Growth Hormone and IGF-1: How Do These Chemicals Influence Your Health?

Growth hormone is something that’s talked about a lot in the world of anti-aging medicine. However, it isn’t necessarily the miracle cure that it’s made out to be. Injecting growth hormone does have some clear performance benefits, but it is not a long-term solution for healthier, better aging. In fact, growth hormone can limit longevity if it is present in larger than normal quantities. Therefore, growth hormone injections are not something I frequently recommend to patients looking for healthy aging solutions. In this video, I discuss some basics about growth hormone and IGF-1, which can have a significant impact on your life expectancy. Watch the video and read on below to learn more.

What Growth Hormone Does

Growth hormone is popular with athletes, because it has immediate performance effects when injected. It can improve strength and stamina, feeling like a shot of youth for aging individuals. However, it’s also essential to look at the longevity effects of growth hormone alongside the performance benefits. When you have higher levels of growth hormone, your body also produces more of the hormone IGF-1. In a study published in the World Journal of Medicine Health entitled Growth Hormone Engaging: Updated Review, the role of growth hormone is mammalian aging is closely examined. In laboratory studies of animals, lower levels of IGF-1—which would indicate lower levels of growth hormone—were linked to longer lifespans. However, in humans, life expectancy calculations are more complicated.

Does Growth Hormone Limit Longevity?

Evidence in animal research indicates that growth hormone may negatively impact longevity. However, humans face a wider rage of complicating factors when it comes to life expectancy. For example, humans are more susceptible to accidents and a wider range of disease. Lifestyle choices like alcohol use or drug use can also limit longevity. Even still, anecdotal evidence does indicate that growth hormone plays a significant role in life expectancy. For example, shorter people tend to live longer.

U-Shaped Mortality Curve

Because there is not a clear-cut pattern of mortality correlated with growth hormone, it is more likely that there is a sweet spot for growth hormone levels rather than a one-sided correlation. We can envision it as a U-shaped mortality curve. In other words, too much growth hormone can be just as harmful as too little.

To address growth hormone needs in my practice, I will utilize blood tests to measure IGF-1 levels in patients and work to balance growth hormone naturally. Lifestyle changes such as improving deep, slow wave sleep and utilizing weight training can boost growth hormone without pushing levels too high. Injecting growth hormone is likely to push most adults out of the healthy range for this hormone.