Use of growth hormone for prevention or treatment of effects of aging

S. Mitchell Harman, Marc R. Blackman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Decreases in growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-I, estrogen deficiency in women, diminished testosterone in men, and loss of lean body mass, increased fat, and other changes consistent with hormone deficiencies occur during aging. Treatment of nonelderly GH-deficient adults with recombinant human GH (rhGH) improves body composition, muscle strength, physical function, and bone density, and reduces blood cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk, but is often accompanied by carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral edema, joint pain and swelling, gynecomastia, glucose intolerance, and possibly increased cancer risk. Reports that rhGH augments lean body mass and reduces body fat in aged individuals increased use of rhGH to delay aging effects. However, clinically significant functional benefits, prolongation of youth, and life extension have not been demonstrated. Moreover, marketing of rhGH and other hormone supplements largely ignores adverse effects. Until more research has better defined the risk/benefit relationships, treatment of elderly individuals with rhGH should be confined to controlled research studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-658
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume59
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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