Human Growth Hormone and Aging
By Lisa Wells, RN
HGH Decreases As We Age
Human growth hormone (HGH or GH) is one of our most important hormones. It is the body's main growth and repair hormone. Its production is highest during childhood. If children have a deficiency their development will be delayed and if they have too much they will grow more than normal. Once adulthood is reached we still need HGH because it plays a major role in the new cell growth and repair that is required for optimum health.
As we age the pituitary gland continues to produce HGH however the amount released into the bloodstream slowly diminishes and so the body has less to use to repair itself and maintain good health. As age continues to progress the growing lack of human growth hormone plays a major role in the effects of aging.
The Need to Restore Growth Hormone Levels
Growth hormone deficiency in the adult body is referred to as "SDS", or Somatotropin Deficiency Syndrome. Another term that is used is Somatopause.
Modern mainstream medicine has long known that restoring the levels of certain declining hormones improves health and reduces the symptoms of aging. They have supplemented insulin, thyroid, cortisol, the estrogens, progesterone, and testosterone for years, however they considered the decrease of HGH in the aging body unimportant. Many doctors were taught that growth hormone is only needed during the growth and development stage of life and unfortunately a large number still believe this to be true.
We in anti-aging and functional medicine know that HGH remains important throughout life and so it should also be restored in order to sustain optimum health.
The Evidence is Clear
Studies done over the past 30 years have shown that improving growth hormone to a more youthful level not only slows down the effects of aging but may reverse many of the symptoms of aging that have already occurred.
A group of researchers headed by Jens Sandahl Christiansen of Aarhus Kommunehospital in Denmark sums up just how ubiquitous the effects of low human growth hormone in the body are:
The researchers found that the body composition of growth hormone deficient individuals was abnormal with increased fat mass, decreased lean body mass, decreased muscle/fat ratio, visceral obesity, reduced extracellular fluid volume and reduced bone mineral content. Furthermore, two independent groups reported impaired psychological well-being as compared to treated subjects with normal GH levels.
The effects of decreased human growth hormone are not as immediately dramatic as some hormones. For instance, a sudden drop in insulin is an acute condition that can be life threatening. The slow decline of GH over the years causes the body to wear out and break down.
Restoring HGH to a More Healthy Level Has Been Shown to:
Increase lean muscle
Increase energy and stamina
Increase libido and sexual function
Improve bone density
Strengthen the immune system
Strengthen the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys
Decrease and balance blood pressure and cholesterol
Improve skin texture, elasticity, thickness, and moisture
Improve hair condition and growth
Decrease the amount of gray hair, increase youthful hair color
How to Increase Growth Hormone in the Body
Replacement therapy with synthetic somatropin (GH) injections is very expensive and more importantly we do not know the full effects of replacing the body's naturally made hormone with an artificial one. These are reasons why some believe the injections should only be given as the last option.
Luckily, injections are not the only way in which GH may be improved in the body. We can take products that contain human growth hormone in homeopathic form and also help the pituitary gland to improve its own release of growth hormone. See our growth hormone supplements.
Anti-Aging and the Future
This is a great time in health research and development in that we are learning how to intervene in the aging process and restore many of the aspects of our youth. In anti-aging medicine studies are showing that we should be able to improve our resistance to disease, reverse and slow many of the effects and diseases associated with aging, improve our quality of life, and extend our life span.
We already know that by restoring certain hormones to a more healthy level we can help to recover our health, our vigor, our looks, and our sexuality. Thanks to ongoing cutting edge anti-aging research we now believe that the fountain of youth lies within our own cells, we just need to learn how to access and utilize it.
We are pleased to now offer a new supplement that supports a very important anti-aging area of focus, which is the lengthening of the telomeres.
See our Telomere/DNA supplement.
Christiansen, J, Vahl, N, "Growth Hormone and Body Composition," In A. Juul & J. Jorgensen (Eds.), Growth Hormone in Adults: Physiological and Clinical Aspects, 2000, Pages. 222-232. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bengtsson, Bengt-Åke, Johannsson, Gudmundur, "The Treatment of Growth Hormone Deficiency in Adults," The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 85, Issue 3, 1 March 2000, Pages 933–937.
Crown, A, Lightman, S, "Growth Hormone in Adults: Physiological and Clinical Aspects," Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 90 (1), 57–58, 1997.