Produced in the pituitary gland, growth hormone (GH), also known as somatotropin, plays a major role in childhood growth. GH continues to be important as we age as well.
GH stimulates the production of chemicals known as somatomedins, the most researched of which is insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Together, GH and IGF-1 exert positive effects in almost every bodily system including maintaining lean body mass (muscle tissue), inhibiting fat accumulation, repair of tissue and even heart and brain health.
In other words, the effects of GH in adults are what keep us young, and our metabolism efficient. However, GH release slows dramatically once we reach early adulthood, and becomes more and more scarce with advancing age. One study showed that GH decreases by about 50% every 7 years, after our mid-20’s.
Because of the apparent anti-aging effects of GH, there’s been a lot of research into using synthetic GH in people with certain pituitary conditions where they make little to no GH. This of course has captured the attention of people wanting to use it to ward of normal aging and to increase athletic performance.
This is a highly controversial (and expensive!) aspect of GH use. GH use for anything other than specific disease conditions is considered risky and even unsafe; studies don’t necessarily show an absolute benefit to using synthetic GH for regular biological aging. GH has no approved use in the realm of athletic performance, and is of course a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
However there are other effective nutritional and lifestyle strategies that can help keep one’s GH at healthy levels throughout life, that include:
Growth Hormone Support is one of our favorite products for supporting natural growth hormone levels – it contains the perfect amount of arginine and ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate. Combined with glutamine, take them before your workout or at bedtime to boost your growth hormone levels.
I can’t stress how important it is to support your growth hormone naturally as you age. Declining levels of GH are a natural state of the aging process; however taking the steps to maintain the levels we normally make goes a long way in keeping your body functioning at a youthful level well into old age.
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