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Table of Contents
The Purpose of HGH Treatment
Rationale of HGH Treatment, How it Achieves its Purpose, and How it Works
Claims About the Effectiveness of the HGH Treatment
Evidence Offered to Support/Refute Claims
Description of Presenters
The purpose of human growth hormone treatment presented by many of the companies selling and distributing it, simply stated, is that it “increase(s) the body's natural production of human growth hormone (HGH) and reverse(s) the aging process” (http://www.hghmiracle.com/index.html). More specifically the HGH treatment claims to help you “look and feel as if you are 10 to 20 years younger, recapture the energy of your youth, reduce facial wrinkles, have more muscle mass and less fat –without exercising, have tighter, sleeker, and smoother skin, enjoy the feelings of greater strength and wellness, and restore libido and virility to youthful levels” (http://better-health-for-you.com/cgi/retyouth/1082.html). Others claims are made that human growth hormone therapy not only increases physical qualities, but also mental qualities. One advertisement for HGH says that it “increased energy, emotional stability and memory” (http://www.thehormoneshop.to/fsh.htm). Basically, the claim that is being made about human growth hormone therapy is that it effectively reverses the aging process by approximately ten to twenty years. More or less making it a medicinal “fountain of youth”. Many medical doctors though, consider using growth hormone in only a handful of instances. “Man-made growth hormone may be used in children who have certain conditions that cause failure to grow normally. These conditions include growth hormone deficiency (inability to produce enough growth hormone), kidney disease, and Turner's syndrome. Growth hormone is also used in adults to treat growth failure and to treat weight loss caused by acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS)” (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/growthhormonesystemic202269.html).
The explanation for the effectiveness of human growth hormone therapy is that “as we age, GH output begins to fall off, whether by sluggishness of pituitary secretion or because of true GH decline. The outcome is the same: declining levels of GH which gives rise to a multitude of symptoms which we know now are the telltale signs of aging” (http://www.thehormoneshop.to/fsh.htm). Human growth hormone plays a very important role in keeping up our bodies throughout everyday life. It is the main hormone responsible for maintaining tissue repair, healing, cell replacement, bone strength, brain function, enzyme production, and the integrity of the hair, nails and skin
(http://www.thehormoneshop.to/fsh.htm). As we age, the amount of HGH that our bodies produce declines rapidly. “Daily growth hormone secretion diminishes with age to the extent that a 60 year old may secrete only 25% of the HGH secreted by a 20 year old” (http://better-health-for-you.com/cgi/retyouthprodinfo/1082.html). So if human growth hormone secretion is so important to daily health and upkeep of the body, then losing a significant amount of HGH secretion would be detrimental to our bodies. That is where growth hormone treatment comes in. With the injection of actual growth hormone into the body or by taking supplements that increase the bodies natural production of growth hormone such as GHRH (growth hormone releasing hormone) (Corpas, 1993), HGH levels in the body are increased dramatically. The implication is that with the rise of HGH levels the unwanted symptoms associated with low HGH levels, and consequently with aging also, will begin to diminish. As the HGH levels return to those typical of a 35-45 year old, the suggestion made is that overall health will return to a 35-45 year old level. Basically, one is to assume that as the symptoms of aging decrease, one becomes younger. The idea is to link the overall concept of aging to a few symptoms associated with aging. Webster’s dictionary defines aging as “becoming old”. Obviously nothing can stop a person from becoming old, but perhaps things such as HGH can reduce the symptoms of becoming old.
Many claims are made about the anti-aging properties of human growth hormone. Many advertisements claim that HGH usage is efficient in “restoring muscle mass, decreasing body fat, thickening skin, reducing wrinkles, restoring lost hair, restoring hair color, increasing energy, increasing sexual function, improving cholesterol profile, restoring the size of liver, pancreas, heart and other organs that shrink with age, improving vision, improving memory, elevating mood and improving sleep, normalizing blood pressure, increasing cardiac output and stamina, and improving immune function” (http://better-health-for-you.com/cgi/retyouthprodinfo/1082.html).
Restoring muscle mass - HGH can restore muscle mass (Fazio, 1996)
Decreasing Body Fat – HGH can decrease body fat and circulating leptin (Asada, 2000)
Thickening Skin – HGH can in fact increase the thickness of skin, although examples related to skin thickening cited this as a side effect of the disorder acromegaly, which also causes enlargement of the hands, feed, and mandible. (Beuschlein, 2000) (Moore, 1996)
Reducing wrinkles – there is not evidence to back up this claim
Restoring lost hair – there is not evidence to back up this claim
Restoring Hair Color – there is not evidence to back up this claim
Increasing energy – Functional ability does not increase as a result of HGH (Papadakis, 1997)
Increasing Sexual Function – there is not evidence to back up this claim
Improving Cholesterol – HGH can in fact lower cholesterol levels (Amato, 2000)
Restoring organ size – organ size can be increased as a result of HG (Backeljauw, 2001)
Restoring Vision – there is not evidence to back up this claim
Restoring Memory – HGH has no known properties that restore memory (Baum, 1998)
Elevating Mood – HGH can prevent stress and stress induced ulcers (Fujikawa, 2000)
Likewise, very broad claims were made that “certainly, almost everyone over the age of 40 should benefit from having higher levels of HGH” (http://better-health-for-you.com/cgi/retyouthprodinfo/1082.html). Every site advertising HGH and growth hormone supplements claim that their supplements increase the amount of growth hormone produced in the body.
