by Nils Osmar. February 26, 2022
In this video presentation, Dr. Greg Fahy addresses some questions related to the use of human growth hormone (hGH) as a possible anti-aging intervention, with particular attention to its effects on the immune system and the rejuvenation of the aged thymus gland.
The thymus is a key component in our immune system, but it becomes involuted as we age. Rejuvenating it to a youthful state both reinvigorates our immune response, and appears to have profound anti-aging effects on a systemic level; taking the cocktail of ingredients in the TRIIM protocol has been shown to I’ve summed up some key points from his presentation below, but it’s well worth listening to the entire thing.
According to Fahy, hGH is one of several approaches that can trigger the rejuvenation of thymus gland. Some interventions (like castration) have been shown to work in animals but are unlikely to be embraced by human patients.
Fahy states that he chose to use hGH in the TRIIM trial because:
- It had been shown in previous studies to reverse thymic involution in animals; the study was to find out whether it could do the same in humans.
- hGH is FDA approved and has a good safety record (using it involves repurposing an existing drug, so sidesteps the long wait for, and cost of, seeking FDA approval for a new drug)
- Its side effects are mild and reversible
- It speeds wound healing
- It helps learning and memory
- It promotes synaptogenesis
- It promotes neurogeneis
- It “opposes” Alzheimer’s disease
- It promotes the growth of cartilage in the human body
- Promotes fat burning
Why Not hGH? (Possible Side Effects)
Some people experienced side effects while participating in the TRIIM trial (which involves taking injections of hGH, along with metformin, DHEA, vitamin D and zinc). The side effects experienced by people in the study included the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, stiffness in the fingers, and vomiting after taking metformin. These were found to be reversible. (For example, finger exercises reduced the finger stiffness.)
One person participating in the trial developed prostate cancer. However. most men do end up developing prostate cancer (even if they’re not taking hGH) around the man’s age. So it’s unclear whether his participation in the trial was a factor. Note that there is some evidence of adult-onset cancer in people treated with hGH as children. See study.
Is hGH Pro-Aging?
David Sinclair has stated that hGH can have a pro-aging effect because it supports growth, not longevity, pathways. But concluding that it’s “bad” to increase hGH levels if we want to live long, healthy lives is questionable. According to Fahy, “Massive GH doses in adult animals neither shorten life nor induce tumorigenesis.”
With that said, Fahy’s not necessarily proposing using it constantly without letup as an anti-aging intervention. “If you were to use hGH for a one year course every 12 years or so, that would be relatively safe and you could avoid any long term effects.”In the TRIIM trial, Fahy’s team saw a reduction in risk factors for cancer. Including metformin prevented the insulin increase associated with growth hormone.
Hacking the TRIIM Trial
I don’t have access to hGH, but made a decision a couple of years ago to try raising my hGH levels. Raising hGH has so many established benefits that I’m not concerned about the theoretical possibility that doing so could be pro-aging on some level. To emulate it, I’m:
- Doing a lot of fasting
- Doing resistance training (training fasted, followed by a high protein meal)
- Taking supplements such as arginine in combination with lysine, which have been found to boost levels of hGH in the body.
The articles below describe the protocol I’m following in more detail.