Numerous human hormones decline with age. These include Human Growth Hormone (HGH), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and melatonin. While the mechanisms of decline and cause-and-effect are not clear, it is clear that hormones play key roles in cell repair, protein synthesis, energy metabolism, and immune response, and that reduced levels of these hormones in the blood are associated with increased symptoms of aging. Since human hormones are not food but affect the body, the FDA has attempted to classify them as "drugs." Since it costs over $300 million to obtain FDA approval of these hormones as safe and effective in the treatment of specific diseases, they have not been approved for any use in the United States except in the case of HGH for children deficient in the hormone. The FDA's classification efforts have been held in abeyance thus far by the Congress (most recently in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994) and by its habit of losing cases against nutrient suppliers on Constitutional grounds. Experiments performed in Mexico have demonstrated that HGH reverses many effects of aging. For years, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, who are the authors of Life Extension and The Life Extension Companion, have advocated the benefits of HGH supplementation. Since HGH is expensive and difficult to obtain without a prescription, Durk and Sandy formulated Power Maker, one of the first supplements designed to boost natural release of HGH. Many of their products are available from Life Services Supplements, of Neptune, New Jersey. Compared to HGH, DHEA and melatonin are the new kids on the research block. The Life Extension Foundation, of Hollywood, Florida, has been one of the strongest voices in the wilderness for supplementation with DHEA and melatonin. Their Life Extension Report and, more recently, Life Extension Magazine have reported research findings that otherwise were ignored. However, reports on melatonin and DHEA increasingly are appearing in the mainstream media. DHEA is a steroid produced by the adrenal glands. In 1985 the FDA attempted to ban DHEA from health food stores. (You may find it strange to be prohibited from supplementing something your body produces naturally. Consider this your contribution to the government's War on Drugs Not Used by the Majority of the Electorate.) For nearly a decade DHEA was available only by prescription, direct from abroad, or from a buyer's club. However, DHEA is not listed in the Federal Register as a "class" drug, so it is now available over the counter. (In the FDA's attempt to take over by stealth the portion of the U.S. economy devoted to health care -- one fourth -- it sometimes has to give a little ground in the short term on highly visible drugs and devices.) In June, 1995, the New York Academy of Sciences held a major meeting on "DHEA and Aging." Although the functions of DHEA were unknown for a long time, it now appears that DHEA may serve as a brain-boosting "smart drug," enhance immune function, protect the circulatory system, and have other life-extending properties. Research results presented at this meeting were reported in the major media. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland and is best-known as a regulator of sleep. Now, new evidence is emerging that melatonin may be a powerful anti-oxidant (free radical scavenger), immune system booster, and cancer-fighting agent. Most tantalizingly, melatonin appears not only to regulate the body's daily rhythms, but perhaps also to govern an "aging clock." News on melatonin has appeared in the newspapers such as the Washington Post, on "Good Morning America," and on National Public Radio. Newsweek carried articles on both melatonin and DHEA in a recent issue. References Bock, Steven, Stay Young the Melatonin Way, Dutton. Cowley, Geoffrey, Melatonin, in Newsweek, August 7, 1995. Cowley, Geoffrey, Nature's Other Time-Stopper?, in Newsweek, August 7, 1995. F*hy, Gregory M., DHEA and Aging, Exclusive Meeting Report, Part 1, in Life Extension Foundation, Life Extension Magazine, September, 1995. Jacobs, Sandra, Controversial Claims for Melatonin, in Washington Post, August 22, 1995. Pierpaoli, Walter and Regelson, William, The Melatonin Miracle, Simon & Shuster. Pierpaoli, Walter, Regelson, William, and Fabris, Nicola, The Aging Clock, the Pineal Gland and Other Pacemakers in the Progression of Aging and Carcinogenesis, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 719. Sahelian, Ray, Melatonin, Nature's Sleeping Pill, Be Happier Press.