Should Aging Athletes Consider These Treatments?

In 2009, older patients spent more than $72 billion on products that purportedly slow the aging process.  That figure is expected to rise to an estimated $114 billion in 2015. Here are some of the treatments that are touted to help older athletes stay active:

Antioxidants: Examples include vitamins C & E, carotenes, and flavonoids. Antioxidants prevent cell damage that occurs with oxidative reactions, but we don’t know enough to conclude that they can effectively treat or prevent disease.

Human Growth Hormones: Naturally secreted by the pituitary gland, hGH supplements could theoretically reverse age-related physical decline. But hGH hasn’t been proven to improve muscle strength, bone density, or athletic performance.

Testosterone: Testosterone replacement in older men can increase lean muscle mass and bone density and decrease body fat. The most concerning side effect of testosterone replacement is the hormone’s potentially harmful effect on the prostrate. Scientists are exploring testosterone-boosting approaches that sidestep the potential side effects.

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