Famous for pioneering procedures including facelifts, tummy tucks, Botox and skin peels, America’s obsession with youth is no secret. For people with a little courage and a lot of money, it is now considered the norm to do whatever it takes to catch up with the last years of their radiant youth. How far is the average American willing to go? Some Botox injections lead to liposuction, a facelift and then where?
The latest craze to hit the United States is human growth hormone (hGH) injections. Beyond just external cosmetic enhancement, doctors have said that an hGH regimen can reverse the physical effects of aging leaving individuals not only looking younger, but also looking younger.
Doctors who advocate the use of hGH suggest that aging and weight gain are no longer inevitable. It is the result of a glandular disorder caused, in part, by a decrease in hormones. By bringing hormone levels back to those of someone in their 20s or 30s, it is possible to feel so young again.
Growth hormones (which are naturally produced in the pituitary gland of the brain) work by causing the liver to produce inculinism-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), which triggers bone and tissue growth. Levels of hGH and IGF1 naturally decline with age 30, although the pituitary never stops producing them completely. Some small studies have shown that increasing these levels with hGH injections can lead to increased muscle mass, better exercise capacity, and increased skin elasticity.
WHAT IS HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE?
Human growth hormone is a peptide. Like the proteins that make up our hair, nails, muscles and skin, a peptide is a chain of amino acids. Peptides are shorter than proteins, which means they break down and digest faster.
Human growth hormone does not directly promote growth. Instead, it encourages the liver to release insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), which thickens and lengthens bones. In addition to bone growth, IGF1 grows muscle and reduces fat accumulation.
But too much IGF1 enlarges the face, feet, and hands, as seen in acromegaly. It produces extreme height, especially during childhood and adolescence. It stimulates the secretion of insulin by decreasing the effectiveness of this hormone (link is external), which can cause fatigue and intense hunger. It can increase pressure on the brain in the skull, which is associated with tumours.
USE AND ABUSE
For most of us, human growth hormone helps us grow in childhood and supports our health and fitness in adulthood.
Medically, human growth hormone is used to treat children and adults who are not growing and who have growth hormone deficiency (link is external). It is also used to support people undergoing chemotherapy.
However, the abuse of human growth hormone or IGF1 poses serious risks. High levels of human growth hormone over a long period can produce irreversible acromegaly, but even lower doses can lead to complications such as heart disease and diabetes. Since these hormones must be taken as injections, there are additional administration risks such as a blood clot or an incorrect dose.
Some people believe that human growth hormone may increase athletic performance, but research shows the benefits for athletic performance are uncertain. A review found that although the hormone increases muscle mass, it may not improve strength and may worsen exercise capacity (link is external). Health complications related to abuse can also interfere with athletic performance. Human Growth Hormone is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List (link is external), which means athletes who use it are banned from competition.
ARE THEY THE KEY TO ETERNAL YOUTH?
Many people will do almost anything to try to avoid aging, whether it’s taking painful injections, rolling up their sleeves, slathering on expensive creams, or giving themselves injections and pills that promise to erase wrinkles, lift sagging skin and keep the body forever young. One of the most popular anti-aging elixirs around is human growth hormone (GH), which has been touted for its supposed ability to do everything from build muscle to shave fat, thickening of bones and reduction of cholesterol.
But beware: as eager as you are to buy bottled youth, a new study claims that there is no scientific evidence that growth hormones are more effective at turning back time than tap water or snake oil.
Quite the contrary: researchers have found that when taken by healthy adults it can cause several unhealthy side effects, including joint pain, soft tissue swelling, carpal tunnel syndrome, increased breast size in men, and an increased risk of diabetes and prediabetes.
The world of science is hot on their heels to confirm these claims, and a new study has been published that has found “a rational link between HGH, reduced wrinkles and younger looking skin”. Another study from the University of Chicago stated that a linear relationship was found between GH secretion and sleep quality. An inverse relationship was also observed with respect to aging. We’re beginning to see why so much of Hollywood is pouring into expensive clinics for the controversial therapy.
Levels of growth hormone and IGF1 peak during puberty and gradually decline after age 30, but the normal pituitary never completely shuts down its production of hGH.
Some researchers believe that reduced levels of hGH may not be a bad thing. Several studies have shown that women with high levels of hGH are more likely to get breast cancer, men are more likely to develop prostate cancer, and individuals of both sexes are more likely to die later than younger age than those whose hGH levels are naturally low. Research has also shown that mice with very high levels of growth hormone have premature brain aging and shortened lifespans, while their rodent peers who have genetic diseases such as suppressed GH production or an inability to recognize and utilize growth hormone (GH resistance) have prolonged survival. To be fair, there are also studies cited by doctors who believe that lower levels of hGH in aging adults lead to decreased energy, muscle loss, and reduced tissue repair. These studies have shown positive effects in people whose hGH levels are brought to levels considered normal for youth. The researchers therefore propose that certain individuals who have low levels of IGF1 (considered a marker for hGH) be treated with hGH injections to achieve a “younger” and improved health status.
