Breaking the Aging Code by Dr. Vincent Giampapa, MD, FACS

Hormones are powerful chemicals produced by glands which are responsible for many functions in the body including preventing susceptibility to chronic disease as we age and preventing rapid aging. Whether made internally by glands or taken externally as supplements, hormones enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Tiny amounts of hormones many have far-reaching effects on the optimal functioning of the body.

I have spent the past 15 years of my life researching how the body ages. Unlike most physicians who strictly focus on anti-aging, I have designed my practice and treatment on Age Management. The key to longevity and a quality life span is to address the factors which impact aging in their early stages. One of the biggest factors to accelerated aging is hormone deficiencies.

A deficit in the body's production of hormones is the most probable cause of aging in the general population. When treating patients, I test their levels of these hormones: Growth, Hormone, Testosterone, Estrogen, Cortisol, DHEA, progesterone, thyroid hormones (T3, T4, TSH) and insulin. Though all these hormones are tested and important, the one hormone that patients are almost always found to be deficient is in Growth Hormone (GH), which is the cornerstone of any age management program.

Growth hormone jump-starts older cells and push them to go into the repair and reproductive stage more quickly. A landmark study by Daniel Rudman MD, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, opened the medical community’s and public's eye to the benefits of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) therapy and its effects on aging. The results demonstrated that adult subjects receiving HGH therapy showed a ten to twenty year reversal in the aging process, along with a reduction in body fat, an increase in muscle mass and improved energy. Human Growth Hormone is a long peptide hormone comprised of a string of 191 amino acids and is produced by the pituitary gland. GH is a very diverse hormone; its roles range from improved immune function, lipolysis (the burning of body fat), improved protein synthesis (the building and repair of muscle tissue), improved skin elasticity, increased energy levels, improved sexual functions, enhanced recovery, improved sleep and more. These benefits are achieved through Growth Hormone's ability to improve many key metabolic systems and functions but, at about the age of 25, your body's levels of this critical "Master Hormone" begin to steadily decline. So, you can easily understand why GH is the cornerstone to my hormone replacement and age management program.

Elevating HGH to youthful levels is one of the major goals in any age management protocol. As proven in the Rudman Study and many studies since, HGH levels have a major impact on aging. HGH injections are currently being used in most of the world's top anti-aging centers to treat this "disease" we call aging. When administered under a physician's care, these treatments are usually both safe and effective, but can be very costly. In my practice, I first try to increase HGH levels through the use of natural compounds know as secretagogues. These natural ingredients trigger the pituitary to release more HGH. Some of the more proven natural secretagogues are the amino acids glutamine, glycine and GABA. Another effective way to increase HGH levels is to suppress the hormone somatostatin, which is a messenger hormone that signals your pituitary to inhibit (decrease) the release of growth hormone. Research on the amino acid arginine shows it to be very effective in suppressing somatostatin.

Vincent C. Giampapa, MD has written several books on anti-aging including: Pro-Hormone Nutrition, Quantum Longevity, The Basic Principles and Practices of Anti-Aging Medicine and Age Management, and most recently, Breaking the Aging Code. He is one of the founding members and first president of the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine. He currently directs the Giampapa Institute for Age Management (www.giampapainstitute.com) and the Plastic Surgery Center Internationale in Montclair, NJ.