Hormones' Anti-Aging Potential Draws Attention
WebMD News Archive
"While some of the changes associated with these hormone interventions
appear to be in the direction commonly associated with younger, healthy
individuals, the clinical usefulness of the interventions remains unclear,"
the NIA said in a statement.
"There is guarded optimism that some therapeutic maneuver that will
raise growth hormone levels -- not necessarily giving growth hormone itself --
may have some value in preventing frailty and improving musculoskeletal
function in older people," S. Mitchell Harman, MD, said in an interview on
the topic last year. "But I think we have to say 'guarded optimism" at
this point, because giving growth hormone per se doesn't seem to have the
risk-benefit ratios that we're really looking for." Harman is with the
NIA's Intramural Research Program and has been involved in many GH studies.
More optimistic is Joseph Raffaele, MD, co-founder of the Anti Aging
Medicine Association of New York. Raffaele has been prescribing GH to patients
for more than three years and says he has seen good results, including
decreased fat mass without change in diet and exercise, increased lean muscle
mass, stronger bones, improved heart and lung function, and reductions in blood
"Growth hormone is not the key to reversing the aging process
because there is no single key. But it is certainly an important element of
aging," he tells WebMD.
- Approximately 7 million elderly Americans need long-term care, and that
number is expected to double by 2030.
- Some scientific evidence shows that trophic factors, such as growth
hormone, estrogen, and testosterone, may help combat the aging process.
- Growth hormone, in particular, may reduce frailty and help older people
maintain independence, but studies are showing mixed results.