Update 3/3/20. GenF20 is touted to help you to “Become immune to the passage of time.”GenF20 Plus, a growth hormone boosting supplement. The idea is that if we could get our bodies to naturally raise HGH levels, we would feel – and hopefully look – younger. In this detailed GenF20 review, you'll learn about the ingredients in the supplement and their research. You'll also see the difference between the capsules and the spray version. Does GenF20 really boost HGH levels? The best way to know for sure is to look at the proof.
Other Hormone Reviews
- SeroVital Review
- Dr. Max Powers Review
- Nugenix Review
- Nugenix Ultimate Review
- Ageless Male Review
- M Drive Review
- Testofen review
GenF20 And Growth Hormone
GenF20 Plus is technically referred to as a secretagogue (sa-Kreet-ah-gog). The word secretagogue refers to something that causes something else to be secreted. In this case, that something else, is human growth hormone (HGH). In other words, it's supposed to help people naturally make more HGH.
GenF20 Plus consists of both capsules and a liquid form of the supplement. People use both products. The idea behind using the supplement is that it's supposed to stimulate the pituitary gland (in the brain) to release (secrete) growth hormone, a compound that peaks around age 30 and then tends to decrease by about 2% or so each year thereafter.
Growth hormone, in turn, promotes the release of Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1). I mention IGF because if you read the GenF20 study that I'll summarize below (and others I've linked to in this review), you'll see this stuff mentioned.
Growth hormone and IGF-1 are not the same. Think of HGH as a signal that causes IGF-1 to be released. IGF-1 does many of the things that are attributed to growth hormone.
Effects of Growth Hormone (IGF1)
Growth hormone (IGF-1) does many things including but not limited to:
- Increases muscle growth (aka protein synthesis).
- Reduces protein breakdown.
- Increases bone growth.
- Increases fat breakdown (“fat-burning”).
- Maintains blood sugar levels.
The hype of HGH being anti-aging or “the fountain of youth” is often traced to a study from 1991, conducted by renowned HGH researcher Daniel Rudman, where 6 months of HGH injections in older men, lead to some interesting results such as modest reductions in body fat, and increased skin thickening. Impressive findings but remember dietary supplements may not work the same as injections of HGH
GenF20 Capsule Ingredients
According to the GenF20 Plus study. each capsule of GenF20 Plus has these ingredients:
|Tribulus Terrestris Extract 40%||80 mg|
|Astragalus Root||60 mg|
|Colostrum Powder 10%||50 mg|
|Deer Antler Velvet Powder||50 mg|
|Anterior Pituitary Powder||30 mg|
|GTF Chromium||0.1 mg|
I'll cover the HGH research on many of these ingredients below.
GenF20 Plus Spray Ingredients
GenF20 Plus is actually 2 different products
- product that is sprayed into the mouth
The table above describes the capsule ingredients. This table lists the ingredients in 2 ml of the GenF20 Plus spray.
|Alpha GPC||350 mg|
|Growth Factor Proprietary Blend, consisting of:||2000 nanograms|
|Mucuna Pruriens (seed)|
|Stimulator Factor Proprietary Blend, Consisting of:||1000 nanograms|
|Ornithine Alpha Ketoglutarate|
As can be seen, there is some similarity of ingredients between the spray and capsules. Further below, I'll cover the ingredients that are different between the two products.
GenF20 HGH Research
There is a clinical study on this product. You can read it yourself as it's available on the product website (it's a pdf file you can download). Here is a summary:
Study Title: “A Study To Evaluate The Effect of GenF20Plus on IGF-1 Levels In Normal To Overweight Adult Volunteers With Poor Quality Of Sleep, Decreased Memory, Decreased Libido and low Energy Levels.” The study was dated June 4, 2012. This investigation does not appear to be a peer-reviewed study.
Who Did The Study? The study was sponsored by the makers of GenF20, Leading Edge Marketing also known as Leading Edge Health. That's fine with me. I appreciate it when companies take the time to sponsor research on their products. Companies that do this, say to me, that they stand behind their products. I like that and it's rare.
Where Was The Study Conducted? This study was conducted by Vedic LifeSciences, Pvt, Ltd, a company which is based in India.
Why India? With all the quality universities in the US, why did the company -which is based in the US – go to India to get their research done?
What Did The Study Consist Of? The study involved 70 men and women (61 completed the study) who were 35-64 years of age. The people were randomly given either a placebo or GenF20 Plus. The study lasted 12 weeks (3 months). The people in the study included both normal weight and overweight individuals (according to Body Mass Index).
