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Human Growth Hormone: Finding a Remedy Against Aging Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 21st, 2022


All over the world, people have engaged in searching for a remedy against aging. There is a part of human nature that creates the need to avoid death and live forever. The gods of Olympia and people of Hindu origin used to drink a special kind of nectar, which they believed to negate death. Human growth hormone (HGH) is currently in use by people in a bid to achieve the same objective. Weil observed, “So pervasive and deep-rooted is the belief in age-reversing substances that an incalculable amount of time, energy, and money has gone and still goes into the discovery, promotion, and marketing of such drugs” (38). One such research was conducted by Dr. Daniel Rudman in 1990. The methods he used in this research and conclusions were documented in the New England journal of medicine on the 5th of July 1990. The aim of this paper is to analyze this research and outline its relevance to exercise and sports.

Towards the end of middle adulthood, the composition of the human body goes through a sequence of progressive changes. The lean body mass reduces in size while the mass of adipose tissue enlarges. This results in a change in the structure of the body. These changes are part of the process of aging and cannot be avoided. Dr. Rudman proposed that “reduced availability of growth hormone in late adulthood may contribute to such changes” (33). Five years later, he conducted research that included an experiment to prove his theory.

The Research

The first step was to recruit men aged 61 and above. He did this by interviewing them after placing a newspaper ad in the local dailies. He then made sure that these individuals were free of diseases, had a 90 to 120% body weight in relation to age standard, and that their growth hormones could be checked regularly without a problem. After doing all the eliminations, he remained with 95 men who met the set criteria. Further elimination took place and this was based on medical history, the concentration of plasma IGF-1, radiography results, blood cell count, and urinalysis results. Twenty-one men remained and were enrolled in the year-long experiment. They were divided into two groups, group 1 with 12 people and group 2 with 9.

Within the 12 month duration, men in group 1 were administered with 0.03 mg per kilogram of manufactured human growth hormone, while the nine men in the second group did not receive any treatment. The levels of plasma IGF-1were recorded each month. The bone density, the mass of adipose tissue, and the lean body mass of each individual were also measured. These are shown in table 1.


Dr. Rudman observed that:

All the men remained healthy, and none had any changes in the results of differential blood count, urinalysis, blood-chemistry profile, chest radiography, electrocardiography, or echocardiography during the 12-month protocol. Specifically, none had edema, fasting hyperglycemia (>6.6 mmol of glucose per liter), an increase in blood pressure to more than 160/90 mm Hg, ventricular hypertrophy, or a local reaction to human growth hormone, nor did their serum cholesterol or triglyceride concentrations change significantly. In group 1, however, both the mean systolic blood pressure and fasting plasma glucose concentration were significantly higher (P<0.05 by matched-pair t-test) at the end of the experimental period than at the end of the base-line period (127.2″5.2 vs. 119.1″ 3.6mm Hg and 5.8″ 0.2 vs. 5.4″ 0.2 mmol per liter, respectively) (Rudman 3).

Table 1: Effects of Human Growth Hormone

Variable Group End of Base Line Period End of Base Line Period P ValueH Difference in ChangesI
Weight (kg) 1 2 77.2+-11.4 83.3+-11.1 78.2+-12.1 83.3+-9.7 0.26 0.97 +1.0 (-1.4 to 3.4)
Lean Body Mass (kg) 1 2 53.0+-7.4 54.2+-7.1 57.7+-9.1 55.2+-7.3 0.05 0.17 +3.7 (+0.7 to +6.6)
Adipose Tissue Mass (kg) 1 2 24.1+-5.0 29.0+-6.4 20.6+-5.6 28.0+-4.0 0.05 0.43 -2.4 (-5.7 to +0.8)
Sum of Skin Thickness at four Sites (mm) 1 2 9.9+-1.2 9.3+-0.9 10.6+-1.5 9.23+-0.80 0.07 0.69 +0.8 (-0.1 to +1.7)
Bone Density (g/cm2) Mid-shaft radius 1 2 0.74+-0.10 0.76+-0.10 0.74+-0.12 0.71+-0.07 0.85 0.09 +0.40 (-0.02 to +0.10)
Distal radius 1 2 0.37+-0.07 0.34+-0.04 0.36+-0.08 0.33+-0.05 0.12 0.26 -0.004 (-0.03 to +0.02)
Average lumbar vertebrae 1-4 1 2 1.23+-0.12 1.29+-0.25 1.25+-0.13 1.29+-0.26 0.04 0.64 +0.006 (-0.04 to +0.05)
Ward’s Triangle 1 2 0.70+-0.14 0.70+-0.17 0.69+-0.13 0.70+-0.17 0.15 0.69 -0.018 (-0.08 to +0.05)
Greater trochanter 1 2 0.85+-0.13 0.81+-0.15 0.85+-0.13 0.81+-0.13 0.72 0.55 +0.007 (-0.05 to +0.03)
Fremoral neck 1 2 0.92+-0.15 0.89+-0.14 0.91+-0.14 0.85+-0.14 0.53 0.14 -0.029 (-0.08 to +0.03)
Mandibular height ratio 1 2 0.45+-0.15 0.47+-0.12 0.46+-0.11 0.47+-0.12 0.87 0.98 -0.003 (-0.07 to +0.06)


It was observed that the levels of IGF-1 of group 1 members increased and matched the levels related to youth (500-1500 U per liter). There was no alteration in the levels of IGF-1 in the second group that did not receive treatment. Their levels remained less than 350 U per liter. There was an 8.8% and 14.4% rise and fall in lean body mass and adipose tissue respectively in the group that received treatment.

In this study, 21 individuals were taken to represent all men of age 60 and above with less than 350 U per liter of plasma IGF-1 concentration. Much as the outcome is true, the chosen number is too little to use for generalization. Other than that, the men selected for this research had a good health record. They were almost a hundred percent healthy. The research, therefore, is not sufficient for a whole society. The research focused on old men. Including women in the conclusion of the research would be inappropriate (Weil 36).

Relevance of the research

As a result of the research discussed in this paper, a conclusion can be made that some HGH work. Human growth hormones are used in hospitals in children suffering from dwarfism. It is administered to them to improve their stunted growth. Due to the conclusion by researchers that HGH improves muscle activities, medicine manufacturing companies have gone the extra mile in producing them in abundance. The target market for such drugs is sports personalities. People use these drugs along with exercise in order to improve their muscles and become the best in sports (Bahrke and Yesalis 353).


Bahrke, Michael and Yesalis, Charles. Performance-enhancing substances in sport and exercise. New York: Human Kinetics Publishers, 2002. Print.

Rudman, Daniel. “Effects of Human Growth Hormone in Men Over 60 Years Old.” The New England Journal of Medicine 323.1 (1990): 1-6. Web.

Rudman, Daniel. Growth Hormone: Body Composition, and Aging. London: Geriatr Society, 1985. Print.

Weil, Andrew. Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being. New York: Knopf Publishing Group, 2005. Print.

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