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Do You Want to Live Forever?

Experts say be careful of products claiming to extend longevity

So you want to live forever, or at least until you're about 120 years old -- the limit for humans. And you're willing to try new products that claim to increase longevity. Go ahead and try. You'll probably spend a lot of money, spend a lot of time and live to about the same age anyway.

That's the message from Dr. Stephen Barrett, a columnist for C-Health and vice president of the National Council Against Health Fraud. He says that many products and strategies claim to extend lifespan, but none has been proven effective.

In his column, Barrett talks about GH3, PABA, human growth hormone, DHEA, melatonin, and cryonics. He says some of these treatments have limited beneficial effects, and some -- taken in improper doses -- can hurt you. Others make claims that are clearly misleading, he says.

GH3, also known as Gerovital, is supposed to relieve symptoms of aging, such as arthritis, senile psychosis and heart conditions. Barrett says controlled studies have shown no benefits and that some users have reported problems such as low blood pressure, convulsions and problems breathing.

Human growth hormone has been shown to increase muscle mass and skin thickness in older men. But no long-term studies have been done to evaluate whether it's safe and effective over time, Barrett says. He also says it's expensive and can cause joint inflammation and diabetes-like symptoms.

To find out more about melatonin, you can read this article from Salon. To learn more about DHEA, check this article from the Nutrition Action Newsletter.

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