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Human Growth Hormone-Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?

November 9, 2010

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Through technology and medicine we are continually researching and developing techniques to increase the human lifespan. Even though we have come a long way, we still are searching for that one product that will reverse the affects of aging and keep us young and beautiful throughout the years of our lives. Unfortunately until scientists actually develop such a drug, we will continue to age and our bodies will deteriorate slowly until our death.  However after the release of Life Extension: A Practical Scientific Approach in 1982 and a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which involved human growth hormone (hGH or GH), researchers are looking at a new possibility for anti aging.



            Human growth hormone, is one of the many hormones found within the human body in the pituitary gland. Human growth hormones stimulate growth, cell reproduction and regeneration within the human body. Although more abundant and readily available in the body when we are children, human growth hormone is still secreted throughout adulthood to maintain strong bones, maintain muscle mass, complete protein synthesis, reduce liver uptake of glucose, and stimulate the immune system as just a few of its many responsibilities within the body. However much like many other bodily functions, secretion of GH slows with increased age, which can lead to increased body fat, and decreased muscle mass. 



GH supplementation has become the new fascination for anti aging. However, research on its capabilities and side effects are still being tested therefore nothing has come out to support the claims that GH can reverse the effects of aging. In patients who show a deficiency in GH the effects include decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, increased bone density, increased energy levels, improved skin tone and texture, increased sexual function, and improved immune system function. Even though some of these effects were seen in studies done on healthy patients, the side effects from GH greatly outweighed the benefits. Some side effects include joint swelling, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.



                Although, GH has not proven to be the next fountain of youth, research is still being done to determine if it can minimize the effects of aging and increase the human expectancy. Some studies have shown great improvements in overall body structure with limited side effects. However, other studies show patients with higher levels of GH to have a shorter life expectancy. Unfortunately, the word is still out on whether the benefits of GH outweigh the side effects. If you are looking into human growth hormone injections, talk to your doctor to discuss the benefits and contraindications. Also beware of pills or supplements that claim GH ingredients and benefits. GH is only available in injection form and should only be given by a doctor.