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Many top Hollywood stars are taking injections of a powerful substance that could kill them - all in an attempt to stay young. Desperate stars have gotten hooked on a drug - costing as much as $2,000 a month - that experts warn can increase the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer as well as diabetes. An in-depth ENQUIRER investigation exposed Hollywood's newest craze - which ensnares both young and old. We spoke with advocates of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) - and those bitterly opposed to its use. While insiders are reluctant to break the Hollywood code of silence and "out" stars taking HGH, The ENQUIRER has learned that many A-list celebrities have been linked to the highly controversial fountain of youth drug. "I've been taking the hormone (HGH)," confessed "Designing Women" star Dixie Carter, 65. Dixie is one of very few stars who openly admits to taking the powerful drug. Some linked to HGH deny taking it and one of them, 59-year-old Goldie Hawn, wants ENQUIRER readers to know she considers HGH potentially very dangerous. Have these stars used HGH": Pam Anderson, 37, Janet Jackson, 38, Jessica Simpson, 24, Madonna, 46, Jenny McCarthy, 32,Demi Moore, 42, Brad Pitt, 41, Marla Maples, 41, Nick Nolte, 64,Britney Spears, 23, Jennifer Aniston, 35,Dean Cain, 38, Courteney Cox, 40, and George Hamilton, 65.
SKIN EXPERT LOVES IT
Erika Janes, a licensed esthetician and skin-care specialist to many celebrities, recommends HGH to her clients, although she refused to disclose which ones use it. Janes claims her clients include Madonna, Pamela Anderson, Marla Maples and Dean Cain. "I work out of a doctor's office, as well as treat celebrities in their homes," Janes told The ENQUIRER. "Many of my clients take HGH. They are some of the most beautiful women in the world." "HGH is the current trend taking Hollywood by storm," declares celebrity image consultant Daniel DiCriscio - whose client list reads like a "Who's Who of Hollywood." But Dr. Neal Barnard - a respected public health and nutrition expert at the Washington, D.C.- based Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine - told The ENQUIRER: "HGH can be deadly - and there is no evidence it can rejuvenate people."
Sadly, many celebrities are literally dying to stay young. And that alarms Playboy pinup twins Shane and Sia Barbi - who hold degrees in nutrition and are outspoken advocates of healthy living. They want to help end this nightmare. The use of HGH has exploded because of Hollywood's newest standard of beauty - ripped washboard abs, chiseled bodies, plus tighter, wrinkle-free faces, say the twins. "HGH has raised the bar on body perfection in Hollywood," Shane and Sia told The ENQUIRER in a joint statement. The twins, who promote natural weight loss through diet and exercise, approached The ENQUIRER to express their fears. "Both of us are concerned that HGH is now becoming all the rage in Hollywood," declared Shane and Sia. "It's not an understatement to say that almost everyone who looks too good to be true probably owes their looks to HGH." The twins, authors of the new book "Anti-Binge Diet Book," said it's often possible to detect stars who've fallen into the HGH trap. "A woman who quickly goes from ordinary to extraordinary - washboard abs, a lean figure with no fat around her hips, knees or upper arms, well-defined, muscular legs and a chiseled jaw with moist, firm and youthful looking skin - is guaranteed to be on HGH. "And each time you go off HGH - which you are required to do to protect your kidneys - your body will bloat and you can develop unattractive skin acne." While HGH can be taken orally, advocates believe the most effective doses are injected into the stomach or thigh. A month's treatment can cost at least $2,000, and injections are taken about once a month, say experts.
RESTRICTED USE HGH was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1985, but its legal use is restricted to the treatment of children with growth deficiencies. "Any other use of HGH is contrary to FDA guidelines," says Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health. "What we see now is a multimillion-dollar scam business. HGH increases the risk of developing colon, breast and prostate cancer," declared Dr. Epstein, an international authority on avoidable causes of cancer. Other experts link HGH megadoses - the amounts routinely taking by many stars - to diabetes, organ failure, the worsening of existing cancers, and serious kidney and liver problems. But celebrity image consultant DiCriscio told The ENQUIRER, "With today's fashion emphasis on low-riding jeans and bare midriffs, the pressure is on celebs to look the best and the tightest they can. "I think stars like Janet Jackson and Jessica Simpson look as though they may be using HGH to get those 'superhuman' bodies. "To me, Madonna's body looks like an advertisement for HGH use. Even after giving birth to two children, her abs and lower stomach are very lean and tight." Santa Monica, Calif., chiropractor Dr. Michele Bosten - who uses HGH herself and also advocates its use to her celebrity patients - counts Madonna as a client and even quit her private practice for several months this past summer to accompany the Material Girl on her ReInvention Tour. Dr. Bosten raves on her Web site: "The potential of HGH is to turn back the clock 10 or 20 years." Dixie Carter is thrilled with the results of HGH. "I feel better," she told an interviewer. "My body seems firmer and in better shape. My complexion looks better, with hair that is thick and looks great. My legs feel strong and I don't tire as easily as I used to. I believe this is all because of the hormones." George Hamilton is another one "who appears to have found the fountain of youth, which is what HGH has been proven to provide," says Dr. Ronald Klatz, founder and president of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and author of "Grow Young with HGH." Nick Nolte attended a conference on the hormone treatment and "seemed extremely interested in HGH," reports Dr. Klatz.
PAYING A PRICE
HGH is naturally secreted by the human body to promote the normal growth of children and teenagers " but that production decreases with age, say experts. "There is a growing body of evidence that HGH can enhance the quality of life in aging individuals, but this is limited to the injectable form of HGH," said Dr. Marc Darrow, a Los Angeles-based pain management physician. However, when a young person with normal hormone levels takes injections of HGH, the effects can be very detrimental, warns Dr. Darrow. "It can be dangerous. We have plenty of examples of bodybuilders who have had organ failures from excess hormone use and abscesses from infected shot sites. "A young person who does not need hormone therapy and takes (megadoses) to lose weight and get 'cut' may pay a high price down the road. We don't even know all the risks at this point. "Taking these super doses is outside the realm of good medicine."
Another danger of HGH, said Dr. Darrow, is that users seek to find sources of injectable HGH outside the United States, where quality assurance may be compromised. And other research has shown that HGH injections can also trigger carpal tunnel syndrome, coarsening of facial features, joint pain and fluid retention. "When you decide to sell out to HGH, you are dealing with the devil," say the Barbi twins. "You risk trading your longterm good health for a briefly toned body and soft, wrinklefree skin." As the HGH craze sweeps Hollywood, some well-informed celebrities are very aware of its dangers. Dean Cain told The ENQUIRER: "I've never come close to touching HGH." Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore's reps say their clients don't use HGH. And a spokesperson for Pamela Anderson told The ENQUIRER: "Pamela doesn't even know what that is (HGH)." Dr. Howard Bellin, a renowned New York plastic surgeon, summed up the problems with the treatment when he told a reporter, "I know many of the leading scientists who've done studies on HGH, and none will take it themselves. "It has a number of side effects, and there is no scientific evidence that it even has the antiaging qualities many take it for.