Can SeroVital raise human growth hormone (HGH) levels? Can it reduce wrinkles, decrease body fat or give you stronger bones? Can it make you look –and feel- DECADES younger? Can it really raise HGH levels by 682%? These are just some of the words used to hint at what SeroVital might do if you took it regularly. These are also some of the most impressive words I’ve ever seen for a supplement, so the logical question is, does it really work? In this review I’m going to look at the SeroVital research study along with research on its ingredients. In addition, I’ll also try to answer some of my own questions that occurred to me as I investigated this supplement. Also see the review of GenF20 Plus for more information.
Before we go any further, let me first briefly explain a couple terms that you may have heard about as you started to wonder if SeroVital was right for you.
Growth Hormone. It’s also called HGH –for Human Growth Hormone – or just GH. It is made by the pituitary gland in the brain. It’s a hormone that does a LOT of things including playing a role in muscle growth. We tend to make less HGH as we get older.
Secretagogue. Pronounced “se-kreet-a-gog.” This term refers to any compound that makes the body secrete another compound. In this, case SeroVital is said to contain secretagogues (amino acids and herbs) that are said to help the body secrete (produce) growth hormone.
HGH or HCG?
HGH – human growth hormone – is not the same thing as HCG. HCG stands for human Chorionic Gonadotropin. People sometimes use HCG to help with weight loss. See the HCG review for insights on that hormone.
Who Makes SeroVital?
The company listed on the box I have is called SanMedica International. I’m told they also hold the patent on SeroVital too. Here is the US patent if you want to read it.
When I went to their website (SanMedica.us) I did not see an actual address listed. The box of Serovital I have, only states that they are located in Salt Lake City Utah.
The Better Business Bureau gives SeroVital a rating of “B” at the time this review was created. The BBB also lists this address and phone number for the company: 5742 W Harold Gatty Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84116. Phone: 801-517-7007. See the BBB file for updates and other information.
Interestingly, the address the BBB gives is the same address for another company, called Basic Research LLC. I believe they may be the creators of Serovital because “Basic Research LLC” is in the Serovital US patent.
The SeroVital Box
On the SeroVital Box, I see an interesting statistic listed in parentheses directly under the products name. That statistic says “Clinically Tested 682% Mean Increase” This statistic refers to the SeroVital clinical study that I’ll cover below.
I noticed something else interesting about the box. The box of SeroVital I have does not mention HGH anywhere. But, the box depicted on the SeroVital.com website does mention HGH (I've circled it in the picture below). On my box, the area that would have mentioned “HGH” have been replaced by 3 orange columns. Notice the differences in the pictures below.
If anyone knows why they removed HGH from the box, let me know.
What About The Quote?
On the box of SeroVital is a quote that is prominently displayed. The quote says this:
“It is clear that optimum pituitary output has been associated with wrinkle reduction, decreased body fat, increased lean muscle mass, stronger bones, improved mood, heightened sex drive and making users look and feel decades – not years, but DECADES – younger”
I wanted to know who actually said those words. When I asked SeroVital customer support, the person I spoke with could not tell me. If anyone knows who said these words, let me know and I’ll be glad to update my review.
On SeroVital.com they list a study that noted SeroVital raised HGH levels by 682% on average in people. This is a reference to a study that was presented at the Obesity Society meeting in 2012.
The study appears on page S174 and is titled “Elevated Growth Hormone 120 Minutes a Single Low Dose of Amino Acids in Healthy Subjects.” This is the study that Dr. Oz referenced when he discussed HGH on his TV show.
You can also read the summary of the study yourself on the Science Page of SeroVital.com (the link goes to the page).
The study involved 16 people (14 men and 2 women) who were in their 30s. The study lasted 2 weeks. During one week, people took SeroVital and the next week, they received an placebo. Growth hormone levels were measured at 15, 30, 60, 90 and 120 minutes after taking the supplement/placebo.
Results. Researchers noted that HGH levels were higher 120 minutes after taking SeroVital compared to placebo. Levels of IGF-1 were also noted to be higher 8 hours later.
This is an interesting study but some potential issues occurred to me as I read it.
1. The study appears to not yet be peer reviewed. It was presented at the Obesity Society as an abstract (a summary of research). I did find the study listed with ClinicalTrials.com which states that the study was completed in 2012. I reached out to one of the researchers of the study who told me they are in the process of writing up the study to submit for peer review. See my FAQ page for more on abstracts vs. peer reviewed studies.
2. The study only had 14 people. While that’s not a lot, other studies, such as those I list below, had similar numbers of people.
