Aging and GH (Growth Hormone) Initial Studies
Our life expectancy has nearly doubled over the past century. Further, our average life expectancy has tripled compared to what it was 2,000 years ago. Longevity came with the progress in modern medicine, the development of immunization methods and the conquering of mass epidemic diseases, antibiotics, organ implants and cancer research. All this resulted in extended life expectancy, but often with chronic, slow and painful degeneration, which we call "aging".
Throughout human history, old age and its symptoms have been considered inevitable. We perceive old people as wrinkled, thinned-hair, spindly and covered in age spots. Their waists grow wider, while their upper body and legs become shriveled. They are bent, fragile, suffer many pains and demonstrate weakness. Breath is heavy; sight and hearing are deteriorated. External symptoms are often accompanied by inner changes such as: hypertension, immune deficiencies, muscle mass decrease, weakening or absence of sex drive, shriveling of inner organs, osteoporosis, reduced flexibility of the cardiovascular system, loss of skin thickness and flexibility and so on.
Until recently, those symptoms were considered inevitable. Conventional medicine succeeded in providing humans with an average life expectancy of about 80 years. Today, a growing number of people are alive at the age of 90 and 100 years, but many spend those years in sickness and continuous suffering.
Scientific research and experimentation have led to amazing discoveries, amongst them:
- Aging is a kind of chronic illness which affects all human beings. Aging is treatable. Its progress may be slowed down, some of the symptoms may be reversed, and some of the damage it causes may be repaired.
- The main reason for aging is changes in hormonal functioning, and in particular - the gradual decline in Growth Hormone levels. Typical symptoms of aging are sight and hearing deterioration, an increase in fat mass and a decrease in muscle mass, reduced bone density and strength, changes in skin texture, drastic reduction in sexual functioning and endurance, decreased cardiovascular performance etc.
In the July 1990 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine there appeared an astonishing report which described the results of a clinical study. In this study, a group of volunteers between 60 to 80 years old were given a series of synthetic Growth Hormone injections. The results were that after 6 months of treatment, the participants were found to be biologically "younger" by about 10 to 20 years than their initial/actual biological age. Biological age may be defined according to parameters such as skin texture and thickness, bone density, vision and hearing, hair (color and thinning), sexual potency, muscle mass to fat tissue ratio and by changes in the size and performance of inner organs.
This publication led to a large number of studies and experiments. Since then, various techniques of raising GH resulted in "rejuvenated aging people" whose look and vigor prove that old age is not necessarily accompanied by a breakdown and atrophy of the body systems. Our life quality can be improved despite extended life expectancy. The gloomy prospects of old age are no longer considered inevitable, as was assumed by most only a decade ago.
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The Studies by Dr. Rudman and Additional Related Research
As we mentioned earlier, the first clearly documented research that ties aging to Growth Hormone depletion was published in the July 1990 issue of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. The researcher, Dr. Daniel Rudman, described his research, in which he injected synthetic Growth Hormone to a group of volunteers, ages 60 to 80, for a period of 6 months.
The volunteers were the typical older people, with expanded waists, little muscle mass, excess fat tissue (even amongst those who were relatively thin), fragile bones and thin, wrinkled skin. At the end of the study, the results showed that their biological age, measured against various biological parameters - had dropped by 10 to 20 years. The most outstanding phenomenon was a decrease in fat mass and an increase in muscle mass, equivalent to that of people a decade or two younger. This was achieved without altering diet or physical activity.
Treatment using injections of Growth Hormone had been acceptable for sometime prior to Dr. Rudman's published research. The application was limited to treating children with deficient GH production, which causes dwarfism. These children do look much older then their biological age. This intriguing observation gave a strong hint to the linkage between GH deficiency and aging.
Dr. Rudman's studies focused on the link between aging and hormonal levels in the human body. He found the direct ratio between the decline of GH production, beginning around the age of 25, and the appearance of aging symptoms. It appears that Growth Hormone is a central hormonal regulator for the entire internal secretion system. This finding drove him to test out his theory by providing the body with injections of synthetic GH, which became available not long prior to Dr. Rudman's studies. Injecting GH had significant advantage, mainly in raising levels of GH instantaneously. However, some side effects were noted, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, fluid retention and possible rejection of the injected hormone by the body's immune system. All of these negative symptoms were corrected shortly after by adjusting the dosage to the patient. However, the treatment was and still is very expensive and unaffordable to the greatest majority of the aging population. Still, GH replacement therapy was hailed as the discovery of the "Fountain of Youth" of the nineties, which is not an unfair statement.
In another study, Dr. Rudman experimented with the effect of GH on inner organs. 26 men, ages between 61 and 80, participated in this research. The internal organs (i.e. liver, spleen, muscles etc.) of those participants reverted to the state typical of men 10 to 20 years younger. Dr. Rudman's conclusion of this trial was: "The overall deterioration of the body that comes with growing older is not inevitable... We now realize that some aspects of it can be prevented or reversed."
In 1992, a group of scientists from Stanford University published a study, concluding that: "The enrichment of the body with Growth Hormone may result in preventing or reversing "inevitable" symptoms of aging".
In 1996, the American FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved long term GH therapy for use in GH deficient adults (practically almost any healthy person beyond 30 years old). This approval finally made GH therapy available, within reach to all aging adults. However GH injections were and still are prohibitively expensive for many.
Normal level of GH at the age of 21 is between 3.5-5.5 Ng/ml. It then declines to 0.06-0.2 Ng/ml at the age of 61, and by the age of 71 it reaches the level usually found in dwarfs. Dr. Rudman found that aging people, like dwarfs, respond positively to the increased GH level in their blood. GH deficiency is the major cause for loss of youthful vitality in aging people.