The youth hormone the FDA can’t keep you from using

The use of human growth hormone (HGH) for anti-aging is popular among aging men and woman who want to feel and look younger, be more energized, leaner, and sexual, and who want stronger muscles and bones.

Meanwhile, HGH supplementation has been sanctioned by mainstream medicine, largely due to safety concerns with HGH supplementation.

Let’s look at this HGH controversy, the health benefits of HGH supplementation, the health risks involved, and why the FDA can’t really stand in your way if you feel it can help you…

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What HGH is and does

Human growth hormone (HGH) is a natural protein hormone made and secreted by your brain which largely controls growth and metabolism. Your natural HGH level decreases with age, and anti-aging doctors have seen clear evidence of its beneficial effects when taken as injections.

We need growth hormone to maintain muscle size and strength as adults. It slims down abdominal fat, and helps keep skin young and wrinkle-free. It even reduces the risk of heart disease. These are the effects of HGH deficiency as men and woman age:

  • 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 breasts almost like a woman’s

Mood and personality in HGH deficiency is also problematic. This condition especially contributes to the following:

  • Negative attitude; insecurity; low self-esteem
  • Fatigue; depression; difficulty controlling emotions
  • Long recovery needed after emotional upset; a low resistance to stress
  • Difficulty in asserting yourself; feelings of incompetence; wanting social isolation

The human growth hormone controversy

There is an ongoing conflict of views between mainstream medical doctors (who say the use of HGH for anti-aging purposes is criminal) and the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine who encourage its use and rebut that such anti-HCG claims are “filled with incorrect, misplaced references and studies, and multiple basic scientific errors, in an apparent attempt to damage the anti-aging medical profession.”

These disparate viewpoints largely stem from potential safety issues, that are still being studied as they are incompletely understood. We know that there are very pronounced natural age-related declines in HGH secretion; we also know that there are clear health benefits of HGH therapy for those with adult HGH deficiency (proven low levels). We also know that the health benefits of HGH treatment for elderly people with normal (age-adjusted) HGH are marginal plus counterbalanced by troubling side effects.

For a current example of the mainstream medicine view of HGH therapy, consider what one web MD-type source wrote concerning HGH, which I consider misleading, “…some so-called anti-aging experts have speculated and claimed that HGH products could reverse age-related bodily deterioration. But these claims, too, are unproven. The use of HGH for anti-aging is not FDA-approved.”

HGH unproven?

From limited studies and many clinical reports, the following health benefits occur from injectable HGH supplementation:

  • Reduces fat
  • Improves bone density
  • Improves REM (rapid eye-movement) sleep to restore your energy
  • Re-invigorates your sexual drive and performance
  • Promotes protein synthesis to repair/build new muscle; increases lean muscle mass
  • When used with testosterone it gives enhanced muscle building/toning effects
  • Lowers heart disease risk; lowers cholesterol
  • Enhances your ability to be more assertive, decisive, and calm
  • Improves memory, focus and mental sharpness
  • Diminishes wrinkles, age spots; makes skin firmer and smoother
  • Strengthens nails; can restore natural youthful hair color
  • Improves vision
  • Strengthens your immune system

Moreover, there are several proven benefits of HGH supplementation specifically in older healthy men (not just older men with low HGH levels). In 1997 a single-blinded study  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. These men self-injected a modest dose each night which resulted in increased skin thickness, increased lean body mass, improved insulin sensitivity, improved libido, and significantly improved general well-being in addition to the raised blood level of HGH.

Furthermore, Dr. Ronald Klatz, former president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, wrote in his book, Grow Young with HGH the following:  “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.  Growth hormone therapy can take a decade or more off your face.”

In the New England Journal of Medicine, 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.”

Of course these health effects of HGH are for both men and women. Women especially like the that it significantly and specifically reduces abdominal fat mass, a.k.a. visceral adipose tissue (VAT).

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FDA-approval not necessary

You’ll see it written that HGH for anti-aging purposes is “unapproved” by the FDA. You should know that the FDA does not control the practice of medicine by any licensed medical doctor in the U.S. who can show adequate evidence (i.e. “evidence based”) that their diagnosis and treatment is both effective and safe.   Moreover, “off-label” prescribing, is not only legal, it is a common and accepted practice among U.S. physicians: more than 1 in 5 outpatient prescriptions are written for off-label therapies.

Benefit-risk analysis

Given the benefits of HGH supplementation, you would think all doctors should agree to offer this to their patients. However, there are two other very important questions to be answered here: what is the long-term safety profile of HGH supplementation, and what does it cost? These are the topics I will address in my subsequent article.

To feeling healthy and aging slower,

Michael Cutler, M.D.

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Sources:

  1. Zs-Nagy I. Is consensus in anti-aging medical intervention an elusive expectation or a realistic goal?Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2009 May-Jun;48(3):271-5. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2009.02.002. Epub 2009 Mar 9. PubMed PMID: 19269702.
  2. Bartke A, Darcy J. GH and ageing: Pitfalls and new insights. — Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Feb;31(1):113-125. Review. PubMed PMID: 28477727.
  3. Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
    WebMD
  4. 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.
  5. Grow Young With HGH, p. 116; — HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., New York, NY
  6. 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.
  7. Karastergiou K, Bredella MA, Lee MJ, Smith SR, Fried SK, Miller KK. Growth hormone receptor expression in human gluteal versus abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue: Association with body shape. — Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 May;24(5):1090-1096. PubMed PMID: 27015877.
  8. Gupta SK, Nayak RP. Off-label use of medicine: Perspective of physicians, patients, pharmaceutical companies and regulatory authorities. — J Pharmacol Pharmacother. 2014 Apr;5(2):88-92. PubMed PMID: 24799811.
  9. Off-Label Drug Use: What You Need to Know — WebMD

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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.