Human growth hormone can help you build stronger muscles and maintain a sharp mind. There are steps you can take to naturally boost your body’s HGH levels. Intermittent fasting can help, as can high-intensity exercise.
First, the good news: Your body naturally makes a hormone that can help you optimize your health and mental clarity.
It’s called human growth hormone (HGH) — or, more succinctly, growth hormone. This hormone is abundant when we’re young.
Now for the not-so-good news: As we age, our bodies produce less and less HGH.
As our HGH levels diminish, we’re more likely to lose lean muscle mass and gain body fat. Low growth hormone levels can also increase your risk of disease and make it harder for you to recover from injuries.
Synthetic HGH is available. However, this type of HGH therapy isn’t approved for use as an anti-aging or muscle-building treatment. If it’s used for this purpose, it can cause dangerous side effects.
Fortunately, there are steps we can take that will raise our human growth hormone levels naturally. These protocols can help us achieve better health and a fitter body.
Ready to learn more?
In this article, we will:
- Explain what HGH is, and let you know about the impact low HGH levels can have on our wellness
- Talk about the causes and signs of growth hormone deficiency
- Discuss synthetic HGH, and explain its drawbacks
- Share tips for raising your human growth hormone levels naturally
- Explain the benefits of boosting your HGH levels
What is HGH?
HGH is a hormone that’s produced by the pituitary gland. This peptide hormone plays a key role in governing your growth during adolescence. It stimulates growth in pretty much every tissue in the body, from the muscles to the bones.
Unless you’re born with a genetic deficiency – or suffer from certain types of illness or injury – you have ample amounts of HGH when you’re young. However, the picture changes as we age. Our body’s growth hormone levels decline with the passage of time.
This decline can impact our health and wellness in undesirable ways:
- A low HGH level can make it more likely for us to gain weight; it can cause us to lose lean muscle mass and pile on body fat.
- Also, diminished growth hormone levels can have a negative impact on our exercise performance, and make it more difficult for us to bounce back after an injury.
- Finally, HGH plays a key role in helping your body balance blood sugar levels. If you’re producing low levels of growth hormone, research shows you may be at greater risk for conditions such as high blood sugar and diabetes.
Growth hormone deficiency
A growth hormone deficiency occurs in cases where the pituitary gland fails to produce adequate levels of HGH. This condition is more common in children than in adults.
In cases where this deficiency is partial, the pituitary gland produces low levels of HGH. Sometimes the deficiency is total. In these situations, no HGH is produced by the pituitary gland.
Sometimes growth hormone deficiency is congenital. In cases where the problem isn’t present at birth, HGH deficiency can be caused by these factors:
- Major head injury
- Radiation treatment
- Brain tumor
Both children and adults are susceptible. When it’s not congenital, this condition is referred to as acquired growth hormone deficiency.
HGH deficiency in children
HGH deficiency occurs in roughly one out of every 4,000 to 10,000 children. This condition can cause a child to have shorter-than-normal height, and it can delay the onset of puberty. However, with early detection and treatment, kids with this affliction can achieve normal stature and normal physical development.
Kids with growth hormone deficiency tend to be shorter than their peers, and they’re more likely to have rounder, younger-looking faces. They’re often chubbier than normal, with lots of fat around the abdomen.
Female teens with this deficiency may develop breasts later than their peers. Male teens with this condition may have voices that are less deep than the voices of other boys of the same age.
Low HGH in adults
Our need for growth hormone doesn’t end when we stop growing. The body relies on this hormone to help build healthy muscle, and it also helps regulate bone density. HGH assists in the management of our body’s cholesterol levels, and it also plays a vital role in brain function.
An adult who has less-than-ideal HGH levels may experience these symptoms:
- Excessive body fat, especially around the abdomen
- Diminished interest in sex
- Decreased sexual function
- Feelings of being isolated from others
- Diminished lean body mass
- Diminished strength and stamina
- Anxiety and depression
- Diminished bone density with higher likelihood of suffering bone fractures
- Greater sensitivity to extreme cold and heat
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels
It’s important to understand that there’s a difference between low HGH levels and an actual deficiency.
HGH deficiency in adults isn’t that common. If you’re diagnosed with it, your doctor may prescribe HGH injections to address the issue.
(Fun fact: Human growth hormone therapy that’s legally administered by a doctor always takes the form of injections. Doctors don’t administer HGH treatment in pill form.)
While actual deficiency is rare, it’s common for adults to suffer from low HGH levels. Though this isn’t a clinical condition like HGH deficiency, it can have far-reaching implications for your health and wellness.
What about synthetic HGH?
Synthetic HGH is also known as recombinant HGH, and it’s been used to treat growth hormone deficiency since the 1980s. This hormone replacement is injected in the fatty tissues. A doctor administers HGH injections to the buttocks, thighs or the back of the arms.
