Ask the Doctor – Natural Human Growth Hormones

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Dear Dr. Rona,

I a frequent reader of Vitality Magazine and I always look forward to your column. I have some questions about Natural Human Growth Hormones. What are they and how safe are they? I’m 47 and have just started feeling the onset of menopause. Is this something that could help me?

I’m only interested in a natural form of HGH. Any suggestions?

Take care,


Dr. Rona’s Answer

Dear Stavroula:

I am very skeptical about using any supplement that boosts HGH levels in adults. HGH in fully developed adults with AIDS and muscle wasting is safe and effective.  Conventional doctors even prescribe it. The question is whether or not the age-reversing effects of HGH in healthy adults occur without any long-term problems like cancer and organ failure.  Some experts say it is possible that HGH, aside from causing certain healthy tissues to grow, could do the same for occult (low grade) cancer cells in the body. There have been reports of HGH causing both Type II diabetes as well as carpal tunnel syndrome. There is always the potential for deleterious side effects to occur with HGH elevation.

At a cost of over $10,000 a year for regular injections that are not covered by Medicare or private health insurance plans, HGH is prohibitive for the general population. Numerous health food store products claiming that they can elevate the body’s production of HGH naturally are a far cry from the potency of real HGH injections and, to date, are unproven. For the most part, these are amino acid supplements containing arginine, ornithine and various vitamin and mineral combinations. Yes, you do hear anecdotes of great results in terms of weight loss or enhanced muscle strength in athletes. But, is that because of HGH elevation caused by a supplement or the fact that you are causing some other effect like appetite suppression?

My advice at this time is to err on the side of safety and, with few exceptions, avoid anti-aging drugs and hormones, especially HGH and anything “proven” to elevate it in adults.

Zoltan Rona, M.D., M.Sc.
1366 Yonge St. Suite 201
Toronto, ON
M4T 3A7

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