Effects of growth hormone on the tissues of the body can generally be described as anabolic (building up). Like most other protein hormones GH acts by interacting with a specific receptor on the surface of cells.

Stimulating the increase in height in childhood is the most widely known effect of GH, and appears to be stimulated by at least two mechanisms.

1. GH directly stimulates division and multiplication of chondrocytes of cartilage. These are the primary cells in the growing ends (epiphyses) of children's long bones (arms, legs, digits).

2. GH also stimulates production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1, formerly known as somatomedin C), a hormone homologous to proinsulin.[6] The liver is a major target organ of GH for this process, and is the principal site of IGF-1 production. IGF-1 has growth-stimulating effects on a wide variety of tissues. Additional IGF-1 is generated within target tissues, making it apparently both an endocrine and an autocrine/paracrine hormone. IGF-1 also has stimulatory effects on osteoblast and chondrocyte activity to promote bone growth.

In addition to increasing height in children and adolescents, growth hormone has many other effects on the body:

* Increases calcium retention, and strengthens and increases the mineralization of bone

* Increases muscle mass through the sarcomere hyperplasia

* Promotes lipolysis

* Increases protein synthesis

* Stimulating the growth of all internal organs excluding the brain

* Plays a role in fuel homeostasis.

* Reduces liver uptake of glucose

* Promotes gluconeogenesis in the liver[7]

* It contributes to the maintenance and function of pancreatic islets.

* It stimulates the immune system.

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Author's Bio: 

This definition is part of a series that covers the topic of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). The Official Guide to Human Growth Hormone is Robert Bohen.

When I founded the oral growth hormone industry in the nineties along with Dr. Robert Lawrence and Dr. Roy Dittman, we had pioneered a way to get this large and unique life sustaining human growth hormone molecule to work without injecting it. We weren't sure it could be done at first, but because of the large and unique cross-linking of the HGH molecule. However, we pulled it off and the rest is truly history.

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