Will humankind ever discover the legendary Fountain of Youth? If you listen to some advertising spiels, the Fountain has already been found. It is known as human growth hormone or HGH. The human body uses HGH for growth, of course, but the body begins producing less of it as a person ages. Some people think in order to stay youthful and healthy, you need to keep adding HGH to your body.
These days, if you want to take synthetic HGH, you’ll need a doctor’s prescription. But if you don’t want to bother with that procedure, numerous HGH supplements are sold on the Internet. These supplements reportedly stimulate the human body into producing its own HGH and - according to various advertisements - slow down or even reverse the aging process. Many people must be wondering: Are these supplements safe and effective or just a waste of money?
Please keep reading and find out!
What Is HGH?
HGH is a complex peptide hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. The human body produces HGH until it’s no longer needed for growth and other reasons, which happens at about age 60, when its production is essentially eliminated. HGH not only promotes cell growth and regeneration, and is therefore considered anabolic (body building); it also stimulates the growth of internal organs such as the brain, helps maintain liver and pancreatic functions and stimulates the immune system.
With the use of recombinant DNA techniques, HGH was synthesized in 1981, making possible its use as a drug for scientific and medicinal applications. Before that, HGH could only be obtained from cadavers.
When athletes began to use and abuse the drug in the 1970s, organizations such as the International Olympic Committee and the National Collegiate Athletic Association have banned the use of the HGH. But a procedure to detect the use of HGH didn’t become available until the early 2000s.
Even though the FDA has not approved of the use of HGH, its use can be prescribed by a doctor for children’s growth deficiencies and adult hormone disorders. Some applications for the use of HGH have been used in the livestock industry as well.
Too Much HGH Is Not Good
Excess HGH can cause the growth of a pituitary tumor. Benign in nature, this tumor can nevertheless cause problems such as headaches as it continues to grow. Prolonged excessive levels of HGH can cause growth disorders such as acromegaly, producing a Neanderthal-like appearance in the head; it can also cause a rare form of Type 2 diabetes. Reduced sexual function, heart disease, liver and thyroid damage are additional possibilities. And extreme levels of HGH can cause a condition known as pituitary gigantism. Suffering from this rare health condition, Robert Wadlow grew to nearly 9 feet tall.
Do HGH Supplements Work?
Over the years, researchers have given HGH to old and elderly people, hoping that it may slow, stop or perhaps reverse the aging process. But studies have not shown conclusively that taking HGH in any form reduces aging in any way. No government sponsored clinical trials have been done, either.
Since you need a doctor’s prescription to use HGH for medicinal purposes, some business savvy folks have marketed dietary supplements designed to help the human body produce its own HGH. A company named BIE Health Products advertises a health supplement called GHR or Growth Hormone Releaser, essentially a mixture of amino acids, particularly glutamine, and it claims the product has some very impressive treatments and cures:
improves sleep and emotional stability; increases energy and exercise endurance; promotes loss of body fat; increases bone density; improves memory and mental alertness; increases muscle strength and size; reverses baldness and restores color; regenerates the immune system; strengthens the heart muscle; controls cholesterol; normalizes blood pressure; controls mood swings; makes wrinkles disappear; reverses many degenerative disease symptoms; heightens five sense awareness; and increases skin thickness and texture.
If any of these HGH releasers is truly responsible for even a fraction of the aforementioned mitigation or cures, then the proverbial Fountain of Youth may have been found! But, bear in mind, both the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration have not approved the use of any dietary supplements designed to combat the aging process.
Incidentally, a three-month supply of GHR costs about $150.
What Are the Dangers of Taking HGH Pills?
The various sellers of these HGH releasers claim the use of their pills cause no side effects whatsoever, though medical science has proven that too much HGH in one’s system can cause dangerous side effects and/or disease. Therefore, the public needs to be informed before popping any of these dubious pills.
According to the website Healthybodydaily.com, Dr. Oz said that taking HGH as an anti-aging therapy is just one big massive experiment and not worth risking a person’s health in search of everlasting beauty and health.
In conclusion, one might wonder why the human body ceases to produce a hormone that is so important for a person’s health and well-being. Did God or nature intend that we suffer during our old age by withholding our needed HGH? Of course it’s also possible that old people can do just fine with little or no HGH in their systems, and this is what current medical science claims is true. It’s also possible that products such as GHR only work because of the placebo effect. If you think it’s going to work, it probably will in some way! Naturally, only the individual can decide if these pills are worth the money.