3. The study showed that HGH levels were higher 120 minutes after taking SeroVital. It is unknown how long HGH levels remain higher after taking SeroVital.
4. This investigation did not measure body fat, testosterone levels, muscle strength, wrinkles or any other aspect of the aging process.
5. This study involved people in their 30s. What about people in their 50s and 60s who would be expected to have lower HGH levels?
6. The summary does not specifically say that HGH levels were raised “682%.” Rather they state that HGH levels increased “8 fold” from 0.17 ng/ml to 1.33 ng/ml. I'm assuming these are average values for everybody in the study because the baseline value (normal level) is 0.17 ng/ml. This value is lower than what is considered “normal” HGH for men and women. See the next section for normal HGH levels.
Other than this study, I’m not aware of any other research on SeroVital.
What Are Normal Growth Hormone Levels?
According to Medline Plus, these are normal HGH levels for men and women:
- Men: 1 – 9 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml)
- Women 1 – 16 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml)
SeroVital contains 5 amino acids and 1 herb. According to the box I have, 4 capsules of SeroVital have the following ingredients:
|Amount Per Serving||Percent Daily Value|
|Proprietary Blend Containing||2.9 grams|
|L Lysine HCL||N /A|
|L Arginine HCL||N /A|
|N-Acetyle L Cysteine||N /A|
|L Glutamine||N /A|
|Schizonepeta (arial parts) Powder||N /A|
Other ingredients that are also listed in SeroVital are:
|Gelatin||Steric Acid||Magnesium Sterate||Titanium Dioxide||Rice Flour|
|Microcrystaline Cellulose||Candurin Silver Fine||Yellow # 5||Sillicon Dioxide||Yellow #6|
Take notice that 4 capsules of SeroVital have a total of 2.9 grams of all of the ingredients. While the box doesn't tell us how much of each ingredient is in these capsules, the US patent for SeroVital does tell us. According to the patent, 1 capsule of SeroVital contains:
- 181.38 mg L-arginine
- 170.93 mg L-pyroglutamic acid (oxy-proline)
- 0.25 mg N-acetyl L-cysteine
- 374.83 mg L-lysine
- 0.25 mg L-glutamine
- 0.125 mg Schizonepta (aerial parts) powder
If you add all these numbers up, they equal 727.765 mg. If you multiply this by 4 (4 capsules per day), you get 2911.06 mg, which rounds to 2.9 grams – the amount in 4 capsules of SeroVital.
Let’s take a look at some of the relevant research on each of these ingredients and see what might be going on.
Lysine is an essential amino acid (essential means we don't make it naturally and have to get it from food or supplements). 4 capsules contains 1499.3 mg of lysine.
In this 1981 study, lysine alone did not raise HGH levels – but it did when it was combined with the amino acid, arginine. The amount used in this investigation was 1200 mg of lysine and 1200 mg of arginine.
Tip. Amino acids often have the letter “L” in front of them. This stands for levorotatory and is chemistry talk that basically means the molecule is “left handed”. If you see the letter “d” in front of something, it means the molecule is “right handed” (dextrorotatory ).
In a 1993 study, the combination of lysine and arginine did not raise HGH levels in older men compared to placebo. This study used 3 grams of lysine and 3 grams of arginine used 2x per day for 2 weeks.
Arginine is a non-essential amino acid (we make it naturally) and has been in growth hormone raising supplements for decades, although these days it’s also found in pre-workout supplements and erection supplements because it helps us make nitric oxide. The SeroVital patent states that 4 capsules contain 725.5 mg of arginine.
I first came across this amino acid in college, after reading a book called Life Extension by Dirk Pearson and Sandy Shaw (If you’re old enough, you may remember seeing them on the old Merv Griffin TV show).
In a 1997 study, it was noted that the combination of 1500 mg of arginine and 1500 mg of lysine, – given to young men during resting conditions – raised HGH levels. Ironically, the amino acids did not raise HGH levels when people exercised.
In a 2005 study, 5g and 9g of arginine, given to men (18-30 yr) raised growth hormone levels more than a placebo.
In a 2014 study, 6 grams of arginine did not raise HGH levels (or other hormones) in 15 runners compared to a placebo.
In a 2007 study, arginine used for 7 days didn’t raise HGH or IGF-1 in adults. These people took 7 grams of arginine per day.
In this 2008 paper on arginine and exercise, the researcher states that while both arginine and exercise increased HGH levels, when combined, oddly, the rise is less than that seen with exercise alone.
