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Growth hormone may cause diabetes, cancer


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Ed Detwiler, 47, works out with the help of Dr. Jeffry Life, who runs the Cenegenics Medical Institute for "age management." Under Life's regime, Detwiler injects himself daily with human growth hormone. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Anyone seeking the fountain of youth should think twice before turning to growth hormone, a fast-growing trend in anti-aging fringe medicine. If conclusions from a study of an obscure population living in Ecuador prove true, less growth hormone — not more — may help prevent cancer and diabetes in old age.


The discovery, published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, backs up earlier research showing that yeast, flies and rodents live longer — in some species, as much as 10 times longer — when they grow slowly.


"There are a lot of people giving human growth hormone to fight aging," said Dr. Nir Barzilai, a researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the research. "The question is, will you live longer and healthier? I think these studies suggest maybe not."


The discovery hinged on a group of extended relatives living in the Andes in Ecuador, many of whom share a genetic mutation that shuts off receptors to human growth hormone. The hormone helps regulate metabolism throughout the body and the way that cells change as they age.


The mutation, called E180, is one of several that cause Laron syndrome, a disorder that stunts growth after birth by about 50%.


The most obvious effects of the disorder are negative, said study coauthor Dr. Jaime Guevara-Aguirre of the Institute of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Reproduction in Quito, Ecuador. These include short stature — people with Laron grow to be about 3 to 4 feet tall — and high infant mortality.


But Guevara-Aguirre, who treats Laron patients, saw a positive side too: Virtually none of them got cancer or diabetes.


Experts said the study casts doubt on the use of human growth hormone injections to combat aging. Though the treatment has been shown to improve muscle mass, doctors have worried that it may raise the risk for diabetes and cancer.


Dr. Thomas Perls, a professor of medicine and geriatrics at Boston University and a critic of the growth hormone industry, said the research provided "yet more dramatic evidence that growth hormone does the opposite of what the hucksters and the anti-aging industry promote." He was not involved with the study.


In 2009, Americans spent $1.35 billion on growth hormone treatments, filling 431,000 prescriptions, according to the healthcare information and consulting company IMS Health.


Longo said the research might lead to drugs that suppress growth hormone to prevent many diseases of aging, much the way statin drugs are used to lower cholesterol and prevent cardiac disease.


The goal of such prevention wouldn't be to live longer, but to live disease-free for as long as possible, he said.


"These mice and the Laron patients don't seem to have chronic conditions," he added. "They live long lives, and then they drop dead."

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Article by Lisa Wells, RN

Some doctors have been concerned about giving human growth hormone (HGH) injections to diabetics. Previous studies, including Dr. Rudman's study using large doses of HGH injections showed that human growth hormone had caused increased insulin resistance in patients, so diabetics saw an increase in blood glucose levels. Dr. Bengtsson, an endocrinologist in Sweden showed similar results in his 6 week study.

Dr. Bengtsson's study had first shown that growth hormone caused increased insulin resistance, however, after 6 months of HGH therapy his patient's insulin sensitivity returned to where it had been before the therapy.


This 6 month study showed that growth hormone did not increase the patient's blood glucose or make the patient diabetic. Dr. Bengtsson says that it may very well be that the improvement in the patient's body composition (decrease in fat cells) after 6 months of therapy offset any negative effect that growth hormone may have had on insulin.


Can HGH Help Diabetes?

There are some indications that human growth hormone may actually improve diabetes. A study done at John Hopkins about the effects of HGH on blood glucose supports the idea that when elderly people have low human growth hormone they also have more intraabdominal fat and their insulin acts less well.


In this situation they have a tendency to have high blood sugar. If these elderly people are given growth hormone therapy correctly, rather than excessively, their blood sugar levels should improve rather than worsen.


Thierry Hertoghe, MD, who specializes in hormone replacement therapy in Brussels believes that human growth hormone helps to promote the action of insulin. He believes that because HGH helps to direct the insulin to put glucose into the muscular cells, cardiac cells, and nerve cells, rather than the fat cells of the body HGH may actually help to improve diabetes.


Greg Fahy, Ph.D., of the Naval Medical Research Institute has stated that he may have discovered a method to possibly cure adult-onset diabetes using HGH. He has stated that his own experiments have shown that human growth hormone is very beneficial for diabetes.


Lisa Wells, RN.

Just another day in Paradise!

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Don't know about causing Diabetes or Cancer but must be something in it as all bodybuilders appear completely dense up top to me !

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