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.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.