Another Fountain of Youth Runs Dry
"Yes, there may be benefits for older people, both tantalizing and immediate. That's why some are willing to shell out thousands of dollars for routine injections. Some people lose fat, gain strength and improve their stamina. The Stanford study confirmed this, noting an average loss of 4.6 pounds of fat mass and a similar increase in lean body mass for seniors in their late 60s and early 70s.
The benefits sound oddly familiar-something that happens with exercise and a healthy diet, those mundane recommendations. Exercise would indeed be the wiser choice, the Stanford group said, finding no evidence to recommend hGH therapy
Growth hormone fuels cancer in mice, as reported by Karoly Szepeshazi of the Tulane School of Medicine in 2001 in the journal Endocrinology. Apparently, hGH triggers the release of another hormone, IGF-1, known to stimulate cancer growth later in life. This "smoking gun" animal study confirmed the cancer-causing hGH-IGF1 pathway seen in numerous in vitro experiments.
There have been no human studies to document hGH's ability to extend life [2007 article]. In contrast, mice without growth hormone routinely live 30-50 percent longer than normal mice, and mice overproducing growth hormone live 30-50 percent shorter, according to Huber Warner of the National Institute on Aging. "
"A Stanford University School of Medicine survey of clinical studies on the subject published in early 2007 showed that the application of GH on healthy elderly patients increased muscle by about 2 kg and decreased body fat by the same amount. However, these were the only positive effects from taking GH. No other critical factors were affected, such as bone density, cholesterol levels, lipid measurements, maximal oxygen consumption, or any other factor that would indicate increased fitness. Researchers also did not discover any gain in muscle strength, which led them to believe that GH merely let the body store more water in the muscles rather than increase muscle growth. This would explain the increase in lean body mass."
The referenced study:
Systematic Review: The Safety and Efficacy of Growth Hormone in the Healthy Elderly
Persons treated with GH were significantly more likely to experience soft tissue edema, arthralgias, carpal tunnel syndrome, and gynecomastia and were somewhat more likely to experience the onset of diabetes mellitus and impaired fasting glucose.
"The literature published on randomized, controlled trials evaluating GH therapy in the healthy elderly is limited but suggests that it is associated with small changes in body composition and increased rates of adverse events. On the basis of this evidence, GH cannot be recommended as an antiaging therapy."No proof that growth hormone therapy makes you live longer, study finds
'Those negative side effects included joint swelling and pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and a trend toward increased new diagnoses of diabetes or pre-diabetes. "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," Liu said. "You've got to really think about what this drug is doing for you."
"These studies were designed to look at what happens when you give growth hormone to a healthy elderly person," said Liu. "For example, what happens to their bone density, to their exercise levels and to their exercise capacity."
The researchers found that growth hormone had a modest effect on body composition, increasing lean body mass, or muscle, by slightly more than 2 kilograms and decreasing body fat by roughly the same amount.
But, Liu said, "It did not change other clinically important outcomes, such as bone density measurements, cholesterol and lipid measurements, and maximal oxygen consumption." In short, the studies provided no real evidence that the therapy resulted in increased fitness.