Steroid Use: Do They Help Staying Young?

There is a fundamental difference between preventing ageing and retarding aging. It is possible to avoid certain conditions which would otherwise age us early, but they would not actually break the maximum lifespan barrier, which is largely multi-factorial.

Aging is associated with loss of, or diminishment of, certain functions and many of the aging processes are governed by a wide range of hormones, including human growth hormone (HGH). Taking Human Growth Hormone and some other associated hormones has been shown to be effective against aging in some cases and to make people feel younger in some of the others. However, modern medical practitioners tend to over-recommend the use of certain drugs and supplements which have not stood the test of time and believe in theories rather than facts. This has lead to misuse of such supplements in desire of results which are sometimes practically unattainable.

Normally, advancing age leads to significant decrease of spontaneous and stimulated GH secretion, as well as circulating IGF-I and IGFBP-3 level. In humans, both aging and GH deficiency are associated with reduced protein synthesis, decreased lean body and bone mass, and increased percent body fat. Thus, aging is associated with a reduction of GH-secretion, serum levels of insulin like growth factor I (IGF-I) and alterations in body composition and function as in GHD. This has lead to many clinical trials for assessing the effects of growth hormone administration in aged women and men.

The clinical trials, which were based on the similarities between aging and acquired growth hormone deficiency (GDH), have reported some noticeably interesting results. GH has been found to directly stimulate the division and multiplication of chondrocytes of cartilage which are the primary cells in the growing ends long bones. It also stimulates production of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) which has growth-stimulating effects on a wide variety of tissues including osteoblasts and chondrocytes resulting in promotion of bone growth. This is evident from the significant increase in calcium retention & mineralization of bone. HGH is known to increase muscle mass by increasing the number of cells in sarcomere and thus stimulates the growth of all internal organs except brain. It promotes breakdown of fat stored in adipose tissue and thus plays a role in fuel homeostasis.

Now, the overall effects of HGH makes it an attractive anti-aging agent as it stimulates the immune system, restores muscle loss, increase skin thickness reduce total body fat, improve bone density, skin tightness and moisture, mental speed and clarity, enhanced sexual function, elevated mood and energy levels, & increased wound healing capacity.

There is a general concern, with some experimental evidences, that GH treatment may increase the risks of diabetes, especially in those with other predispositions or those who have been treated with higher doses. One survey of adults who had been treated with replacement cadaver GH (which has not been used anywhere in the world since 1985) during childhood showed a mildly increased incidence of colon cancer, but linkage with the GH treatment has not been established so far. Needless to say, a lot of further research is required on effects of growth hormones before its active commercialization as an anti-aging agent.


**This article is NEITHER meant to be an alternative to professional healthcare consultation NOR as a guide to self medication.

 

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