by Mike Arnold
When considering any peptide combination, the most pressing question on most peoples’ minds is “how does it compare to growth hormone?” More specifically, they want to know its equivalent in terms of IU’s. This is understandable, as the IU is the most widely used form of measurement when attempting to determine a certain quantity of GH. However, due to differing pharmacodynamic profiles between exogenous growth hormone and the various peptides/peptide combinations, testing for peak GH levels (such as with GH serum testing) provides an inaccurate comparison.
This leaves us with IGF-1 testing; a much more reliable method of measuring GH levels in the human body under the circumstances. With a direct correlation between growth hormone concentrations and IGF-1 levels, we are able to extrapolate the amount of growth hormone present in the body with IGF-1 testing. In the previous article, we looked GHRP-2 and ModGRF1-29; probably the single most commonly used GH peptide combination. When combining 100-300 mcg of GHRP-2 and 100 mcg of ModGRF1-29, 3X daily, user bloodwork has shown a rise in IGF-1 levels comparable to what would be achieved with 2.5-4.0 IU of GH daily. That’s pretty good, especially when considering that these levels can be achieved for about $50-$80/month vs. about $250-$300 a month when using exogenous GH—and that’s when utilizing non-pharm-grade GH.
While 4 IU will produce somewhat slow, but steady results over an extended period of time and is suitable for beginning or even intermediate BB’rs, most prefer to use higher dosages when financially possible. Like with most PED’s, the effects are dose-dependent, with higher dosages producing more rapid muscle growth and faster reductions in bodyfat. At this juncture, neither science nor user bloodwork has been able to pinpoint the maximum degree to which GH peptides can increase GH levels over a given period of time—a task made difficult by the large number of potential GH peptide combinations and dosing ranges. Traditionally, the medical community has been unwilling to explore the effects of various drug cocktails employed by BB’rs, especially at the typically used dosing ranges, due to obvious ethical considerations. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that we will ever be provided with these answers through legitimate scientific research. As with other PED’s, anecdotal evidence will likely end up being our go-to source for information on these drugs; a process which will take years before coming to any trustworthy conclusions.
Some have speculated that the pituitary gland itself is the limiting factor in terms of GH output; a belief born from what I consider to be wholly unreliable user blood work. A couple years ago, a reputable member from a particular BB’ing board decided to perform a serum GH test after several weeks of administering high dose CJC-1295 with Dac. The results showed that GH levels remained unchanged from baseline to the end of treatment. Due to the high dosages employed, the tester speculated that GH stores had been depleted due to the constant stimulation associated with this peptide.
In my opinion this assumption is irresponsible, as it ignores the available evidence. For one, previous scientific research on CJC-1295 shows it to be a relatively weak compound when used alone, capable of providing steady, yet minimal increases in GH levels over a prolonged period of time. In the picture below (a re-post from Part #1 of this article) CJC-1295 is represented in green.
As you can see, even when dosed at a full 3 mg, GH levels barely make a blip on the radar compared to the other peptides. In fact, the levels achieved with CJC-1295 are still within a “normal” range for both teens and many adults! At no point did the pituitary come anywhere close to releasing an amount of GH capable of depleting pituitary stores. Although the dosage used by the aforementioned board member was higher than that used by the medical researchers, the fact is that GH output would have had to increase many times over just to equal the levels obtained with GHRP-2 & Mod—something the medical community has never even come close to duplicating with CJC-1295 with Dac, regardless of dose. We also know that GHRP-2 & Mod can continue to be used at this dose, long-term, without ever depleting pituitary stores of this hormone.
Furthermore, by using different combinations of compounds, adjusting injection frequency, and/or increasing dosage, it is not difficult to elevate GH levels significantly beyond what was witnessed in the GHRP-2 & Mod study. Knowing this, it seems unreasonable to suggest that CJC-1295 is capable of depleting GH stores. In addition, there was a total failure to verify the CJC-1295 used by this board member as genuine via 3rd party lab testing (which could easily explain the results), not to mention an inadequate number of test subjects (only one in this case), completely invalidating this particular user’s test results. Although this does not answer the question “what is the weak link in the chain in terms of GH release?”, I felt it was necessary to at least address it, due to the significant influence it has had on the beliefs of many in the BB’ing community.
Without any clinical or anecdotal evidence to turn to, we may be able to get an idea of the pituitary’s true GH producing potential by evaluating GH production in individuals suffering with certain medical conditions, such as acromegaly. While such a condition does not reflect the pituitary’s normal production capabilities, it still shows that it is able, at least under certain circumstances, of producing very large quantities of GH on a daily basis. Although time constraints prohibited me from ascertaining the degree of GH production in those afflicted with the disease, we can be absolutely certain that the quantity is massive.
If we look at professional BB’rs as a comparison, many of whom are well known to administer excessive amounts of GH for extended periods of time, not a single one will be found who exhibits the extreme acromegalic features associated with the disease. The contrast between these two groups can be so extreme that it is difficult to detect any degree of deformity among BB’rs, while those in the diseased state often exhibit deformities so severe that they are considered grotesque. If pro BB’rs are able to maintain normal facial features despite the regular use of high dose GH (5-20 IU daily), one can only wonder how much is being dumped into the systems of the afflicted, in order to cause such a pronounced deformation of facial features. Certainly, it is more than any BB’r would ever need—for obvious reasons.
