With the baby boomers reaching beyond middle age there will be a growing importance on how one can fight off aging and keep both the body and brain healthy. We have all read about the use of growth hormone to reduce the aging process but is this the right approach? Maybe not!
New research published in PNAS examined the use of a growth hormone-releasing antagonist (blocker) – to reduce the overall amount of growth hormone – and found that in rodents it reduced tumor activity, decreased oxidative stress, increased cognition for better brain health, and increased lifespan. The researchers found that doing the exact opposite of what some ‘doctors’ are pushing, the use of growth hormones for the aging population, was very benefical for both brain health (better cognition) and the overall body health in terms of longer lifespan.
What does this indicate for all the older people currently taking growth hormones in the hope it will help their health (from the above link):
“Many older people have been taking growth hormone to rejuvenate themselves,” Morley said. “These results strongly suggest that growth hormone, when given to middle aged and older people, may be hazardous.”
So let this be a warning to those taking or consider taking growth hormones – they might be doing more harm than good. And to actually improve your health you might consider ways of reducing your growth hormone level. Calorie restriction – the most repeatable manipulation that increases lifespan – decreases growth hormone levels, but on the other hand exercise which is also good for your overall health increases growth hormone levels (if doing strength-like training) but only for a brief period after a workout. So obviously the answer is not straighforward, as with most biological questions – but it doesn’t seem that growth hormone treatment in most cases is the smart thing to do if you are trying to increase your overall brain and body health.