Everyone has seen those before and after photos for Cenegenics.
It’s those ads with an older man (Dr. Jeffry Life) in his 70’s (or 80’s by now?) who is transformed from beer belly to ripped bodybuilder. All thanks to the Cenegenics “age management” system which includes exercise, nutrition – and perhaps most important of all – hormone injections or therapies.
It’s not a scam.
Our natural decline rate of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) certainly correlates with many of the signs and symptoms we call aging; muscle mass, body fat dispersion, libido, male hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, and the list goes on.
It’s true that boosting HGH levels may help in slowing these side effects of aging and perhaps even improve them.
Unless you’re of grade school age, it’s a depressing chart to contemplate! (1)
It’s not really a question of whether or not boosting HGH can help with anti-aging benefits. Rather, the question is… what’s the best way to do it?
According to CNN, Cenegenics and similar may run $12,000+ per year. Some reviews cite even higher costs. You have to see specialized doctors who are part of a network and of course, anti-aging treatments are not covered by your insurance.
But Cenegenics isn’t just hormone injections. Some of their patients don’t get them at all.
Prescription or not, there’s no such thing as actual HGH pills you can swallow. That’s because it can’t get absorbed that way. However, there are supplements which might increase your natural HGH production.
Cenegenics supplements like “Muscle Growth” cost $250 for a 30-day supply (30 packets). It’s derived from fertilized chicken egg yolk and made of proteins, peptides, and lipids.
Whether it’s Cenegenics or another supplement, is it possible that you can take something to offset or even reverse some of the age-related decline in HGH levels?
SeroVital is a popular dietary supplement that claims to do just that.
What is SeroVital made from?
The supplement facts label lists SeroVital ingredients as being L-lysine hydrochloride, L-arginine hydrochloride, oxo-proline, N-acetyl L-cysteine, L-glutamine, and dchizonepeta (Japanese catnip). Each 4 capsule dosage contains a 2.9g proprietary blend of these ingredients. The exact amount of each is not disclosed.
In short, SeroVital is made from a patented and proprietary blend of amino acids and a single plant extract. Most of the aminos are not found in common foods. The schizonepeta is a medicinal herb from China and Korea. Despite being called Japanese catnip, it’s unrelated to actual catnip.
Since SeroVital capsules are made with gelatin, they’re not vegan or vegetarian. Although not labeled as such, the ingredients do appear to be gluten free and allergy friendly.
If you’re vegan or want something that’s more instantly absorbable, consider SeroVital liquid vs capsules. Per one shot serving, the liquid concentrate contains the same dosage of active ingredients, without the use of a gelatin softgel.
What does it do for men and women?
According to the manufacturer, what SeroVital HGH does for you is increase your body’s natural production of HGH. They say doing so is associated with boosting energy and mood, decreasing body fat, reducing wrinkles, and tightening saggy skin. The marketing suggests SeroVital is for women, though men can use it too.
There are a total of 14 U.S. patents which have been filed and approved covering the SeroVital HGH formula. The first group of them were filed in 2012 and provide clues as to what the real benefits are, since they are legal documents with less hype.
Patent 8,747,922 is the very first patent and it’s titled:
“Methods and Compositions For Increasing Sex Steroids and Growth Hormones”
Under the “Brief Summary of the Disclosure” here is the very first paragraph:
“Described herein are nutritional supplements and methods for using the same. In embodiments, the nutritional supplement may be an amino acid secretagogue composition, which, when administered orally, stimulates the pituitary gland of a Subject to release growth hormone (e.g., hGH), and results in the release of testosterone from the testes.”
The release of higher testosterone from the testicles suggests that SeroVital works for men. We know they’re talking about the same formulation as found in the SeroVital HGH supplement, because the the patent lists the same ingredients.
As seen in the next paragraph:
“Some embodiments include an oral nutritional Supplement that comprises, for example and without limitation: L-arginine, Oxo-proline, L-lysine, and cysteine. Particular examples include an oral nutritional Supplement that consists essentially of L-arginine hydrochloride, Oxo-proline, L-lysine hydrochloride, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, L-glutamine, and Schizonepeta powder.”
The patent then goes on to list ranges of concentrations for each ingredient to reportedly work.
This chart is in the patent and a more visually attractive version is often used in their marketing.
