Growth hormone: Less may be more, study suggests


They’ve known it about animals for some time: less growth hormone promotes longevity.

Now a study, published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, shows that a similar process may apply in humans.

Endocrinologist Dr. Jaime Guevara-Aguirre of the Institute of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Reproduction in Quito, Ecuador, and USC professor Valter Longo led a team that studied a group of extended relatives living in the Andes in Ecuador, many of whom share a genetic mutation that shuts off receptors to human growth hormone, which helps regulate metabolism throughout the body, as well as the way that cells change as they age.


Having the mutation stunted the subjects’ growth. But it may also be one reason they don’t develop cancer or diabetes, the researchers said.

This connection suggests that people promoting human growth hormone as an anti-aging elixir may be dispensing a cure that promotes diseases of old age rather than preventing them.

“There are a lot of people giving human growth hormone to fight aging,” said Dr. Nir Barzilai, an aging researcher at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, who was not involved in the research. “The question is, will you live longer and healthier? I think these studies suggest -- maybe not.”

Read the full story from the Los Angeles Times here.