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Human Growth Hormone (HGH), also known as somatotropin, is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that is important for growth, metabolism, and overall well-being.
HGH is controlled by different substances in the body. Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) stimulates its production, while somatostatin inhibits it.
HGH regulates various functions in the body and plays a role in promoting growth during childhood. It influences the synthesis of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which is crucial for growth regulation.
The effects of HGH are diverse. Initially, it acts in a way similar to insulin, increasing glucose uptake in muscles and fat, stimulating protein synthesis, and reducing fat breakdown. However, after some time, it shifts to anti-insulin-like effects, increasing blood glucose levels and promoting the release of fatty acids. (1)
Note: During fasting, HGH levels rise to maintain blood glucose levels and use fat as an energy source. Another hormone called ghrelin, produced in the stomach, stimulates HGH release, increases appetite, and enhances memory.
As you get older, the natural production of HGH decreases, which can affect overall vitality, experts say. While synthetic HGH injections are available, there are natural ways to boost HGH levels, such as through weight loss and dietary changes.
In this article, we’ll explore all-natural methods that can enhance your HGH production.
Enhance HGH Levels the Natural Way
Here are some natural ways to maintain adequate -HGH levels using natural methods.
1. Get good-quality sleep every night
Sleep plays a crucial role in triggering a natural surge of growth hormone (GH) during the night. Sleep deprivation can disrupt the normal GH surge, but once sleep is resumed, GH release is intensified.
In short, sleep is an important factor for maintaining healthy GH levels, and disruptions in sleep patterns, such as sleep deprivation, can impact GH secretion. Adequate and quality sleep is beneficial for optimal GH function. (2)
Experts advise 7–9 hours of sleep for adults every night.
2. Perform mild-to-moderate aerobic exercises every day
There is growing interest in finding ways to increase the body’s natural release and action of GH, including through lifestyle interventions.
Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, can temporarily increase the release of GH, with the intensity of exercise playing a role. Cardiorespiratory fitness also influences the GH response to exercise. (3)
So, if you wish to increase GH levels, you may need to start doing some aerobic exercise. Experts recommend exercises such as short sprints, jumping rope, running/jogging, cycling, and swimming.
3. Incorporate dietary changes
Researchers reveal that consuming a diet rich in carbohydrates can suppress the secretion of GH. In fact, following a high-carbohydrate diet for an extended period can significantly reduce GH levels.
Plus, including an adequate amount of protein in the diet is important for the proper production and maintenance of optimal levels of GH.
They add that the total number of calories consumed may not have a direct impact on GH secretion, but it’s important to maintain an appropriate caloric intake for overall health. (4)
According to experts, high-quality protein foods like such as chicken, fish, eggs, and tofu are great to be consumed with healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Furthermore, experts share that it is equally important to opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables as sources of carbohydrates.
4. Try doing intermittent fasting
Research shows that fasting can significantly increase HGH levels. A recent study found that HGH levels increased five times during a 24-hour fast. (5) Previous studies have also shown increased HGH secretion after at least 2 days of fasting.
Continuous fasting is not sustainable in the long term, so intermittent fasting can be a more acceptable approach. (6) Intermittent fasting involves limiting eating to specific time periods, such as an 8-hour eating window with a 16-hour fast.
5. Lose excess weight
Obesity disrupts the factors that regulate growth hormone (GH) release. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have lower GH levels. In fact, abnormalities in GH in obesity can contribute to cardiovascular complications.
Researchers have found that losing weight can help improve GH levels and positively impact cardiovascular and metabolic risks in obese individuals with obesity. (7)
6. Manage your stress properly
During intense physical stress, such as vigorous exercise, GH levels can increase significantly, up to two- to tenfold. However, in cases of psychological stress, the response of GH is different.
Chronic mental stress can lead to a defect in GH secretion, resulting in reduced levels of GH. Severe deficiency in GH secretion due to prolonged stress can lead to failure to thrive and significant behavioral abnormalities. (8)
Removal from a hostile or stressful environment can lead to a reversal of GH insufficiency within a few weeks. Thus, you should learn to manage stress by doing relaxing activities and other options such as yoga and meditation. (8)
7. Spend some time in the sunlight
Vitamin D plays a role in the complex relationship between GH and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I. Treating nutritional vitamin D deficiency may promote linear growth in people by activating the GH/IGF-I axis.
