Growth hormone and physical exercise: Current considerations
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Although growth hormone (GH) is one of the most extensively studied hormones, various aspects related to this hormone have not been completely established, including its relationship with physical exercise. Recent studies have contributed to the understanding of the mechanisms of action of GH, which can be divided into 1) direct actions mediated by intracellular signals that are triggered by the binding of GH to its receptor on the plasma membrane, and 2) indirect actions mediated mainly by the regulation of the synthesis of insulin-like growth factors (IGF). Physical exercise has been shown to be a potent stimulator of GH release, especially in young men and women. The magnitude of this increase is influenced by several factors, especially the intensity and volume of exercise, in addition to training status. In this respect, athletes normally present a lower exercise-induced GH release than sedentary or poorly trained individuals. Experimental evidence indicates that GH may 1) favor the mobilization of free fatty acids from adipose tissue for energy generation, 2) increase the capacity of fat oxidation, and 3) increase energy expenditure.
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