What is HGH (Human Growth Hormone)?
Human growth hormone, also known as HGH, is a hormone that is produced in the pituitary gland located at the base of the brain. HGH stimulates metabolic processes in your cells and plays an important role in cell regeneration, cell reproduction and growth.
HGH prompts the body to produce another hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). It helps to maintain tissues and organs and helps with healing and wound/tissue repair. It is responsible for bone, cartilage and organ growth in childhood and adolescence. In people of all ages, HGH increases protein production and fat utilisation.
Ageing and Associated Hormonal Changes
From childhood to adulthood and as we age, our hormones fluctuate and change throughout our lifetime. Estrogen and progesterone are two important female hormones. In women, the most significant hormonal changes associated with ageing occur during menopause.
Menopause usually occurs sometime between age 45-55. During menopause, the ovaries stop releasing eggs and menstrual periods become less frequent and eventually stop. Estrogen and progesterone levels fall during and after menopause. Also see: Does Male Menopause (Andropause) Exist?
Does HGH Truly Have Anti-ageing Benefits?
Synthetic HGH is also available as a prescription injectable drug. It is typically used in children with growth hormone deficiency or to help with height e.g. in medical conditions leading to short stature. In adults, it may be used to treat growth hormone deficiency caused by damage to the pituitary or to counter muscle wasting in certain medical conditions like AIDS or short bowel syndrome.
Beyond its formal medical uses, HGH has been used/abused by athletes in hopes of improving their sporting performance and has also been touted as a possible anti-ageing solution, with
The use of HGH in ageing individuals has also been studied but to date there is no convincing evidence that its benefits outweigh potential risks. Individuals who received HGH did indeed see an improvement in lean muscle mass and reduction in body fat. However, side effects including water retention, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome were reported. Other HGH related studies (not specifically conducted in older individuals) also suggest there may be a potential increased risk of cancer with HGH use.
All in All
All in all, at this point in time, we lack robust data to firmly support the use of HGH in ageing women. There may not be a magic pill or injection to reverse the effects of ageing, but nonetheless, if you have concerns about ageing or related symptoms, you should speak to your doctor about possible individualised treatment options available to address your unique needs.