Jintropin is a supplement containing human growth hormone that many athletes take in hopes of enhancing strength, agility and exercise performance. Other people take Jintropin believing it can turn back the clock and forestall the aging process. However, with clinical results mixed and many potential side effects as well as legal considerations, supplements like Jintropin are generally only recommended for a few special medical conditions. Exercise caution if considering using this supplement.
Jintropin was developed by Chinese scientist Dr. Lei Jin, who named it after himself. It was created using recombinant DNA technology from a metabolic process found in E.coli bacteria and has the same amino acid sequence as native human growth hormone, or HGH, produced in the body. HGH is an important hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates the growth of muscles and bones, helps regulate metabolism and influences sexual pleasure. HGH production slows down as you age.
Although Jintropin is approved for use in China, it isn't approved for sale or importation in the U.S. Dr. Lei has been cited by the Food and Drug Administration for the sale and trafficking of the hormones using e-mail aliases, offshore bank accounts and a network of drug traffickers to illegally distribute millions of dollars of Jintropin, according to an article in the "New York Times" in September 2007. Human growth hormone is also banned for use by athletes by all professional and collegiate sport associations.
Jintropin claims bodybuilders prefer the product over anabolic steroids due to its ability to promote clean muscle growth without the harmful side effects of growth from steroids. The company also claims Jintropin can reduce excess body fat, particularly abdominal fat, reduce skin wrinkles and other visible effects of aging, increase bone density, strengthen the immune system and re-grow internal organs that have atrophied with age.
Growth hormone has been studied in various animal and human clinical trials, but MayoClinic.com notes there has been little in the way of results to show that HGH can help otherwise healthy adults regain their youth and vitality. However, HGH does have benefits if you have a true growth hormone deficiency unrelated to aging. This condition is rare, often caused by a pituitary tumor, and HGH helps to increase bone density, muscle mass and exercise capacity while decreasing body fat in these patients. Humane growth hormone is also approved for the treatment of muscle wasting in patients with HIV or AIDS.
A study published in "Neuroscience" in 2004 on HGH in laboratory animals over a period of four months found that the supplement helped improve age-related learning impairment and cognitive decline. Human growth hormone injections have been shown to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat in older adults, and in fact, HGH treatments like Jintropin may show more results in older adults than in younger adults. Adult studies have not been long term, however, so it remains to be seen if the benefits will last or if there are additional benefits, as well as whether the side effects involved will disappear or become even worse.
If you are a healthy adult taking Jintropin or another human growth hormone product, you may experience carpal tunnel syndrome, swelling in your arms and legs, joint and muscle pain or enlargement of breast tissue in men, called gynecomastia. HGH may also be a contributing factor to the development of diabetes and heart disease. Human growth hormone can lead to a condition known as acromegaly, abnormal growth of the hands and feet. HGH use in children has also been associated with a higher risk of cancer in later years.
- GeneScience Pharmaceuticals Inc.: Jintropin
- ESPN.com; China’s Performance Pipeline is Gushing in Plain Sight; Shaun Assael; 2007
- “New York Times”; Complaint Offers Window on Chinese Drug Ring; David Barboza and Duff Wilson; September 2007
- MayoClinic.com; Human Growth Hormone (Hgh): Does It Slow Aging?; February 2011
- RaySahelian.com; HGH Supplement Benefit, Risk, Side Effects, Anti-Aging Information; Ray Sahelian, M.D.
- “Neuroscience”; Growth Hormone Treatment Attenuates Age-Related Changes in Hippocampal Short-Term Plasticity and Spatial Learning; M.M. Ramsey; 2004