Hormone May Reduce Effects of Aging




      Stimulating the production of growth hormone (GH) in healthy older men and women can reduce body fat and restore hormone levels to amounts found in younger adults, according to a study.
      The research, which is being conducted at the University of Washington and the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, shows that the use of GH-releasing hormone (GHRH), a GH stimulator, may increase production of GH in healthy men and women over age 65.
      Secretion of GH, which is responsible for growth in childhood, also plays an important role in adults. According to the researchers, GH regulates body fat, increases muscle mass and capacity for aerobic exercise and may be responsible for normal mood and cognition.
      Hormones such as GH maintain muscle strength and energy. According to researchers, these hormones could help older adults remain independent longer because the loss of strength associated with aging makes it difficult for the elderly to complete tasks that were once a part of their daily independent living.
      Stimulating GH production also could help lessen the aging effects the University of Washington researchers attribute to a natural decrease in GH secretion: reduced strength and energy; increased body fat, especially around the abdomen; and psychological changes, possibly including changes in sleep.
      For the preliminary section of this study, 60 healthy older adults gave themselves nightly injections of GHRH or a placebo for five months. Compared with the levels of those in the placebo group, GHRH boosted the nighttime secretion of GH by about 35 percent. In both men and women, body fat was reduced by about 5 percent.
      Effects on sleep and physical capacity are still being evaluated in the study.
      Preliminary results from this study were presented June 12 in San Diego at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society.


K. Woznicki


                                                                                     Aging Return
                                                                             Aging Return