hGH – HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE
PLANO WELLNESS DOCTOR
What exactly is hGH?
hGH is a natural hormone produced in the human body by the pituitary gland. Like all other hormones, it is a messenger. If levels are too low or too high, there are undesirable effects.
Is hGH a steroid?
No. Although many believe it is, in actuality it is a protein molecule, 191 amino acids long.
Is it legal?
hGH is legally available as a pharmaceutically produced injectable, which has become a popular but expensive “medication” prescribed in height difficulties in children, adult growth hormone deficiency syndrome (AGHDS), and in the treatment of AIDS-related wasting.
Why the Controversy Over Growth Hormone?
Back in March 2006, there was a news piece about hGH in Brandweek magazine entitled “Bad Medicine,” which began: “Selling human growth hormone as an anti-aging drug is a federal crime.”
This information was taken from a misinformed article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in October 2005 entitled “Provision or Distribution of Growth Hormone for ‘Anti-Aging’: Clinical and Legal Issues.”
The JAMA article attacked growth hormone therapy and confused the issues between pharmaceutical hGH products and homeopathic products and natural supplements. Furthermore, JAMA refused to publish responses to the article from the anti-aging community, including numerous voices from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. The article and subsequent news pieces sent fear and uncertainty through the ranks of practitioners involved in the prescribing of hGH for adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHDS).
As a result, we have a cultural atmosphere in which positive research findings concerning hGH receive scant attention, but harsh criticism and negative attacks receive broad dissemination in both the scientific and lay press.
Why Do Adults Need hGH?
After age 30, we lose about one pound of muscle per year, which exactly correlates to the loss of one percent of growth hormones we suffer from each and every year after that same age.
The symptoms of Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency (AGHD) are:
• loss of strength
• loss of exercise capacity
• loss of bone (osteopenia)
• loss of muscle (sarcopenia)
• increased total and intra-abdominal fat (belly fat)
• glucose intolerance leading to insulin-resistant diabetes
• high cholesterol, LDL, and Triglycerides and low HDL (dyslipidemia)
• increased fragility of skin and blood vessels, and
• decreased immune function
At age 60 most adults have total 24-hour secretion rates of growth hormone that are indistinguishable from those of hypopituitary patients with organic lesions in the pituitary gland.
So it is no wonder that as we age our bones get weaker, our hearts become diseased, our muscle mass dwindles, and our fat appears to accumulate. There’s no doubt now that human growth hormone deficiency leads to a decreased quality of life.
Human growth hormone side effects are commonly related to a low-frequency, high-dose schedule, which is reversible with a decrease of the dose. [Vance, M., et al., “GH therapy in adults and children,” NEJM 1999; October 14)]
Other hGH side effects related to non-physiologic, high-dose use include:
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• glucose intolerance/insulin resistance
Human Growth Hormone Benefits
To date, more than 100,000 patients worldwide have received hGH therapy. Available data is scarce and follow-up time has been short. Data to date does not suggest that hGH therapy of adults with growth hormone deficiency increases the risk of cancer, provided that IGF-1 levels remain with the normal range.
Instead, hGH replacement is associated with numerous benefits:
• increasing growth
• improving healing
• increasing muscle mass
• minimizing body fat
• controlling cholesterol
• maintaining levels of sexual energy and enhancing sexual performance
• increasing bone strength
• improving cardiovascular function and lipids
• reversing atherosclerotic changes in carotids
• improving perceived quality of life
• increasing bone mineral density
• improving memory, alertness, and concentration
• raising energy levels
• creating superior immune function
• lowering blood pressure
• causing skin to become younger, tighter, and thicker
• removing wrinkles
• eliminating cellulite
• sharpening vision
• improving sleep
• causing less morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease
• improving body composition: more bone muscle and less fat/visceral fat
• lessening inflammation
• contributing to fewer sick days, and
• improving exercise capacity (strength)
[Cook DM. Shouldn’t adults with growth hormone deficiency be offered growth hormone replacement therapy? Ann Intern Med 2002 Aug 6;137(3):197-201]
Growth hormone treatment of adults with hGH deficiency is safe. “Although there has been some concern about an increased risk of cancer, reviews of existing, well-maintained databases of treated patients have shown this theoretical risk to be non-existent [Molitch ME. Diagnosis of GH deficiency in adults- how well do the criteria need to be? J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2002 Feb;87(2):473-6]
“Growth Hormone is essential for normal adult life, and without it life expectancy is shortened, energy and vitality reduced and the quality of this life is impaired. The medical case for GH replacement is now proven beyond any reasonable medical and scientific doubt.” [Peter H Sonksen, MD, Growth Hormone & IGF-1 Research 1998, 8, 275-276)]