HGH Therapy may improve Body Composition
Giving low doses of HGH via injection to otherwise healthy obese women may improve their body composition and cardiovascular risk profile, researchers presented at ENDO 2011, the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society recently concluded in Boston.
In addition to decreases in adipose tissue, the women also had significant declines in several markers of heart disease including highly sensitive C-reactive protein Apo lipoprotein B and tissue plasminogen activator.
Miriam Bredella, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, reported during the oral session at the Endocrine Society meeting that HGH therapy "has beneficial effects on body composition and cardiovascular risk markers".
Growth hormone deficiency is associated with abnormalities in body composition (including increased fat and reduced lean body mass) as well as elevated cardiovascular risk markers such as C-reactive protein carotid intima-media thickness, and higher LDL cholesterol.
Visceral adiposity (body fat around the waist) is similarly associated with increased cardiovascular risk, as well as decreased growth hormone secretion. Low levels of growth hormone in obesity have also been tied to increased cardiovascular risk markers, the researchers said.
To determine whether giving a low dose HGH in otherwise healthy but viscerally obese women can improve body composition and cardiovascular risk markers, Dr. Bredella and colleagues enrolled 79 obese, premenopausal women ages 21 to 41 in a six-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
The main outcome measures were changes in body composition (assessed by visceral adipose tissue scans) and cardiovascular risk markers.
Patients were started on a dose of 4 mcg/kg a day and adjusted as needed to a mean dose of 1.7 mg/day by the end of the study. To measure effectiveness of therapy, the researchers measured levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which increased over baseline for treated patients.
With regard to adiposity, those on HGH therapy had significantly better improvements than those on placebo. They had increases in total lean mass and muscle area as well as declines in trunk-to-extremity fat ratio.
Both subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue in the abdomen fell significantly in the treated group compared with those on placebo. Dr. Bredella said increases in IGF-1 were associated with drops in visceral adipose tissue, suggesting that "patients with the greatest increases in IGF also had the greatest decreases in adiposity." Increases in human growth hormone precipitate increases in IGF-1.
With regard to cardiovascular risk markers, treated patients had significant declines in C-reactive protein levels and tissue plasminogen activator compared with placebo. The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers reported no conflicts of interest.
Primary source: The Endocrine Society. Source reference: Bredella MA, et al "Effects of GH on body composition and cardiovascular risk markers in women with visceral adiposity: A 6-month randomized, double-blind placebo controlled growth hormone trial" ENDO 2011; Abstract OR27-5.
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