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Day 30: My Pituitary Lives!!!
Posted to the Rejuvenation Forum
From: Ellis Toussier
Date: Sat Mar 18, 2000 8:43am
Subject: * * * Day 30, My Pituitary Lives !
I dedicate this post to the good friend who sponsored this blood test. Thank you. I truly appreciate your support, but most important, I value our friendship, forever.
Day 30: IGF-1 = 201.5 ng/ml !!! This is not very, very high but it is surely high enough for a man age 54, close to 55... and enough to see that my pituitary is functioning as well, or better, than other men my age. My pituitary lives!!!
Let us not forget what we wanted to see with this test. The object was to see if after 20 months of taking growth hormone every single day my pituitary is still producing growth hormone, or if it is dead. It is well, and alive, and functioning like any healthy (45 year old?) man.
A baseline IGF-1 = 201.5 is not extraordinarily high, but it is not at all bad for a man age 55. I compare it pretty favorably, for example, to Jack Harari's baseline of 220 ng/ml, which he reported here on Rejuvenation. Considering that Jack Harari is in his late 30's, has never taken steroids, and is a physical education instructor with a body like Charles Atlas, for my result to be not far from his baseline measurement, after 30 days of not taking all hormones seems like a very good result to me! Jack's test was taken at the same laboratory in Mexico City which took my test, and they sent the samples to Quest Laboratory in California to be analyzed.
So the conclusion is that after 20 months of taking 1 i.u. or 1.5 i.u. of rHGH, I think I have not harmed my pituitary gland, and maybe it has even rejuvenated and is in better shape than when I started!
To recap: I began taking 1 i.u. of human growth hormone, rHGH, in June, 1998. I did not take a blood test at that time, so I don't know what was my baseline level, but I estimate it was in the mid or upper 100's, or maybe the lower 200's.
My first blood test, about July, 1998, after taking rHGH at the dose of 1 i.u. for more than a month, was IGF-1 = 360 ng/ml
My second blood test, a few months later, after increasing the dose to 1.5 i.u. per day, was IGF-1= about 270 ng/ml
This last result was so confusing that I wrote to several persons on the internet who told me that IGF-1 blood tests are not very reliable, and that I should continue observing my physical benefits to decide whether or not to continue taking injectable rHGH. Since my physical results were good, I continued taking 1 i.u. per day for several months, and later I increased the dose to 1.5 i.u. per day where I remained until I suspended for this test.
In several discussions on the Rejuvenation forum about "cycling" I pointed out that I do not cycle. I take my weekly dose divided in seven days. This view was supported by Dr. Cranton and Dr. Hughes, and not supported by several doctors and persons whose opinions are also highly respected, some of who suggested my pituitary might even be dead.
In February, 2000, the suggestion was made that I should stop taking growth hormone for 30 days to test if my pituitary is still functioning. We decided that if my IGF-1 level was below 100 after 30 days, it is likely that I had stunted or destroyed my pituitary by taking growth hormone for 20 months, without cycling.
I took a blood test before suspending all hormones, and found that my IGF-1 was 525 ng/ml, about the level of a 25 year old athlete!
IGF-1 Range of 100 athletes Age 25-27
This graph, courtesy of Life Extension Institute, Hormone Profile
It is important to note that I took 1 i.u. exactly 20 hours before the blood test, and I took .5 i.u. exactly 8 hours before this blood test.
My last injected growth hormone was a dose of 1 i.u., and it was taken exactly 24 hours before I took another blood test. The result was IGF-1= 400 ng/ml.
On Day 5 after suspending, I took another blood test in the early morning. The result was IGF-1= 290 ng/ml.
On Day 16 after suspending, I took another blood test in the early morning. The result was IGF-1 = 220 ng/ml.
On Day 30 after suspending, I took another blood test in the early morning. The result was IGF-1 = 201.5 ng/ml.
During these 30 days I also reported that I was feeling pretty normal, but it seemed to me that my sleep was not as profound. Then I began to report that my skin was drying up. By the end of the 30 day period I could definitely note that my skin not only was drying up and I had slight "crows feet" again, but the skin on my hands and underarm were looser.
I suppose that if I had stopped taking growth hormone for six months, and taking blood tests every month, my IGF-1 level would have continued to decline to somewhere in the mid 100's. I am sure my "crows feet" would have become much more noticeable, and the skin on my face and my hands would have become noticeably looser.
