By Samantha Yardley
Comparison is the thief of joy, but in today’s age, we’re hard pushed to not feel inferior next to the onslaught of picture- perfect age-defying celebrities. One trade secret that A-listers have been exploiting for years is Growth Hormone, the supposedly miraculous elixir of youth that allows stars to pass for a fraction of their age. In the name of research, with trepidation, I scored a course of the notorious wonder drug to play guinea pig and find out first-hand to see if there’s any truth behind the reported antidote to aging.
In our digital age, we can experience connectivity like never encountered by previous generations. As quick as it takes for information to travel through a fiber optic line, we can be barraged by picturesque images of ostensibly flawless stars who seem to be pulling off an unadulterated Benjamin Button. Do us mere mortals stand a chance when pitted against these superhuman visions of perfection who seem to be untouched by the hands of time?
You’ve likely stumbled across pre- and post-surgery memes of the likes of Kylie Jenner with tongue-in-cheek captions like “you’re not ugly, you’re just poor” and it’s certainly accurate to state that many high-profile A-listers aren’t shy of a very pricey surgeon’s scalpel. The rising penchant for seeking surgical assistance, alongside 24-7 access to an entourage of dieticians, PTs, and a glam squad to rival a Victoria’s Secret show can undoubtedly leave us scrutinizing the mirror for the new set of crow’s feet that have taken up unwelcome residence around the corner of our eyes.
One less publicized tool in the arsenal of the A-list, is the careful administering of microdoses of HGH (Human Growth Hormone) a naturally occurring hormone found in abundance in our youth, that diminishes as we age. The peptide, also known as somatotropin, stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration. Produced by our pituitary gland, it plays a pivotal role in metabolism, body composition, and recovery from injury. Pertinently, by stimulating cell regeneration, users of GH have reported reduced wrinkles and younger-looking skin. Other benefits include boosted energy, increased libido, tightened saggy skin, and better sleep amongst a whole host of other desirable effects.
The science world is hot on the heels to substantiate these claims and a new study* has been published that evidenced “a rational link between HGH, reduced wrinkles, and younger- looking skin.” Another study conducted by the University of Chicago stated “a linear relation was found between the GH secretion and the quality of sleep. Further a reverse relation was observed in regards to aging”.
It’s starting to become clear why so much of Hollywood is flocking to expensive clinics for the controversial therapy. Sylvester Stallone is the most open star to endorse the drug and was famously convicted of importing it into Australia, where the substance is banned. Other rumored fans include Demi Moore, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Anniston, and Lady Gaga to name but a fraction of the growing list of celebs who are seeking innovative ways to turn back the clock.
It all sounds too good to be true but do the benefits warrant the hefty price tag for those of us not bringing in blockbuster movie contract paychecks? Not to mention the undesirable necessity of administering a dose of the good stuff with a subcutaneous jab into a fleshy part of your body. Step forward your resident naïve test-bunny.
Clumsily mixing a vial with saline solution, that I had delicately stored in the fridge as recommended, I jab the thin insulin pin into a ‘pinch an inch’ area with bated breath. Actually, it’s not so bad, the experience is virtually painless, but I’m somewhat dismayed at the thought of having to repeat the process every day for a month before any tangible benefits can be felt. Still, the thought of reversing the cruel hands of time gives me renewed determination and day-in- day-out, I fatefully inject 2.5 IUs of the substance in the morning as prescribed before I fire up the kettle for the first coffee of the day.
Fast forward a month and I’m happy to attest to the subtle, but nevertheless demonstrable effects. My skin is glowing a little more and although I can’t quite put my finger on it, I just look a trifle fresher. My sleep is deeper, energy levels are abundant and I’m recovering from a beast-mode gym session quicker than ever before. Maybe the kindly comment I received about not looking my age was coincidental… or maybe the A-list is onto something.
*Department of Internal Medicine