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Originally published October 15 2009

Growth Hormone Restores Muscle Strength in Adults

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Treatment with growth hormone can restore muscle strength to adults with adult-onset growth hormone deficiency, according to a study conducted by researchers from Goteborg University in Sweden, and published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Growth hormone deficiency may occur in children -- usually due to genetic reasons -- or in adults -- usually due to tumors of the pituitary gland. Roughly one in every 10 million adults suffers from adult-onset growth hormone deficiency, which leads to reduced muscle strength and excess body fat.

Researchers treated 109 such adults for 10 years with growth hormone replacement therapy. The average participant age was 50.

For the first five years of treatment, the researchers observed a steady increase in muscle strength and muscle mass. In particular, there were notable increases in knee flexor, upper leg and handgrip strength. For the second five years of treatment, muscle strength began to decrease again. Once researchers adjusted for the normal declines expected due to the effects of aging, however, they found that muscle strength continued to increase. By the end of the 10-year study period, muscle strength had reached normal levels for participant age and sex.

Other research into growth hormone replacement therapy in adults has suggested that the treatment can not only improve muscle strength, but also increase bone density and decrease body fat.

Growth hormone therapy has only been shown to slightly increase muscle mass in adults without a deficiency, and side effects are frequent. No studies have suggested that long-term growth hormone therapy is safe in non-deficient adults.

Deficiency in growth hormone is significantly more common in children than in adults, affecting one out of every 3,800 live births. Children with untreated growth hormone deficiency experience delayed maturation and growth, and may reach maximum adult heights as low as 4 feet to 5 feet 6 inches.

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