With all the advancements being made by modern medicine, there’s one area that has yet to be mastered: halting the aging process. Society’s constant search for the proverbial ‘fountain of youth’ has led researchers to comb through every aspect of the medical world, looking for solutions to the natural process of aging. Unfortunately, another hopeful in the race — a growth hormone — has just been disqualified.
According to a new study out of Stanford University in California, researchers have concluded a growth hormone that is commonly used as an anti-aging treatment is actually not beneficial at all for seniors. It cannot turn back the clock in elderly patients and its benefits are not worth noting, as it only produces common side effects and barely provides any benefit at all. The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The growth hormone, while not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is still being used to try and fight against the aging process — albeit the efforts are in vein. The hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland and it helps in the growth process during both childhood and adolescence. It also works on the liver and other tissues in your body to help promote an insulin-like growth factor. This helps induce the hormone’s effects in the growth process. However, as you age, your levels of this hormone decrease. This has led some researchers to think that increasing this hormone in a senior person could play a role in age prevention.
As hopeful as past studies have been about this growth hormone, the newest one has found that its effects are, unfortunately, not worth noting. By analyzing data from 31 studies (220 healthy, non-obese male and female participants in total; the average age was 69) on the effects of the hormone, the researchers found that while it did help lower cholesterol levels, and it helped aid in a drop in overall fat mass, the rate it which it did so was not significant enough to warrant taking the hormone. In fact, the side effects from the therapy included swelling, joint pain, and an increased risk of diabetes, among other issues, which were not worth the slight benefits.
According to the authors, “Although growth hormone has been widely publicized as an anti-aging therapy and initial studies suggest that it might be clinically beneficial and safe in the healthy elderly, we find little evidence to support these claims. On the basis of available evidence, growth hormone cannot be recommended for use among the healthy elderly.”
We’ll keep you posted on any new developments that may hold promise in the realm of anti-aging research.