At any rate, it you’re really determined to try this stuff, find out what amino acids are in it, buy them at the supermarket, and then make your own mixture. At least you’ll probably save money!
Please leave a comment.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Kelley Marks
Jaedmon on March 31, 2013:
Vitamin E does not slow the aging process and should be taken only as nutritional supplement and not in excess. Do some research.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on March 30, 2013:
Thanks for the comment, naturman. I've heard that, along with vitamin C, vitamin E can slow the aging process - but by how much, days, weeks, years? However, before long, the human lifespan will probably be extended to 130 to 140 years, which may be the physical limit for such. Later!
Michael Roberts from UK on March 30, 2013:
High doses of vitamin E can slow ageing of course I don't think anything could stop it all together.
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on January 31, 2013:
Yes, it certainly helps to have money, Jaedmon. As a rule, rich people live longer, don't they? Western medicine is expensive. Anyway, fortunately Internet connections aren't so expensive and neither are supplements. Well, some of them can be very expensive, but let's not go into that. Later!
Jaedmon on January 30, 2013:
I wrote that I was doing HRT (hormone replacement therapy) from self education. I'm forced to do that because I can't afford an endocrinologist who is a specialist in HRT. I did, however, read books on the subject written by endocrinologists. And I can't afford to join a Life Extension program like Cenegenics, which has well qualified doctors on board. I definitely recommend one of the above if funds are available. Otherwise, do a LOT of research and monitor results with blood tests. Another option is to start off with an endocrinologist or Cenegenics (doctors all over the country), learn the process, THEN do it yourself. Unfortunately, it is not covered by insurance and remains one of the medical and life advantages for the wealthy. In Hollywood, for example, there are "anti aging" and "life extension" i.e. HRT, doctors and clinics "on every block."
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on January 30, 2013:
Thanks for the comment, phildazz. Taking HGH supplements is a subject about which many of us should speak, especially the older crowd. Later!
Allan Philip from Toronto on January 30, 2013:
Very interesting and informative Hub. Thanks for the knowledge, I got a little power from this hub.
Jaedmon on January 24, 2013:
Proof is in th' pudding, Kosmo, and from blood tests results and levels of strength and endurance, my "pudding" is better than most others.. so far, so good.
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on January 24, 2013:
Thanks for the comment, Jaedmon. Getting old is a bitch, isn't it? Keep using HGH injections if you think you need them. Later!
Jaedmon on January 23, 2013:
I'm 74 years old and here's a "juror's" response. For those over 60, only the synthesized amino acid identical, injectable HGH works. I've been on self-educated HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for some time with excellent results. Testosterone along with an anti-estrogen med compliments positive results of HGH. The efficacy of this is well documented in the sports records books, beginning with E. German Olympic Athletes over 50 years ago. This was a time of true experimentation with limits being tested for the acclaim winners brought to a Communist government. What happened to these original guinea pigs? Did they die early deaths or have health problems related to performance enhancing drugs? Protection of the BIG business of professional sports and the health of our youth is the understandable reason that our government and medical establishments block research on the truly remarkable benefits hormone replacement (only bringing age deficient hormones to levels optimal at adult middle age) can bring to those who desire no more than the best health and quality of life in their last decades. The current knowledge obtained from having Lance Armstrong, Mark McGuire, and other athletes risk themselves as guinea pigs could be revolutionary in terms of improved strength, vitality and overall health of the aging. But that potential is sacrificed because of the abuse potential with the young. In a sense, it is so good.. it is too good not to be mis-used. Being in the latter stages of the incurable disease called aging, however, I will take the calculated risk.
Patrick Newkirk on June 13, 2012:
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Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on March 19, 2012:
Okay, debbie, since you called me km you must know who I am. Thanks for the comment. Later!
debbie on March 19, 2012:
Thanks for the info km. very informative. later dca
Kelley Marks (author) from Sacramento, California on March 09, 2012:
Thanks for the comments, kristurpin and vespawoolf. The jury is definitely still out on the usefulness and safety of taking HGH supplements. Later!
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on March 09, 2012:
I've often wondered about the controversy surrounding HGH supplements and it sounds like the jury is still out! Thank you for an informative and interesting hub. Voted up and useful!