Most people know hGH as a miracle treatment for children suffering dwarfism and has been used successfully for the last 30 years in tens of thousands of children all over the world. Nowadays, hGH therapy is benefiting the adult population.
What would happen if hGH could be replaced in people showing signs of aging? Daniel Rudman, MD, from the Medical College of Wisconsin, made medical history when he published an article in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. He compared the effects of hGH injections on men, ages 60-80, with a control group that got water injections.
The results made headlines all over the world. Those taking hGH injections gained an average of 8.8% muscle mass and lost 14% in fat, without diets or exercise. Their skin became firmer & thicker and the lumbar bones of the spine got denser & stronger.
In language rarely used in conservative medical journals, researchers wrote: “The effects of 6 months of Human Growth Hormone (hGH) on muscle & fat mass were equivalent in magnitude to the changes incurred during 10 to 20 years of aging”.
The take-home message is that the decline of hGH with age can be reversed. The administration of hGH can produce a correction of this decline. For these reasons & more, Human Growth Hormone (hGH) has been called “The Master Hormone”, “The Fountain of Youth”, “The Silver Bullet of Life Extension”.
What would happen if hGH could be replaced in people showing signs of aging? People would lose the extra fat, increase muscle mass & tone, regain energy & stamina, increase bone strength, renew sexual desire, regain quality of sleep, attain a sense of well-being while elevating mood, become mentally sharp, and regain their “edge”…they would regain their “zest for life”.
1. What is Human Growth Hormone?
Human Growth Hormone or hGH is produced by the pituitary gland in the center of the brain. Everyone naturally has hGH in his/her body from birth. In children, hGH stimulates bone and muscle growth and during puberty; it is at this stage that growth is most rapid and hGH levels are very high. This is why it was named "growth hormone".
In adults, hGH maintains a healthy body composition, but more importantly it is known as the "Master Hormone" or "Fountain of Youth" because it balances all the other hormones in the body. Thyroid, Cortisol, DHEA, Pregnenolone, Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone, Melatonin, and, of course, Human Growth Hormone are the major hormones in the human body (see other sections in Anti-Aging Medicine/Bio-Identical Hormone Balancing).
Hormones determine EVERYTHING in the body…from how many beats per minute our heart should beat to our emotional state to how firm our skin should be! This is why hormones are crucial in maintaining our health and well-being. An Anti-Aging physician can test for the different hormones aside from assessing the different signs & symptoms that hormonal imbalances cause.
2. What are the signs & symptoms of Adult Human Growth Hormone deficiency (AGHD)?
a. The physical signs & symptoms of hGH deficiency:
|Loss of physical strength & recovery from physical activity||Loss of exercise capacity|
|Loss of bone strength & density—osteoporosis & osteopenia||Loss of muscle volume & tone|
|Increased total & belly fat||Glucose intolerance—pre-diabetes or full-blown diabetes|
|Dyslipidemia—high total & bad cholesterol; low good cholesterol||Increased fragility of skin & blood vessels|
|Thinned, wrinkled, loose, or prematurely aged skin||Decreased immune function & cancer|
b. The psychological signs & symptoms of hGH deficiency:
|Decreased quality of life||Low mood or depression|
|Chronic fatigue & low energy||Mood swings, anxiety, social isolation|
3. What diseases are caused by low hGH (Human Growth Hormone) levels?
All of the age-related diseases: heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis; all of these are improved, and sometimes cured, by hGH replacement therapy.
What we want to accomplish is to restore “normal” or youthful levels of ALL hormones, including hGH, in order to prevent these age-related diseases.
4. What are the benefits of Human Growth Hormone (hGH)?
|Loss of total fat & belly fat (on average 14.4% without dieting)||Increase in lean body mass|
|Increase in muscle volume and muscle tone (on average 9% without exercise)||Improvement in cardiovascular function|
|Improvement in cholesterol profile||Reverse atherosclerotic changes in coronary & carotid arteries|
|Quality of life improves—“Lazarus Effect” (see below for details)||Bone mineral density increases|
|Improves memory, alertness, & concentration||Enhances sexual performance|
|Higher energy level||Superior function of the Immune system|
|Lowers blood pressure||Younger, tighter, thicker skin|
|Wrinkle removal||Elimination of cellulite|
|Sharper vision||Improved sleep|
5. How do you get the most out of hGH replacement therapy?
There are important 2 factors:
a) Hormonal balance
It is imperative to correct ALL hormonal imbalances in the body in order to enhance hGH benefits and its effects. Thyroid, Cortisol, DHEA, Pregnenolone, Testosterone, Estrogen, Progesterone, Melatonin, and, of course, Human Growth Hormone are the major hormones in the human body (see other sections in Anti-Aging Medicine/Bio-Identical Hormone Balancing).