After I took my last blood test, I injected 1 i.u. of growth hormone, and a few hours later I could already note that the skin on my hands looked much better! That night I took another 1 i.u. The next morning I took another 1 i.u. and the second night I took .5 i.u. because I was already looking very good, in my eyes. I am now back to my daily dose of 1.5 i.u. By three days later, my beginning "crows feet" were definitely gone, the skin on my hands and underarm was definitely taut again, and back to where it was before I suspended taking hormones, and several friends commented "you're looking better today, what did you do?"
On the subject of bloodtests, and the reliability of IGF-1 results, I think I can now understand why my first blood test in 1998 came out 360 ng/ml, and my second blood test in 1998 came out 270 ng/ml instead of higher than 360 ng/ml, as expected. The reason is probably due to the timing of the blood tests, after taking the last dose. Note that there is a consistency between my last 5 blood tests, and the time after suspension, which makes the results seem reliable and not haphazard.
When we say we should take a blood test "the next day" or even "24 hours later" we don't usually mean "exactly 24 hours later". So my first blood test might have been taken 22 hours after my last dose of 1 i.u. and my second blood test might have been taken 26 hours after the 1.5 i.u. dose. That could have been a significant difference that would have affected the result. IGF-1 lingers in the blood, but apparently it increases rapidly after taking growth hormone, and then after a while it slopes down pretty steeply again. So on the first test I might have been measured at a "peak" level, and on the second test I probably was measured at a level that was lower than the peak.
Also, comparing the test with result of 525 ng/ml and the test with result of 400 ng/ml, timing also seems to be an important factor in these results, because the difference of 125 ng/ml is too great to be explained by a difference of only .5 i.u.
So, in order to interpret our IGF-1 results consistently, timing is critical. We should decide a standard and rigorous time to take the test. Since it appears that IGF-1 slopes down steeply, and since it appears that it makes sense to split the daily dose in two, then, in order for them to be more easily interpreted and comparable, unless somebody has a different and better proposal, I propose that we should all take the last daily dose before a test split up as I did above: one part 20 hours before, and the other 8 hours before the blood test. Also, since glucose is the antagonist of growth hormone, it makes sense that we should avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates the day before the test, (and it is not a bad idea to avoid them always,) and to take the test before having breakfast.
Another observation is that it seems that my IGF-1 levels increased over time. This can only be explained if my pituitary gland improved and was functioning at a younger level.
This is a very good result, but it means that we have to monitor where we stand, so that we don't overdose. So, it is not enough to find a good dose, and stay there forever. It seems that we can, and should, lower the dose over time. So I will test for IGF-1 every year, at the same time I test for P.S.A.
What this optimum dose is, and what the optimum level of IGF-1 is, still seems to be debatable. I agree with Dr. Hughes' recommendation to aim for a level between 350 and 500 ng/ml, so I am pleased with my level of 525 ng/ml. I have not had any bad side effects since I began injecting rHGH, and I have not heard of anybody with side effects at this level of dosage.
Maybe, as suggested by Gordon Swobe, my heart and other internal organs might have grown in size, or could grow in size over the long run, and this might not be good. This is a possibility, and I will try to monitor it, somehow.
Dr. Cranton is recommending that an optimum replacement dose is about 2 i.u.'s per day, and that 1.5 i.u. per day is a point of diminishing return, that is, that last half-i.u. doesn't give as much benefit as the first three half-i.u.'s. I agree with Dr. Cranton that 2 i.u.'s, or 1.5 i.u. seems to be a better dose than 1 i.u.
I ask, then, why don't the pharmaceutical companies increase the potency of one i.u.? If the optimal dose is higher than 1 i.u., then 1 i.u. is not potent enough. Each milligram or rHGH powder is really 2 i.u.'s and not 3 i.u.'s as they chose to call it, and the cost of 1 effective i.u. is really 50% more.
Many people that can't afford to take what we now call 1.5 i.u. are being forced to take 2/3 of this optimum dose, or 1 effective i.u. It makes sense to me that the pharmaceutical companies should want people that use their product to get the optimum result. If it is true that the cost of producing growth hormone is negligible, and they are recuperating for research and development, then I think they deserve what they charge for growth hormone, but they should increase the amount of active rHGH in each vial by 50%, and sell it to us for the same price. (I fully expect this will not be done, but wouldn't it be nice if it was?) - Ellis
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