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Growth Hormone linked to longer lives

Posted by moddoctor On May - 28 - 2008

It’s long been thought that higher growth hormone(hGH) levels were associated with longer, higher quality lives as we age. Determining levels of hGH has always been the tough part. This paper in the Journal of Managed Care talks at length about what are the accepted mainstream medicine ways to diagnose hGH deficiency.

A quick read of the paper linked above shows that there are several tests to measure hGH levels and all of them are complicated. All of them take several hours. Basically, a substance is given to provoke the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland. hGH levels are are drawn before the releasing agent is given and then at intervals over several hours. The reason this complicated approach is necessary is that hGH lasts for minutes after release so to accurately determine levels they have to be measure right after release. Clearly, this approach is complicated and inconvenient.

Anti-aging doctors have long been looking for a simpler way to measure and track hGH levels to make treatment with hGH more convenient. hGH causes a number of other hormones to be released in the body. One of these is insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This compound is used as a proxy by many doctors to measure the levels of hGH. Low IGF-1 equals low hGH, or at least that’s the thinking. Unfortunately, this isn’t quite true.

Dutch researchers have announced some major findings. Tracking 376 otherwise healthy men between 73 and 94 years of age, they found that those with higher levels of hGH lived longer than those with lower levels of hGH. This was most significant in men at risk of cardiovascular problems. The study was simple: mortality versus hGH level. No looking into lean body mass. No looking at athletic performance. Just mortality.

The other piece of the study is that they used a new test for IGF-I that more accurately mirrors the effects of hGH on levels of this proxy hormone. Using this new study, the researchers found a much closer parallel to levels of the two hormones than available with traditional testing.

Hopefully the newer test will be available widely in the US soon.

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