Growth hormone is one of those topics in which the science is fighting a slow and steady uphill battle against the marketing dollars of those making money from the application of growth hormone (or anything that they can pass off as its application). The "anti-aging" industry will make money in the short term, but being on the wrong side of the science is a losing proposition in the long term - they can't waste time and misinform people forever. From the recent past here at Fight Aging!:
Growth hormone, once you cut through the irresponsible marketing, is nothing more than another fairly outmoded workhorse therapy for very specific conditions. The anti-aging marketplace could just as easily have worked itself up into a frothing mania over an osteoporosis drug, or something to mitigate menopausal symptoms - the brand snowballs in size and the money treads science underfoot for these people.
From where I stand, growth hormone therapies appear to be a legitimate old-school style therapy for some age-related and other conditions. As for most old-school medicine, it's a roll of the dice as to whether you'll benefit or suffer - no-one can say for sure what's really going on under the hood, or how your biochemistry will take it. Use is an educated risk assessment that people have to make for themselves - and caveat emptor is a very good rule of thumb when dealing with anything associated with the "anti-aging" marketplace. If you had to stick a pin in the map for anti-aging shyster central, human growth hormone would be it - a pity that the legitimate uses have been buried beneath a cartload of marketing.
Still, in a free society, you could stick whatever you liked into your body provided you were prepared to foot the bill for the consequences. Sadly, we do not live in a free society; insofar as medicine goes, we live in a highly regulated, paternalistic, socialist enclave. A commons has been created, and every potential tragedy leads to calls for further control and expansion rather than the much more sensible abolition of the commons.
In any case, my attention was drawn today to further confirmation of the above viewpoints from the scientific community:
Liu's team undertook a systematic review and analysis of published studies, excluding any that looked at diseases for which growth hormone is an accepted therapy. They focused solely on studies using growth hormone to treat the elderly, specifically those whose main maladies were nothing worse than age and being mildly to moderately overweight. They also included only studies that evaluated the use of the hormone in randomized, controlled clinical trials.
Of all the papers contained in two of the largest databases of medical literature in the world, only 31 met the team's criteria. The 31 studies had a combined total of slightly more than 500 participants, and the average duration of therapy was about six months, said Liu, adding that he was surprised at the limited amount of data in the literature.
"These studies were designed to look at what happens when you give growth hormone to a healthy elderly person," said Liu. "For example, what happens to their bone density, to their exercise levels and to their exercise capacity."
The researchers found that growth hormone had a modest effect on body composition, increasing lean body mass, or muscle, by slightly more than 2 kilograms and decreasing body fat by roughly the same amount.
But, Liu said, "It did not change other clinically important outcomes, such as bone density measurements, cholesterol and lipid measurements, and maximal oxygen consumption." In short, the studies provided no real evidence that the therapy resulted in increased fitness.
"From our review, there's no data to suggest that growth hormone prolongs life, and none of the studies makes that claim," said Liu.
The bottom line is that nothing being sold today - and especially nothing being overhyped today - is going to work spectacular wonders for your longevity. If spectacular longevity is pencilled into your plans for the future, then you're going to have to get up and help make it happen - research and development is needed to make the possible into the real when it comes to healthy life extension, and that requires some degree of support, initiative and effort from all of us.