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Natural Solutions with Bio Identical Hormones 

Growth Hormone and Aging

It is important to realize one fundamental idea:

We age because our hormones decline, not the other way around. In this regard, normal Growth Hormone (GH) levels are essential for quality of life at any age.  It is interesting to compare the viewpoints of anti-aging physicians and conventional endocrinologists regarding Growth Hormone (GH). Both groups agree that pathological GH deficiency is a disease that should be treated. Both groups agree that GH secretion declines with age, and both groups agree that GH decline is responsible for part of the clinical syndrome of aging. This is where the agreement ends.

Anti-aging physicians (as represented by the AmericanAcademy of of Anti-Aging Medicine) believe that aging and GH decline is a deficiency disease, which can and should be treated. But the vast majority, if not all, of endocrinologists believe that aging and GH decline are normal and should not be treated.

Growth Hormone is a protein consisting of 191 amino acids produced by a small gland at the base of the brain called the pituitary gland.  The body-building effect of Growth Hormone on muscle, bone, and cartilage is due to an intermediary substance called IGF-1 which is commonly measured on blood tests, rather than the growth hormone itself.  The administration of human bio-identical Growth Hormone requires a daily injection and is expensive.  Oral growth hormone supplements marketed on the Internet have not been found to work, and are not recommended.

In March 1994, FDA approved GH for the treatment of growth failure in children. In December 1997, FDA approved use in adults with adult growth hormone deficiency. In June 2005, FDA approved use in children for the long-term treatment of idiopathic short stature. Gradual Decline in Growth Hormone with Age:

  The aging process causes a gradual decline in growth hormone production by the pituitary gland beginning around age 35.   At the age of 60, most adults have the same Growth Hormone levels indistinguishable from people with tumors of the pituitary who are unable to make growth hormone. Savine (Hormone Research, 2000) concluded that if an IGF-1 level of 300 is normal for a 30-year old, then virtually everyone over the age of 40 has a deficiency, and life without growth hormone is poor in quantity and quality. Chronic Inflammation and Aging: Chronic inflammation is the cause of many age-related diseases, and by reducing this we can stay healthy. A number of things can be done for example:  1) keep glucose and insulin levels under control 2)  regular exercise, 3) eliminate the visceral abdominal fat which produces inflammatory substances (such as IL-6).

Omega3 Essential Fats, stress reduction, controlling free radicals, reducing homocysteine levels, reducing C-Reactive Protein levels, reducing advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), and supplementing with youthful hormones such as testosterone, estrogens, and growth hormone all decrease the chronic inflammatory response associated with aging.

GH the ultimate solution to reverse aging?  No, it is not. But we are each on a downward spiral of programmed destruction culminating in death, and GH could help slow this down a little and improve our quality of life. If the benefits outweigh the risks, then something is worth doing. GH, as an anti-aging treatment, may not be perfect, but it is the best we have at present.

Benefits of Growth Hormone

Benefits of GH can be seen with the brain/nervous system, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, aerobic capacity, body composition, and bone. Cappola et al showed that women who had the best quality of life in terms of  mobility, activities of daily living, brain function and so on had the highest GH levels and least inflammation.

Growth Hormone and the Brain:

Aging is associated with declining mental function, and GH improves memory, alertness, and concentration. Growth hormone improves cognitive capabilities, memory, motivation, and work capacity. Aleman et al showed that men with higher IGF-1 levels had better cognitive function. GH deficiency was correlated with poor emotional and psychosocial functioning.

Growth Hormone and Bone

HGH increases the strength and formation of cortical bone. Logobardi linked GH deficiency with reduced bone density, and GH with reversal of osteoporosis. Patients who sustain hip fractures tend to have lower IGF-1 levels. GH is synergistic with exercise, thus to get the maximum effect from GHRT it has to be combined with regular exercise. Van der Lely et al. gave GH treatment to elderly patients with hip fractures for six weeks. Results study showed that 94% of GH treated patients returned to normal life style within six weeks, compared with the 75% of control patients.   Gillberg et al gave GH to osteoporotic men for 2 years with a significant improvement in bone mineral density.

Growth Hormone and the Cardiovascular System

GH deficiency is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality, while GH is associated with improved cardiovascular function. Research suggests that GH may help to reverse atherosclerosis, improve cardiomyopathy, and reduce carotid intima media thickness.

Adamopoulos et al treated patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC) with GH. Results showed that GH treatment led to a significant decrease in both inflammatory markers of TNF-a and IL-6 levels, and significant improvements in exercise capacity. GH improves endothelial dysfunction, which plays a significant role is both heart failure and arteriosclerosis. Sesmilo et al found that
Homocysteine levels fell significantly in those patients treated with GH. The cardiovascular improvements seen with GH appears to be due to its effect upon the inflammatory pathway by reducing C-Reactive Protein. Cardiac contractility, stroke volume, and ejection fraction all improve with GH.   After myocardial infarction, GH is important for recovery.

Growth Hormone, Body Composition, and Obesity

Johannsson et al studied middle-aged men with low GH and abdominal obesity. After nine months of treatment with GH, abdominal visceral fat decreased by 18%, insulin sensitivity improved, total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels dropped, and diastolic blood pressure decreased without any lifestyle changes.

Other Benefits of Growth Hormone

Gibney et al found a link between GH deficiency and chronic fatigue and depression. Meanwhile, GH was found to improve a person's sense of well-being and was associated with an improved quality of life. Gilchrist et al concluded that GH deficient adults have a poor quality of life, but that this poor quality of life could be altered with GH. Gilchrist found that GH significantly improved energy levels, vitality, anxiety, depression, well-being, and self-control.


Long term use of GH has been studied in a large numbers of children treated for growth deficiencies and found to be safe. In adults, Vance et al concluded that there is "No evidence that GH affects the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease." Molitch concluded: "Although there has been some concern about an increased risk of cancer [with GH], reviews of existing, well-maintained databases of treated patients have shown this theoretical risk to be nonexistent. " Shalet et al concluded that there is "No evidence of an increased risk of malignancy, recurrent or de novo."

On the package insert on GH it says don't use in active malignancy. However, the Growth Hormone Research Society published a paper in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology saying that there is no data to support this labeling, and that this line should be removed from the package insert because there is no evidence that GH or causes cancer or cancer recurrence.


The most common side-effects of GH are fluid retention, joint pain, and insulin resistance which are seen with the higher dosage schedules.  These side effects are reversible by simply decreasing the dose. GH can cause insulin resistance which can be avoided by using the Atkins' diet or the Zone diet, both of which control insulin levels by reducing sugar intake. These diets share the same idea: that we need protein and good-quality fats.  Carbohydrates should come from vegetables rather than processed breads and pastas which tend to raise blood sugar levels, and provoke high insulin leading to insulin resistance.

In conclusion, given the state of scientific medical knowledge today, GH is safe. GH is associated with less morbidity and mortality, less cardiovascular disease, less inflammation, improvements in body composition, improvements in exercise capacity, and a better quality of life. In the words of Peter Sonksen: "GH is essential for normal adult life, and without it life expectancy is shortened, energy and vitality are 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.

Recommended Reading:

Forever Young, by Ron Rothenberg, M.D.

Grow Young with HGH, by Klatz and Goldman


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Jeffrey Dach MD
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Phone: 954-792-4663