Patients with GH deficiency (GHD) often have lower vitamin D levels, which may contribute to cardiovascular and metabolic risks associated with GHD.
In acromegaly, a condition characterized by excess GH, both increased and decreased vitamin D levels have been observed, further complicating the relationship between vitamin D and the GH/IGF-I axis. (9)
Overall, the relationship between vitamin D and the GH/IGF-I axis is complex, and more research is needed to fully understand their interactions, but spending some time in the sun to get more vitamin D might be a good option to try out.
8. Drink an herbal infusion of Astragalus membranaceus
The roots of Astragalus membranaceus, or milkvetch, a traditional Asian medicinal herb, have been used to stimulate the release of GH. One of the active compounds identified in this herb, known as formononetin, showed an ability to significantly induce GH release. (10)
Thus, extracts from Astragalus roots contain compounds that can stimulate the release of GH. (10)
Add the dried roots of Astragalus membranaceus, to boiling water, and let it simmer for 5–10 minutes to obtain an herbal infusion for drinking.
Note: While generally considered safe for most people, Astragalus causes mild gastrointestinal discomfort in some individuals.
9. Take amino acid supplements on doctor’s advice
Amino acids, which are building blocks of proteins, have been studied as a potential alternative to recombinant HGH for increasing HGH levels.
In a study involving 16 healthy participants, a single dose of an oral amino acid supplement containing ornithine, glutamine, and lysine was found to significantly increase HGH levels by 682% (eightfold) compared to baseline after 120 minutes.
These findings suggested that amino acid supplementation can effectively boost HGH levels in both males and females. (11)
10. Take melatonin supplements on doctor’s advice
In a study, researchers found that taking melatonin orally had a weak effect on the basal levels of GH. Melatonin seemed to work by stopping the release of another hormone called somatostatin, which normally reduces GH levels.
However, when melatonin was taken before receiving a hormone called GH-releasing hormone (GHRH), it doubled the amount of GH released in response to the hormone.
So, if your doctor advises, you may need to take melatonin for increasing GH levels. (12)
What are the signs of GH deficiency?
In children, a lack of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) can cause delayed puberty; this means they may not develop secondary sexual characteristics or experience menstruation at the expected age.
In premenopausal women, GH deficiency can lead to amenorrhea (no menstrual periods), reduced sex drive, the regression of secondary sexual characteristics, and difficulty getting pregnant.
Men may experience erectile dysfunction, testicular shrinkage, decreased sex drive, the regression of secondary sexual characteristics, and decreased sperm production, resulting in infertility.
Note: While GH deficiency in adults may contribute to reduced energy levels, it is typically asymptomatic and cannot be easily detected during a clinical examination.
What diseases are associated with GH?
Isolated GH deficiency in children causes slow growth and short stature, known as pituitary dwarfism. It’s often due to a pituitary tumor.
Gigantism and acromegaly result from excessive GH secretion due to a pituitary tumor. Gigantism occurs before growth plate closure, leading to abnormal growth. Acromegaly causes distinct facial features. (13)
Diagnosis involves GH level measurements, and treatment includes tumor removal or GH replacement.
Why is boosting HGH levels naturally important?
Increasing HGH levels naturally can have benefits for muscle growth, fat loss, and overall well-being.
Does HGH production decline with age?
Yes, HGH levels naturally decrease as age increases, which is why strategies to naturally boost it become more important.
Can HGH really benefit aging, such as obtaining the elusive fountain of youth?
Studies suggest that GH therapy may have positive effects on age-related changes. It can improve body composition, cardiovascular function, glucose metabolism, bone healing, and brain health.
While more research is needed, GH therapy shows promise in addressing aging concerns. (14)
By unleashing the power of your lifestyle choices – through exercise, restful sleep, nourishing foods, and intermittent fasting – you hold the key to unlocking your body’s natural fountain of growth hormone, propelling you towards vitality and rejuvenation.
So, embrace these transformative habits and watch your potential soar to new heights.