During middle/late adult years, all of us experience a succession of progressive changes to our body composition. The lean body mass starts to shrink and the adipose tissue starts to expand. The contraction of your lean body mass indicates atrophic processes in liver, spleen, kidney, bone, skin and skeletal muscle. The Rudman Study shows how when these HGH deficiencies are corrected can reverse.
It was once believed that these changes were unavoidable and simply the result of aging. However, thanks to the Rudman study, which was one of the first to prove otherwise, we now know that these changes are linked to the reduction of growth hormone in late adulthood. After the age of 30, secretion of HGH from the pituitary gland starts to decline. Less than 5% of healthy men 20 - 40 years of age have plasma IGF-1 values of less than 350 U per liter, but in the healthy men over 60, the values are below this figure in 30% these men. When the concentration of IGF-I falls below 350 U per liter, no spontaneous circulating pulses of HGH can be detected by the radioimmunoassay methods that are currently available.
The associated decline in the concentrations of plasma of both hormones supports the idea that the decrease in IGF-1 is the result of a decrease in HGH secretion and a reduced secretion of HGH is accompanied not just by a fall in IGF-1 but also by the expansion of the mass of adipose tissue, and the atrophy of lean muscle mass.
The Rudman study shows that these changes to the body can be reversed by replacing the lost HGH hormone.
In the Rudman study biosynthetic HGH was administered for 6 months to 12 healthy men between the ages of 61 to 81 years whose plasma IGF-I concentrations were below 350 U/liter, and the effects on plasma IGF-I concentration, adipose-tissue mass, lean body mass, skin thickness, mandibular-height ratio and regional bone density were measured. The measurement of the mandible was included to test the hypothesis that the age-related involution of dental bone is partially responsible from the loss of HGH.
The men were monitored for adverse effects of the HGH through physical exams, lab tests and interviews. 9 men matched for age and with similar plasma IGF-I concentrations were the controls.
The newspaper was used to recruit local healthy men who were 61 years of age or older and living in the community, followed by an interview. The criteria for entry included a body weight of 90% to 120% of the standard for the age range, being able to subcutaneously administer HGH shots to oneself, and the absence of major disease. 95 men met the criteria.
Their plasma IGF-I concentrations were then gathered twice at four week intervals. Consistent with the results of a previous study, plasma IGF-I values in these men ranged from 100-2400 U/liter, with an average of 500 U/liter. 33 of the men had plasma IGF-I values of less than 350 U/liter on both occasions.
These 33 men were then further evaluated by taking their medical history, differential blood count, through a physical examination, chest radiography, electrocardiography and urinalysis, blood-chemistry tests. 26 subjects met all the criteria for entry and were enrolled in the 12-month study.
During the 12-month protocol, all of the participants stayed healthy and none of them had any changes in the results of urinalysis, differential blood count, chest radiography, electrocardiography, echocardiography, or blood-chemistry profile.
All the men remained healthy, and none had any changes in the results of differential blood count, urinalysis, blood-chemistry profile, chest radiography, electrocardiography, or echocardiography during the 12-month protocol.
The 21 men that were studied represented the approximate one-third of all men 60-80 years of age with plasma IGF-I concentrations of <350 U/liter compared with a range of 500-1500 U/liter in healthy men that are 20-40 years of age. The findings can’t be generalized to the approximately two thirds of all men >60 who have plasma IGF-I concentrations of >350 U/liter or women in the same age bracket. In addition, the study criteria focused the study on healthy older men.
The Rudman study findings are consistent with their hypothesis that an increase in adipose-tissue mass, a decrease in lean body mass, and a thinning of the skin, occurring in older men is partially the result of a reduction in HGH IGF-1 axis, and that it can at least partly be restored through the administration of HGH.
It was felt only when these types of questions were answered could real benefits of HGH in the elderly be explored. Atrophy of muscle and skin contributes to the frailty of older people, so the possible benefits of HGH needed to be further explored and they have been.
Fast forward from the 1990s, when the Rudman Study occurred and there are numerous studies that have not only confirmed the same results as the Rudman Study but found answers to questions that were not answered in that study.
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