Healthy aging: Over 50 (27)
- DHEA: Evidence for anti-aging claims is weak
- Easy bruising: Common as you age
- Human growth hormone (HGH): Does it slow aging?
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Healthy retirement (6)
- Fall prevention: 6 tips to prevent falls
- Memory loss: 7 tips to improve your memory
- Older drivers: 7 tips for driver safety
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Dependent seniors (5)
- Home care services: Questions to ask
- Alzheimer's disease
- Caring for the elderly: Dealing with resistance
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Human growth hormone (HGH): Does it slow aging?
What are the risks of taking human growth hormone if you don't need it?
Human growth hormone may cause a number of side effects for healthy adults, including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Swelling in the arms and legs
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- For men, enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
Human growth hormone may also contribute to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Some research suggests that side effects of human growth hormone treatments may be more likely in older adults than in younger adults. Because the studies of healthy adults taking human growth hormone have been short term, it isn't clear whether the side effects could eventually dissipate or become worse.
Does human growth hormone come in pill form?
Some websites sell a pill form of human growth hormone and claim that it produces results similar to the injected form of the drug. Sometimes these dietary supplements are called human growth hormone releasers. There's no proof that these claims are true. Likewise, there's no proof that homeopathic remedies claiming to contain human growth hormone work.
What's the bottom line?
If you have specific concerns about aging, ask your doctor about proven ways to improve your health. Remember, healthy lifestyle choices — such as eating a healthy diet and including physical activity in your daily routine — can help you feel your best as you get older.Previous page
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- Smit P, et al. Growth hormone therapy and risk of malignancy. The Endocrinologist. 2008;18:39.
- Nass R, et al. Effects of an oral ghrelin mimetic on body composition and clinical outcomes in healthy older adults. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149:601.
- Liu H, et al. Systemic review: The safety and efficacy of growth hormone in the healthy elderly. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007;146:104.
- Giannoulis MG, et al. The effects of growth hormone and/or testosterone on whole body protein kinetics and skeletal muscle gene expression in healthy elderly men: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2008;93:3066.
- Blackman MR. Use of growth hormone secretagogues to prevent or treat the effects of aging: Not yet ready for prime time. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2008;149:677.
- Olshansky SJ, et al. New developments in the illegal provision of growth hormone for "anti-aging" and bodybuilding. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008;299:2792.
- Can we prevent aging? National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/E50A04DC-BDA8-4CF3-AE7E-82C2B5F94C90/15120/CanWePreventAging.pdf. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.
- Import alert no. 66-71: Detention without physical examination of human growth hormone (HGH), also known as somatropin. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cms_ia/importalert_204.html. Accessed Nov. 3, 2010.
- American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Guidelines for use of growth hormone in clinical practice. Endocrine Practice. 2009;15:1.