powder.
Both sizes of vials come with 2 mL of Sodium Chloride Injection. Some companies offer this drug vial in 6.0 mg, 9.0 mg, and 15.0 mg sizes.
Sometimes, what you get to mix the medication with is bacteriostatic water. This is sterile water and contains 0.9% benzyl alcohol, an antimicrobial preservative.
Bacteriostatic water is supplied in a multiple-dose 30 mL plastic flip-top vial. A dose of up to 30 mL may be safely given to an adult without toxic effects.
How to Prepare Sermorelin Injections
A sermorelin injection is self-administered. You are not required to go to a doctor each time you need a shot unless you want to.
Review the attached patient information pamphlet to learn how to prepare the injection. It will show you how to make the injection and how to give it. Also, how to use disposable syringes and needles and the right way to get rid of them.
It will also tell you how long the injection is safe to use. Have a doctor or pharmacist clarify any areas you are not clear about.
To mix the medication with a saline solution, avoid injecting the saline solution directly into the drug. Aim the syringe containing the mixing solution against the inside wall of the vial. Inject the solution slowly so it runs down the side of the bottle and into the medication powder.
Do not shake the vial to mix the contents. Instead, give it a gentle swirl until the sermorelin dissolves entirely and is clear. Discard the contents if you see particles or if they stay cloudy.
How to Inject Yourself With a Sermorelin Injection
To avoid contamination, periodically rotate the subcutaneous injection site. You may want to keep a log or record of the date and each location you use to avoid confusion.
Also, only use sterile, disposable syringes and needles. Always wipe the top of the rubber vial with an antiseptic solution before piercing it.
Best Time to Take a Sermorelin Dose
The best time to take your Sermorelin dose is before you go to sleep (37).
The medication is intended to help the body improve how it produces its own HGH. As I mentioned earlier, the body creates most of its own HGH when you are sleeping. Synching your dose with that cycle provides the best results.
Also, your Sermorelin dose will make you feel sleepy, so taking it before bedtime is the safest option.
Sermorelin can be taken as is or in combination with growth hormone-replacing peptides (GHRP) such as GHRP 2 and GHRP 6.
How to Store Your Sermorelin Medication
Store unused sermorelin acetate vials in a refrigerator. The ideal temperature is between 36°-46°F (2°-8°C). Do not let it freeze. If it does, you need to throw it away.
Once you mix the solution, use it immediately. Discard any amount of the mixture that remains in the used vial.
Natural Alternatives to Sermorelin
If Sermorelin turns out not to be your cup of tea, you can try either of the following natural three options.
#1 HGH-X2 or HGH-X2 Somatropin
HGH-X2 or HGH-X2 Somatropin is similar to sermorelin in how it works. It triggers your body’s pituitary gland to release HGH into your bloodstream. The product is designed to stimulate muscle growth, boost protein production, and increase your body’s use of fat.
Unlike Sermorelin, you do not require a prescription to purchase it. It comes in capsule form, and there are sixty capsules in a bottle.
The manufacturers of HGH-X2 or HGH-X2 Somatropin recommend a dose of 2 capsules per day. They say you should take them with water approximately 20 minutes before you have breakfast.
For optimal results, they say you should stay on the schedule for a minimum of 2 months. But they do mention that you'll see results in 30 days. You can take a break of one and a half weeks. You also need to follow a balanced diet and engage in an exercise and fitness program.
They say you can take this product together with Winsol (Winstrol), Clenbuterol, and Trenorol (Trenbolone) if you wish to get better results.
#2 HyperGH 14x
HyperGH 14x is a product whose primary purpose is to use 15 natural elements to stimulate your body’s natural growth hormones. L-arginine, L-glutamine, and L-glycine are some of those elements.
The supplement is intended to be used alongside an exercise program. You do not need a prescription, and the drug supposedly has no side effects.
HyperGH 14x is available in capsule or aerosol form. The manufacturers recommend taking two pills a day. Before your workout starts, you take the first one. The second one you take before going to bed.
They say the first dose boosts the production of the exercise-induced growth hormone response (EIGR). It also improves HGH release during the 24-hour resting period after your exercise session.
The second dose is said to boost HGH production, which is linked to your circadian rhythm, also known as your sleep/wake cycle.
HyperGH 14x spray contains Alpha GPC or Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline. They say this compound influences your muscles' fiber activation.
Other benefits listed for this product include improved libido, better memory, more energy, better skin quality, and improved erections.
#3 GenF20 Plus
GenF20 Plus is a prescription-free dietary supplement that doesn’t contain any real or synthetic HGH. It comes in aerosol or capsule form and is formulated to encourage your body to release more of its own HGH.
