Anti-aging clinics might claim that injections of human growth hormone can slow the aging process and – possibly – improve sexual performance. However, such claims are not substantiated by available research.
Growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain. It helps children grow and, as people get older, it helps keep tissues and organs healthy.
When people reach middle age, their body naturally produces less growth hormone.
Synthetic human growth hormone was developed for people who have a deficiency. It may also be prescribed to people with AIDS wasting syndrome, and short bowel syndrome.
However, growth hormone injections are not intended for rejuvenation, and such use is considered off-label. In some areas, using growth hormone to reverse the effects of aging might be illegal.
Much of the research on growth hormone for anti-aging purposes has focused on bone and skeletal health, memory, cognition, and functional status. But it is still not clear whether growth hormone is beneficial in these areas.
Scientists have also noted several side effects, including a higher risk for cancer (especially prostate cancer and breast cancer), pain, heart disease, high levels of insulin, and breast development in men (gynecomastia).
Experts caution that in anti-aging clinics, growth hormone injections can be quite expensive, and practitioners are not always hormone specialists.
While it’s natural to be concerned about aging, there are other ways to stay healthy past middle age, such as eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, reducing anxiety, avoiding tobacco, refraining from alcohol abuse, getting enough sleep, and building social networks.
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
DiGiorgio, Lorenzo, MD and Hossein Sadeghi-Nejad, MD
“Growth Hormone and the Fountain of Youth”
(Full-text. Published online: May 31, 2018)
“Human growth hormone (HGH): Does it slow aging?”
(October 25, 2016)
“Can HGH Really Help You Grow Muscle, Burn Fat, and Delay Aging?”
(June 22, 2016)
Society for Endocrinology
(Last reviewed: February 2018)