WHAT IS THE EXTENT OF USE OF HGH FOR ANTI-AGING?
The hope of longevity is eternal. Baby boomers are putting their expectations and their money into this highly advertised and very expensive product. An article published in the October 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) notes that worldwide sales of hGH are estimated at $1.5 billion to $2 billion, and up to 30% of hGH prescriptions in the States. -United. The states are used for anti-aging and “athletic enhancement”.
If you enter the terms human growth hormone and anti-aging together on the Google search engine, you will find over 1.7 million sites. There are thousands of clinics and doctors who prescribe growth hormone, calling their practice “anti-aging”, “regenerative” or “age management” medicine.
The financial cost is high.HGH injections cost between $500 and $1,000 per month. HGH “supplements” in the form of pills and sprays that allegedly contain growth hormones cost between $200 and $300 per month. These “supplements” turn out to be a total waste of money – yes, a scam. Growth hormone in this form is not bioavailable, a medical term meaning that it is destroyed when taken orally or absorbed through mucous membranes. It cannot “enter” the body in its active form and does absolutely nothing. Even if it “grows” the bank accounts of companies and websites that push you to buy the gear!
HGH injections work to avoid aging? Studies have shown that even when hGH was given to adults who had true growth hormone deficiency (because of damaged pituitary function), the small decrease in fat content experienced by these individuals (5 percent) disappeared after 24 months of treatment.
In one of the few clinical studies done on healthy older individuals (age 65 to 88) that included women, significant side effects occurred. One third or more of the treated participants developed carpal tunnel syndrome, swelling (edema) and joint pain. Twice as many men on hGH developed prediabetes or diabetes as compared to those not treated.
Another study of 510 patients with AIDS wasting syndrome showed that those who were on the drug were two to three times more likely to develop joint pain, muscle pain and swelling.
There is also a concern about the possibility of an increased cancer risk with long-term hGH treatment. The hormone induced by hGH, insulin growth factor1 (IGF1), promotes the growth of cells and prevents them from dying. That’s exactly what cancer cells do — they grow wildly and don’t die.
HOW IS HGH PRODUCED AND WHY IS IT SO EXPENSIVE?
It is difficult to synthesize this hormone. Its large and complex molecular structure includes 191 amino acids. Since 1985, it has been produced using recombinant DNA technology in which bacteria or animal cells receive a gene that directs them to produce hGH. The cells are then grown in a tissue culture which synthesizes a pure hormone identical to that produced by the human pituitary gland. We cannot copy this substance using animal and plant growth hormones and molecules of this size cannot be absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes. When taken in pill form, hGH will be deactivated by stomach acid and enzymes, hence it must be given by injection under the skin.
WHAT IS THE FDA APPROVED INDICATIONS FOR HGH USE?
According to the FDA, it should only be prescribed to adults by physicians for the treatment of disease (AIDS wasting syndrome) and/or growth hormone deficiency. They usually consider the latter to be an absolute absence of hGH due to pituitary disease, surgery, radiation therapy, or trauma. Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) also includes adults who were deficient in GH as children (short children and certain genetic syndromes).
To diagnose growth hormone deficiency, an endocrinologist must administer an injection to stimulate growth hormone production and measure the response. According to the FDA and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, measuring the level of IGF1 and stating that it is lower than that of a young adult is not a valid scientific diagnosis of GHD.
HOW DOES HGH TREATMENT AFFECT HEALTHY OLDER ADULTS?
Studies in healthy adults taking human growth hormone are limited and conflicting. Although it appears that human growth hormone may increase muscle mass and reduce the amount of body fat in healthy older people, increased muscle mass does not translate into increased strength. It is unknown whether human growth hormone provides other benefits to healthy adults.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF HGH TREATMENT?
HGH treatment can cause several side effects in healthy adults, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Increased insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Swollen arms and legs (edema)
- Joint and muscle pain
- In men, enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Increased risk of certain cancers
- Clinical trials of HGH treatment in healthy older people have been relatively small and short-term, so there is little or no information on the effects of long-term HGH treatment. Is
IS HGH AVAILABLE IN PILL FORM?
The HGH treatment is approved in the United States only for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency and related problems associated with HIV infection. HGH is only effective when administered by injection.
There is no human growth hormone pill form available. Some dietary supplements claiming to increase HGH levels are available in pill form, but research shows no benefit.
HGH is considered a controlled substance by the Food and Drug Administration. Using HGH for an unapproved condition, such as muscle building or as an anti-aging treatment for the elderly, is illegal.
Do you want to try the growth hormone? Well, there aren’t any dire consequences that you have to think about unless you are really interested in having a youthful life. Some people prefer to age gracefully and for them, the concept of opting the elixir of life called as growth hormones might not be a thing.
Hence, if you are really interested in living a young life, then try the growth hormones. A cautious aspect is to keep in mind is that you should consult your doctor before you start the procedure.