It is the latest anti-aging drug that is supposedly keeping our Hollywood A-Listers fresh-faced and youthful. Human growth hormone, or HGH has been linked to stars such as Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, 50 Cent, Tyler Perry and Timbaland.
But the biggest surprise was when actor Sylvester Stallone was stopped at Sydney airport in Australia, a country that restricts HGH, and was found to have 48 vials of the hormone in his luggage. Far from being reticent about the find, Stallone said:
“H.G.H. is nothing,” the star told People magazine. “Anyone who calls it a steroid is grossly misinformed. Mark my words. In 10 years, it will be over-the-counter.”
What is Human Growth Hormone?
HGH is a natural substance, a protein that is produced by the pituitary gland in the body. It works to encourage growth in children and adolescents. It is also a major factor in helping to regulate body composition, sugar and fat metabolism, body fluids, and increases muscle and bone growth.
HGH basically stimulates the growth of all the cells in the body, and a lack of HGH in the body can lead to stunted growth, with a major deficiency even causing dwarfism.
When it is manufactured artificially, it can be used in a variety of prescription drugs.
What was HGH originally used for?
Originally, HGH was used to promote growth in severely undersized children. However, as the hormone had been extracted from human cadavers, the supply was limited.
In 1985, Genentech, a South San Francisco-based biotechnology company developed a biosynthetic version, which was later approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The F.D.A. approved HGH as a treatment for a few growth disorders:
- Turner’s syndrome
- Prader-Willi syndrome
- H.I.V. associated wasting disease
Why is HGH used as an anti-aging treatment?
When patients with growth defects were given HGH, the subsequent results were surprising. Not only did the hormone stop an HIV’s patient’s muscles from atrophying, but their skin looked brighter and more youthful, their muscles were leaner and more toned and they appeared to be better versions of themselves.
Now, clinicians began to see HGH as more than just a growth hormone.
As we age, our body’s HGH levels naturally decrease. There are some anti-aging experts that believe by adding HGH products, we can reverse the signs of aging. These claims are unproven, but have not stopped celebrities obtaining the drug through pharmacies or online.
Devotees of the drug are claiming that it can reduce wrinkles, firm up muscles, increase energy and even prevent grey hairs.
Which celebrities use HGH?
HGH is supposedly rife in Los Angeles, where actresses such as Demi Moore, Jennifer Aniston, and singer Madonna are said to be huge fans. In fact, Jennifer’s boyfriend back in 2008 – John Mayer was seen carrying a dubious package labelled ‘Experimental Human Growth Hormone 2 x daily’, after leaving a doctors clinic.
Dr Uzzi Reiss, who treats celebrity clients at his clinic in LA, the Beverly Hills Anti-Aging Center, said:
“It’s not just actresses, I have one very well-known rocker I see. And I’m 70, I want to look cool, I want to look young!”
Dr. Reiss won’t name names but says that HGH is very common as celebrities see their friends looking fabulous and naturally want to know what they are taking:
“The awareness is higher. People are saying ‘Hey look at my friend, they’re looking great. I’m not name dropping because I never name drop, but I think that HGH can make a big difference.”
HGH is expensive, with the lowest doses starting at around $220 a month, and the highest doses at around $3,000 a month. The treatment is only available by prescription.