HGH is an essential hormone not just for growing children but for adults as well. In adults, growth hormone is required for the continuous remodeling of bone maintaining its bone mineral density, and also preserving lean muscle mass. Therefore, conditions that can result in growth hormone deficiency such as pituitary tumors or even aging can result in osteopenia.
What Is Osteopenia?
Osteopenia is the decrease in bone mineral density due to increased bone resorption in comparison to bone mineralization. This is a normal part of aging as with increasing age, the bone mineral density decreases progressively.
Research on Growth Hormone for Osteopenia
Due to the direct correlation between growth hormone deficiency and osteopenia, many studies have been conducted on the effect of HGH replacement therapy in adults with low bone mineral density. But all the studies conducted on HGH have only studied the short-term effects on bone mineral density. Therefore, researchers decided to study the long-term effects of growth hormone after six years of hormone replacement therapy using an open prospective GH therapeutic study.
Participants: A total of 12 participants who were known to have growth hormone deficiency were selected. The mean age of the participants including eight men and four women was 42. 5 years ranging from 24 to 61 years of age. Out of the 12 participants, 11 had a concurrent deficiency of Leutinizing hormone and Follicle Stimulating Hormone, 8 had Thyroid Stimulating Hormone deficiency and 8 were patients with adrenal insufficiency. Prior to beginning the growth hormone replacement therapy, all participants received hormonal therapy for all insufficient pituitary axes for a period averaging 9.8 years. Each participant was given 2.4 IU of growth hormone daily.
Methodology: The bone mineral density and bone surface area of all 12 participates were evaluated and recorded annually at the proximal femur and lumbar spine by employing a dual-X-ray absorptiometry. Furthermore, Insulin-like Growth Factor levels were also measured annually.
Findings: All participants receiving growth hormone therapy were found to have a significant rise in levels of IGF-1 in comparison to levels prior to starting the therapy. Bone mineral density measured at the lumbar spine rose by 0.16 g/cm2, with an overall 15.9% mean increase. From year 3 to year 6, the increase in bone mineral density was at a mean rising level of 5.8%. This rise in bone mineral density was found to be corresponding well with the increased surface area of the lumbar vertebral body. A concurrent increase in bone surface area was also observed at the proximal femur. However, no sustained rise in bone mineral density was observed at the proximal famous.
The research findings clearly illustrate the progressive and sustained rise in bone mineral density as well as the surface area of the lumbar vertebrae. However, the research has some significant limitations such as sample size, patient compliance and adherence to medication, variable age groups, and variable doses of therapy. Therefore, a large-scale study that keeps into account all the above variables may have more meaningful clinical implications.