Anti-Aging Benefits of Growth Hormone as Shown in Studies
There comes a time in life when the levels of human growth hormone (HGH) in the body start to decline. The term “somatopause” is sometimes used to describe this phenomenon, along with decline in related substances, such as IGF-1 and GHRH. The drop in levels, they say, is a major factor in most of the issues that affect older individuals.
As a result, the belief of many is that supplementation of the hormone can help to prevent or slow aging. We must say this view is a controversial one. There are those who support and those oppose it. But what has research shown on the benefits of growth hormone for anti-aging purposes? We discuss some of these benefits and findings from certain studies that seem to support them.
Better body composition
This was one of the benefits shown in the ground-breaking 1990 study by Dr. Daniel Rudman and colleagues. The researchers administered about 0.03 mg of biosynthetic HGH to 12 men in the age range 61-81 for six months. At the end of treatment, it was found that the therapy led to 14.4 percent fall in adipose tissue mass. At the same time, there was 8.8 percent improvement in lean body mass. Rise in adipose tissue mass (body fat) and loss of lean body mass are two common occurrences in older individuals. The Rudman research therefore seems to suggest that raising HGH levels can improve body composition. This, in turn, promotes youthful appearance.
Another study done about the same time as that of Rudman hinted this substance can enhance youthful appearance based on effect on body composition. Dr. Franco Salomon and his colleagues gave HGH to adults with low levels over a period of six month. Those treated showed improvement in their basal metabolic rate. Body fat in subjects decreased by 7 percent while lean body mass gained 10 percent.
Some other researchers have observed similar results from HGH therapy. One of such is Dr. David Clemmons, chief endocrinologist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. He found in two double-blind, placebo controlled studies that the hormone, used together with dieting, amplified body fat burning. Study subjects were individuals with body weight up to 60 percent higher than the ideal. HGH use resulted in 25% rise in rate of fat loss, compared to when focus was on dieting alone. Subjects in the treatment group shed up to 32 pounds in 11 weeks, compared to the control group’s 25 pounds.
Researchers at Thomas Hospital in London reported absence of net weight gain from HGH therapy. They observed this after treating some adults who had low levels in a placebo controlled study. On average, treated subjects gained slightly over 12 pounds of lean muscle mass, while body fat reduced by about 12 and half pounds. The gains and losses virtually canceled each other out in overall weight gain.
Furthermore, researchers working at Sweden’s Sahlgreska Hospital also noted that HGH therapy can help deal with accumulation of body fat seen with age. Growth hormone-deficient adults were treated with the substance for six months. The patients experienced average loss of 20 percent in their body fat. Interestingly, the greatest decrease observed was in abdominal fat. This type of fat is a major risk factor for several awful age-related conditions.
Improved heart health
Evidence suggests that growth hormone may offer protection against cardiovascular issues. This is because it lowers low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol) and increases high-density lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol). It can also help to lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that HGH treatment can reduce diastolic blood pressure by roughly 10 percent.
Researchers reported in a study which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1996 that the peptide was helpful to people who had heart failure. The subjects had moderate to severe levels of the condition. Their hearts showed improved ability to contract and pump blood. The wall thickness of the left ventricles improved and there was a reduction in peripheral vascular resistance. The group of researchers, led by Dr. Serafino Fazio, also observed improvement in exercise capacity and overall quality of life.
Osteoporosis is a medical condition of the bone. It makes your bones to become weak and brittle, such that a fall or minor stresses can cause them to break. The risk of this disorder, which is usually the result of hormone changes, increases with age. Loss of growth hormone is associated with decrease in bone mineral density that puts you at risk of osteoporosis.
The Rudman study mentioned previously reported increase in bone density from treatment of elderly subjects with HGH. Another research that appeared in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2002 corroborated the earlier finding.
The study was carried out in Sweden by researchers headed by Peter Gillberg. Twenty-nine men whose ages were between 27 and 62 years with idiopathic osteoporosis were treated with growth hormone in the randomized controlled trial. The patients were given recombinant HGH either continuously (daily) or intermittently (14 days every three months) for two years. It was found that subjects in the two groups showed increases in both bone mineral density and bone mineral content. However, the improvement was greater among those who got the hormone on continuous basis.
Another group of Swedish researchers led by Dr. Gudmundur Johannsson had reported somewhat similar results years earlier. Their study also appeared in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, in 1996. The subjects were 44 men and women aged between 23 and 66 years. During the two-year open treatment trial, the hypopituitary patients with adult-onset growth hormone deficiency were given recombinant HGH.
The treatment led to bone mineral density increase in lumbar spine L2-L4 (3.8%), femoral neck (4.1%), Ward’s triangle (4.9%, and femoral trochanter (5.6%). Increase in bone mineral density was greater among the female subjects. Serum concentrations of osteocalcin and two collagen types relevant to bone formation – carboxy-terminal cross-linked telopeptide of type 1 collagen (ICTP) and carboxy-terminal propeptide of type 1 procollagen (PICP) – were also elevated.
