The Myth of Anti-Aging Hormones

From the July 2004 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Not a day goes by without my e-mail inbox being flooded with spam, including countless advertisements for supplements (amino acids) that supposedly can raise your growth hormone levels. The ads boldly proclaim:
Lose weight while you sleep!

100 percent proven to reverse the aging process!

As seen on NBC, CBS, CNN, and Oprah!

As reported in the New England Journal of Medicine!

Forget aging and dieting forever—and it’s guaranteed!
The supplement industry, multilevel marketing companies, and internet advertisers often make exaggerated—sometimes ridiculous—claims about their products, using pseudoscientific terminology to impress the ill-informed and appeal to those desperate to find the mythical fountain of youth.

Although the search for the fountain of youth is not new, the rapidly-growing sales of all types of substances with exaggerated and misrepresented claims are creating a new, multi-billion-dollar industry. The promise of restored youth is enormously attractive to the ever-expanding ranks of flabby, middle-aged Americans.

Doctors, not wanting to miss out on this monetary bonanza, are prescribing DHEA, testosterone, estrogen, and growth hormone—the so-called “anti-aging hormones”—in record numbers. Treatments with these hormones now constitute the core practice of physicians who call themselves “specialists in anti-aging medicine.”

These physicians prescribe nutritional supplements and hormones in an attempt to enhance the health, youthfulness, and vitality of a gullible public that is ever on the lookout for magic formulas that will enable them to buy back their health. The sad truth is that these treatments are risky and experimental in nature, and evidence suggests that taking these hormones to reclaim lost youthfulness will increase cancer rates and shorten lifespan. In fact, it is possible that—far from being a cause for concern—lower growth hormone levels actually are an indicator of health and a necessary part of living longer.

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