There are 16 active ingredients in the capsule formula. They include L-Arginine, L-Glutamine, L-Glycine, and Astragalus Root Extract, a substance that enhances metabolism and digestion and strengthens the immune system. You're advised to take four capsules daily, two before lunch and two before dinner.
In the oral spray, you'll find a complementary blend of amino acid compounds and botanical agents, including the HGH booster Alpha GPC. They recommend taking six pumps orally every day.
The creators of this product say you'll report feeling better, sleeping better, and having more energy in the first 2-3 weeks. For the best results, they say to take the supplement for three months.
To learn more about GenF20 Plus, visit the official website.
Thoughts On These Alternatives
- HGH-X2, HyperGH 14x, and GenF20 Plus are geared towards bodybuilders.
- Not having to inject yourself is a plus. Unless, of course, you don’t like taking pills.
- The aerosol version appears handy, but I am not sure how you control dosing.
- GenF20 Plus and HyperGH 14x are more expensive than HGH-X2.
- For more information, check out our guide on the best HGH Supplements.
A Sermorelin survey reported by WebMD finds the drug scores high marks. 4.73 stars out of 5 for effectiveness. 4.55 for ease of use, and the same score is also for satisfaction.
One male user with sleep apnea who was 55 years reported the following. He started sleeping better after just one week. He also had the energy to work out, and over six months, combined with dieting, he lost 75 lbs.
How Long Does It Take For Sermorelin to Work
The initial loading phase or period for this medication is of 3-6 months. Benefits of sermorelin therapy are seen incrementally over the first several weeks.
Results vary based on how consistent you are, and what you are doing or taking in addition to sermorelin.
Sermorelin Before and After
Before Taking Sermorelin
The amount of HGH our body produces decreases as we grow older. Users start to notice some changes when this starts to happen. Some of these include the following.
- It's harder to work out
- Weight stands increasing in the stomach area
- They feel tired even if they slept for about 7 hours
- Muscle definition starts to decrease even if you're eating a balanced diet
- The skin begins to get dry
- Their memory begins to fade, and it's harder to learn new things
After Taking Sermorelin
Sleep quality is the first thing most users notice improving. Those who have a problem falling asleep start finding it easier to do so. Those who have trouble staying asleep also have fewer issues in that area.
In the second week, those who work out notice that their recovery times are shorter and they can work out longer.
Mental clarity starts to improve around the third week and skin density and collagen production in the fourth.
The fifth week is when changes in body composition start to appear.
Who Should Use Sermorelin
Men and women over eighteen with the following issues:
- Muscle loss
- Injuries from sporting activities or other trauma
- Prematurely aging
- Low sex drive
- Losing collagen and bone density
- Weakened immune system
- High anxiety and tension
- Loing mental cognition
- Sleeping poorly
- Adult-onset growth hormone deficiency (GHD)
Who Should Not Use Sermorelin
Patients with sensitivity to sermorelin or any of its ingredients.
Young adults and anyone under 18 should only use sermorelin to treat GHD, and they must be under medical supervision.
People with the following medical conditions must advise their doctor or pharmacist.
- Planning to become pregnant
- On prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplements
- Have allergies to any drugs, foods, or other substances
- Have had or have head or brain injury or disease
Also, advise your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following medications.
- Cyclooxygenase inhibitors, e.g., aspirin, indomethacin
- Glucocorticoids, e.g., prednisone
- Medicines that lower thyroid levels, e.g., propylthiouracil
- Muscarinic antagonists, e.g., atropine
- Somatostatin-containing drugs or any that release somatostatin, e.g., clonidine, levodopa
Is Sermorelin Legal?
Yes, it is legal to buy, but only with a doctor’s prescription.
Production of the medication in the US is discontinued. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noted its withdrawal from the marketplace was not for reasons of safety or effectiveness (38).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Ipamorelin vs. Sermorelin?
Ipamorelin and Sermorelin are both synthetic versions of GH, and they are also both secretagogues. They have different effects but are most effective when paired together.
Sermorelin is a Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH). It is a stimulatory hormone and is responsible for initiating growth hormone release. It is only useful when somatostatin is low.
Ipamorelin is a Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides (GHRP). It is a modulating hormone. It optimizes the balance between the time your body is producing the growth hormone and when it's not.
Ipamorelin is the mildest GHRP, and also the most versatile. It is a good option for fat loss and injury repair, and it can be used at any time.
2. Is Sermorelin the Same as HGH?
It is not a secretagogue, which means it does not stimulate or modulate the production of the growth hormone. It is non-physiological or a “square wave,” which means it increases the amount of medicine in the body.
Synthetic sermorelin works on the pituitary gland, and synthetic HGH takes action in the liver.
Legally, HGH therapy cannot be used to treat human growth hormone deficiency (GHD) or AIDS in adults. It is free to use for everything else but is less cost-effective than sermorelin.
