GH Freak is PharmaFreak’s sleep supplement which is intended to improve sleep quality and recovery…[Skip to the Bottom Line]
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a naturally occurring hormone in humans, which can convert into either testosterone or estrogen.
A 2010 study, published in the “Chinese Journal of Physiology”, found that 100mg of DHEA daily for 28 days increased testosterone in 19-22 year old male athletes, but caused no change in body composition (body fat, muscle mass, etc.).
A 2013 study, published in the “European Journal of Applied Physiology”, the same dose (100mg) of DHEA again increased testosterone in young (around 19 years old) males as well reduced markers of muscle damage resulting from training. However, DHEA has failed to influence testosterone in other studies, so over-all the results are mixed.
A 2011 review from “The Journal of Sexual Medicine” which looked at several studies noted various benefits associated with DHEA supplementation (usually in the 100-150mg dose), especially with regards to various parameters of aging.
GABA is the primary inhibitory (downer) neurotransmitter in the brain, as opposed to Glutamate which is the primary excitatory (upper) neurotransmitter in the brain. While increasing GABA levels in the brain certainly has an anxiolytic effect, supplemental GABA cannot effectively cross the blood-brain-barrier so supplementation with GABA itself isn’t really an effective way of increasing it in the brain. However, Nitric Oxide may significantly increase the ability of GABA to reach the brain, as demonstrated in a 2002 study using rats. Furthermore, A 2008 study, published in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise”, noted significantly higher Growth Hormone (irGH and ifGH) levels men following either resistance training or rest. irGH and ifGH are but two types of Growth Hormone, and are not necessarily the kind associated with increases in mass.
Theanine is an amino acid found primarily in green tea, and is alleged to counteract the jitteriness generally associated with caffeine consumption. Animal studies have shown a decrease in markers of stress when theanine is consumed, as well as decreased corticosterone (a hormone which regulates the stress response) levels, indicating reduced corticosterone is likely the mechanism of action. In humans, doses of 200mg have been effective at reducing perceived stress, but more studies are needed to determine the degree of efficacy at different doses. One mechanism of action is alleged to be the inhibition of glutamate (referenced above), which may have a calming effect though not a sedative one, as evidenced in a 2007 study in which participants reported a decrease in perceived stress. However, it’s worth mentioning that any beneficial effects with regards to stress or anxiety were demonstrated using a higher dose than the 15mg present in the GH Freak formula.
Subjects in a 2010 study, which combined 5-HTP with GABA and several other ingredients (a product called Gabadone), reported improved ease of falling asleep as well as better sleep quality. Though given that the use of 5-HTP was confounded with so many other ingredients, the effect cannot be attributed to 5-HTP itself. That being said, Serotonin is certainly heavily involved with regulation of sleep so 5-HTP may very well influence sleep quality to some extent.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, found in the brain. It is heavily involved in the sleep-wake cycle (by causing drowsiness when secreted). Due to its role in promoting sleep, supplemental melatonin has been used to correct and treat mild sleep disorders, as well as by people who experience mild sleeplessness. All evidence suggests that melatonin works very well when it comes to promoting sleep, but the quality of sleep is more difficult to record. A 2004 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found that melatonin significantly increased REM sleep in subjects who suffer from lower than normal REM sleep durations. Several other studies have demonstrated the ability of melatonin to increase REM sleep duration, as well as decrease sleep latency (time to fall asleep). Overall, melatonin may be very useful as a sleep aid, and may increase REM sleep especially in those experiencing REM deprivation to some extent.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Contrary to the name, PharmaFreak actually doesn’t claim that GH Freak will increase Growth Hormone levels. They simply position it as a sleep/recovery supplement designed to improve quality of sleep, during which time the body recovers. While some of the ingredients in the GH Freak formula are somewhat speculative, the over-all net effect is likely to be improved sleep, especially in individuals with sleep issues to begin with. At about $1.30 per serving, GH Freak may be on the expensive side, considering the same formula could be reasonbly reconstructed for about 50 cents/serving.
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- Traish, Abdulmaged M., et al. “Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)—A precursor steroid or an active hormone in human physiology (CME).” The journal of sexual medicine 8.11 (2011): 2960-2982.
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