Anti-Aging Therapies: hGH vs. Colostrum

The growth factors in colostrum have stimulated the most excitement thus far, especially from those interested in slowing or reversing the aging process

A few years ago, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported the opinion that the most effective anti-aging remedy for slowing (or reversing) the aging process would be to replenish growth hormones to proper levels. As a result, anti-aging specialists turned to a variety of hormone replacement therapies. Perhaps the most popular (and controversial) is the growth hormone somatotropin (hGH).

Dr. Daniel Rudman, an endocrinologist from Madison, Wisconsin, conducted one study that fueled this trend. Believing the symptoms of aging could be reversed – even stopped – with hGH replacement treatments, Dr. Rudman, studied World War II veterans between the ages of 61 and 80 who had experienced signigicant changes in body composition. Beyond being over weight, these men shared one other characteristic: They also had significantly low levels of growth hormone and serum IGF-1.

Although Dr. Rudman’s study group did not change their diet, exercise or smoking habits, the men who were given hGH gained an average of 8.8% in lean muscle mass, while losing 14% of their body fat. They experienced a localized increase in bone density and their skin became thicker and firmer. In addition, they all enjoyed more energy, stamina and, sometimes, sex drive. According to Dr. Rudman, the subjects in this study “reversed the parameters of aging by 10 to 20 years.”

In this study and in others, researchers learned that the production of hGH in our bodies declines beginning around age 30. By the time we reach 61, levels of hGH are merely 20% of what they were at age 21. When we reach 70, nearly everyone has significantly diminished growth hormone levels. When low growth hormone levels accompany a specific disease process, this known as Somatotropin Deficiency Syndrome [SDS]. Symptoms of SDS include loss of muscle, increase fat, decreased physical mobility, decreased socialization and energy levels, diminished healing ability, greater risk of cardiovascular disease and lower life expectancy – all symptoms of aging.

However, when men and women were given hGH therapy an amazing thing began to happen. According to the studies, hGH affected nearly every cell in the body and helped to rejuvenate skin, bones, heart, liver, lungs and kidneys to youthful levels. Levels of IGF-1 increased to levels typically found in healthy adults less than 30 years old. In several studies, the immune system was revitalized, heart attack and stroke risk factors were reduced, and wrinkled skin was restored to youthfulness, emphysema patients found their oxygen intake improved and the incidence of osteoporosis was reduced.

Is hGH Replacement Therapy Safe?

While this research is extremely exciting, there is one agonizing concern: Is hGH replacement therapy safe? There are many medical authorities that believe this treatment could be extremely dangerous, especially when the wrong dosages are recommended.

Though proponents of hormone replacement therapy argue that the side effects typically disappear when hGH doses are reduced, researchers like Cheryl Craft, a University of Southern California neurobiologist who has studied hormones for 15 years, is calling for more research. “When you start playing with hormones,” says Craft, “it’s dangerous. We know very little of what’s happening with humans.”

Reporting on ABC’s 20/20, reporter Michael Guillen described hGH’s risks this way: “In some ways, hGH is to our bodies what fertilizer is to plants. It makes things grow – bones and muscles, even heart and liver cells. And as you’ve heard, that’s the potentially good news. But the bad news is, as we all know, fertilizer can also make weeds grow out of control” [“The Fountain of Youth?” Michael Guillen on ABC’s 20/20, September 5, 1998] Very simply stated, administration of hGH has the potential for increasing the growth of unwanted cells in the body, i.e. tumor cells.

Dr. Bruce Nadler, a plastic surgeon who started recommending hGH therapy after hearing about it from the anti-aging academy, admits serious side effects can occur – especially when higher-than-recommended doses are used. “Have you seen the covers of those bodybuilding magazines?” asked Nadler of Alex Kucynski, reporter for the Minnesota Star Tribune. “Do you notice how the bodybuilders have spaces between their teeth? That’s because they’re taking too much hGH and their skulls have grown, causing their teeth to spread apart.” [Alex Kucynski, “Fountain of Youth,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, April 19, 1998] Other reported side effects include high blood pressure; carpal tunnel syndrome; edema or swelling of the feet, hand and face – and even enlarged breasts in men.

Colostrum Is Nature’s Perfect Answer To hGH

The good news is colostrum is nature’s perfect answer to hGH. Extensive research shows that colostrum is unique because it is the only substance that offers anti-aging hormones in perfect balance, the way nature intended. According to Zoltan Rona, M.D. (Bovine Colostrum, Immunity and the Aging Process,” Nature’s Impact), when colostrum is taken as a supplement, “skin appears more youthful, age and ‘liver’ spots disappear, bone mass and density increases and sexual function is improved and restored.” In other words, it appears colostrum works similarly to hGH with none of the known dangerous side effects. Also, bovine colostrum has several advantages, including price.