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#ScienceMediaHype   on Growth Hormones

#ScienceMediaHype   on Growth Hormones

Irene Riz shows why the media reports on billionaire investor Peter Thiel’s growth hormone comments are scientifically inaccurate and irresponsible.

#science   #stem   #health  

Originally shared by Irene Riz

Recently published paper directly shows the role of growth hormone mediated activation of #mTOR in aging ( It supports accumulating studies indicating that inhibition of mTOR by caloric restriction prolongs life and activation of mTOR leads to accelerated aging.

Despite that Peter Thiel takes growth hormone pill every day and plans to live until 120.

“The 47-year-old investor, who co-founded PayPal and made an early bet on Facebook Inc, said he’s taking human growth hormone every day in a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang.”

The only thing he is afraid of is higher chance of cancer for which Mr. Thiel is optimistically expecting to find cure in 10 years. (Biologists can promise anything to get funded, but biology is the most difficult science for future predictions). Cancer apart, premature #stem cell exhaustion is a major problem that is expected if to stimulate mTOR, one of the important downstream targets of growth hormone.

Mr. Thiel somehow missed the point that natural decline of the growth hormone levels and lower mTOR activity might be an approach of a healthy body fighting aging, giving body longer periods for #autophagy mediated self-cleaning and error correction versus active growth and building. In addition, as I already mentioned, an over-activation of mTOR may cause exhaustion of stem cell supplies in human the same way as it was seen in mice. The animals with genetically unleashed mTOR showed not only anemia (due to exhaustion of hematopoietic stem cells) but also grey hair and hunched backs.

A group of Russian scientists are taking the inhibitor of mTOR as a supplement.  They hope to live longer and to stay younger as well as Mr. Thiel. 

mTOR is a builder. So maybe the appearance of Mr.Thiel’s muscles will improve but the effectively working muscle needs also time to clean up and rebuild -the time out moment of mTOR inhibition. 

In normal cell mTOR oscillates under direct control of day light, supported by chemical signaling connecting eyes-brain and body. The better synchronization, the healthier organism is.   With age the synchronization is less efficient contributing to inflammation and cancer. So who will live longer?

Image is based on Heinrich Hoffman 1844 illustration to The Story of Augustus, who would not have any Soup.


Join the Conversation


  1. Arc Michael

     That is to some degree true, but it’s not entirely true. Anti-oxidants do damage themselves. They can interfere with apoptosis mechanisms in defective cells, helping them to continue life and interfering in cellular signalling on a larger scale, causing more damage.

    There aren’t many substances in existence that are 100% OK.


  2. I always thought the purpose of HGH was to improve quality of life, not length of life.  Anyonoe taking HGH with the idea of living longer is kind of dumb right from the start, or is rtrying to find some other ‘more profound’ justification for what is actually purely an immediate-rewards-motivated decision.  He feels better now, so he takes it!  But that sounds short-sighted, so the brain in an effort to make itself think it’s fancier and more clever than it is, develops some narrative about how it’s about living-longer!  Meh.


  3. Jake Stine it is a good point. A balance between immediate versus long term benefits is a matter of choice. Importantly they do not have to contradict, not always. For example, eastern sports are making you feel better immediately and much more friendly to your longevity needs.    


  4. Sean Lahm I know what you mean. The question is whether you will be wanting to live N+1 year at the age N. The answer is really not known and mostly depends on your state of mind, that in turn depends on your neuronal stem cell supply at least in part:):)


  5. Andazi Michael: “You can’t stop aging but you can slow it diwn” [sic]

    • Villeda SA et al. Young blood reverses age-related impairments in cognitive function and synaptic plasticity in mice. Nat Med (2014) vol. 20 (6) pp. 659-63 


    • Meeri Kim. New studies show that young blood reverses the effects of aging when put into older mice. The Washington Post. May 4, 2014 

    Infusions of young blood may reverse effects of ageing, studies suggest. The Guardian. May 4, 2014. 

    • Simon Jenkins. Blood transfusions rejuvenate mice. Could they do the same for humans? The Guardian. May 5, 2014. 

    • Leinwand LA and Harrison BC. Young at heart. Cell (2013) vol. 153 (4) pp. 743-5 


    • Loffredo FS et al. Growth differentiation factor 11 is a circulating factor that reverses age-related cardiac hypertrophy. Cell (2013) vol. 153 (4) pp. 828-39 



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