It’s a clinical study reporting the short-term effects of a single SeroVital HGH dosage in 16 adults:
- 12 men and 4 women
- 9 of them were Caucasian, 6 were African-American, and 1 is listed as “other” race
- Their BMI’s ranged from 19.1 to 36.8, meaning their weights ranged from normal to obese
- Dosages were given after an overnight fast
- Placebo measurements were also taken for comparison
“The mean growth hormone increased 682% after the supplement from 0.17 at baseline to 1.33 ng/ml at 120 minutes compared to a mean decrease of 52% after the placebo from 0.93 to 0.45 ng/ml”
If there was an increase without a placebo comparison, the results would be skeptical. However in the very same setting and conditions, they demonstrated how the overnight fasting, followed by the supplementation of SeroVital, worked significantly better than placebo at boosting serum HGH levels. Measurements were taken starting 30 minutes before taking it and during the 120 minutes which followed. (2)
The titles for their other patents include:
- Methods for increasing endurance and fat metabolism in humans
- Methods for improving sleep efficiency in healthy human beings
- Methods for treating post-traumatic stress disorder
- Methods and compositions for enhancing or maintaining fertility
- Methods for improving health in humans
- Methods for improving health in animals
- Methods for improving health in canines
- Methods for improving thyroid function in a subject
Even though SeroVital HGH ingredients are suggested to work for weight loss, insomnia, fertility, and other health issues, the evidence to support such uses is lacking.
For example, in the patent about fertility, they say:
“Growth hormone improves semen volume, sperm count and motility in men with idopathic normogonadotropic infertility.”
They reference a patient case study of a man who used SeroVital for 29 days and experienced a 67% increase in sperm motility. Other case studies of women who could not conceive but did after using the supplement are also discussed.
While the individual patient case studies are intriguing, they’re not a substitute for controlled human clinical trials with placebo comparisons. It’s impossible to know whether those cases are one-offs or circumstantial outcomes. (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10)
SeroVital side effects
A search in the PubMed database for SeroVital yields zero results. There are not yet clinical studies which have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals. As such, you can only rely on the manufacturer to learn about the potential side effects.
SanMedica International, who manufacturers and markets the SeroVital supplement, says it is safe for healthy individuals over the age of 18 to take. Their study involved 18-70 year olds, though positive reviews by older customers are common, according to them.
The manufacturer says if you are on any medication or have a medical condition, you should consult your doctor prior to using SeroVital HGH. While they do not list specific drug interactions, the prescription HGH injection Sompatropin is associated with 2 “major” drug interactions; bexarotene and levomethadyl, according to Drugs.com. Additionally, they list 296 medications that have “moderate” and 16 that have “minor” interactions. (11)
For healthy individuals using the recommended dosage, SeroVital HGH is probably safe since it doesn’t contain actual hormones. Rather, it reportedly works by “nourishing” the pituitary gland, which is responsible for making HGH in the body.
SeroVital is almost certainly safer than actual HGH injections.
Those have been associated with muscle aches, joint discomfort, headaches, and swelling of the hands and feet. In severe cases, too much HGH injections or long term use can cause permanent thickening of the bones, due to the condition called acromegaly (humans can’t grow taller, so our bones thicken instead of lengthen). This is why it’s relatively common to see professional baseball and football players get enlarged skulls, despite being mature adults, if they’re using steroids.
High blood pressure and increased risk of heart disease and stroke can result, as seen with professional athletes who have abused HGH injections. (12)
How to take
For adults, SeroVital instructs 4 capsules be taken with water on an empty stomach. The best time to take SeroVital is in the morning 2 hours before eating breakfast, or at least 2 hours after eating dinner, right before bed. It’s recommended to take all 4 capsules at once and not sub-divide the dose.
The instructions for taking liquid SeroVital HGH are the same as the capsules, except that the bottle should be refrigerated after opening. The capsules should be stored at room temperature.
Verdict: Does it work?
The 16 people who experienced an average increase of 682% in HGH levels 2 hours after taking SeroVital HGH supplements suggests it probably works, at least in the short term. Clinical measurements with long term usage have not been published. Furthermore, without peer-reviewed clinical trials, it’s too early to say if it does or doesn’t work for any duration.
While the patents suggest that SeroVital boosts testosterone levels in men, there isn’t a clinical study showing such results, as there has been with HGH levels. Nor are there studies for specific benefits such as weight loss, hair loss, menopause, or muscle growth when used with bodybuilding.
Relative to HGH injections which typically run up to $2,000 or more per month, this supplement does seem to be a relatively low cost anti-aging investment. At least for trying out, to see if you experience benefits.
Cost aside, another advantage it offers over HGH injections is that SeroVital supplements are likely much safer.
Aside from the well-known and documented side effects of injections, a more theoretical concern is that they may make the body dependent with long term use.
Meaning, if the injections are stopped indefinitely, the pituitary gland’s natural production of HGH may not be the same afterward – because the body got used to not needing to make as much, since it was being injected.
Unlike Cenegenics’ dietary supplements which are focused on being sold through physicians, SeroVital is direct to consumer retail. You can buy it direct from the company as well as third-parties, like Amazon, The Vitamin Shoppe, GNC, and Costco. It’s not at Sam’s Club and you can’t buy it at Walmart in-store, but their website sells it.
It’s typically sold as a “30 day premium pack” which actually contains 37 days’ worth (30 days, plus a free 7 day supply). In total, that’s 148 capsules, which equates to 4 per day. You can buy it on Amazon.
Some Costco locations sell SeroVital, as well as the Costco website, but at the time of this review when we checked pricing, they were actually more expensive than some online retailers.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.