Hormones determine EVERYTHING in the body…from how many beats per minute our heart should beat to our emotional state to how firm our skin should be! This is why hormones are crucial in maintaning our health and well-being. An Anti-Aging physician can test for the different hormones aside from assessing the different signs & symptoms that hormonal imbalances cause.
One of the most important factors is the diet: eat enough calories, add an amino acid supplement, eat organic foods, follow a “Paleolithic” diet (raw fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, poultry, fish—lots of protein).
Avoid alcohol, vinegar, caffeinated drinks, milk products, breads, sweets, and sugar. Regular exercise is also very important. Stay lean--avoid becoming overweight. Get adequate sleep—avoid sleep deprivation. Avoid excessive prolonged stress. Avoid smoking, marijuana, and other drugs.
6. How much time is needed to see the first improvements with hGH?
hGH replacement therapy usually takes weeks before the first improvements appear. In general, most improvements are felt during the 2nd, 3rd, & 4th months of hGH therapy. Unlike other hormone treatments, patients continue to improve for 1 to 3 years after the start of treatment.
This is especially true in patients who have made major diet & lifestyle adjustments as well as supplement with Nutriceuticals (pharmaceutical-grade nutritional supplements). All other hormones in the body must be balanced in order to get the best results out of hGH therapy.
7. What are the signs and symptoms of hGH excess or side effects?
All signs and symptoms are reversible by lowering the dose and adjusting the frequency of hGH injections.
There are no serious risks. The majority of these symptoms are seen when the hGH dose is too high for that particular patient. It is important for the patient to know these signs and symptoms because the patient can help the physician adjust the treatment dose.
- Swelling (especially feet and hands)
- Joint pain (especially hands and knees)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (inflammation and pain of the wrists)
- High blood pressure—rare side effect; hGH usually lowers blood pressure
- Glucose intolerance & insulin resistance (onset of pre-diabetes)—although this is an unusual side effect, the blood sugar may creep up slowly over months. This is caught by the physician in the routine blood tests done twice per year to follow up on these patients. The treatment is usually to decrease the hGH dose only.
8. hGH & Immune system
- The thymus is the primary organ of the immune system. As we age it shrinks and finally disappears. The shrinking thymus coincides with a rise in the diseases associated with aging including Cancer
- Autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases.
- hGH produces greater activity of anticancer NK cells
- hGH produces greater proliferation of disease-fighting white blood cells and antibodies and stimulation of bacteria-fighting macrophages
- hGH restores damaged old & weak immune system
9. hGH & Cardiovascular disease
- hGH reduces body fat significantly (especially belly fat), which is one of the major risk factors for heart attacks
- Improves heart power to contract and the output of blood volume—they both decrease with age and heart disease
- Improves cardiac function after heart attack by stimulating contractility & promoting heart tissue remodeling
- Improves dramatically and may reverse heart failure
- Decreases blood pressure (diastolic or lower number)
10. hGh & Cholesterol
- Significant decrease in total cholesterol, LDL (“bad cholesterol”), and triglycerides.
- Significant increase in HDL (“good cholesterol”)
- Greatest improvements in the worst cholesterol case
11. hGH & Diabetes
- Facilitates sugar metabolism in the body which goes awry with age
- Lowers insulin levels and increases insulin sensitivity, therefore preventing the onset of pre-diabetes and full-blown diabete
12. hGH & Brain
- Improves REM sleep, elevates mood, & raises energy levels
- Improves and may reverse cognitive capabilities, short & long term memory, alertness, motivatihhon, hand-eye coordination, & work capacity
13. hGH & Osteoporosis
- Significantly increases formation, density & strength of bone.
