Doctors Warn About HGH E-Mail Marketing
E-mail that promotes human-growth hormone products as effective anti-aging products can be misleading, according to doctors and researchers, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lawyers attempting to track down these e-mail marketers estimate that as many as 100 companies are responsible for the e-mail pitches, according to the Journal. Most of the e-mails are not advertising actual HGH, which is only effective as an injection, but ingestible forms of the substance, such as herbal supplements and amino acid enhancers that release the body's own HGH. However, ingestible HGH is destroyed during digestion, and the enhancers boost the body's HGH levels for less than an hour, according to Dr. Mary Lee Vance, an endocrinologist at University of Virginia Medical Center. Research has also shown that HGH injections don't increase muscle strength and could increase cancer, Vance said. Some of the e-mails promoting HGH refer to a 1990 New England Journal of Medicine study, which found that injections in 12 men during a six-month period led to small increases in bone and muscle mass. However, Dr. Jeffrey Drazen, the journal's editor in chief, warned in an issue earlier this year that anybody "induced to buy a human growth hormone releaser after reading the 1990 article "is being misled." The Massachusetts Medical Society, which publishes the journal, has written cease-and-desist letters to online marketers and is working with the Massachusetts and New Jersey attorneys general to crack down on these companies. The FDA also has increased its enforcement of HGH products. Although the agency does not regulate supplements, in February it told one company that its advertisements were unsubstantiated and misleading (Greene, Wall Street Journal, 6/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.