Growth hormone may improve your body’s ability to fight infections, as shown in research. Immunologist Keith Kelly of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign observed in 1985 that the substance could help revive a shrunken thymus gland. Although it produces several hormones, the gland is associated more with the immune system that the endocrine system. It is said to only be active until puberty. This may explain why older people tend to have weaker immunity. So it should come as good news to older individuals that HGH may help.
Growth hormone offers potential to rejuvenate aging cells and boost production of T-cell lymphocytes, according to research. This type of lymphocyte plays crucial role in cell-mediated immunity. HGH restores the ability of the thymus gland to generate new CD4 cells that facilitate efficient immune response to pathogens.
Young-looking hair and skin
Dr. Rudman reported in his famous HGH study that therapy led to 7.1 percent improvement in skin thickness among the elderly subjects. But even more impressive results were reported in the Palm Springs Life Extension Institute study by Dr. Edmund Chein, Dr. Daniel Vogt, and Dr. Cass Terry. The study, which used data of patients treated at the Institute, appeared in the Journal of Advancement in Medicine in 1999.
The Palm Springs research had probably the highest number of subjects among studies on anti-aging benefits of HGH then. Of the 202 patients who responded to questions on effect of therapy, 71 percent reported improvement in skin elasticity and texture. Another 68 percent noted improvement in the thickness of their skin. Reduction in appearance of wrinkles was reported by slightly more than half of respondents. Also, 38 percent of the patients said the therapy, which involved use of synthetic HGH, helped them grow new hair.
Enhanced brain health and function
Research has shown that HGH replacement therapy can help boost cognitive function in people suffering a deficiency. Arwert and colleagues proved this is a 2006 double blind, placebo controlled study published in Neuroendocrinology. They gave patients with mean age of slightly over 27 years replacement HGH or placebo for six months. Those in the treatment group experienced improvement in both long-term and working memory.
Brain functional resonance imaging (fMRI) indicated activation of prefrontal, parietal, occipital, and motor cortices for working memory task. There were also anterior cingulate cortex and right thalamus activations from the treatment. The researchers further noted increased efficiency in the recruitment of the affected neural system.
Decline in the capacity to handle flashes of information has been linked to low HGH levels in adults. In addition to that, Dr. Jan Beren Deijem and other Dutch researchers observed that a deficiency impairs both short-term and long-term memory as well as motor skills, including hand-eye coordination.
It is also thought that growth hormone may help with Alzheimer’s disease. The dreaded condition is linked to significant cell loss in the brain. The regenerative potential of HGH may help in this regard.
Sufficiently high growth hormone levels may help to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This condition occurs more among older individuals. Dr. Ronald Klatz, a renowned authority in anti-aging medicine, explained in his book, “Ten Weeks To A Younger You,” how it may help in this regard. The physician noted that obesity is a risk factor for this form of insulin resistance.
Klatz observed a strong correlation between central belly fat and type 2 diabetes. People with high amount of visceral fat are therefore at greater risk. Yet, a very large number of American (nearly a 100 million) are said to be obese. It is well known that growth hormone can help burn body fat, as we have already pointed out. This then means it could reduce the risk of you developing insulin resistance.
Sexual health boost
Your sexual health and performance may also get a boost from HGH. The Palms Springs study again highlighted how it could be beneficial in this aspect. About 3 in every four respondents noted improvement in sexual potency and frequency from HGH therapy received. Sixty-two percent of the adult patients said they experienced improvement in duration of penile erections. The treatment led to improvement of hot flashes in 58 percent of respondents and better menstrual cycle regulation in almost 40 percent.
Dr. Klatz has also added his voice that boosting growth hormone levels can improve sexual function.
Digestive disorder treatment
It is common for people not to be able to absorb enough nutrients from their diet as they get older. This is the result of the thinning of the digestive tract lining. Research indicates growth hormone can help guard against and even treat digestive tract disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and colitis. Alfred Slonim observed in a study that about 3 in 4 persons with Crohn’s disease reported improvement after HGH treatment. Those who were previously using prednisolone no longer needed it or required a smaller dosage after the therapy.
In studies by Dr. Doug Wilmore and other researchers, it has been shown that adequate HGH levels may help in treating short bowel syndrome. The patients studied were fed intravenously before being treated. These people were able to eat solid food and also absorb the nutrients effectively following treatment with HGH injections and L-Glutamine.
Other benefits Of HGH
There is a variety of other benefits that have been reported from HGH therapy in studies. These include:
- Improvement of mood
- Enhanced sleep quality
- Greater strength and endurance
- Faster wound healing
- Regeneration of organs shrunken with age
- Back flexibility
- Improvement in self-esteem and confidence
- Positive outlook on life
- Reduction in frequency of night-time urination
As appealing as these benefits might sound, many medical experts are opposed to the use of growth hormone for anti-aging purposes. The risk of abuse is great and it could leave users vulnerable to several unpleasant side effects. As a result, synthetic hormone is strictly regulated in the United States. That is certainly a setback if you can somehow afford the exorbitant price of HGH injections. So you may not be able to get synthetic growth hormone, even when you have your money ready. You need to have a diagnosis of a condition linked to low levels.