Growth hormone not safe or effective in slowing aging, reports Harvard Men's Health Watch

More and more men are turning to human growth hormone in hopes of slowing the tick of their bodies' clocks. Some men are motivated by the claims of the anti-aging movement, others by examples of young athletes seeking a competitive edge. But does growth hormone actually boost performance or slow aging? And is it safe? Not really, reports the May 2010 issue of Harvard Men's Health Watch.

Among its many biological effects, human growth hormone helps increase muscle mass and reduce body fat. As men age, their levels of the hormone fall. During the same time span, muscle mass declines and body fat increases. In hopes of reversing this aging-related physical decline, some theorists suggest taking injections of human growth hormone. However, the FDA has not approved human growth hormone for anti-aging treatment or athletic enhancement, and it is illegal to market or distribute the hormone for these purposes.

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