For adults who have a growth hormone deficiency, injections of HGH can increase exercise capacity, improve muscle mass, and decrease body fat.
Growth hormone fuels childhood growth and helps maintain tissues and organs throughout life.
It’s produced by the pea-sized pituitary gland — located at the base of the brain. Beginning in middle age, however, the pituitary gland slowly reduces the amount of growth hormone it produces.
This natural slowdown has triggered an interest in using synthetic human growth hormone (HGH) as a way to stave off some of the changes linked to aging, such as decreased muscle and bone mass.
Do some adults need HGH treatment?
Adults who have a growth hormone deficiency — not the expected decline in growth hormone due to aging — might be prescribed synthetic HGH by their doctors.
In most people, growth hormone deficiency is caused by a benign tumor on the pituitary gland (pituitary adenoma) or by treatment of an adenoma with surgery or radiotherapy.
For adults who have a growth hormone deficiency, injections of HGH can:
- increase exercise capacity;
- increase bone density;
- increase muscle mass;
- decrease body fat.
HGH treatment is also approved to treat adults with AIDS- or HIV-related growth hormone deficiency that causes the irregular distribution of body fat.
Role of Endocrine System
Your body’s endocrine system secretes and controls the hormones that regulate many body processes including metabolism, use of nutrients, excretion, and reproduction. As you age, these systems become less efficient, leading to changes in our bodies. The hormone theory of aging states that these changes eventually cause the effects of aging.
Do hormones cause aging?
There is some evidence to support the hormone theory of aging. In one older study, researchers removed the pituitary gland of mice, which controls much of the endocrine system. The researchers then substituted the absence of the pituitary gland with supplementation of all of the hormones identified in mice.
It turns out that those without a pituitary gland lived longer than a control group of normal mice who did have a gland. This led researchers to conclude that the pituitary gland must also excrete another, unknown, hormone that negatively impacts aging.
Despite this, we all know that the quality of life matters even more than just longevity without quality, and young look, energy, sex drive, slim body, and cognitive function directly depend on hormones, and it would be great both to live longer and feel good through the whole life.
Research on a variety of organisms has shown that mutations that reduce insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) result in longer lives. But reducing IGF-1 has inconsistent effects on age-related diseases in humans, reducing the risks for some but increasing them for others.
Hormones for Anti-Aging
The concept that hormones or reduced production of hormones might cause aging has also led some to believe that they could be an anti-aging elixir. Growth hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland, helps maintain tissues and organs throughout life. It’s also responsible for childhood growth. Synthetic human growth hormone (HGH) has been touted as a potential fountain of youth, with proponents hoping it can stave off the decline in tissue growth from aging.
While some adults have growth hormone deficiencies and require supplementation, this is rare. Research is indecisive on any other potential benefits.
Hormonal changes are an important part of aging. Whether they control the pace at which aging happens or are a consequence of other changes in the body is unknown.
You might be surprised to learn that there are tons of other theories of aging. We can only hope to live long enough to see which are correct.
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