Study proves growth hormone is no efficient youth treatment, with small effects against aging and plenty of side effects.
Despite not having the approval of the FDA for use in anti-aging treatments, growth hormones are used extensively for this purpose.
Dr. Hau Liu, from Stanford University in California, led the team that analyzed information from 31 previous studies with a total of 220 participants involved, studies found in MEDLINE and EMBASE.
"There is certainly no data out there to suggest that giving growth hormone to an otherwise healthy person will make him or her live longer."
Participants were on average 69 years old and initially received daily doses of 14 micrograms per kilogram for an average of 27 weeks. Results showed that at the end of the treatment, an average 2.1kg of body mass shifted from fat to lean body mass. This influenced cholesterol levels, so it was only an indirect effect. Bone density and fat levels in the blood plasma did not alter.
Side effects ranged from swelling, joint pain, gynecomastia or breast development in men, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Stanford University's Dr. Hau Liu: "Although growth hormone has been widely publicized as an anti-aging therapy and initial studies suggest that it might be clinically beneficial and safe in the healthy elderly, we find little evidence to support these claims. On the basis of available evidence, growth hormone cannot be recommended for use among the healthy elderly."
"You're paying a lot of money for a therapy that may have minimal or no benefit and yet has a potential for some serious side effects. You've got to really think about what this drug is doing for you."
Growth hormone (GH, somatropin or somatotropin) is a polypeptide hormone synthesized and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland which stimulates growth and cell reproduction in humans and other vertebrate animals. While used mainly for height growth, it serves many other metabolic functions as well:
It increases calcium retention, and bone mineralization, boosts muscle mass by creating new muscle cells, and promotes lipolysis, which results in the reduction of adipose tissue (body fat).
The growth hormone also increases protein synthesis and stimulates the growth of internal organs except for the brain, reduces liver uptake of glucose, and stimulates the immune system.
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