In an effort to retain their youth, many people are turning to human growth hormone or HGH. The hope is that it will help them to continue feeling and looking youthful. However, experts warn that the hope is unsubstantiated and that the continued use of human growth hormone can actually be dangerous to your health.
Human growth hormone is produced in the pituitary gland. It promotes the growth in children and teens and it can also assist in regulating the body’s fluids, composition, bone growth, fat and sugar metabolism and perhaps even heart functioning.
When created synthetically, human growth hormone is an active ingredient in many prescription drugs and products.
The typical uses of human growth hormone aren’t FDA approved. Many people are currently using the hormone to enhance their performance in sports and as a drug with anabolic steroids to build and improve their muscle.
As a natural course of aging, human growth hormone will naturally decline with age. For this reason, many are turning to the use of such hormones in order to slow their aging process. However, this is still not proven to work and such purposes aren’t yet FDA approved either.
When taken by mouth (orally) the use of human growth hormone must first be digested by the stomach and then absorbed into the system. When taken by injection it will go directly to work.
Currently, the only thing that HGH is approved for is to help children who aren’t growing normally to have an opportunity to grow more normally.The cause for their lack of growth could be from chemotherapy or other medical issues that have left their bodies unable to produce the hormone or unable to produce enough of the hormone.
Up until 1985, the hormone was derived from human cadavers. It was therefore in short supply. Today, the hormone is developed synthetically. Therefore, it has been in much wider use.
Children who are shorter than average height with a prediction for remaining short are often treated with human growth hormone.
It is worthy of note however, that not all insurance companies will cover the cost and it can be very expensive. On average, one injection alone can be as much as $2000 depending upon the dosage and type of hormone used.
For this reason, insurance companies are trying to seek out other treatment options before they will agree to such treatments. Approximately $40,000 annually is spent upon such treatments.
Side effects are many however and worthy of note. They can include such minor issues as excessive leanness, higher glucose levels in the blood, joint pain and more information is still pouring in as research continues to explore all of the side effects.
For adults using HGH to enhance their performance, the risks are even greater. Joint pain can be very severe and shorten their duration as an athlete. There is an increased risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer according to some studies.
One study of 1849 persons found that of that number (aged 45 to 50), 12 of the participants were diagnosed with cancer and 10 of those 12 would die of the cancer. This raised concern as many were considered too young to have had such cancers.
The study also revealed that persons using HGH are also at a higher risk for colorectal cancer and even for Hodgkin’s disease. Yet more concern was raised when it was discovered that patients also had a higher than normal rate of developing acromegaly. This is a rare condition in which a persons body creates more growth hormones and it can increase their risk for colorectal cancer.
There have also been many reports of joint pain and damage with conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and other joint injuries. It’s long been know that those who are tall are at an increased risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, prostate cancer and colon and rectal cancers.
The possibility of such risks being linked to hormones simply can’t be ignored. However, it is worthy of note to mention that the synthetic hormone is given in much smaller doses on a daily basis in lieu of the three times per week that was once the norm for cadaveric hormonal doses.
Doses are also now based upon body size, not a standardized across the board amount. According to recent research, those children who are shorter are also at a lower risk of cancers and shorter men will have a reduced rate of prostate cancers as well.
Shorter persons may also enjoy a longer life than their taller counterparts. It is presumed that the only real reason to give shorter children such treatments is to reduce the stigma of ‘being short’. Society has long commented on height.
All in all, human growth hormone definitely has its place in medical use, but for seeking the fountain of youth and athletes, it is not a wise option. The risks are really too great and there are other ways to retain ones youth and improve ones stamina.