- Synergistic effect with exercise
- Increases calcium needed for bone re-building Decreases osteoporosis—increases density in the hip & lower vertebrae of the spine in 1-2 years to a level found in healthy individuals
14. hGH & Skin
- Increases skin thickness & elasticity--by increasing the strength & volume of collagen in the skin
- Restores the turgor & bounciness characteristic of young skin
- Decreases fine lines, wrinkles, & folds by tightening the skin & strengthening the muscles that lift & hold the skin
- About 1/4th of patients report new hair growth
15. hGH & Weight/Body Composition
- Significant decreases fat volume & mass
- hGH increases fat “burning” or fat metabolism
- Significant increases in lean body mass, muscle mass, & muscle tone
16. hGH & Sex
Improves sexual desire, performance, & ability to reach orgasm in both men and women For men, hGH increases sexual potency & results in longer lasting erections
17. hGH & Cancer
hGH stimulates the growth of good cells as well as bad/cancer cells, but medical evidence shows that hGH does NOT cause cancers on the contrary, it decreases their incidence. Here is the scientific evidence:
- Cancer & tumors are not greater in patients on hGH therapy than in those not on hGH
- There has been no increase of cancers in children and adults on hGH replacement therapy over the last 30 years
- There is no evidence of increased risk of tumors & cancer (recurrent or new) in people on hGH therapy
- In patients with hGH deficiency (by blood tests & /or by symptoms), have an increased cancer risk & mortality up to 2-5 times the normal risk; hGH replacement therapy in these patients reduces their cancer risk by half!
- However, people with active cancers are not candidates for hGH therapy because it causes cell replication both of good cells as well as cancer/malignant cells
- Anecdotal reports of hGH treatment in terminal cancer patients is very reassuring. Beside increasing quality of life, hGH therapy may slow down tumor growth, decrease cancer progression, and increase the duration of survival. However, if any risk does exist, this risk apparently may not exist for patients being treated with hGH deficiency that aim to restore hGH levels back to “normal”.
It is also important to remember that hGH is a powerful stimulator of the Immune System which is pivotal in preventing and treating cancer.
18. Who is the ideal candidate for hGH replacement therapy?
People that have a decline in hGH based on signs & symptoms (see above for the signs & symptoms of hGH deficiency) and/or blood testing—see below for details.
19. How do I know if I need hGH replacement therapy?
A simple blood test prescribed by a physician experienced in its use along with positive symptoms of hGH deficiency (as listed above in question #2) and a physical exam performed by a physician. The blood tests, the symptoms, and the physical exam together determine the need for hGH replacement therapy.
20. Am I too young to start hGH replacement therapy?
Most people starting in their mid 30’s will see changes in their bodies (see signs & symptoms of hGH deficiency) compared to their “peak” in the 20’s & early 30’s. Many patients will say to me that they are not “that bad” to start hormonal replacement. The best situation is to replace what the body needs at the first sign or symptom of decline and stay as healthy as you can be.
What we want is to slow down or even reverse the aging process in order to stay as healthy as possible, prevent the diseases of aging (diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, osteoporosis, etc), and enjoy a longer life span with excellent quality of life.
21. How long do I need hGH replacement therapy
As long as you want to enjoy the benefits of having youthful levels of hGH in your body. It is the same as for people suffering from high blood pressure; how long do they their need medication? As long as they need their blood pressure lowered!
22. How do I continue monitoring hGH replacement therapy?
hGH replacement therapy requires the patient always be under medical supervision. After the Testosterone dose is fine-tuned or customized for a particular patient, he or she must have a complete history & physical examination by his or her physician as well as blood testing 2-3 times per year.
23. How is hGH administered
hGH is injected right under the skin using a tiny needle, like the ones used by diabetics to inject insuline.(It feels like a mosquito bite, if you feel it at all!
24. Is hGH an FDA approved drug?
Yes. Human Growth Hormone (hGH) is an FDA approved drug indicated for the use of hGH-deficient adults. This means that physicians can prescribe it to their hGH-deficient patients without fear of practicing outside of conventional orthodox mainstream medicine. A physician can determine hGH deficiency status by either blood tests or by symptoms of hGH deficiency or both.
25. Can you differentiate between the hGH that is produced naturally in the body and HGH that is injected?
No. The hGH that is injected is made in the laboratory by genetic engineering methods.This produces an identical hormone (same chemical structure) to the hGH made naturally in the body. We inject hGH in order to increase or “supplement” the levels of hGH that are present naturally in the body to a youthful levels.Youthful levels mean a level similar to that present in our body in the 20’s & 30’; having youthful or “optimal” levels so we are not predisposed to the diseases of aging.
26. Who is not a candidate for hGH replacement therapy?
Current labeling by the FDA for hGH therapy states that active malignancy or cancer, benign intracranial hypertension, and proliferative retinopathy are contraindications for hGH use. During pregnancy and nursing, hGH should be used with caution or avoided completely.
Disclaimer: “Hormone Doping” or taking excessive hormone doses to improve athletic performance is not safe and should be avoided.