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Extreme Anti-Ageing (Part 1) - Hormone injections

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From blood plasma therapy to human growth hormone injections, the quest for youth knows no bounds. We investigate the latest anti-aging treatments

First came facelifts. Then there was Botox. Bow there’s an even stealthier – but no less extreme – breed of anti-ageing treatments on the block.

For the cash-rich and ever-hopeful, the latest buzz concerns a new generation of “nutrigenomic” supplements. Based on the effects of food on gene expression, they’re designed to help rebalance hormones. Dr Daniel Sister, president of the International College for Anti-Ageing. Nutrition and Aesthetic Medicine in Paris, has tended to the aesthetic needs of Hollywood’s elite, and says it makes sense that the latest advances in anti-ageing research should look at the relationship between hormones and ageing.

Description: the latest anti-aging treatments

“Most people want to find a way to help them look and feel younger,” says Sister. “Usually their highest priorities are their appearance and health, and one of the best solutions to improving these could be correcting hormone imbalances. As we age, hormone decrease, especially human growth hormone, and if this is too low we age faster, with all the associated problems such as dry skin, thinning hair and low energy.

“We age because of our chromosomes, wear and tear and hormone imbalances, but it’s only hormones that doctors can change.” Says Sister. The medic is behind the BeautyWorksWest YOUTH nutraceutical ($99 for a month’s supply, beautyworksweast.com), one of three products just launched in the UK.

These over-the-counter supplements are designed to trigger the production of youth hormones and “reset” the body’s aging clock. BeautyWorksWest YOUTH has to be taken twice a day and contains the powerful amino acids arginine, lysine and glutamine, to help rebalance hormones.

Global beauty brand Unilever has also launched a product called Strength Within ($54 for a month’s supply, dovespa.co.uk) containing a cocktail of nutrients including lycopene, isoflavones and omega-3 in a much higher concentration that that usually found in food. Another, called Revive Q10Plus, also targets hormone imbalances and contains regenerating amino acids ($94 for a month’s supply, revivea10plus.com).

Hormone injections

Description: Eclectic Institute Fresh Freeze-Dried Nutrigenomic Berry

Meanwhile, in the US, anti-ageing clinics have gone way beyond nutrigenomic pills and plasma injections.

Doctors there are claiming to turn back the clock by prescribing mega doses of supplements that include DHEA, antioxidant vitamins C and E, glucosamine, omega-3, and more, along with controversial anti-ageing injections of drugs, including human growth hormone – popular with an increasing number of Hollywood A-listers.

The quest for youth in the US has led to age management medicine, where clinicians monitor patients’ nutrients and hormones and top them up with “bioidentical” hormones. Sourced from plants, these are said to mimic the structure and function of human hormones better than the synthetic versions often used in conventional medicine.

By far the most sought after anti-ageing “miracle” is human growth hormone. Produced by the pituitary gland in the brain, it stimulates cell regeneration bit declines naturally as we age. A 20-year-old will produce twice as much as 40-year-old and, after this, secretion drops by about 15 per cent each decade.

Already known as a banned performance-enhancing and body-building drug, it is also illegal as an anti-ageing remedy in the UK – even though some people still buy it on the internet, keep it in the fridge and administer it themselves by injection.

However, in the US it is now legal as an anti-ageing treatment when injected by a licensed doctor and clinics are springing up across the country to provide for the huge demand.

Enthusiasts, insist it can help you sleep better and shed body fat easier, boost your sex drive and make your skin look better.

However, critics warn that it may increase your risk of contracting diabetes and cancer because it encourages cells to reproduce faster. In a recent issue of the Journal of Aging and Health, Dr Thomas Perls from Boston University warned that the risks of taking growth hormone far outweight the limited benefit, and that calling them “bioidentical” gives a false sense of safety.

“The terms bioidentical or all-natural, misleadingly convey a sense of safety,” he says, “Arsenic is all-natural too, and it even has some medical uses, but it is anything but safe.”

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