This paper seems to be supported by the next study…
In this 2010 paper, it was noted that arginine, given before strength training reduced HGH levels. These researchers gave people 0.075 mg of arginine per kilogram of body weight
Translation: there are 2.2 pounds in a kilogram. So, if you weighted 180 lbs (82 kg), you’d get 0.075 x 82 =6.15 grams of arginine.
Of all the ingredients in SeroVital, arginine appears to have the most studies on it potentially raising HGH levels. That said, as can be seen from above, not all the studies show it helps.
The other name for this is pyroglutamic acid (this is the name used in the SeroVital patent). I’m not aware of any peer reviewed evidence that oxo-proline raises HGH in people. If anyone does, let me know and I’ll update this part of my review. According to the patent, 4 capsules of SeroVital contain 683.7 mg of oxoproline.
Another name for this stuff “NAC”. N-Acetyl-Cysteine is a modified version of the amino acid cysteine. In supplements, NAC is often used to increase glutathione levels. Glutathione is an antioxidant. I’m not aware of any human evidence that N-Acety-Cysteine raises HGH levels. 4 capsules of SeroVital contain 1 mg of NAC.
I wonder if NAC is in SeroVital as a supporting agent. In other words, might NAC be used to beef up glutathione levels in the hopes that this helps support HGH production? I’m taking a wild guess, of course. If anyone knows, let me know.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid. Glutamine may play a role in immune function and is also popular in bodybuilder supplements because research finds that under extreme stress, it may help us recover faster. See my review on glutamine for more insights on this.
As far as growth hormone is concerned, in a 1995 study, it was noted that that 2 grams of glutamine, dissolved in a liquid, raised HGH levels in 8 of 9 healthy men (32-64 years of age). Other than this, I’m not aware of any more research on glutamine raising HGH levels. SeroVital contains 1 mg of glutamine in 4 capsules.
Schizonepeta is an herb. Other supplements may call this ingredient, Jing Jie or Japanese Catnip. When I searched for “schizonepeta and growth hormone” I didn’t see any clinical studies showing that this herb raised HGH levels. The herb appears to have some anti-inflammatory properties and this may be why it's in SeroVital.
There is some speculation that inflammation may reduce HGH levels. Whether or not taking this herb raises HGH – by way of reducing inflammation – has not been well studied. SeroVital has 0.5 mg of schizonepeta when people take 4 capsules.
Ingredients With Evidence
Based on the research I was able to locate, here are the ingredients in SeroVital that have some research that they might raise HGH levels:
I've linked to them on Amazon so you can compare prices. Of these , I think arginine has the most evidence. I admit it's possible I may have missed research on the other ingredients. It's also possible that the ingredients I did not list may play supportive roles in helping other ingredients work better.
SeroVital And Fertility
Can SeroVital help women get pregnant? Growth hormone is involved in both female and male fertility, so it makes sense that some people might look to growth hormone supplements to help those who want to get pregnant. That said, I'm not aware of any evidence SeroVital itself can help with this endeavor.
SeroVital And HIV
People with HIV/AIDS may be interested in natural ways to boost growth hormone levels. Can SeroVital help? I'm not aware of any research involving men or women with HIV so this answer is not known. Also unknown is how the ingredients in SeroVital interact with HIV medications.
Until the research is done, the best advice is probably show the ingredients to a doctor/pharmacist and see what they say.
How To Take SeroVital
It's recommended to take 4 capsules of SeroVital on an empty stomach, either 2 hours before meals or about 2 hours before going to bed. Do you have to take 4 pills at once or can people take 2 pills in the morning and 2 pills before bed? I guess. I'm not sure if its best to take the capsules at the same time or separate them. Taking them on an empty stomach however appears necessary. Do not to take more than 4 capsules per day.
That said, because everybody is different, for those who've never taken this before, it might be best to only take 1 capsule per day for the first week, to give the body time to adjust to the product gradually. This might also cut back on any side effects that might occur too. I think this is wise for any new supplement we take.
Is There An AutoShip Program?
If people buy the product from SeroVital.com, they have the option to check a box where they can save money on future shipments. Checking this box enrolls people in a Preferred Customer Plan. This means that every 30 days, you will be sent another months supply of SeroVital for a reduced price ($80 when I checked). You have to check this box to be enrolled. If you don't check the box, you are not enrolled in the program. To cancel auto-shipments, call their customer service department at : 800-435-1409.
