Remember those dreams of becoming a professional athlete? Like the one where you hit monstrous homeruns like Mark McGwire? Or win an Olympic gold medal like Marion Jones? Well don’t stop dreaming just yet! You still have the opportunity to be just like them…minus the fame and big bucks.
Mark McGwire and Marion Jones are just two of many athletes that have confessed or been caught using steroids or human growth hormone (HGH) to enhance their performance. The use of these drugs, however, is not limited to athletes. Some doctors, like Jeffry Life, believe testosterone and HGH supplements should be part of the typical health regimen for older men.
At the age of 71, Dr. Life struts around as living proof of the potential benefits of hormone therapy. Since 2003, he has supplemented his intense workouts and strict diet with daily shots of HGH and once-a-week testosterone injections.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone normally produced in the testicles. It plays a role in maintaining bone density, red blood cell level, muscle bulk, and sex drive. From age 30 onwards men tend to show a steady fall in testosterone levels.
HGH is secreted by the pituitary gland to support growth in children and enhance skin tone and texture. It is believed that between the age of 20 and 60 an adult’s HGH levels are reduced by half.
The benefits of testosterone and HGH are not as certain as Dr. Life might make some believe. A 2008 study in the Netherlands compared the benefits of testosterone to a placebo among male subjects between the ages of 60 and 80 and found mixed results. Those given testosterone increased their lean body mass and lost fat but showed no change in mobility or muscle strength. Additionally, many of them suffered from metabolic syndrome which put them at a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
The National Institute on Aging ties HGH use with health risks like diabetes, joint pain, heart failure, and cancer.
Personally, I would rather keep my dreams as fond memories, but who knows what I’ll think when I’m in my 60s.
- blog authored by Kiran Sreenivas