What Did They Use? For 12 weeks, the people either received a placebo or GenF20. The people took 2 GenF20 capsules twice a day (4 capsules total per day) an hour before meals. In addition, the people also used GenF20 Plus liquid spray. They used 4 ml per day (2 ml, twice a day, before meals).
The liquid was held under the tongue for 30 seconds and then swallowed. The placebo group received placebo capsules and liquid placebos.
GenF20 Study Results
Here's a summary of the results:
- People over age 40 who took GenF20 Plus saw a significant increase in IGF-1 levels compared to the placebo group. This is taken to mean it raised HGH levels. IGF-1 levels increased 28.57% in those who were 40 years of age and older.
However, when compared to the placebo group:
- There was no significant change in IGF-1 levels (or HGH) in people younger than 40 years of age
- There was no significant change in body weight
- There was no significant change in body fat
- There was no significant change in Body Mass Index (BMI)
- There was no significant change in waist circumference
- There was no significant change in lean body mass (muscle mass)
GenF20 Study Problems
- Both groups showed similar improvements in memory, energy levels, and sleep quality. There were no significant differences between the groups.
- The GenF20 group didn't do any better at reducing body weight, percent body fat, waist circumference or body mass index. In other words, the placebo group did just as well as those getting the supplement.
- Body fat was determined using a bio-electrical impedance analysis. The device used was the Omron HBF200. Basically you stand on the device and it tells your body fat. While a common method, there are better ways to determine body fat.
- This study isn't published in a medical journal.
These results are odd. The study showed GenF20 improved HGH levels (if you were over 40) but the people didn't seem any better – after 3 months of use – than those who just got a placebo.
Here's what I think. One study – positive or not – really doesn't tell us much. I think other studies need to be done to get a better idea of what might be happening. When I become aware of new studies, I'll update this portion of my review.
There is research on many of the ingredients in GenF20 Plus. Let's look at some of that research now. Since the product is touted to increase human growth hormone, this is what I will look for. Where possible, I'll also look for research involving humans.
Arginine is an amino acid and is a popular ingredient in HGH and testosterone supplements as well as male enhancement supplements too. Some of the products I've previously reviewed that contained arginine include:
- SeroVital (click to read review)
- Andro400 (click to read review)
- Thrive Patch (click to read review)
- Force Factor (click to read review)
Some research (but not all) does show arginine can raise HGH levels. However, at least one study has shown that when combined with exercise, the rise in HGH is less. In other words, exercise – alone – raises HGH better than exercise + arginine. That's an odd result.
Studies looking at arginine to improve HGH levels have used 5-9 grams per day. GenF20 Plus only has 130 mg per capsule. It's worth noting that not all research shows arginine raises HGH levels. In this study, 3000 mg (3 grams) of arginine didn't work when it was given to older men.
In a 2008 study, 3000 mg of arginine (combined with 2200 mg of ornithine) increased HGH and IGF1 (up to an hour later) in 17 weight lifters and bodybuilders, when it was combined with a heavy strength training program, compared to when the men got a placebo.
GenF20 Plus also has ornithine but it's less than this study used. This study also noted that the arginine/ornithine combination did not alter the resting levels of HGH or IGF1. In other words, taking the combination of amino acids didn't seem to do alter normal HGH levels. The level only went up after the men lifted weights.
Glutamine is popular in muscle building supplements. There was a study from 1995 that noted 2 grams (2000 mg) of glutamine might raise HGH levels. While the study is interesting, it involved a lot of the amino acid. Each capsule of GenF20 Plus only has 115 mg of glutamine.
See the glutamine review for more insights.
This is an amino acid. A study from 1978 did note 250 ml glycine could raise HGH levels, but this didn't appear to be from an oral supplement. Rather, the amino acid was injected.
Like GABA, discussed below, glycine has an inhibition effect in the nervous system. This makes me wonder if its use in GenF20 Plus is to help people sleep better? Better sleep might raise HGH levels.
This is an amino acid. I'm not aware of any human research of tyrosine raising growth hormone levels.
Tribulus Terrestris Extract
The GenF20 Plus label says that the product contains an extract of Tribulus, but we are not told which extract it has. It also says that the extract is “40%” but I'm unclear what the 40% refers to.
Tribulus Terrestris is popular in testosterone supplements and male enhancement supplements. Most of the science however does not support it's use.
In this study, 450 mg of tribulus did not raise testosterone levels or strength or muscle mass when it was given to young men for a month. GenF20 plus only has 80 mg. It could be that the extract used in GenF20 Plus is more concentrated (which would mean less is needed) but we would need research to test this.
Here is my review of Tribulus/testosterone research.
Its scientific name is Astragalus membranaceus. Other reviewed supplements containing astragalus include:
No proof in humans for boosting HGH levels could be located.
