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HGH Peptides vs HGH


Jan 18, 2023
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By Dr. Logan

HGH Peptides vs HGH: What to Know in 2023​

Raising levels of human growth hormone (HGH) can be accomplished in two ways thanks to advances in modern medical science. First, synthetic HGH can be directly administered. This is the most straightforward way to increase HGH, but also the way that carries the most risk of side effects. The second way is to increase natural HGH is via HGH peptides. These peptides work at different levels of the growth hormone axis and have been shown in varied research studies to produce a more physiological increase in HGH levels than direct HGH administration. HGH peptides produce fewer side effects and can be synthesized to produce beneficial secondary effects. Here is a look at HGH peptides vs HGH and what to know in 2023.

Why Increase HGH Levels?​

Increasing levels of HGH is of scientific interest for several reasons. Beyond the relatively rare situations in which HGH deficiency leads to stunted growth, research is increasingly indicating that there is an optimum level for HGH. For many of us, natural HGH production does not reach this level at varying points in our lives. This is particularly true as we age.
The decline in HGH levels with age is called somatopause and, much like menopause and low T, somatopause is given increasing attention because of its potential impact on health and longevity. Research shows that the decline in HGH that occurs over time is one of the primary drivers of aging. Low HGH can lead to a number of problems associated with aging including difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, sleep disturbances, and general frailty. Research in mice has shown that HGH supplementation, particularly via HGH peptides, can increase immune function, protect heart health, build bone and muscle mass, help to burn fat, and even improve cognitive function.

HGH Peptides vs HGH: The Physiological Difference​

The primary difference between HGH peptides and HGH is how they increase total HGH levels. With synthetic HGH, an injection directly increases HGH levels exogenously and, in fact, inhibits natural production of HGH by the pituitary gland. With peptides, administration indirectly stimulates the production of HGH by stimulating the pituitary gland to produce natural HGH secretions.
The HGH Axis complete with feedback:

Source: PubMed

HGH Peptides vs. HGH: Why Peptides?​

Synthetic HGH replacement is disfavored is because it produces non-physiologic increases in HGH. Exogenously administered HGH causes a rapid increase in HGH levels followed by a rapid decline. Even preparations with longer half-lives do not follow the regular ebb and flow that is characteristic of physiological HGH production. This may seem like a minor point, but it is actually quite critical. HGH levels rise and fall in response to circadian rhythms, exercise, food intake, and the needs of the immune system. The HGH axis is subject to extremely complex feedback mechanisms that fine-tune HGH levels against baseline secretion that is itself nuanced. Simply administering HGH obliterates this delicate balance. It works great to increase levels of HGH in complete deficiency when natural production cannot be stimulated. However, even then, levels of HGH have to be closely monitored and both the timing and amount of HGH administration need to be adjusted on a near daily basis. Taking recombinant HGH, while safe, is also very expensive, complex and time consuming.
HGH peptides do not produce the same blunt rise and fall in HGH levels that recombinant HGH does. Because they stimulate natural HGH production and release by working at higher level receptors, they simply augment normal physiological patterns and are subject to normal fine-tuning and feedback loops. This means that HGH peptides don’t require complex monitoring and dose adjustment during research.
A second point in favor of HGH peptides vs HGH is that HGH peptides can be modified to produce beneficial secondary effects or to fine-tune desirable primary effects. Various HGH peptides can been constructed enhance aspects of the peptides that improve heart health, burn fat, fight insulin resistance, promote bone health, and more. Because they are synthetic proteins, HGH peptides can also be altered to have longer half-lives, better tissue penetration, and other beneficial properties.

HGH Peptides vs HGH: What to Know About Variety​

With recombinant HGH (called somatropin), there is only one choice. It is a prescription medication used to treat children’s growth disorders and adult growth hormone deficiency. Approved for use in 1985, recombinant HGH is safer than cadaver-derived HGH and has replaced the latter completely. Recombinant HGH, now generic, is available from five different suppliers. There was previously available an extended-release version that required injections only once or twice per month rather than daily. The extended-release version still obliterated normal physiology, but did mitigate the need for frequent checking and dosage adjustments. Unfortunately, the cost of developing extended-release HGH resulted in discontinuation of the product.
With HGH peptides, there are at least half a dozen different options. The intellectual property of these peptides is generally available to the public and is not, in most cases, held by a single company. This has resulted in massive innovation from scientists and researchers across the world. HGH peptides can be broadly divided into two different categories: growth hormone-releasing peptides (GHRPs) and growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) analogues. Each of these subgroups contains multiple derivatives of a parent compound. Each derivative has unique properties that make them of interest in research focused on everything from longevity to bone health and immune function. These subgroups are discussed below.

