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Possible Side Effects from Overdosing on HGH
Growth hormone is a very powerful hormone which can have bad side effects if taken incorrectly. It is not, however, a dangerous hormone to take, if you take it correctly and monitor the results correctly.
The most commonly known side effects are:
1) retention of water or edema; this is not a serious side effect and disappears if the dosage is lowered or after the body adjusts to the increase in growth hormone.
2) Carpal tunnel syndrome is a pain in the wrist caused by the small bones in the wrist rubbing against each other. It occurs after a few months of taking too much growth hormone, I imagine because the small bones each grow a fraction of an inch due to the high amount of growth hormone. This symptom is preventable by monitoring the result of taking growth hormone, and is normally reversible by discontinuing or lowering the dose being taken.
3) The worst possible proven side effect is acromegaly, or gigantism, which is an unnatural growth of bone mass and thickening of the skin which is caused by a great excess in growth hormone. Acromegaly occurs naturally in persons that have a pituitary tumor that causes them to release growth hormone without control. But only a fool could get acromegaly from purposely taking an excess of growth hormone by sub-cutaneous injection. Not only is it necessary to take blood tests to monitor results, it is also foolish to take a dose much above what has become standard. At the start of a program to take rHGH, 1 i.u. per day is the most you should take unless your doctor advises more, and you should not increase this dose unless you take a blood test that shows you can safely increase your dose.
There are other possible side effects. Critics of taking growth hormone say the danger is real and we have to wait for long term results to be available before we try taking growth hormone. I say I don't have time to wait for long term results, I prefer to be a guinea pig and find out on my own body. It has not been proven that these occur, just as it has not been proven that they do not occur. I don't have 30 years to find out.
4) The most serious of these unproven propositions is that maybe growth hormone can cause an unknown cancer cell or small tumor to grow. This is possible. We know that cancer cells need growth hormone to thrive and survive. It is not the same, however, to say that cancer cells need growth hormone to thrive and survive, than it is to say that growth hormone causes cancer.
Healthy cells also need growth hormone to thrive, and I think it is wiser for me not to deprive my healthy cells of growth hormone for fear that perhaps it would also help a cancerous cell to grow. Growth hormone also helps the immune system, and we know that the immune system fights cancer cells in the initial stages. So fear of cancer is actually a good reason for me to take growth hormone.
Another argument FOR taking growth hormone is that cancer is mostly a disease of old age... only 2% of men get cancer before the age of 40 years... 38% of men get cancer after the age of 40 years... of this, about half is prostate cancer, which is a slow growing and easy to detect cancer. So... I prefer to take growth hormone if it helps my body to somewhat repair itself into the healthier younger state than to continue to grow old. And I take a simple and inexpensive blood test every year, P.S.A., which will detect prostate cancer about 2 or 3 years before it becomes deadly. Of course this doesn't eliminate all my risk of cancer, but if I do not take growth hormone I also have a risk of getting cancer.
5) It might be that growth hormone causes the pituitary gland to stop secreting growth hormone. This possibility has been advanced by persons that point out that this is what happens with thyroid and testosterone and insulin... there is a feedback mechanism which will cause the thyroid gland to stop producing thyroid. Testicles stop or decrease the production of natural testosterone temporarily after testosterone is injected. And when somebody starts taking insulin, we know that he will be insulin dependent for the rest of his life.
It has not been shown, however, that this occurs with the pituitary gland. Indeed, Dr. Cranton, who has over 100 patients taking growth hormone believes that it is not affected, but Dr. Cranton may be wrong. Jay Caplan, another highly respected authority, believes that the pituitary is affected in the long run. Dr. Cranton points to his results on blood tests, however, after taking growth hormone for three years continuously. His pituitary gland is still secreting growth hormone.
Three years is not 30 years, however, and we don't know if in "the longer long run" growth hormone will cause Dr. Cranton to change his mind and regret his actions of today. We do know, however, that 30 years from now Dr. Cranton will be 97 years old, and if he is still alive, (which I hope and I bet that he will be) his pituitary gland would probably not be producing too much growth hormone anyways. Dr. Cranton says he will take this risk, for the sake of science.
The opposite possibility has also been advanced, that maybe taking growth hormone will keep our pituitary gland in such a good state, that it will continue to secrete a small amount of natural growth hormone when others of the same age have already stopped. Supporters of this point to findings that show that the pituitary gland of persons that have taken growth hormone for several years is larger, like it was in more youthful years, than the average pituitary gland of persons of the same age. That is, a higher level of growth hormone affects the pituitary gland itself in a positive manner! We know this is true, but we don't know if in the long run a larger pituitary means that it is also a more functioning pituitary. This proposition cannot be proven yet, either, and must await for results to accumulate in the next 20 or 30 years.
I copy this extraordinary statement which was posted on Life Extension Foundation Forum, on December 23, 1999, and which shows the long term effect of rHGH on one man. In this statement, Ken, age 79, affirms that he has been taking growth hormone since 1992. He says he has tested best in a group of 1000 men over age 65, and that age has apparently been arrested or reversed a little. He says he is back to work, 8 hours a day, for the past 5 years.
12-23-99 from Ken firstname.lastname@example.org
"I am just celebrating my 79th Christmas, commenced injecting GH late in 1992 when Dr. Sam Baxus was introduced by Life Extension. I have run various doses and now use a nightly 2 i.u., usually on a 5 night program, miss two. The cost so far has been in the region of $60,000.
My '92 GH level was 17% of his guesstimate of youth highest, now is 28%.
Dr. Baxus told me that I tested best of 1000 over age 65 then, and this performance has been maintained with apparent aging arrested; (Rest pulse 60 blood pressure of 28 years) maybe perhaps, could have reversed age little.
State of mind? Excellent! I am back at work 8 hours a day, for the last 5 years."
(I edited this statement slightly, to clarify the meaning of abbreviations - Ellis)
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