Growth hormone (GH)has been touted as the fountain of youth, used by athletes to enhance performance and by body builders to make bigger muscles. Can this be true and if it is why are we all not taking it routinely? There are multiple studies available for review that look at Growth Hormone and its effects on our bodies. They tend to show promising results for our overall health when used in a controlled environment
Cholesterol and GH
Individuals with a growth hormone deficiency when compared to control subjects were noted to have increased visceral fat, lower HDLs and higher total cholesterol. When these same individuals received growth hormone treatment for 6 months they were noted to have a significant decrease in visceral fat and subcutaneous fat, total cholesterol decreased as well as an increase in HDL cholesterol.
The characteristics noted are all associated with atherosclerosis and by decreasing the visceral fat and cholesterol while increasing HDLs you can decrease the incidence of atherosclerotic plaque and the many diseases associated with it. The most significant being coronary artery disease.
Quality of Life and GH
A study done back in 1989 in London that looked at 24 individuals with growth hormone deficiency and evaluated their perceived quality of life. These patients., when compared to a control group had significantly lower scores on a quality of life assessment. After 6 months of growth hormone treatment these same individuals had less perceived illness and overall improvement in energy and mood. This was a double-blind placebo controlled study which makes the findings significant even though the number of patients was low.
Cardiovascular Risk Factors and GH
There have been multiple studies regarding growth hormone and cardiac disease. All confirm that in patients with growth hormone deficiency their major risk is early death secondary to cardiac disease. When these individuals are treated with growth hormone they have improvement not only in cardiac risk factors but also in cardiac function. When treated for a year there was improvement in ventricular pumping ability, improved lipid panel and decrease in fibrinogen levels. At one year they weren’t totally corrected indicating that long-term growth hormone treatment was needed.
Fibromyalgia and Growth Hormone
Fibromyalgia is a painful syndrome associated with fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbances and feeling of isolation. These mirror the symptoms of growth hormone deficiency , it has been noted that these pts do have a deficiency in growth hormone. Early studies have noted that with growth hormone treatment these individuals have a marked improvement in the overall symptoms including tender points , exercise tolerance and depression.
Growth Hormone and You
Growth hormone appears to be an integral part of a healthy body and in the deficient state may lead to fatigue, pain , depression, increase fat with lipid abnormalities and even early death due to cardiac disease. Supplementation has been shown to be extremely beneficial but only in patients with true growth hormone deficiency. You may hear about all the miracle like benefits of growth hormone but in reality it is for those with normal levels very controversial and questionably of little benefit .
I would suggest having your IGF levels checked, if you feel you are deficient, and thorough discussion with a physician trained in growth hormone replacement.
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