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Dr. Cheney on Growth Hormone: What it is, How it Works, and What Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Patients Can Expect

  [ 79 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Carol Sieverling • • December 27, 2000

Editor’s Note: What follows is an in-depth discussion about growth hormone and its possibilities for CFS treatment. The discussions are taken from several transcripts of an appointment that Carol Sieverling had with Dr. Cheney. Carol has kindly decided to make the details of her discussion with Cheney publicly available, for the benefit of all CFS patients. They are republished here with her permission.

These transcripts are provided for your information only. Please remember to discuss all suggestions with your own healthcare provider. For further information, please contact Carol at

Carol’s Note: This is another transcription from the tapes of my October 23 & 24 appointment with Dr. Cheney. Quotes are obviously Cheney, statements in parentheses are my own comments, and statements not in quotes or parentheses are a paraphrase/summary of what Cheney said. Several articles based on these transcribed tapes will eventually appear on our support group's website ( under "newsletter" (Jan '01 and possibly Apr '01) and/or our Cheney section. While I am free to share the information from the tapes of my visit, these posts have not been reviewed or edited by Dr. Cheney.

Background on growth hormone: excerpts from "The Merck Manual of Medical Information: Home Edition"

"Growth hormone is one of the most important hormones produced by the anterior lobe of the pituitary. Growth hormone stimulates the growth of muscles and bones and helps regulate metabolism. GH can sharply increase the flow of sugar into muscle and fat, stimulate protein production in liver and muscle, and slow the production of fatty tissue. More prolonged effects of growth hormone - blocking the uptake and use of sugars, causing blood sugar levels to rise, and increasing the production of fat and fat levels in the blood - seem to counteract its immediate effects. These two actions of GH are important because the body must adapt to the lack of food when fasting. Along with cortisol, growth hormone helps maintain blood sugar levels for the brain and mobilizes fat, making it available to other body cells as an alternative fuel. In many cases, growth hormone appears to work by activating a number of growth factors."

"I think a major advance occurred with Greta Moorken's PhD study. It established that CFIDS is a Growth Hormone deficiency syndrome. ("Endocrine and Metabolic Aspects of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome", PhD Thesis May 2000, Antwerp University, Belgium)

"This is what GH looks like in your body." (He draws a horizontal line with a few occasional short spikes and a couple big spikes.) "Exercise - big spike. A physical stress response. Now, it comes up at 11 pm, assuming you keep regular hours, (he smiles because most of us don't, laughter all around), it peaks at midnight, and comes down around 2 am. The nocturnal spike. So if you monitor GH levels they are close to zero (most of the time); after stress they are high, and in the middle of your 'night' it peaks."

What does Growth Hormone Do?

"What does it do for you? Protein synthesis is it's main job. Why does it go up after physical exercise? When you exercise you break down muscles. You have to repair them, and you repair them better than their original condition - you build muscle. It's called training. You get stronger. Athletes love GH. It's a performance enhancer and can't be detected because it's natural and it spikes after exertion anyway. But if you don't have any GH and you train, you get weaker. You break down muscles instead of building them up. Instead of repairing them you get micro-trauma and knock your muscles down further."


"GH is also associated with stage four sleep. Without GH you can't get stage four sleep. You don't get refreshing sleep." (I commented that I thought it was the other way around - stage four was when GH was produced.) "You're right, but this is a chicken and egg scenario, and no one knows which comes first. No GH, no stage four. No stage four, no GH. They are interdependent."

"We do know this. At 3 am (or the equivalent time for your body clock) the liver comes up and maximally detoxifies. Of all organ systems liver has the highest protein synthesis rate. Isn't it interesting that the body spikes GH not long before the liver needs it to do heavy duty detox? It primes the liver. If you don't get the priming with GH at midnight, then your liver doesn't work. Without cleansing, you're toxic."


Dr. Cheney is refining the use of growth hormone and growth factors for use in CFIDS. Others have been researching this area for years. In particular, Dr. Sam Baxas pioneered the use of human growth hormone and growth factors more than twenty years ago. A discussion of his work can be found in the book "Grow Young with hGH" by Ronald Klatz.

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