"Anti-aging" therapy may SHORTEN life?
A recent study in the journal Aging Cell examined the effect of human growth hormone (hGH) levels on lifespan. It turns out that people in their 90's with LOWER hGH live longer than those with higher hGH levels. Why does this matter? It flies in the face of the "anti-aging" therapies offered by "anti-aging" doctors who inject their patients with hormones, claiming to help them achieve "normal" levels when those hormones begin to drop.
The theory behind these "anti-aging" treatments is this: your body maintains a certain level of hormones like growth hormone, estrogen, and testosterone through your 40's and 50's, but then these hormones begin to diminish. Around this same time, your body begins to feel the effects of aging. If we could just boost those hormone levels back to what they were when you were 20, you would feel younger and live longer, right?
This study supports what many of us in geriatric medicine have suspected all along: the hormonal changes that come with aging are adaptive and protective. In other words, it may be good for you to have lower levels of these hormones as you enter your 70's, 80's, 90's and beyond.
We can't avoid aging, so how can we avoid its effects? What frightens us most about aging is the frailty that comes with it. There are simple things that we can do every day to fight frailty. I outlined them in my book, How to Keep Mom (and Yourself) Out of a Nursing Home. They are simple- keep moving, eat fresh, maintain social connections, and pay attention to crucial systems like your urinary and circulatory system. I wish there were a "magic shot" that would keep us all young, but hGH is not it. The only proven way to remain vital as we age is to keep taking common sense steps like exercising and eating right. Your body will respond, at any age. It was designed to.