It’s a tough question.
Some experts recommend taking a weight-loss “miracle pill” called bovine growth hormone, which is marketed by the company Human Kinetics, which was founded by the former CEO of Johnson & Johnson. There’s an “oral contraceptive pill” containing human growth hormones manufactured by another company that’s been in the market more than 20 years.
“You could put some of the weight-loss products that you see on the market,” says Barbara Puhl, a professor in the College of Health Professions at Ohio State University. “But I think a lot of people are going to have to experiment to find out.”
Studies have not shown that high doses of these hormones make people gain weight, Puhl says. The hormones are probably best avoided in children or pregnant women unless you’re taking them as a birth control option, she adds.
“I am not convinced that human growth hormone has anything to do with it,” Puhl says.
The best part about taking growth hormones is that you can make sure they’re there in the first place, she says.
“You have to do the research,” she says. “I do it myself in conjunction with the patients who are taking these products.”
The best option is to follow people’s suggestions and test each one carefully to ensure it doesn’t work or damage the body, Puhl adds. That was what she did in her most recent study.
The Cleveland Clinic studied 50 adults, who completed questionnaires about whether they’d taken the products for the treatment of the disease or were taking them to lose weight.
The participants were randomly assigned to two groups; half were placed on the Growth Hormone product, and the other half on a placebo. Each group received two injections in the calf of the thighs twice a week for six months.
The study found subjects randomized to Growth Hormone lost an average of 3 pounds (1.6 kilograms) over the first two months compared with 2.2 pounds (1.6 kilograms) in the placebo group. Over the first 12 months, subjects that had taken growth hormones lost an average total of 4.5 pounds (1.9 kilograms) compared with only 2.5 pounds (1.3 kilograms) in subjects that were taking the placebo.
The researchers then followed the group of people who took growth hormones to see if the drugs affected the severity or length of the disease when it returned.