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Growth Hormones Not Fountain of Youth

Posted: January 16, 2007

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Growth hormone is naturally produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, but its levels decline with age.

Promoters of synthetic growth hormone as an anti-aging treatment claim the hormones can do everything from firm sagging skin to boost a sagging libido.

According to government figures, between 25,000 and 30,000 Americans used growth hormones for aging purposes in 2004. That is a tenfold increase in about a decade, Thomas T. Perls, MD, tells WebMD.

Costly Treatment

"The cost of this treatment can be $12,000 a year or more, but even if you take the cost out of the equation, there is still a huge potential for causing harm," Perls says. "The people promoting this stuff have absolutely no idea what the long-term health effects are."