Is there really such thing as an anti-aging hormone?

Most adults that I know tend to have too much fat, decreased muscle mass and decreased energy. That adds up to decreased quality of life. An anti-aging hormone could correct some key deficiencies and turn that all around…

Is there really an anti-aging hormone? Yes, and it’s known as human growth hormone (HGH). It can help you feel younger, leaner, more energized and more sexual. So it makes sense that there is a lot of interest in HGH supplementation as a means to being healthier and more fulfilled. But a little mystery still shrouds it. Let’s break it down…

What is human growth hormone?

Human growth hormone is also known as somatotropin. It stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration in all of us. In general, it

  • Increases calcium retention and strengthens your bones.
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Promotes breakdown of fat cells for a slimmer, leaner physique
  • Stimulates healthy growth of your internal organs but not your brain
  • Stimulates your immune system
  • Increases the conversion of the less active T4 hormone to the more active T3 thyroid hormone
  • Improves psychosocial well-being
  • Slims down your stomach
  • Helps keep your skin young and more wrinkle-free

If you have HGH deficiency you will expect to experience one or more of the following:

  • Thin or limp hair
  • Droopy eyelids, cheeks or a sagging face
  • Thin lips and jaw; receding gums
  • Large deep wrinkles or thin dehydrated skin
  • Sagging triceps, jiggly inner thighs, loose hanging muscles
  • Weak bones
  • Men with overhanging flabby belly and man boobs
  • Feeling low self-esteem, incompetent, insecure, socially isolated
  • Fatigue; depression; difficulty controlling emotions
  • Long recovery needed after emotional upset; a low resistance to stress

HGH supplementation

In older healthy men there are still many benefits to GH supplementation. In 1997 a single-blinded study [1] of men ages 55-71 showed significant improvement in several health parameters using a GHRH (growth hormone releasing hormone) analogue over a 4 month time period.  Subjects self-injected a modest dose each night resulting in raised blood level of HGH (and IGF-1), increased skin thickness, increased lean body mass, improved insulin sensitivity, improved libido, and significantly improved general well-being.

Leading and prominent anti-aging physicians support its use if you are found to be deficient.  In the New England Journal of Medicine, [2] Daniel Rudman, M.D. wrote:  “The effects of six months of human growth hormone on lean body mass and adipose-tissue were equivalent in magnitude to the changes incurred during 10-20 years of aging.”

Dr. Ronald Klatz, former president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, wrote in his book [3] about HGH: “Human growth hormone is the only anti-aging treatment known that actually makes people look younger. Even creams and lotions that contain antioxidants like vitamins E, A, or C, retinoic acid, or fruit acids do not stop the skin from sagging and sinking.  Human growth hormone therapy can take a decade or more off your face.”

Is HGH safe?

If you use HGH for too many years or at too high a dose you’ll run the risk of the visible disfigurement known as acromegaly, an irreversible overgrowth of bones and muscles.  There are also cautions by anti-aging clinicians that HGH use can produce a shiny plastic skin appearance after 20 years of continuous use even at physiological replacement doses. You can avoid this effect by using it only intermittently.

Something else to also be aware of is that your blood insulin concentrations could increase with GH injection therapy and therefore raise your risk of type 2 diabetes.  Have your doctor check your HbA1c level (a 3-month blood sugar average) before and after 3 to 6 months of treatment.

Long term safety of HGH therapy was established for tumor recurrence with more longer than 14 years of follow-up, even in patients who had brain irradiation and a relative immune weakness. This study was reported in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2011. [4] Monitoring the IGF-1 response to HGH treatment (we use IGF-1 as a measure of HGH in the blood) in order to help predict long-term safety, however, is not completely clear at present. [5]

Two other long-term studies [6] that are described in the Life Extension Foundation online manual are large studies showing no increased risk for new cancer or diabetes in HGH-deficient adults getting physiological replacement doses of HGH therapy. Pfizer’s Genotropin (HGH) study reported in 2003 had gathered 40,000 patient-years of data and the results were that HGH replacement does not increase your risk for new cancer or diabetes mellitus. By 2009 they reported in the European Journal of Endocrinology that with over 60,000 patient-years of data, HGH had dramatically improved the quality of life these adults with former growth hormone deficiency. The same safety profile should apply to adults given HGH who are only moderately deficient in order to restore levels to the normal youthful range.

As you have learned here, HGH in deficiency has many health benefits. The challenge becomes getting a prescription for it. That’s because few physicians out there will test your levels and prescribe it for reasons I’ll explain in my next article. I’ll also discuss how to get the right HGH for you.

To the best of health,

Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options

[1] Khorram O, Laughlin GA, Yen SS. Endocrine and metabolic effects of long-term administration of [Nle27] growth hormone-releasing hormone-(1-29)-NH2 in age-advanced men and women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1997 May;82(5):1472-9.
[2] Rudman D, et al. Effects of human growth hormone in men over 60 years old. N Engl J Med. 1990 Jul 5;323(1):1-6.
[3] Grow Young With HGH, p. 116; HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY
[4] Mackenzie S, et al. Long-term safety of growth hormone replacement after CNS irradiation. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Sep;96(9):2756-61
[5] Carel JC, Butler G. Safety of recombinant human growth hormone. Endocr Dev. 2010;18:40-54.
[6] accessed May 21, 2012

Dr. Michael Cutler

By Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder of the original Easy Health Options™ newsletter — an advisory on natural healing therapies and nutrients. His current practice is San Diego Integrative Medicine, near San Diego, California.