Colostrum is a milk-like substance produced by humans and animals shorty after giving birth. It has many different growth factors and is used to nourish babies. Colostrum powder is the powdered version of this liquid.
Much of the colostrum I've seen in supplements comes from cows. A such, its other name is “bovine colostrum.” When I called the company, I was told the colostrum in GenF20 also comes from cows and that the country of origin of the cows was the USA.
Each capsule of GenF20 Plus has 50 milligrams of colostrum powder.
Some evidence suggests colostrum may increase IGF-1 levels in humans. In this study, 125 ml of bovine colostrum was seen to increase IGF-1 levels in 9 male sprinters. Ingesting 20 grams of a specific bovine colostrum supplement was also observed to increase IGF-1 levels in this study also.
In another study, 40 older men and women were randomly given either 60 grams of bovine colostrum or 38 grams of whey protein for 8 weeks. The people also lifted weights during the study too. Researchers saw no change in IGF-1 levels between the groups. Oddly, those getting the colostrum could lift more weight on the leg press machine, than those getting whey protein.
In another study, 300 mg of goat colostrum, given to people with type II diabetes, normalized blood sugars. The people needed less insulin too. The researchers assumed that the results were due to colostrum increasing IGF-1 levels.
So, colostrum does seem to be doing something when people take it. But better studies need to be done to understand whats happening.
Deer Antler Velvet Powder
Each capsule of GenF20 Plus contains 50 mg of this ingredient.
This particular ingredient – as a supplement- is a bit disturbing in that it involves the removal of deer antlers at a specific time in their growth when their antlers are covered in little hairs (the “velvet”). The antlers are then ground into a powder and used in products for a variety of reasons ranging from improving exercise ability to enhancing sexual performance.
In some circles deer antler velvet is said to contain IGF-1. Indeed, at least one study has noted IGF-1 is present in some deer antler velvet supplements. But, does that mean it boosts HGH levels in people?
In this study, 38 active men were randomly given either a placebo or 300 mg of deer antler velvet per day for 10 weeks. The results showed no change in IGF 1 or testosterone levels. Likewise, no change in strength or aerobic exercise ability was detected either.
In another study, 46 male and female rowers were given either a placebo or 560 mg of deer antler velvet (they called it elk velvet antler) for 10 weeks in addition to their exercise training regimen. These researchers saw no change in testosterone or other hormones. In addition, the people did not do any better at rowing either.
In this review of the research, it was concluded that most of the claims for deer antler velvet supplements “do not appear to be based upon rigorous research from human trials.” The authors, however, did leave open the possibility that the supplement might help arthritis.
British fitness expert Christian Finn has a nice write up on dear antler velvet that's worth a look for those who want more insights.
GABA stands for Gamma-aminobutyric acid. It's a compound the body makes and uses to help brain cells talk to each other . So can GABA raise HGH levels?
One study involved 11 men who were given 3 grams of GABA or a placebo. Researchers noted that GABA increased growth hormone at rest and after exercise. This study did not last long enough to see if this elevated HGH improved strength levels.
Isoleucine is one of the branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) along with valine and leucine. While primate studies have indicated BCAAs may influence growth hormone release, the effects in humans is less well known.
Anterior Pituitary Powder
Since the anterior pituitary gland is a portion of the brain, that means this ingredient is basically ground up brain parts. They may also be referred to as “glandulars.”
The idea is that that because growth hormone comes from the anterior pituitary gland, eating the pituitary glands of other animals, might raise our level of HGH. There's no good proof of this. Heres why; brains are made up of fat and protein. When we eat fat and protein, they get digested. In other words, they don't get into us as brains.
When I called the company that makes GenF20 I was told the supplement uses cow anterior pituitary glands and it gets this ingredient from the USA. FYI. This ingredient is not included in the Canadian version of GenF20 Plus.
Valine is another branch chain amino acid. Proof it raises HGH levels in people cannot be located.
Proof that phosphatidylcholine raises HGH levels in people cannot be located.
Ornithine is an amino acid. GenF20 Plus provides 25 mg of ornithine per capsule. In a small study, 17 men (bodybuilders and weight lifters) were given a combination of ornithine (2200 mg) and arginine. (3000 mg). Over the course of 3 weeks, the arginine and ornithine combination – in conjunction with a heavy weight lifting program – was shown to increase HGH and IGF-1 compared to when the men got the placebo.
The ornithine/arginine combination did not alter the normal, resting levels of HGH or IGF1. The researchers noted that the levels stayed higher up to 60 minutes after the weight lifting program.
Chromium is a mineral that is involved in blood sugar control (among other things) and the letters GTF stand for glucose tolerance factor.
