Tuesday, March 4, 2008


An article recently came out called “Human Growth Hormone Helps Seniors Feel Young”. A patient recently brought it in to me to see and asked about it. He had the article torn out of our paper. I read through it and found it quite disturbing. He had found out that they offered the medication for $150 for a 90 day supply. It said that recent evidence showed that as we age our natural production decrease and replacing it could help us regenerate. It stated that a group of doctors and scientists in 1997 developed an all-natural source product manufactured by “Global Health Products” that helps the body release human growth hormone, with no known side effects. They stated that it has the capability to replace many prescription drugs and treat hemorrhoids, autoimmune diseases, macular degeneration, cataracts, fibromyalgia, angina, chronic fatigue, diabetic neuropathy, hepatitis c, chronic constipation, high blood pressure, sciatica, kidney dialysis and help with heart and stroke recovery. A wonder drug?
No! This is so much con artistry and our paper has provided the perpetrators with a forum to sell their lies to one of the most vulnerable sections of society, our seniors. It is thinly veiled attempt to separate them from their money. First rule; if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. The claims to help all the above list conditions with no side effects is bogus. How much did the paper get paid to publish this article, or did it come out as a news item and they got the advertisement for free. This is the same con that chelating therapy sells with no scientific evidence to support any of it and the potential to do great harm physically to gullible or at the very least separate them from their hard earned money.
Now for some science and truth. There is no known chemical that can be taken by mouth to stimulate release of Human Growth Hormone (HGH). So any therapeutic administration of HGH has to be by shots. HGH stimulates growth of cartilage and production of insulin like growth factors, which results in increased calcium retention, stimulation of all internal organs, except the brain, and decrease liver uptake of sugar. Other minor effects are also observed. Excess HGH causes thickening of the bones of the jaw, fingers and toes which can lead carpel tunnel syndrome and muscle weakness. A form of diabetes also occurs with excess administration. It is used for treatment of such things as congenital short stature in children, Prader-Willi syndrome, and maintains muscle mass in AIDS patients among some other rarer uses.
In 1990 in the New England Journal of Medicine 12 men over 60 years of age administered HGH showed increase lean body mass and bone mineral density. The authors also pointed out that these changes would have occurred naturally after 10-20 years. Stanford University School of Medicine in 2007 in a study showed a approximately 2 kilogram increase in muscle mass, but no other changes in bone density, cholesterol level, oxygen consumption or any other factors related to increased fitness. It did show an increase in joint swelling, carpel tunnel syndrome and diabetes.
So our media either knowingly for money or through ignorance is helping to promote scams and frauds on some of the most vulnerable in our society. Before being a party to such deceit maybe the media should get the help of experts before publishing such garbage. Until the Buyer Beware.
Stephen C. Stripe MD, FAAFP.

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