Dr Lisa Masterson And SeroVital
Dr Masterson (of “The Doctors” fame) has said on TV commercials “As a doctor – and a woman – that I am very excited that now I can tell women everywhere about SeroVital.” Why is Dr. Masterson so excited? Serovital is a combination of ingredients that have been around for years. Why is she so excited about this?
Notice Doctor Masterson specifically mentions women in her statement. Serovital is marked to women. See the section below on Growth Factor 9 why I call attention to this. What is the position of America Medical Association on doctors endorsing products which lack clinical evidence?
Can You Make Your Own SeroVital?
The advantage of SeroVital is all you have to do is take 4 pills a day and you are good to go. But, some might wonder if they could make their own “SeroVital” and save money? Yes you really can do this! The SeroVital patent tells us exactly how to do it. According to the SeroVital Patent, we know that 4 capsules contain:
- 725.5 mg L-arginine
- 683.7 mg L-pyroglutamic acid (Oxo-Proline)
- 1499.3 mg L-lysine
- 1 mg N-acetyl L-cysteine
- 1 00 mg L-glutamine
- 0.5 mg Schizonepta (aerial parts) powder
I did some research and found all of this stuff on Amazon:
Granted, buying each ingredient separately may mean doing some measuring to get the exact amounts. Based on my rough calculation, depending on what was purchased, doing it this way might save about $30.
What Is Growth Factor 9?
As I investigated SeroVital, I came across another supplement called Growth Factor 9.
Guess what. Growth Factor 9 is the EXACT SAME THING as SeroVital. Here are their ingredients side-by-side:
|Serovital (4 capsules) 2.9g||Growth Factor 9 (4 capsules) 2.9g|
|L Lysine HCL||L Lysine HCL|
|L Arginine HCL||L Arginine HCL|
|N-Acetyle L Cysteine||N-Acetyle L Cysteine|
|L Glutamine||L Glutamine|
|Schizonepeta (arial parts)||Schizonepeta (arial parts)|
When I asked SeroVital customer support about this, I was told the products were different but the person couldn’t tell me how.
I'm sorry but I have a problem with a supplement marketed to different people under two different names
- SeroViral: marketed to older people / women
- Growth Factor 9: marketed to bodybuilders / weight lifters
Growth factor 9 even mentioned “serovital” on its label!
This lack of transparency is what gives the supplement industry a bad name.
How To Return SeroVital
SeroVital is sold at some health food stores, such as GNC, so returning it to where it was purchased is an option for those who are not satisfied. The SeroVital website also lists this address for returns:
Attention Returns Department: 5742 Harold Gatty Drive Salt Lake City, UT 84116. They also list this phone number: 1-800-898-5153 where people can get more specific information. I recommend people call the company before sending it back to get the specifics on what is required to do this.
SeroVital Side Effects
I think SeroVital is safe for healthy people to take. When I searched online for “SeroVital side effects” I didn’t see anyone saying things that were alarming. While there isn’t an overabundance of any single ingredient in SeroVital, here are a few things to keep in mind and ask your doctor about if you think they apply to you.
N-Acetyle-Cysteine and arginine may reduce blood pressure. This might be an issue for those who take blood pressure lowering medications.
Stop taking SeroVital at least 2 weeks before surgery. Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding also.
Schizonepeta contains a compound called pulegone that might damage the liver in high amounts. Schizonepeta is the last ingredient listed, so there is not much in SeroVital. As such, how significant this might be, I don't know. If you have liver problems, speak to your doctor first.
All that said, I believe SeroVital is safe in healthy people.
Does SeroVital Work?
While I have my doubts, I’m honesty not sure if it works or not. I say this because I didn’t try it myself and I can only locate one small –as of yet unpublished – study on the product. Some of the ingredients – such as arginine and lysine – do seem logical for a growth hormone supplement.
If it does work (raise HGH levels), there are still questions that need to be answered. For example, does SeroVital raise HGH levels better than exercise? Does SeroVital work better than just taking arginine – arginine and lysine alone? Does SeroVital help build muscle, reduce body fat smooth wrinkles or increase energy levels? That’s the assumption, of course, but this it will take research to prove.
For those who take this supplement, its important to keep in mind that it's likely best used in conjunction with eating well and exercise. Kudos to SeroVital for also stating this on their website.
If you are going to try SeroVital, here’s what I suggest. Don’t just go by how you feel to see if it’s working or not. Instead, get your HGH levels tested first and then get it tested again – at the same time of the day – after using it for a month. If SeroVital is going to work, you will know by then. This is the only way to know for sure if SeroVital really works.