When it’s delivered by a doctor via a prescription, growth hormone therapy can cause these side effects:
- Hip pain
- Curving of the spine (scoliosis)
- Redness at the injection site
During this treatment, the patient’s blood is constantly monitored to see if more or less HGH is required.
Synthetic growth hormone is also used by doctors to treat the wasting syndrome that is sometimes experienced by people with AIDS.
Risks of taking synthetic HGH
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers HGH a controlled substance. It can be legally used if prescribed by a doctor as treatment for those with clinical growth hormone deficiency. However, it can’t legally be used to build muscle, or as an anti-aging treatment for older adults.
Bodybuilders sometimes use HGH in conjunction with anabolic steroids to gain more muscle mass. And athletes sometimes team HGH supplementation with anabolic steroids in an attempt to improve performance.
If you take synthetic HGH in the absence of a genuine deficiency, you run the risk of getting too much. Ingesting too much growth hormone can have serious health consequences.
If you use synthetic HGH that isn’t legally prescribed by a physician, research shows that you run the risk of developing these conditions:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Edema (fluid retention that causes swollen arms and legs)
- Increased insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Joint and muscle pain
- Gynecomastia (enlargement of the breast tissue in men)
- Increased risk of breast and prostate cancer
There’s one side effect that deserves special attention: HGH increases muscle mass, and this can cause your internal organs to become excessively enlarged.
As the intestines grow larger from excessive HGH intake, it can cause “bubble gut.” Commonly seen in bodybuilders who abuse HGH, this condition can cause your abdomen to bulge by as much as twice its normal size.
HGH can also cause the heart to become enlarged. This condition is known as cardiomegaly, and it’s been linked with high blood pressure, shortness of breath, abnormal heart rhythm, chest pain and heart disease.
How to raise HGH levels naturally
Now that you know all the drawbacks of illegal HGH use, it’s time to talk about how you can boost your growth hormone levels naturally.
Here are some steps you can take to naturally raise your HGH level:
1. Lose belly fat
One thing you can do to powerfully ramp up your HGH levels is lose belly fat.
Belly fat is also known as visceral fat. It’s more dangerous than other types of fat, largely due to its location. Because of where it’s positioned, it can press against your organs and prevent them from functioning normally.
Studies show that those with lots of belly fat produce less HGH. These people also have a higher risk of disease in general.
Research indicates that the link between belly fat and impaired HGH levels is higher in men that it is in women. However, both genders can improve growth hormone levels by reducing body fat.
One study looked at obese people. Prior to weight loss, these participants had lower-than-normal growth hormone levels. After losing a significant amount of weight, normal growth hormone production was restored.
To lose fat, we need to burn more calories than we take in from food. Exercise and a sensible diet can help. The good news is that once you’ve lost the fat, the uptick in HGH production that you’ll experience will work in your favor and make it easier for you to maintain your svelte physique.
2. Cut back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
Here’s a good reason for reducing the amount of sugar and refined carbs you consume: Lowering your intake of these foods can help your body optimize growth hormone production.
The key factor driving this is insulin. Studies show that high insulin levels tend to cause a drop in HGH production. Both sugar and refined carbs cause your insulin levels to rise. Reducing your consumption of these foods can set the stage for improved growth hormone levels.
Eating lots of sugar can impact HGH production in another way, as well: Excess sugar consumption is linked with weight gain and obesity. Weight gain – especially when it involves belly fat – can hinder growth hormone production.
3. Fast intermittently
Intermittent fasting has many fans, from everyday Joes to tech titans such as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. This approach to eating brings benefits that can improve your productivity and boost mental clarity.
There are many different ways to fast intermittently. For example, you can choose to abstain from food one day each week and eat normally on the other six days. Or you may opt to have just one meal a day, within a one-hour eating window.
One of the most notable benefits associated with intermittent fasting is its impact on HGH production. Research shows that fasting causes HGH levels to increase by as much as 500 percent.
Intermittent fasting can help boost HGH production in two ways:
- It reduces belly fat. Intermittent fasting is a potent weapon in the fight against belly fat. As we’ve mentioned, belly fat can hinder HGH production. Losing belly fat can cause your body to naturally boost its HGH levels.
- It keeps insulin levels low. Studies show that insulin spikes can hinder your body’s ability to naturally produce growth hormone. Fasting works to lower your levels of insulin.
If you want to give your HGH levels a natural boost, intermittent fasting is the way to go.
4. Avoid eating close to bedtime
So, what does this have to do with eating before bed?
Most meals cause your insulin levels to rise. This is especially true of meals that are high in refined carbs or sugar. A rise in insulin levels can hinder your body’s ability to produce HGH.
Because of this, it’s a good idea to avoid having a meal right before bedtime. Abstaining from food during this time helps keep insulin levels low enough to promote optimum HGH production while you sleep.
Your insulin levels typically decrease two to three hours after you eat a meal. With this in mind, try to have your last meal of the night two to three hours before going to bed.
5. Sleep well
Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on HGH production.
