The pituitary gland is a small oval gland located at the base of the skull and connected to the hypothalamus. The pituitary gland is about 8-10 mm long. In men it weighs an average of 0.6 g, while in women in expands during pregnancy but does not return to its original size afterward, which is why it can weigh more than 1 g in women who have given birth.
The pituitary gland is divided into 2 main parts - the posterior pituitary and anterior pituitary. Somatotropin is a hormone secreted by the anterior pituitary. Somatotropin is also known as human growth hormone, the main contributor and regulator of body growth and metabolism. The name comes from Greek and means "body growth".
Normal height, thin legs and a flat belly are the result of normal levels of somatotropin. That is why it's highly important for the pituitary gland to function properly so that it can secrete somatotropin. To aid this process, every person needs to eat a healthy and balanced diet, while having dinner no later than 7 pm. The pituitary gland loves foods such as dairy products, grapes, apricots, grapefruits, avocados and peaches.
Functions of Somatotropin
With regards to protein metabolism, it helps acid absorption and in building proteins at the same time. With regards to lipid metabolism, it helps the absorption of fats and stimulates the break down of triglycerides. As far as carbohydrate metabolism, it is one of the substances that maintains normal levels of glucose in the blood. It suppresses insulin at the same time.
Deficiency of Somatotropin
Deficiency or excess somatotropin lead to diseases and defects, thereby showing how important this hormone's role is. Somatotropin deficiency causes slowed growth or pituitary dwarfism. The expression of this type of deficiency can be acquired or hereditary and is determined by age.
Children with growth hormone deficiency don't grow at the usual rate and are shorter than their peers. They suffer from obesity, have a squeaky voice and baby-like face. Boys have a small penis and scrotum, while also experiencing delayed sexual maturity. Deficiency of this hormone is a rare condition, believed to affect 60 out of every 1 million children.
Occurrence of somatotropin deficiency in adults is linked to serious conditions such as pituitary gland tumors or brain tumors, as well as trauma. This deficiency is also rarely seen in adults. Adults suffering from growth hormone deficiency also experience obesity, depression and neurotic fears, weakness and easy exhaustion, changes in their bones which raise the risk of fracture and breaking.
Another type of problem is somatotropin oversecretion. It's due to various factors, resulting in 2 conditions - acromegaly and gigantism.
Acromegaly is caused by somatotropin oversecretion in adults. Signs include enlarged extremities, nose, lips, tongue and ears, disruptions in cardiac function. Numerous metabolic disorders also occur.
Gigantism is caused by somatotropin oversecretion in children or adolescents. Often it results from a tumor in the region of the somatotropic cells. It's characterized by growing to a gigantic height, hence the name. Often, affected children are 6.6 ft (2 m) tall or even more.
Somatotropin can be taken in the form of sports supplements which increase muscle mass. It affects specific cells in the muscles, leading to increased muscle mass. At the same time, somatotropin helps burn excess fat. These are 2 very good reasons that make growth hormone highly sought in bodybuilding.
Aside the aforementioned pluses, taking growth hormone is linked to the beneficial effects of removing wrinkles, stimulating the immune system, healing skin, improving sleep quality and sex life, improving mental processes and lowering blood pressure, protecting against osteoporosis and balancing lipoproteins in the blood.
Despite the listed effects, taking somatotropin can cause hypertrophy of the heart and kidneys, as well as other undesirable health problems.