Does HGH have anti-aging qualities or does it increase the risk of cancer and dying younger. The science in this area is certainly complex and convoluted supporting both theories.
HGH is a biochemical helping to stimulate the growth and division of cells. Increasingly older, healthy individuals are taking human growth hormone to increase muscle tone, decrease belly fat, reduce wrinkles and reverse other signs of aging.
Taking HGH AKA Somatropin for its anti-aging benefits is very controversial within the medical community but it continues to gain popularity on a global scale, estimated to reach nearly $5 billion in sales by 2018, compared to the $3.5 billion in 2011. (Marketing data from Global Industry Analysts Inc.)
Recent studies indicate that the lower levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, is linked to longevity and a decreased risk of cancer as one ages.
Nir Barzilai, an endocrinologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, says, "These studies suggest that growth hormone for healthy aging might not be a good idea.”
As we age one’s growth hormone, estrogen, testosterone and other biological chemicals decrease. Whether replacing these hormones can pose risks is being studied. For example, data from a large trial, at the Women's Health Initiative, showed that giving estrogen to women over the age of 50 seemed to increase the risk of stroke and perhaps breast cancer.
What’s good for younger people isn’t always good for older people. The same hormones can have different effects depending on the stage of life you are in, says Dr. Barzilai, the director of Einstein's Institute for Aging Research.
HGH stimulates the liver as well as other organs to make IGF-1. This affects the tissues and organs in the body. Studies that have been done generally will measure the IGF-1 rather than directly measuring the growth hormone. That’s because a person’s IGF-1 levels will stay constant.
Over the years the FDA has approved a number of synthetic HGH products for the treatment of specific conditions. However, since 2010, those being treated with HGH have been monitored and that data is telling researchers that there is a 30% increase in death in children who are treated with HGH. However, the FDA still believes benefits outweigh any risk associated with the use of HGH treatments.
Using HGH for anti-aging purposes might also not be as healthy as was once believed. Research is now showing evidence that an increase in HGH will not always increase muscle development, and even in those that do find they develop more muscles; it won’t always improve function, if the neural pathway to the brain cannot be repaired.
When you take growth hormone it can stimulate the growth of cartilage but William Sonntag, director of the Reynolds Oklahoma Center on Aging, says that this can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome amongst other significant side effects.
Currently there aren’t any trials that will offer solid evidence of the harm or benefit of IGF-1 in healthy adults that are older. There are very few in the science and research community that will argue that there are benefits to increasing IGF-1 in the body such as reducing wrinkles and improving cognitive benefits.
Dr. Sonntag bred mice with the focus of removing the IGF-1 gene, which in turn would lower IFG-1 levels in the brain at different ages. Dr. Sonntag let mice grow up with normal level of IGF-1 and then in later years he reduced these IGF-1 levels. What he found is that these mice then showed cognitive impairment. Yet when the mice had low levels of IGF-1 all of their life there was no cognitive impairment.
Researchers at Southern Illinois University of Medicine found that the brain tissue, which is responsible for producing IGF-1 was able to compensate for these lower levels of IGF-1 that were in the blood.
What is most alarming is that Southern Illinois University of Medicine was able to determine there was a direct link between higher levels of HGH or IGF-1 and cancer. Many scientists are coming to the same conclusion. Studies are showing that when you lower IGF-1 by 50% you significantly decrease the risk of cancer. The study also found that when you significantly increase IGF-1 levels you significantly increase the risk of cancer.
A new study adds further evidence that is much better, showing that lower growth hormone is linked with longevity. Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, director Valter Longo, and his team, published the study in Cell Metabolism in March.
They studied those who were 50 to 65 years old. What they found is those individuals who had higher IGF-1 levels they had a four times the risk of developing cancer and a 75% increase in overall mortality compared with those with lower levels.
"Overwhelmingly the human data and the research and the science will say that, for the majority of people, [taking HGH is] just a bad idea," says Dr. Longo.
Another study by British Researchers found the use of human growth hormone was directly linked to cancer. British researchers report. If the hormone is needed for medical reasons the same risks do not apply. However, for those taking expensive "anti-aging" growth hormones” they may be spending all that money to increase their risk of getting cancer.
The study published in the July 27 issue of The Lancet looked at almost 2,000 British patients who, were treated with HGH as children. In 1985 the use of this human brain supplement ceased because it was linked to a fatal brain disease, called CJD, which is a variant of mad cow disease.
Newer, synthetic forms of HGH don’t have this risk; however, Anthony J. Swerdlow, MD, PhD, and colleagues at England's Institute of Cancer Research have concerns that HGH could be associate with other risks including cancer.
They reviewed lifetime medical records children who took the hormone between 1959 - 1985. These children are now adults and the findings were alarming. There was a significant increase in Hodgkin’s disease and colon cancer. Children taking HGH should continue to do so, since it is too early to draw conclusions, but the evidence is clear – there needs to be another study that examines this relationship more closely.
The fastest growing HGH market is in healthy adults who are participating in anti-aging programs that use HGH to replace the human growth hormone that’s lost in the body with aging.
"Almost half of growth hormone sold today is not for hormone deficiency -- it is for people who want to feel young again," Michael Pollak, MD, tells WebMD. "They say, 'This may help me and it has no risks.' This study says, 'Nope, growth hormone at age-inappropriate levels may be dangerous.'"
Pollak, is the director of the cancer prevention unit at Canada's McGill University in Montreal, and he is also the co-author of a Swerdlow study editorial that was published. The editorial backs Swerdlow's concern that HGH plays a role in cancer, specifically colon cancer.
HGH raises blood levels of IGF-1. Animal studies have found that high levels of IGF-I are directly linked to colon cancer. When exposed to IGF-1 colon cancer cells grow faster. People with high levels of HGH have too much IGF-1 in the blood and their risk of colon cancer spreading faster is significantly higher.
While there is a need for much more research on the link between cancer and HGH, preliminary studies suggest with no definite proof that HGH injections may speed up the growth of cancers that are already present, therefore anyone contemplating using HGH must at least make sure that their bodies are free of any cancer cells. Yet another reason why you should stick to taking a non prescription natural HGH supplement like Genf20 Plus, which contain no synthetic HGH but rather help your body to increase human growth hormone production naturally. If you want to know more about Genf20 Plus or try it risk free click here!
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