Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

about us





Plant-based growth hormone booster: sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't

Take three capsules of PowerFULL and your blood concentration of growth hormone will increase by 221 percent, if the ads for USPlabs' growth hormone booster are to be believed. It's true say researchers at the University of Memphis. More or less.

PowerFULL is a combination supplement, containing extracts of the legume Mucuna pruriens and Chlorophytum borivilianum [also known as Safed Musli]. USPlabs keep the exact composition of PowerFULL secret, but it contains L-dopa at least. On the label it says 1-carboxy-2-amino-3-pyrobenzol(3,4 diol), which is an unusual name for L-dopa.

L-Dopa is an amino acid that we consume through our food as well, and the body uses it as a raw material for dopamine. Dopamine boosters raise the growth hormone level.

In a study sponsored by USPlabs, researchers gave 15 subjects, all of whom did strength training, a once only dose of three capsules. The researchers then monitored the concentration of growth hormone in the blood of their test subjects. They carried out the test twice, with almost identical capsules. The figure immediately below shows that the concentration of growth hormone rose as a result in both tests.

Plant-based growth hormone booster: sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't

The researchers reproduced the results of the two tests separately. The curves are different in the two cases, which is unusual. It doesn't usually happen that a supplement works really well on one occasion, and only so-so on another.

In test 1 the capsules consisted of 3 percent maize corn-starch; in test 2 the researchers used capsules that consisted of 3 percent cellulose. According to the researchers this difference could explain the differences in the test results. Honestly, though, we don't believe this. Corn-starch and cellulose are filling agents that have no bioactive effective.

The figure below shows the effects on each individual test subject. It shows the total amount of growth hormone that the test subjects had in their blood during the first two hours after intake. Test subjects 2 and 8 had for some inexplicable reason very high GH levels before taking the capsules, so they were eliminated from the sample.

Plant-based growth hormone booster: sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't

If you look at the remaining 13 test subjects, you'll notice that 3 or 4 of them reacted clearly to the supplement. And the rest didn't.

That wasn't really a surprise. Supplements are not pharmacological substances that you'd expect to have an effect no matter what. Some athletes don't even react to tried-and-tested supplements like creatine and beta-alanine.

The researchers admit the study doesn't come up with hard and fast proof that PowerFULL works. They didn't use a placebo group. Moreover, they don't know whether the increase in growth hormone level was enough to have an effect on muscle and fat mass.

Nutrition and Metabolic Insights 2011:4 5563.

600 mg glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline = more post-training growth hormone 05.01.2012
Handful of ornithine caps before strength training boosts GH level 23.08.2011
Fenugreek boosts growth hormone emission too 11.08.2011