We produce high levels of this hormone while we’re asleep. If we fail to get enough deep sleep, our HGH levels will be less than optimal.
Here are some tips for improving the quality of your sleep:
- Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day, since this may keep you up at night.
- Take a magnesium supplement before bed. Magnesium is relaxing and promotes restful sleep.
- Make sure the room you sleep in is completely dark. Light of any kind can make our sleep less restful.
- Increase exposure to bright light during the day. This will set your body’s circadian rhythm in gear. The circadian rhythm is an internal clock that lets your body know when it’s time to stay awake and when it’s time to go to sleep.
- Avoid long daytime naps. While short power naps of 30 minutes or less can give you a useful energy boost, longer daytime naps may make it more difficult for you to fall asleep when the sun goes down.
Quantity is as important as quality. Aim to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
6. Begin a high-intensity exercise program
Exercise of all types can raise growth hormone levels. This includes everything from swimming to taking a gentle walk.
However, there’s one type of exercise that’s especially beneficial at boosting HGH: a high-intensity workout. Studies show that exercising at high intensity causes a spike in HGH.
High-intensity exercise can take many forms. You can perform repeated sprints or intense interval training. Weight training that pushes your muscles to the max also works well, as does circuit training.
This type of exercise can optimize your HGH production over time. It can also reduce body fat, which will set the stage for improved growth hormone levels.
7. Supplement with GABA
Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid that works as a potent neurotransmitter. It promotes a tranquil mind state and calms your central nervous system. Research indicates that GABA can also help your body increase its growth hormone production.
In a 2008 study, taking a GABA supplement caused participants to boost HGH levels by 400 percent at rest. There was also a 200 percent increase in growth hormone production after exercise.
One way in which GABA impacts HGH production concerns sleep. GABA has been shown to improve sleep quality, and the body produces lots of HGH during sleep. By facilitating deeper sleep, GABA has a positive effect on growth hormone production.
8. Try a glutamine supplement
Glutamine is an amino acid that’s used by the body for a host of different functions. It helps the body create protein, and it also supports the immune system. Additionally, glutamine protects the gut and helps preserve intestinal health.
This amino acid is naturally produced by the body. It’s the most abundant amino acid in the blood and body fluids. You can also get it from foods such as eggs, beef, skim milk, tofu, white rice and corn.
One convenient option for boosting glutamine is to take a supplement. Glutamine supplements have been shown to ramp up HGH production. In a 1995 study, a 2-gram dose of glutamine caused HGH to temporarily increase by 78 percent.
Glutamine’s benefits aren’t limited to growth hormone production. This amino acid can improve immune function. Glutamine supplementation can also decrease infections and lead to shorter hospital stays after surgery.
9. Take arginine
Arginine is an amino acid that assists with the production of protein. It’s made by the body, and it’s also found in protein-rich foods such as red meat, poultry, fish, soy, beans, dairy products and whole grains.
This amino acid may be of benefit to those with angina, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction. And research indicates that arginine is an effective tool for naturally increasing the body’s production of HGH.
In one study, participants taking supplemental arginine experienced a 60 percent increase in growth hormone levels during sleep.
Benefits of boosting your HGH levels naturally
Increasing your growth hormone levels naturally can provide you with these benefits:
1. Improved muscle growth
As we age, we’re more likely to lose muscle and develop more body fat. Natural HGH can help you maintain your muscle density, and it also supports the growth of new, stronger muscles.
Interested in building a ripped body? Making an effort to naturally ramp up HGH production can take you many steps closer to your goal.
2. Healthy bone density
Bone density can diminish as we grow older. This is especially true for women following menopause. Diminished body density can leave us more vulnerable to fractures.
HGH stimulates the production of cells known as osteoblasts. These cells create new bone mass. They play a vital role during childhood and adolescence, helping our bones grow into adulthood. However, they’re also quite valuable later in life; they can help prevent bone breakage. And if breakage occurs, they can help us heal more rapidly.
3. Less body fat
The relationship between HGH and body fat is complex and interesting.
Low body fat can help support increased HGH production; as we’ve mentioned, losing fat is one way to ramp up your levels of this vital hormone.
Body fat and HGH are related in another way, as well: Those with high HGH levels are less likely to develop body fat.
So, low body fat can increase HGH levels. And once HGH production has been ramped up, it can help you maintain your lean frame with less work on your end.
4. Improved brain function
Growth hormone has been shown to stimulate the production of new brain cells. This process is called neurogenesis. It can help the brain recover after injury, and it can help prevent age-related cognitive decline.
5. Improved heart health
The heart is a muscle, and growth hormone powerfully supports all muscles in the body. It stimulates the production of nitric oxide, and this can relax blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. It helps blood travel to the muscles, and it supports the creation of new blood vessels.
The word is out: Growth hormone can provide you with meaningful health benefits. Now the ball is in your court. Invest in a GABA supplement to help raise your growth hormone levels naturally, or choose any of the other methods discussed above.
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