HGH the Fountain of Youth
(AP) Richard Weisman is drinking deeply from what he considers the Fountain of Youth. The 44-year-old Las Vegas car dealer injects himself with human growth hormone six times a week, in addition to swallowing a handful of dietary supplements every day. “I have young children. I do it for them,” he said. “I want to be healthy as I get older.” Not only that, he says, he also feels an increase in energy, muscle and libido. “My wife loves it and is going to start the program herself,” said Weisman, whose luxury and sports car dealership is at Caesars Palace. Ordinary Americans — non-athletes like Weisman — are taking human growth hormone to make themselves look and feel better. It’s a practice regulators and researchers warn is illegal in many cases and dangerous, too. Human growth hormone is being offered by some doctors as part of an anti-aging regimen that can also include dietary supplements, nutrition counseling and exercise programs.
Human growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and contributes to normal growth in children. HGH injections have been shown to increase muscle mass and reduce fat in men and women. A pharmaceutical version is approved for treating children who fail to grow, for AIDS patients who are wasting away, and for adults with a growth hormone deficiency caused, for example, by surgery or radiation. Distributing it for other uses – including turning the clock back on aging, or bulking up to hit more home runs, as sluggers such as Barry Bonds have been accused of doing – is illegal. Studies have linked HGH to diabetes, heightened blood pressure, swelling of the joints, and nerve pain.