Many advertising sites offer quite a large amount of clinical trials, doctoral reports, journal excerpts and testimonials in support of their products. One site offers the clinical studies done by Dr. Timothy Bassett and Dr. Steven Smith. The trial consisted of 6 men and 6 women who were administered growth hormone releasing amino acids at a duration of 6 weeks. The average increase in HGH production was +58.6% (http://better-health-for-you.com/cgi/retyouthclinic/1082.html). Doctoral reports are also used as evidence of the product’s potency. In a quote by a Dr. Ronald Klatz, Founder and President of the American Academy of Anti-Aging medicine and author of Grow Young With HGH, he says that "by replenishing your supply of human growth hormone, you can recover your vigor, health, looks and sexuality. For the first time in human history, we can intervene in the aging process, restore many aspects of youth, resist disease, substantially improve the quality of life, perhaps extend the life span itself. The "Fountain of Youth" lies within the cells of each of us. All you need to do is release it" (http://www.hghmiracle.com/index.html). Some sites include excerpts from medical journals as proof of their products capabilities. One web page cites a Rudman Study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM; 323:1-6 1990) that quotes: "The effects of six months of human growth hormone on body mass and adipose-tissue mass were equivalent in magnitude to the changes incurred during the 10 to 20 years of aging" (http://www.thehormoneshop.to/fsh.htm). Almost every site has plenty of personal testimonials about various people’s “success stories” with growth hormone treatment (http://www.natural-human-growth-hormone-hgh.com/test.html).
Granted, many of the claims made by companies selling HGH producing supplements are backed up by real clinical and scientific data. The companies are very careful to use real information when describing their products. But that does not necessarily make them safe. For example, one of, if not the most respected and important authorities on drugs and their appropriateness, “The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has taken a cautionary position with growth hormone therapy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved HGH treatment for use in normal elderly people, and the insurance industry does not pay for HGH therapy in normal aging” (http://www.mayohealth.org/home?id=HA00033). Likewise, there have not been enough clinical studies to warrant the use of HGH as an anti-aging tool. The long term effects of high doses of the drug is not at all known, and this reason alone leads doctors and other experts to rarely recommend HGH for this type of use (http://www.mayohealth.org/home?id=HA00030). “If growth hormone is given to children or adults with normal growth, who do not need growth hormone, serious unwanted effects may occur because levels in the body become too high. These effects include the development of diabetes; abnormal growth of bones and internal organs such as the heart, kidneys, and liver; atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries); and hypertension (high blood pressure)” (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/growthhormonesystemic202269.html). Also, consistently increasing levels of human growth hormone secretion results in decreased insulin sensitivity (TR Smith 1996). There are numerous other side effects observed such as “fluid retention, joint pain, diabetes …and colon polyps” (http://www.mayohealth.org/home?id=HQ00233). There have also been studies that link HGH treatment to an increase in the risk of developing malignant tumors in certain patients (Aktan 2000).
The first type of people presenting this information are companies that sell and distribute either human growth hormone or dietary supplements that increase the body’s natural production of growth hormone. Many of them note that actual human growth hormone is available only by prescription, but the products they endorse can supposedly produce identical results. They are presenting this information as a means of persuading the general public to purchase their supplements. They present all the information about human growth hormone so that their products sell better.
The second type of presenters are doctors and scientists whose main purpose is to educate others about the human growth hormone and the effects that it has on the human body. They are not attempting to sell anything, neither are they working for anybody in order to make a profit off of the information.
While HGH has many beneficial effects that strengthen the body in many aspects, it has not been proven to work for everybody, for every condition, and for every time. HGH will never be able to be an “anti aging drug” in the colloquial way many think of that term. It will not give you eternal youth. It can produce healthier affects in many parts of the body, but not in all parts. There are many diseases, disorders, afflictions, and conditions that HGH has absolutely nothing to do with. The increase of human growth hormone in the bodies of aging people does in fact have results that can at times be beneficial to one’s health. It can produce effects that eliminate symptomatic qualities of aging. HGH treatment can have positive affects on weight, blood pressure, metabolism, organ size, muscle mass, cholesterol, skin, mood, and the immune system. Yet the majority of the scientific community has not accepted HGH treatment as an acceptable everyday therapy. This is most probably because of the lack of any long-term studies documenting the effects of many years of growth hormone treatment in normal adults. The many possible side effects such as fluid retention, joint pain, diabetes, and possibly cancer are very real concerns that need to be considered when contemplating growth hormone treatment. So while human growth hormone treatment may be a beneficial tool for health and reducing symptoms of aging, there is not enough information to make a fully informed decision about its practicality in everyday life.
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