Social Issue

HGH is also highly controversial. Normally administered to treat conditions such as multiple sclerosis and growth problems in children, its use in injectable and oral forms as a sports performance-enhancer, body-building aid and anti-ageing supplement is widely restricted, as incorrect dosages can lead to severe bloating and even a full physical breakdown. It is not approved for these uses either in the UK or America, but this is circumvented by doctors, who are allowed to prescribe it privately to people they deem to have a deficiency. [11]

Political Issue

While a great benefit to patients suffering from GHD, there has also been pressure to use it to stimulate growth in youngsters who have no deficiency but whose parents want them to grow up tall. And so, in the summer of 2003, the U.S. FDA approved the use of human growth hormone (HGH) for

  • boys predicted to grow no taller than 5′3″ and
  • for girls, 4′11″

even though otherwise perfectly healthy.[2]

How prevalent is the use of hGH for anti-aging?

Hope for longevity springs eternal. And baby boomers are putting their expectations and money into this highly touted and very expensive product. An article published in the October 26th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) notes that worldwide sales of hGH are estimated to be $1.5 billion to $2 billion, and up to 30 percent of hGH prescriptions in the U.S. are used for anti-aging and “athletic enhancement.” If you enter the terms human growth hormone and anti-aging together on the Google search engine, you will find over 1.7 million sites. There are thousands of clinics and doctors who prescribe growth hormone, calling their practice “anti-aging,” “regenerative” or “age management” medicine.
The financial cost is high. HGH injections are priced from $500 to $1,000 a month. HGH “supplements” in the form of pills and sprays that allegedly contain growth hormones cost between $200 and $300 a month. These “supplements” turn out to be a total waste of money — yes, a scam. Growth hormone in this form is not bio-available, a medical term that means it’s destroyed when taken orally or absorbed through mucous membranes. It can’t “get into” the body in its active form and does absolutely nothing. (Although it does “grow” the bank accounts of the companies and Internet sites that cajole you to purchase the stuff!)[10]

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