We should also consider that prior to the invention of synthetic GH in 1985, the drug was extracted from the pituitary glands of cadavers. If pharmaceutical companies had not been able to extract enough GH to be profitable, then cadaveric GH never would have become a viable prescription drug to begin with—a market which existed for over 20 years from 1963-1985. While we don’t know just how much GH the pituitary is able to produce under normal circumstances, we do know that it is quite a bit. Based on the information we currently have, I would speculate that it is easily in excess of 10 IU daily. Even if 10 IU was the limit, I know plenty of BB’rs who would be more than happy to use that amount of GH, especially from a consistently reliable source—myself included.
Although speculating on the pituitary’s GH producing potential is important when attempting to determine GH peptide limitations, it becomes irrelevant if the pituitary won’t release this hormone into the system. So, assuming that the pituitary is able to produce enough growth hormone to rival the GH concentrations obtained with moderate-high dosage exo GH use, the limiting factor then becomes the growth hormone releasing potential of GH peptides. The problem is that the pituitary is normally a bit of a GH hog—it likes to keep most of it to itself. However, by coaxing this master gland into being a bit less stingy with its GH supply via GH peptide administration, we are able to take greater advantage of its GH producing capabilities, but the real question is “to what degree?”
While no one really knows the answer to this question, I believe that, in light of the available evidence, 8-10 IU per day is well within the capabilities of these peptides. I realize that the closest we have previously come is about 4 IU daily, but keep in mind that this was achieved with only a moderately potent GH peptide program consisting of 250 mcg of GHRP-2 & 100 mcg ModGRF1-29, 3X daily. By incorporating other, more powerful peptides such as Hexarelin, along with an increased injection frequency and larger dosages, it should be relatively easy to exceed 4 IU.
While the common side effect of hand and feet swelling is not necessarily an accurate indicator of growth hormone levels in exo GH users, it is true that higher dosages typically result in a greater degree of swelling. Just to give you an idea, doses of 3 IU and under generally produce little to no swelling, with large dosages of 8+ IU often produce very significant swelling that is visible to causal onlookers. Over the last couple years of evaluating this side effect in my clients and others, I have repeatedly found that some of the more potent peptide combinations often result in a degree of swelling commensurate with 10 IU of exo GH or even more. While other factors may also be at play here, I think it would be foolish to automatically discount these observations just because we can’t draw exact conclusions. We also see the same thing happening with a large number of prescription drugs, in which the presentation/severity of side effects often correlates with a particular dosing range. There are always exceptions to the rule, but in many cases it is a fairly reliable determinant of overall dosage.
We’ve spent a good deal of time speculating about the potency of these peptides for GH release, but what about the differences between exo GH and GH peptides? Are there any advantages to using GH peptides over traditional GH? In today’s volatile GH market, there are more than ever. In the last 3 months alone, I have had over a dozen long-term exo GH users ask me for advice on how to best implement this class of peptides into their program after becoming disillusioned with the current exo GH market, The ever-growing number of fake, under-dosed, and bunk GH products being passed off as legitimate has resulted in many lost dollars, causing large numbers of people to pursue a different path for GH elevation. Quite simply, the acquisition of high quality GH products at reasonable prices has become increasingly difficult, leaving many with second thoughts as to the viability of a once semi-reliable market.
Unlike the traditional GH market, which has taken a stead downturn for the worse in recent years, the peptide market has grown steadily in terms of quality, consistency, and availability, making it easy for anyone to access these items as wanted. This rapid growth can be attributed to three primary factors: the legality of the business, affordable pricing, and a gradual transition from Chinese-based manufacturing to U.S-based production. With the more quality conscious companies now having their products synthesized by American compounding pharmacies, the quality issues of yesteryear have been resolved. With a top-shelf product virtually guaranteed, we no longer have to worry if we are getting what we pay for. Both purity & potency are now assumed.
When we stop to consider what this actually means to the consumer—to have products made under GMP approval—it quickly becomes apparent that this is the main distinction between prescription drugs and UGL-made gear. The bottom line is that this is the highest quality assurance you are going to get. Not only that, but some of these companies will subject their products to additional testing by an independent lab to further confirm their authenticity. Keep in mind that only a handful of peptide companies actually have their products produced and tested in this fashion.
All of this is possible because of the business’s legitimacy from a legality standpoint. Most peptides, including GH peptides, are 100% legal to buy, own, and sell as of this writing. Aside from the elimination of legal risk, this makes it possible for these products to be manufactured and tested in these types of facilities. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be happening. We would be left with unproven and untrustworthy peptides on par with your typical UGL-made gear. Aside from the quality & legality aspects associated with certain sectors of the peptide industry, the relatively low cost of GH peptides compared to exo GH has made them an attractive option to more than just a few. Many people figure “why should I pay X amount of dollars every month to use a certain quantity of GH when I can spend 1/4th to 1/8th that amount and get the same results?” For those using 8 IU or less, I believe this is a very valid question.
Neither should we forget the formation of GH anti-bodies; an act which takes place when using exo GH for an extended period of time and which has the potential to drastically undermine the body’s ability to use exo GH. GH peptides are immune to this effect, as the body does not respond in this fashion to its own GH. This means GH peptides can be used indefinitely without the need for a clean-out period.
For those of you who are fed-up with the unreliability of the traditional GH market or who don’t have the cash to invest hundreds of dollars per month on a single hormone, GH peptides can provide you with a way to use this drug without having to risk your hard-earned dollars or deplete your bank account. The days of wondering whether GH peptides work are long over and anyone who expresses such a sentiment is clearly out of touch with not only the available scientific research, but also the numerous users who have supplied their own bloodwork results to the general public. The question anymore isn’t “do they work”, but rather “how do we best use them to achieve maximum GH levels?” Hopefully, the information presented in this 3-part article will help you do just that.