Its been called the "Youth Hormone" and for a good reason, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) can
and the list goes on. Unfortunately our bodies ability to produce growth hormone diminishes considerably as we age beginning immediately after puberty. Studies show that as early as age 26 your body may be producing less than half of the growth hormone that it did at 18 years of age. By age 35 hGH production may be down a full 75% from peak levels.
So what does this mean to us as we age, can we work with our body to increase growth hormone production naturally?
Fortunately the answer to that question is Yes and you don't need a prescription to do it. The following 5 tips will help you to get the most benefit from your own natural growth hormone production and tip number one doesn't require any effort.
5 Tips to Raise Your Growth Hormone Levels Naturally
1. Sleep- Studies have shown that our pituitary glands release the highest levels of hgh within the first few hours of sleep and especially high during REM sleep (while dreaming). Unfortunately most of us don't get enough sleep. Recent studies have shown that a lack of sleep actually increases the likelihood that you will be overweight. People who are tired naturally crave more carbohydrates for a quick energy source. Unfortunately this results in an increased insulin response and decreased growth hormone levels. Want to stay lean and fit, get a good nights rest.
2. Exercise - You knew this one was coming. Exercise, especially high intensity exercise has been shown to significantly increase natural growth hormone production. This is known as the "Exercise Induced Growth Hormone Response" (EIGR) and though well documented, the mechanism by which it works is not readily understood.
Dr. RJ Godfrey of Brunel University states "A number of studies have suggested an intensity 'threshold' exists for EIGR. An exercise intensity above lactate threshold and for a minimum of 10 minutes appears to elicit the greatest stimulus to the secretion of hGH. Exercise training above the lactate threshold may amplify the pulsatile release of hGH at rest, increasing 24-hour hGH secretion." (Godfrey, R, et al, 2003)
This simply means that intense exercise preformed in 10 minute burst for several sessions will have the greatest effect on growth hormone levels. While this is best equated with cardio and endurance training, weight training athletes who train with enough intensity will see positive results also.
3. Fasting - While occasional fasting has many positive benefits from weight loss to longevity, it is also an effective means of elevating hGH production. High insulin levels, especially in response to sugar and refined carbohydrates can suppress production of hGH. Fasting for a 24 hour period diminishes the bodies requirement for insulin and frees the pituitary to focus on hGH production. Working out in a carb (sugar) depleted state may have a similar response as well.
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chart source: JAMA http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/284/7/861.full
4. Change your eating habits - Eating the square "3 meals a day" may not be in your best interest. We have grown accustomed to highly processed food and large portions. As stated above, this requires the body to produce insulin in order to metabolize the sugar. The downside is that the insulin wants to store that sugar as fat! If you are serious about increasing your own natural production of human growth hormone, than you also need to be serious about your diet. Eat frequent but smaller meals consisting of whole (unprocessed) foods. Fruits and vegetables off of the shelf and not out of a can, lean cuts of meat and small portions. It is very common for bodybuilding and fitness athletes to consume 5 to 7 small meals a day, they know the benefit.
Here is a nice trick to take control of your portion size when eating,,, Box up your dinner plates and put them in a closet. Use salad plates or better yet a saucer when eating and if you feel the need for seconds, wait 10 minuets just to be sure. It can take up to 10 minuets for your brain to get the message that your stomach is satiated.
5. Supplement with L-arginine - Arginine is a an amino that the body uses in the production or proteins. By "L-arginine" we simply mean the naturally occurring form of the amino acid. Supplementing with L-arginine can have a dramatic effect on hGH levels.
In a study published on PubMed, JA Kanaley states as follows.
"Recent studies have shown that resting growth hormone responses increase with oral ingestion of L-arginine and the dose range is 5-9 g of arginine. Within this range there is a dose-dependent increase and higher doses are not well tolerated. Most studies using oral arginine have shown that arginine alone increases the resting growth hormone levels at least 100%, while exercise can increase growth hormone levels by 300-500%. The combination of oral arginine plus exercise attenuates the growth hormone response, however, and only increases growth hormone levels by around 200% compared to resting levels"
Source: Pub, Growth Hormone, arginine and exercise - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18090659
L-arginine is most effective when taken just before bedtime on an empty stomach.
As with any supplement, remember that it is just that, a "supplement" to be used in addition to a proper diet and exercise program, not in replacement of.
The topic of natural grown hormone elevation is enormous and I highly recommend that you do your own research. Injectable hGH is extremely expensive and very dangerous, save your money and your health by letting your body do the work for you.
Thanks for reading, Kerry Dulin
Ho KY, Evans WS, Blizzard RM, et al. Effects of sex and age on the 24-hour profile of growth hormone secretion in man: importance of endogenous estradiol concentrations. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1987;64:51-58.
Kern W, Dodt C, Born J, Fehm HL. Changes in cortisol and growth hormone secretion during nocturnal sleep in the course of aging. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1996;51A:M3-M9
Mayo Clinic - Healthy aging: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/growth-hormone/HA00030
Pub Med: Growth hormone, arginine and exercise