Growth hormone gets a lot of attention as a ‘fountain of youth’ type hormone. While it’s certainly important in our youth as a major driver of physical growth, we still need it as adults after we’ve stopped growing.
Growth hormone (GH) is also known as somatotropin. GH drives the production of a group of similar chemicals (somatomedins); the most researched of these is insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1. Together, GH and IGF-1 drive several positive metabolic effects throughout the body including tissue repair, heart and brain health, diminishing body fat accumulation and maintaining muscle tissue/lean body mass.
While we depend on GH to help us grow as kids, in adulthood it's what helps keep our metabolism running youthfully. Unfortunately though, Growth hormone release slows to a trickle once we reach adulthood and even more so as the aging process advances. It’s thought that GH decreases by roughly 50% every 7 years beginning in our third decade or mid-twenties.
Use of synthetic GH outside of specific hormonal conditions is highly controversial, yet it has captured the attention of the anti-aging movement. GH has no approved use for aging or sports performance; it’s also banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
However, there are several proven lifestyle modifications that are shown to improve one’s growth hormone production. These include:
- Weight loss, especially abdominal fat
Fat that accumulates around the midsection is well known to ‘gum up’ metabolism, including the production of GH. Essentially, fat accumulation on the belly causes poor metabolism and is also a sign of it. Losing belly fat can help overall hormone balance including growth hormone.
- Sugar is the enemy of GH.
This is because whenever sugar is consumed, it leads to a spike in the hormone insulin. Insulin’s job is to rapidly store that sugar as energy (fat) and this directly blunts release of GH. Over time, sugar consumption will lead to lower average GH levels.
- Get your sleep
GH is released mainly at night, in small pulses during deep sleep. It’s a well-known fact that poor sleep, irregular sleep and inadequate sleep all severely inhibit GH release. If you’re struggling with sleep issues, this is one of the most important health improvements you can make.
- Get fit
High intensity exercise is perhaps the most efficient way to stimulate growth hormone production. The more intense the exercise, the more powerful the release is.
- Nutritional keys:
Optimal protein in the diet is key for overall health; however there are three key amino acids (found in protein) that will amplify growth hormone synthesis:
- Arginine has been shown to boost GH levels. Combined with exercise, this effect even better.
- Glutamine is a key amino acid for supporting muscle mass in times of intense stress; 2,000 mg taken daily can increase growth hormone levels.
- Ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate – is a specialty amino acid that when combined with strength training and arginine, it can help boost GH levels.
In addition to the lifestyle/fitness and nutrition tips above, we also recommend using Growth Hormone Support as part of your regimen. It contains the amino acids arginine and ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate and when used in combination pre-workout or before bed it can lay the foundation for healthy growth hormone levels.
Taking the above steps to maximize your health and support growth hormone levels will help you combat and even possibly slow the aging process that comes with declining GH levels.
Here's a more detailed video covering how to support your growth hormone levels, naturally.