Benefits of using HGH therapy include improved bone density, muscle mass, and mood. It may also help with metabolism, sexual function, and reproduction. HGH may also increase fat breakdown thus providing energy for tissue growth.
Possible side effects include the following:
– Muscle aches
– Joint discomfort
– Swelling of the hands and feet
– High blood pressure
– Heart disease
Long-term use can cause a condition called acromegaly and cause the skin to turn thick, coarse, and hairy.
3. What Is Sermorelin GHRP-6?
Growth hormone-releasing peptide (GHRP-6) is a synthetic hexapeptide (41). It is designed to limit the number of somatostatins present in the body so that there can be an increase in the number of somatotrophs in a GH pulse.
GHRP-6 shows biological actions similar to ghrelin, the naturally occurring hunger-stimulating peptide. But it does not cause you to want to eat. It offers a little help for fat loss, but it's better for improving sleeping patterns and increasing energy and lean body mass.
Patients with primary hypothyroidism have higher GH responses to GHRP-6 (42).
Ways to Get The Effects of Sermorelin Therapy Without Actually Taking It
At this point, a question may have popped up in your mind – Is there a way to get the benefits of sermorelin therapy without taking supplements? There is, and they are highlighted below.
I must warn you, however, that they do not work as fast as the supplements do. They are included, however, so you have the full picture (remember what I said in the introduction).
1. Lose Body Fat
All body fat is not bad. There is a portion of it that protects the body from infectious diseases. It also keeps the internal organs from getting bruised. But too much of anything is poison.
When you have excess body fat, you're at a higher risk for serious health problems. These include conditions like strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.
Studies have shown that adults who are overweight or obese adults have lower levels of human growth hormone (HGH) than their normal-weight counterparts (45).
The human growth hormone (HGH) stimulates the production of IGF-1 in the liver. IGF-1 has insulin-like effects on the body. It helps lower blood glucose levels.
2. Practice Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that alternates between periods of not ingesting anything and eating. Fasting for 16 hours every day and eating in an 8-hour window is the most popular way to carry this out.
Studies show that intermittent fasting leads to a significant increase in HGH levels.
In one of those studies, participants on a five-day fast showed reduced levels of somatomedins (47). Somatomedins are a peptide that inhibits the release of growth hormones by acting directly on anterior pituitary (48).
Intermittent fasting also leads to greater weight and fat loss (49). As we pointed out earlier, this also boosts the production of natural HGH.
3. Take an Arginine or a GABA Supplement
Arginine, in its natural state, is a semi-essential amino acid. It helps regulate blood pressure and the immune system (50).
The synthetic version boosts exercise performance through the increase of insulin and HGH levels (51).
These effects are only seen when arginine, also known as L-arginine, is taken at least sixty minutes after exercising. HGH levels remain the same if you consume it before you start your routine (52).
In the body, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a brain-based amino acid neurotransmitter (53). The supplement is said to help with anxiety, stress, depression, and sleep issues.
4. Reduce the Amount of Sugar You Consume
Foods like refined carbs and drinks with high sugar content, like soda, increase insulin resistance. This is a condition where the cells of the body are unable to respond appropriately to the hormone insulin.
Sticking to a balanced diet can help you keep your blood glucose levels in balance and subsequently increase HGH levels.
5. Develop Good Sleep Habits
So be sure to get enough sleep in terms of hours (about 7 -9) and good quality sleep (61). That means no tossing or turning or getting up constantly.
Sermorelin is a synthetic version of a peptide similar in chemical structure to the growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH).
It was first a diagnostic tool and a treatment option for growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in children and adults. Today, bodybuilders, athletes, and those looking to stop aging prematurely are getting more use out of it.
The benefits of sermorelin therapy include the following.
- Increased production of human growth hormone
- Increased development of lean body mass
- Reduced body fat through lipolysis
- Increased energy, vitality, endurance & strength
- Accelerated healing from wounds or surgery
- Strengthened cardiovascular function
- Enhanced immune system
- Improved sleep quality
- Increased skin density and collagen production
- Improved mental cognition
Tolerance for the medication is high, and side effects are few if you stick to the recommended dosage.
If something is still not clear, please leave a comment below.
The author of this article is not a certified medical practitioner. Any advice or recommendations are taken at your own risk. A medical professional should be consulted before you use any of the products mentioned.
Holding a Ph.D. and driven by a profound passion for fitness, Dr. Jack Parker, a Fitness & Legal Steroids Expert, is a trusted authority in both physical health and legal steroids. He masterfully blends in-depth research with hands-on insights, guiding Muzcle's readers towards personalized fitness routines and safe steroid alternatives. Outside of his professional endeavors, he cherishes quality time with family and immerses himself in the ever-evolving world of health literature.