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Stay Young and Vital Without HGH

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Stay Young and Vital Without HGH

Dr. Christiane Northrup
Dr. Christiane Northrup More by this author
Jun 08, 2011 at 09:46 AM 0 comments

I’m often asked my thoughts about human growth hormone (HGH), and its safety. I think what people really want to know is how to slow or reverse the aging process—and are looking for a quick fix. I am not in favor of human growth hormone. And getting injections of it doesn’t appeal to me. HGH can cause tissue inflammation, and inflammation is the root cause of chronic disease.

Today’s anti-aging medicine, a specialty that the baby boomers have more-or-less demanded, often includes treatment with HGH. Human growth hormone (sometimes just called growth hormone) is made by the pituitary gland and spurs our growth in childhood. It also helps our bodies stay young and vital. Although most people make enough HGH, those who don’t, report that when they are given injections of HGH, it decreases their body fat while increasing muscle mass, allows them to exercise longer and more strenuously, and increases bone density. Many people don’t realize that you can encourage your body to make more human growth hormone naturally. A good way is to exercise and get to bed by 10:00 pm at night and sleep eight to ten hours.

Real Anti-Aging Medicine

When it comes to anti-aging medicine, there’s much more to consider than HGH. Whenever I hear the term “anti-aging” I remember my friend Gladys McGarey, M.D., a holistic pioneer. She was giving a lecture after just turning 90 and started with this: “Anti-aging? What are you supposed to do?” That made me laugh. Gladys is a perfect example of someone who is 90 years young. Louise Hay is 84 years young. But neither of these women is “anti” much of anything. Instead, they are “pro” all the good stuff—pro-living, pro-vitality, pro-health! They are also living examples of what it takes to live well into one’s later years.

Instead of the term “anti-aging,” I much prefer that we think in terms of biologic versus chronologic age. Biologically, you can be 50 going on 80—or 80 going on 50. Your tissue age will reflect this. And so will your life and all your bodily functions. Here’s what I know for sure about aging. Your vitality and state of health are largely a product of your beliefs, especially once you reach the age of 50.

There’s a famous study done by Becca Levy that demonstrated this beautifully. Becca found that those individuals who believe that aging is associated with positive factors—such a becoming wiser and more astute—live seven years longer (on average) than those who have negative associations with aging. These additional seven years were not dependent upon factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, chronic illness, or genetic factors. In other words, what a person believes about getting older has a powerful effect on longevity. In fact, the effect is so powerful that if this belief were a drug, it would be unethical not to prescribe it (unless it had unhealthy side effects, of course).

If you want to age well and even turn back the clock, I recommend that you study role models of healthy aging—and do what they do. Jane Fonda, who just turned 70, comes to mind. So do the incredible actresses Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench. Chances are good that you have a couple of these role models right in your own neighborhood or social circle.

The baby boom generation is completely redefining what old looks like, and what “people of a certain age” can do. Baby boom women (that’s me!) look, feel, and act about 10-20 years younger than our own mothers did at our age. Collectively we were the first generation in written history to have changed all the gender rules and roles. And our bodies, minds, and spirits reflect these changes.

Here’s how I approach the “age” issue:

1. After the age of 50, tell people that you have entered your “ageless” years. And don’t mention your age again. Ageism is the last culturally acceptable “ism.” And it’s so prevalent that you can easily “catch” it if you dwell on a number.

2. Eliminate the term “senior moment” from your vocabulary. Catch yourself if you start to think, act, or talk “old.”

3. Eliminate the “organ recital” from your life. I can’t begin to tell you the number of people who sit around at restaurants and other places discussing their doctor visits, their diagnoses, their aches and pains, and so forth They expect to get sick as they age. And so they do! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

These kinds of conversations are absolutely deadening to life force. If you have friends whose sole topic of conversation is ill health, you need to change your friends or limit your time with them. This might include family members.

4. Hang around with people who are actively pursuing a passion of some kind. My tango community has individuals who range in age from 20 to 70. And guess what? We all dance with each other and keep improving. Not a single person talks about medical problems. We’re too busy dancing and enjoying each other’s company.

5. There are some very clear life-style factors that keep you young. The first and most important is your belief in your ability to stay healthy and vibrant regardless of age. But after that, it’s what you actually do day in and day out that makes the difference. If you want to live well until the day you die, you simply must do exercise of some kind. I favor Pilates, yoga, dance, and walking. These endeavors have proved to me that it’s possible to keep getting better with age. I am now taller than I was at 32—all because of realignment through yoga and Pilates.

Finally, believe in something greater than what you see in front of you. I frankly do not believe in death, but I do believe in reincarnation. And the fact that we are all ancient and simply recycle. The way I see it, life is a big circle, not a straight line with a beginning and an end. This belief helps me keep everything in perspective and from dreading each passing year.

Life is meant to be enjoyed! Go for it—and skip the human growth hormone. Your own vitality is all you need.

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