Juvenon Health Journal volume 1 number 2 august 2002
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) – Worth The Risk?
Is human growth hormone (HGH) the perfect answer to reverse the effects of aging? The claims on the Internet and in health food stores are enticing. Are they believable?
Human Growth Hormone (HGH), as the name implies, stimulates growth of virtually all cells capable of growing. HGH is produced by the pituitary gland and released into the blood stream. It travels throughout the body and homes in on specific cell receptors to activate growth-promoting metabolic pathways. The biological mechanisms involved are complex and not fully understood, even today. Tissues exposed to Human Growth Hormone exhibit multiple effects, including increased protein synthesis, the use of fat rather than carbohydrate for energy, and increases in glucose synthesis, blood glucose levels, and insulin secretion.
Genetic engineering has made it possible to produce a human recombinant form of HGH that offers full biological activity. Thus Human Growth Hormone became widely available as a prescription drug costing hundreds of dollars per month and used for treatment of genetic deficiencies, such as dwarfism.
A clinical study performed in 1990 showed evidence of increased muscle mass in subjects who received HGH injections. This result caught the attention of body builders, and from there it was a short step to excitement about the possibility of transforming an aging body to a more youthful state.
Although the results of the 1990 study have yet to be confirmed by further peer-reviewed research, additional studies have resulted in some encouraging reports. In some studies, treatment HGH supplements increased lean body mass and improved tissue function. Most of the evidence, however, is anecdotal. Apart from increase in muscle mass, the anti-aging claims for HGH are for the most part unproven. In addition, while HGH is sometimes promoted as a longevity-inducing substance, this claim is clearly unfounded. On the other hand, the negative effects of HGH are well established. HGH has significant potential for creating life-threatening problems. What are the dangers?
- Stimulating the growth of breast, colorectal and other cancers (a finding supported by both animal and human epidemiological studies).
- Promoting insulin resistance (Type II diabetes), which is not surprising in light of HGH’s ability to increase blood glucose levels and insulin secretion.
- Inducing abnormal enlargement of the breast in men.
- Causing or exacerbating carpal tunnel syndrome, joint pain, fluid retention, moodiness, and somnolence.
A decline in HGH levels with age may be secondary to the decline in the quantity and quality of other important cellular structures such as the mitochondria, the primary energy generators of the cell. It is quite possible that biochemical restoration of these structures will reestablish normal function to the hormone-producing machinery of the pituitary. This is perhaps the more reasonable approach to restoring cellular function, rather than direct injections of HGH.
Dr. Treadwell answers your questions about Juvenon™ Cellular Health Supplement
QUESTION: Are there any safety concerns with the Juvenon Energy Formula?
M.P., Fairfax, VA
ANSWER: The two constituents of the energy formula, alpha lipoic acid and acetyl-L-carnitine, are natural compounds synthesized by the tissues of the body. Numerous studies, some dating back over thirty years, in this country and Europe, have demonstrated both compounds are well tolerated by humans in doses several times those recommended by Juvenon.
The compounds are water soluble and excreted in the urine if present in excess amounts. Unlike the fat-soluble vitamins, they are not stored in tissues. Thus they avoid creating the potential for accumulation to toxic levels. In fact, acetyl-L-carnitine functions as a carrier to facilitate the removal and excretion of toxic metabolic products of common prescriptions (such as antidepressants and epileptic drugs). Alpha lipoic acid increases levels of an endogenous substance, glutathione, which is also an agent involved in detoxification.
Benjamin V. Treadwell, Ph.D., is a former Harvard Medical School associate professor and member of Juvenon’s Scientific Advisory Board.