Studies suggest that the hypothalamus may produce a tiny peptide hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH), also known as protirelin.
TRH has been suggested to increase thyroid function, and its possible downstream potential in mitigating age-associated physiological decline, alteration of food intake, neutralising free radicals, and controlling the autonomic nervous system have all been investigated.
What is TRH?
To learn more about the potential of this substance, researchers investigated the possible effects of either short-term, acute presentation of TRH or its chronic presentation on various organs, tissues, and aging-related metabolic and hormonal markers. Scientists also aimed to identify its impact on the gonadal-reproductive and kidney-urinary systems. The data suggested that TRH may induce quick correction in older mice to more youthful levels of most specific hormonal and metabolic anomalies associated with aging.
Remarkably, it has been hypothesized that TRH may preserve testicular function in aged mice. The active proliferation and generation of mature spermatogonia and drastic spermatogenesis in the follicles propose that TRH absorbed from the drinking water may maintain and restore testicular structure and function, as suggested by the considerable rise in testicular weight.
Scientists speculate that the presentation of TRH may prevent the tubuli and glomeruli from being infiltrated by amyloid and hyalin, which is expected in aged mice. The glomeruli of control mice with filtration capacity reduction are infiltrated by enormous deposits of amyloid and hyalin material, while animals given TRH suggest almost little sign of this. The tubular vessels of control mice likewise suggest significant hyalin degradation.
Exactly what does TRH do?
The term “thyroid-releasing hormone,” or TRH for short, is a very poor and inaccurate way to describe what this hormone does. The three amino acids that comprise this small molecule are present in all living things, from single-celled algae to multicellular mammals.
It is believed to be found mostly in the cells of the pancreas, the pineal gland, and also the anterior hypothalamus. Hundreds of studies have documented its properties since its finding in the 1950s by Nobel Laureate Roger Guillemin. Research suggests that since TRH may be quickly broken down in the gut and the intestines, and its short half-life has restricted its research application.
The thymus is the superior gland of the immune system, but its function gradually diminishes with age. In 1989 and 1990, Dr. Walter Pierpaoli published his first relevant study speculating the possible range of effects of TRH in the reconstitution of the thymus and its alleged anti-viral actions against a fatal virus. However, an increase in thyroid hormones is not solely responsible for all of TRH’s impacts. Recent papers have suggested TRH’s potential mitigating age-related hormonal changes.
Dr Pierpaoli has recently purported, using various mouse obesity models, that TRH may directly act on the hormones governing fat storage, reversing and abrogating aging-related adiposity, and correcting aging-related hormonal changes. He has also speculated that TRH may cause a quick drop in leptin levels, fast mobilization of blood triglycerides, and speedy weight reduction. As hypothesized by Dr. Pierpaoli, TRH might have a meaningful role in the hormonal regulation of weight and fat reserves. As the ability to regulate weight naturally declines with age, this system becomes more important.
Dr Pierpaoli purported data for the possible range of anti-aging effects of TRH at the 5th Stromboli Conference on Aging and Cancer in 2010. In his attempt to restore all parameters to juvenile levels, Dr. Pierpaoli attempted to reverse testis atrophy and restore spermatozoa production and maturation. He reportedly completely recovered kidney function, maintaining glomerular filtration and tubular function, as suggested by the disappearance of hyalin and amyloid infiltration, which are hallmarks of kidney disease.
Dr. Poerpaoli’s study suggests that TRH may be responsible for readjusting various imbalances, beyond thyroid hormones (its principal recognized potential). In his tests with animals, TRH supplements, reportedly, have prompted aging animals to:
- Potentially restore spermatogenesis (preventing further testicular degeneration due to aging)
- Potentially restore normal kidney function (a major discovery in renal disorders)
- Potentially manage diabetes, which requires correcting pancreatic dysfunction
- Potentially perform a protective and anti-cancer function
- Potentially reduce fat percentage and weight
Dr Pierpaoli published a book in 2011 detailing his subjects, research, and outcomes to expose the existing research on this extraordinary substance.
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Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle