Vanity Fair magazine published a recent article on how (anonymous) Hollywood actors and producers are using human growth hormone, or HGH (or simply GH).
In a sense, H.G.H. is the love child of Viagra and Botox; when administered appropriately, it is said to smooth wrinkles, reduce body fat, and increase lean muscle mass and bone density, while also improving one’s libido, mood, and overall sense of vitality—to the point that the recipient both looks and feels years younger. “It is a rejuvenating force,” says Dr. Uzzi Reiss, a Beverly Hills physician on the forefront of the H.G.H. trend.
And when I used to lift weights, I did it in the belief that I was building growth hormone, which had to be good, right?
But what if growth hormone isn’t good?
What if growth hormone actually messes you up, ages you faster, causes you to get sick, and ruins your libido and your sex drive?
So I thought that it would be interesting to see what growth hormone actually does.
So let’s turn to the study which is pretty good, where they gave growth hormones to some mice and compared this group to a group of mice that were not getting the extra growth hormone.
It turns out that growth hormone accelerates aging!
symptoms of accelerated aging, including …shortened reproductive life span AND early onset of age-related changes in cognitive function, hypothalamic neurotransmitter turnover, and plasma corticosterone levels
Translated, that is very bad news for growth hormone. Is looking pretty grim.
In fact, you want to reduce growth hormone in your body not increase it.
Here is a great review of a number of studies on growth hormone and how it causes accelerated aging:
In this study, they actually reduced growth hormone in certain mice.
And they found a radical thing.
The mice with reduced growth hormone had superior insulin sensitivity.
The opposite of diabetics, these mice were like anti-diabetics.
These mice were not thin either; they were fat. But they were overall extremely healthy and long-lived.
In fact, when they tried to do calorie reduction with these mice, these mice did not live any longer with calorie reduction.
They were already living a much longer age. Their age was extended a lot.
In fact, these mice (and probably people)…
…age slowly and outlive their normal siblings by as much as 40–60%
This is a striking increase in age and is made possible simply by blocking the growth hormone.
It is true that when you’re young, you need growth hormone in order to grow.
But as you get into adulthood, you want to minimize growth hormone.
It’s exactly the opposite of what the Hollywood types should be doing to themselves.
Both hormones should be minimized if you want to live a long healthy life.
I’ve been telling you for quite a while that chronic internal inflammation is the number one problem that we all have.
Internal inflammation causes diabetes, gut problems, prostate problems, heart problems, clogged arteries, erectile dysfunction and much more.
As this article says:
There is strong association of aging with chronic low grade inflammatory activity…AND long term tissue damage and systemic chronic inflammation
Growth hormone increases internal inflammation.
This is why it is so dangerous.
It shortens life and causes us to increase our cortisol levels chronically.
High cortisol is a stressor to the human body that eventually will cause premature aging, many different diseases, and death.
You don’t want chronically elevated cortisol levels. Growth hormone seems to chronically elevated cortisol.
And one of the things that the growth hormone studies show us is that
fat is not always inflammatory.
It is known that fat can be inflammatory, or anti-inflammatory.
I believe that the body gets fat as a defense mechanism.
FAT actually protects us against many diseases.
Obviously, we don’t want to keep doing the thing that’s making us fatter, but it’s really because the thing making us fatter is bad for us.
The fat is the protective mechanism against that.
As the authors of this study say about fat, that it
can have positive or negative effects on regulation of whole body insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
Growth hormone may be a substance that can make that effect bad when growth hormone is present in high amounts.
But when growth hormone is present in lower amounts, that fat that we have may actually be positive for our bodies.
And this is not so wacky because we already know that people who are overweight tend to live longer lives than people who are underweight.
Only severely obese people live a shorter life.
Overweight people actually live longer than normal or underweight people.
So all this is to say that lowering growth hormone may be a good idea.
What lowers growth hormone?
Insulin lowers growth hormone. Insulin also lowers cortisol.
So when you eat, your cortisol levels fall, and your growth hormone levels fall.
As this other study shows, higher insulin levels reduce growth hormone levels:
hyperinsulinemia is a major determinant of the reduced GH release associated with obesity
This may be why insulin resistance is a normal behavior in the body.
The body may be trying to protect against the effects of too much growth hormone.
Who really knows?
This study shows how to lower growth hormone when working out:
If you are doing heavy weightlifting, you may want to take one and a half grams of carnosine before a workout.
The carnosine has several effects.
One effect is it seems to lower soreness of your muscles after the workout.
And the other effect is that it seems to lower all kinds of stress hormone levels AND it lowers growth hormone.
supplementation with carnosine and anserine attenuated circulating epinephrine,norepinephrine, and GH after resistance exercise.
In contrast,supplementation did not influence the free testosterone response to resistance exercise.
And very interestingly,
Carnosine lowered blood pressure effects of heavy lifting.
So besides lowering growth hormone, and lowering your muscle soreness, taking carnosine also lowers the effects of the rapid rise in blood pressure from lifting heavy weights.
In animal studies,carnosine administration suppressed renal sympathetic nerve activity and blood pressure
All of this is to say that what everybody believes is true, that growth hormone is wonderful, isn’t always true.
In fact, if you want to live long and healthy, you want to lower your growth hormone levels, not raise them.
Can growth hormone (GH) accelerate aging? Evidence from GH-transgenic mice
Growth hormone, inflammation and aging
Hollywood’s Vial Bodies
Elevated insulin levels contribute to the reduced growth hormone (GH) response to GH-releasing hormone in obese subjects.
Hormonal Responses to Resistance Exercise after Ingestion of Carnosine and Anserine