Rudman Study of Human Growth Hormone
It is known that many of the changes of aging up to age fifty are largely due to falling levels of HGH. It has been suspected that many of these changes, well into old age, sixty and beyond, also are related to growth hormone deficiency — but until 1990 that was only a hunch. In that year, Dr. Daniel Rudman and his associates at the Medical College of Wisconsin, gave us some of the answers in their landmark study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. That study was titled "Effects of Human Growth Hormone in Men Over Sixty Years Old." This has come to be known as "The Rudman Study."
The scientific detachment and dryness of this paper belie the exciting results of the study. Signs of aging melted away in twelve men during a one year course of treatment with biosynthetic HGH. There was a dramatic shift in the composition of body weight in this group of men from fat to lean muscle: an increase of 8.8 % in lean muscle mass and a 14.4% decrease in fat tissue. There was also an 8.8% increase in bone density as well, evidence of the reversal of osteoporosis of aging, all in the absence of exercise and in the absence of any changes of health habits.
The participants in the study were asked not to change their lifestyle. Those who smoked were asked to keep smoking. Those who led a sedentary lifestyle were asked not to add any extra activities. Therefore, exercise and dietary changes did not account for these exciting changes.
From a cosmetic standpoint the most dramatic result was in the skin where there was a 7.1% increase in thickness. Many of the visible changes of aging happen as a result of the fact that skin becomes thinner with age, allowing wrinkles to form. These men looked dramatically younger, most observers said around twenty years younger. In addition, their sex drives increased proportionate to their apparent rejuvenation — much to the delight of their wives. As one man on this therapy told me "Growth hormone is great! Everything is growing!"
I remember well the report of the Rudman Study on national television in 1990 on Sixty Minutes. Despite the fact that nothing else was done to help these men rejuvenate, they were powerfully rejuvenated in the absence of specific vitamins without thyroid hormone, DHEA, cortisol, etc. Despite the absence of any other changes in lifestyle, these men shed twenty years of the signs of aging! The study was terminated after one year — no one knows if these changes continue and become even more dramatic beyond the one year mark. I suspect they do.
These men were carefully monitored to see if there were any adverse effects on the kidneys, heart, liver and blood-forming organs. There were none. These men maintained their health while rejuvenating. Of course, one would predict the absence of toxicity from a natural hormone given in doses already known to be produced in a young person.
I was reminded of HGH at a recent medical conference when I met a doctor from Lake Forest, California. This man provides HGH for a group of thirty patients and is himself on HGH. He is 61 years old and looks like a healthy and vital forty-year-old man. His young, beautiful wife was having difficulty keeping up with the pace at which he was taking in the exhibits. When I asked him for his secret he reminded me of HGH. Such personal experiences bring to life dry research reports such as The Rudman Study.
For a more general discussion of aging, see Aging in America and Hormones and Aging. For the impact of aging in our society: Hormone Replacement Therapy. For a general introduction to HGH, follow this hyperlink: Human Growth Hormone (HGH). For a more clinical discussion of HGH deficiency: HGH Deficiency Syndrome of Adulthood)
- Rudman D, et. al Effects of human growth hormone in men over sixty years old The New Engl J of Med July 5, 1990; vol 323:1-5.