The GTF molecule basically helps insulin work better. Technically GTF and chromium are not the same. Since both GTF and chromium can impact how insulin works and because insulin-like-growth factor (IGF) is related to HGH, adding chromium to a growth hormone supplement might make some sense.
the evidence for chromium and weight loss has been covered previously. But, can chromium raise HGH? Human evidence can't be located.
GenF20 Spray Ingredients
Here is a brief review of the ingredients in the spray that are not found in the capsules.
Every 2 milliliters of the spray contains 350 mg of alpha GPC.
The scientific name for this stuff is alpha-glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline. From what I can gather, alpha GPC is has been traditionally used to improve memory and alertness in people with memory problems.
In a small study (7 men, about 30 years of age) noted that Alpha GPC also might raise growth hormone levels after exercise, compared to a placebo. This study used 600 mg of an Alpha GPC supplement called Alpha Size.
In another study (8 men, about 25 years of age), noted that 1000 mg of alpha GPC enhanced not only growth hormone but fat-burning ability too.
Given the lack of research, most investigations are needed.
Another name for this is “velvet bean.” The ingredient was also seen in Triverex. , Some evidence suggests mucuna pruriens may improve sperm count and mobility in infertile men.
In a study involving 15 men, it was noted that mucuna pruriens – combined with an herb, called Chlorophytum borivilianum – raised HGH, compared to placebo. But, did mucuna pruinens do it by itself? Unknown.
Problems with this study include the fact that we don't know which raised HGH – mucuna pruriens or Chlorophytum borivilianum – and the researchers didn't tell us how much of each ingredient was used. They only told us the total added up to 2250 mg.
Another name for this is Shilajit. No human HGH boosting effects could be located for this ingredient.
Ornithine Alpha Ketoglutarate
Usually called “OKG” this compound is made from the amino acid ornithine and alpha-ketoglutarate, a molecule that helps us make energy. Given its relationship to helping make energy, and making nitric oxide I usually hear this compound touted to improve exercise ability.
So does it?
In this study, 10 grams of OKG or a placebo were given to 18 men who were used to strength training exercises. The study lasted 6 weeks. The researchers saw no change in growth hormone or insulin levels. The men did see improvement in bench press ability but not the squat.
Ingredients With Evidence
Based on the evidence that could be located, here are the ingredients in GenF20 Plus that may raise HGH:
Remember, just because there is some evidence for these does not guarantee they will work for everyone.
GenF20 Plus Vs SeroVital
SeroVital is another popular HGH supplement. There are no studies that directly compare GenF20 Plus to SeroVital to see which might be best. While both have some ingredients in common, both supplements have ingredients the other does not have.
See the review of SeroVital for more information.
Who Makes GenF20 Plus?
The company is Leading Edge Marketing, also known as Leading Edge Health. They are located at Suite 100 – 645 Tyee Road British Columbia V9A 6X5, Canada.
The contact number is: 250-412-8452. Another company name, listed with the Better Business Bureau is “Leading Edge Herbals.” Another name is “leminternet.”
The BBB rated Leading Edge Marketing as A+. See the BBB file for updates and more information.
How To Contact GenF20 Plus
- The product website lists this customer service number: 866-621-6886.
- To order GenF20: 866-269-3487.
- For international callers, they give this number: 604-677-5365.
How Much Does It Cost?
A box costs $82.99 listed on the supplement's website. This is more than it used to cost ($59.99). Buying from the company website also comes with a 100% money back guarantee (minus shipping and handling). They give people 67 days from the time it's delivered to try GenF20 risk free.
GenF20-Plus Side Effects
The supplement is probalby fine in most healthy people. Even the GenF20 clinical study did not note any significant side effects. For those not “healthy,” here are a few things to consider. This list is not complete.
- Start with less than recommended for the first week
- Don't take if your a pregnant or nursing
- Stop taking at least 2 weeks before having surgery
- If you take any medications, consult your doctor and pharmstist first
- Don't combine GenF20 Plus with any other growth hormone enhancing supplements
- If the product really does raise HGH /IGF-1 levels, then I believe it's wise to consult your doctor and pharmacist and/or dietitian if you have any health issues including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes and arthritis.
How To Naturally Raise HGH
If the supplement is going to work, its best combined with proven ways to help raise growth hormone levels such as
- weight loss
Does GenF20 Plus Work?
The GenF20 clinical study noted that the supplement raised growth hormone levels in people over the age of 40 – but not do in people younger than 40. Keep that in mind if you're under 40 years of age. The best way to know if it's going to work is measure your HGH levels before you take the supplement and repeat the test a month later.