Q. I am a 30-year-old man, and I am starting to feel old. I am in the Army and can tell that I’ve lost a step on the younger guys.
I want to improve my overall health, and after looking here and there, I think growth hormone (GH) is probably the best way to go. I’m not trying to boost my performance so much as get some of my old recovery time back.
Would my body quit producing GH if I started taking it? That is the last thing I want to do, as it would eventually tie me to a supplement.
I am not looking to become the incredible hulk, just keep myself younger for longer.
A. Growth hormone has been approved by the FDA primarily for treating short stature in children who meet specific criteria. One formulation is also prescribed for the wasting associated with AIDS.
The idea of body builders and other athletes (not to mention military personnel) using GH to improve muscle tone and performance concerns us. A study published recently in The Lancet (July 27, 2002) showed an increased risk of cancer, especially colorectal cancer, among people treated with GH as children in Great Britain.
This preliminary data should not discourage prescribed use for appropriate patients. For you, however, the benefits are unproven and there is a potential risk from long-term use. It is possible that taking supplemental growth hormone would suppress your body’s natural release of this compound.

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