HGH Peptide Subgroups​

As noted, there are two HGH peptide subgroups: GHRPs and GHRH analogues. While both categories of peptide increase GH levels, they do so via different receptors. By stimulating different receptors, the peptides produce different effects on HGH release patterns of overall levels of HGH in the plasma (blood).
Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone (GHRH) Analogues
GHRH (somatocrinin) is the primary natural driver of HGH release. It is made by the hypothalamus and stimulates HGH production and release by binding to the GHRH receptor on the anterior pituitary gland. Its actions are primarily opposed by the negative feedback of somatostatin. Somatostatin also binds the GHRH receptor. The alternate secretion of these two peptides is what gives rise to the natural pulsatile secretion of HGH. GHRH and somatostatin secretion are subject to complex feedback from stimuli including age, gender, sex hormones, nutrition, sleep, body composition, and exercise.
Peptides derived from GHRH include sermorelin, CJC-1295, and Tesamorelin. These peptides are well known for their ease of administration. They are subject to normal physiological feedback mechanisms and, as such, are relatively free of side effects. All produce increases in HGH levels that lead to improved lean body mass (muscle and bone) as well as decreased fat mass.
Sermorelin has been heavily studied in anti-aging research and has been praised by some scientists as the closest humanity has gotten to the fountain of youth yet. CJC-1295 is well known for its long half-life and ease of administration. It profoundly raises both peak and trough levels of HGH without impacting normal pulsatile release patterns. Tesamorelin, a prescription medication, is used to treat lipodystrophy and promote fat loss.
Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides (GHRPs)
GHRPs are best thought of as secondary drivers of HGH release. They act via the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R). The most common natural GHRP, ghrelin, provides a layer of fine tuning on top of GHRH in response to food intake and energy expenditure. Though ghrelin is the most common GHRP, at least a half dozen different natural compounds are known to act as agonists of the GHS-R. This makes it possible to develop a wide array of GHRPs with unique secondary properties.
While most peptides that stimulate the GHS-R are derived from ghrelin, some are completely synthetic. Examples of ghrelin derivatives include GHRP-2 (pralmorelin), GHRP-6, hexarelin (examorelin), and ipamorelin. MK-677 (ibutamoren) is a fully synthetic compound that can’t even be classified as a peptide. GHRPs are used as diagnostic agents and in research on fat-burning, sleep, bone health, immune function, and cognitive function. The GHRPs tend to be highly specific in their activity and thus have few side effects. Many of these peptides have undergone clinical trials for a variety of conditions ranging from dwarfism to post-operative ileus. Mk-677, for instance, is currently undergoing research as a potential treatment for human frailty.

Synergy in HGH Peptides​

Because the two subgroups of HGH peptides act at two different receptors, it is possible to get massive increases in HGH levels by using both types of peptides together. Research in rodents shows that combining a GHRH analogue with a GHRP can drastically increase HGH levels while still maintaining physiological feedback responses. Additionally, combining peptides from each class can allow for the stacking of secondary benefits, a feature with can lead to improved outcomes in animal models of heart disease, diabetes, muscle wasting, and more.

HGH Peptides vs HGH: What You Need to Know in 2023​

The bottom line in the HGH peptides vs HGH debate comes down to the future of the science. Peptides, because they are highly selectivity, easy to produce, and can be customized to a high degree represent of the future of manipulating HGH in the medical setting. These peptides are opening new windows into our ability to manipulate the both primary and secondary aspects of the HGH axis. As the science becomes more mature, the blunt supplementation using recombinant HGH will go the way of blood letting and medical leaches. It will still have its place in the treatment hierarchy, but HGH peptides will slowly replace recombinant HGH use as they usurp its primary role and expand therapeutic options in new directions.