Growth hormone (GH) consists of 191 amino acids bound in a specific order and secreted by the anterior part of the pituitary gland, and this secretion can be increased by physical exercise and other factors. The level of growth hormone circulating in the blood stimulates the production of another hormone, IGF-1 (insulin growth factor 1), from the liver, which is used to measure the positive effects of growth hormone. Measuring IGF 1, also known as Somatomedin C, is considered safer than measuring GH, which is virtually undetectable during the day in humans.
Growth hormone and other somatotropic hormones such as Somatomedin C ( IGF 1) are probably most likely to keep the body young. They participate in the overall management of the body’s metabolism, determining not only the final size of an adult body, but also giving volume, tone and firmness to organs and tissues, especially muscles.
In fact, growth hormone is involved in everything that promotes a good self-image and a positive mental attitude. It firms the body and straightens the back and develops the muscles, chin, jaws, shoulders and pelvis. It also reduces the amount of fat, especially in the abdomen, increases libido and sexual energy, improves hair growth and color and skin elasticity.
The optimal growth hormone level, given at around 25ng/ml, delays the body’s biological clock by 10 to 20 years!
The undesirable effects of growth hormones on older people however could be greater than the benefits. At least this is indicated by the results of a recent clinical data analysis published so far.
The use of growth hormones to combat the effects of aging is relatively widespread in North America. Experts estimate that between 20,000 and 60,000 older adults used growth hormones in the United States in 2014. These are available to Americans in the black market without a prescription, although the medical authorities have not approved the marketing of these hormones as a pharmaceutical product to combat the effects of aging.
Although there are claims about HGH benefits and side effects, an analysis of the published data shows that these claims are based on 18 studies involving only 220 participants. The Californian scientists who reviewed the data indicate that the evidence of efficacy of HGH is of poor quality and that its use is associated with high rates of side effects.
The alleged beneficial effects would be at most modest in healthy older people. Hormones can help increasemuscle mass and burn fat. However, this effect seems to be much less visible in women. It is therefore necessary to increase the dose for women, which may have more negative effects.
Fluid retention is often reported with HGH use. Also HGH may have an adverse effect on blood glucose levels.
In short there is not enough evidence on the efficacy and safety of HGH to allow its widespread use in older people.