Human growth hormone (HGH) is a vital component of the human endocrine system. It is secreted by the pituitary gland, a small gland located at the base of the brain that produces several hormones. In childhood and adolescence this hormone is necessary to promote growth in height. In adulthood, its presence leads to a healthier body composition and is responsible for such important jobs such as:
- Keeping your body lean
- Decreasing fat accumulation
- Strengthening your bones
- Protecting your organs from the decline that occurs with age
- Promoting more rapid hair and nail growth
- Improving circulation
- Giving a more favorable cholesterol profile
- Helping protect you from the consequences of aging
Unfortunately, natural production of HGH declines as you get older. This progressive deficiency, beginning for most in our 20s, leads to a reduction in lean body mass and bone mineral density, an increase in body fat – especially abdominal, and a worsened cardiovascular risk profile.
All in all, you begin to look and feel older as HGH declines.
I treat Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency (AGHD) as well as other hormonal deficiencies in my practice. The easiest and most accurate way to test for HGH deficiency is with a blood test called an IGF-1. IGF-1 is a hormone produced in response to HGH secretion by the pituitary gland. It is the best marker of the status of secretion of HGH, and a low value less than 200 is indicative of growth hormone deficiency. Levels below 200 are generally considered to be in the deficient state.
The quickest and most effective way to increase HGH levels is with a daily injection of HGH. Numerous studies have shown that replacement therapy is beneficial, and such treatment has become recognized as standard practice. In adults, HGH replacement therapy will often be maintained for many years.
Exercise, stress, emotional excitement, diet and aging all affect the quantity of HGH production. The Carragher Method at The Body Well approaches raising HGH levels in several ways that work best in combination with each other. Certain lifestyle factors, such as sleep and stress management, our specific nutritional plan and our scientifically-based exercise plan cause the pituitary to secrete more HGH.
Here are 10 of the most effective ways to increase HGH production, naturally:
- High intensity burst training in which one’s heart rate bursts above their anaerobic threshold (best established by VO2 max testing) for 30 second intervals five or more times in a workout. This engages super-fast twitch muscle fibers, which release HGH naturally.
- Get adequate sleep. Getting 8 hours per night optimizes production of HGH.
- Melatonin. Take 0.5 to 5 mg of melatonin before bed. Melatonin has been shown to increase growth hormone levels by up to 157 percent.
- GABA. Take 1.5 to 3 g of GABA immediately before bed. GABA, or gamma aminobutyric acid, has been shown to increase growth hormone production by 200 percent.
- Eat high quality protein. Consume a high-protein, low-carbohydrate snack before going to bed. The amino acids will help to boost HGH, while avoiding too many carbs will keep insulin levels low so that it cannot inhibit growth hormone from doing its work.
- Optimize Vitamin D levels at 70-100 ng/mL.
- Avoid sugar after workouts. Consuming sugar (especially fructose) within 2 hours post workout will cause your hypothalamus to release somatostatin, which will decrease your production of HGH. Simple sugars that are high-glycemic also spike insulin levels. Not only does this lead to body fat storage, but it severely decreases the release of growth hormone.
- L-arginine and L-lysine. The combination of these two amino acids together before exercise and sleep has shown to increase growth hormone production by up to 700 percent. Take 3 to 5 grams for optimal results.
- Glutamine. Take 2 to 10 g of glutamine after a workout or before bed. Glutamine may boost HGH levels, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Louisiana State College of Medicine. They discovered that subjects consuming 2 g of glutamine experienced increases in HGH levels. Their findings were reported in the 1995 issue of “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”
- Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, or A-GPC, might increase HGH levels, according to a study published in the September 2008 issue of the “Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.” Researchers at the Center for Applied Health Science Research observed that subjects taking 600 mg of A-GPC two hours before resistance exercise had higher HGH levels post-exercise compared with those who consumed a placebo.
If you suspect you have an adult HGH deficiency, I suggest you be evaluated by a qualified Age Management Medicine Physician. For a recommendation, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.