Growth hormone production plays a crucial role in our bodies. Produced by the pituitary gland, human growth hormone (or HGH) contributes towards growth, cell repair, body composition (muscle growth/muscle mass) and even your metabolism.
As well as helping sculpt your body composition, natural HGH production also boosts muscle mass growth, strength and exercise performance, while supporting your body’s recovery from injury and disease.
Those with low HGH production levels may notice a decrease in their quality of life, as well as unwanted weight gain (nobody wants extra body fat!). Although your growth hormone levels are important all-round, they are especially crucial when trying to lose body fat, recover from an injury and during athletic training.
From what affects your growth hormone levels, to the power of the pituitary gland, we take a closer look at how to boost HGH levels naturally.
But first, we take a look at this naturally occurring hormone, and what occurs when your growth hormones are running low.
What happens when growth hormone production is low?
There are a number of side effects to the pituitary gland not producing enough human growth hormone (HGH). It has been said that low growth hormone levels may decrease your quality of life, increase your risk of disease and even contribute towards weight gain.
Further symptoms of growth hormone deficiency include:
- Unhealthy weight gain (increased body fat levels)
- Anxiety and depression
- Muscle loss
- Less strength, stamina and ability to exercise
- Reduced bone density
So of course, it comes as no surprise that many men want to boost HGH levels – whether they opt to increase HGH production via synthetic HGH drugs, or boost their HGH naturally.
But before we dive into talking about what the body produces, fat distribution and the need for a balanced diet, let’s first take a look at HGH uses and their risk factors.
HGH Uses and Abuses
Originally developed in 1985 (and approved by the FDA) for specific uses beyond high intensity training, synthetic human growth hormone injections were designed to treat poor growth due to medical conditions. Although, they are used for both children and adults, with medical causes that require HGH use in children covering:
- Turner’s syndrome
- Prader-Willi syndrome, an uncommon genetic disorder causing poor muscle tone, low levels of sex hormones, and a constant feeling of hunger
- Chronic kidney disease
- HGH deficiency or insufficiency
- Children born small for gestational age
Meanwhile, in adults, the need to increase HGH levels via this method include:
- Short bowel syndrome
- HGH deficiency due to rare pituitary tumors
- Muscle-wasting disease associated with HIV/AIDS
Of course, like any type of drug, their use soon moved away from FDA-approved means. In fact, the most common uses of growth hormones aren’t approved by the FDA. Much like illegal anabolic steroids, many men use human growth hormones to decrease body fat, boost lean body mass and rocket their performance in athletics.
However… It isn’t quite so clean cut as it may appear. Since the effects of boosting human growth hormone levels for athletic performance is a little cloudy.
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Furthermore, it is worth noting that natural HGH production does decrease as we get older, with some anti-aging experts claiming that the ability to optimize growth hormone levels could reverse the way our bodies deteriorate due to age. The jury is still out on that one, though!
Yet again, the use of growth hormone drugs for anti-aging purposes is of course, not approved by the FDA.
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Are there any side effects of using synthetic drugs to boost human growth hormone levels?
Like with any type of medication or drug (FDA approved, or not) there are often side effects – and this includes when you’re looking to increase human growth hormone production. Of course, everyone is different, with some side effects more prominent than others.
Possible side effects of HGH use include:
- Nerve, muscle, or joint pain
- Swelling due to fluid in the body’s tissues
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Numbness and tingling of the skin
- High cholesterol levels
HGH can also increase the risk of diabetes and contribute to the growth of cancerous tumors.
Plus, when you opt for illegal and unapproved drugs to increase growth hormone levels, you never quite know what you’re getting. Unless you’re receiving growth hormone drugs via a medical professional, who knows what these types of drugs could potentially be mixed with.
Natural ways to increase your HGH levels
With some potentially scary side effects associated with obtaining illegal HGH drugs, it comes as no surprise that you may be looking for natural ways to increase growth hormone production. Thankfully, we’ve done the research for you.
So, if you’re looking to significantly increase HGH levels, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 11 tips to nudge the pituitary gland’s production.
1. Lose body fat
If you’re concerned about growth hormone deficiency, it could be due to the amount of belly fat you carry. Although human growth hormone (HGH) is produced by the pituitary gland, those with higher levels of belly fat may be stunting HGH release, while also increasing the risk of disease.
Also Read: Can you speed up muscle growth?
According to studies, those with 3x the amount of belly fat as the controlled group had less than half their amount of HGH. While further research has revealed that during a 24-hour monitor of HGH secretion, they noted a huge decline of human growth hormone in those with more abdominal fat.
But why is belly fat so critical for HGH production? Typically, belly fat is the most dangerous type of stored fat, and is greatly linked to disease.
2. Try intermittent fasting
When it comes to boosting your HGH production, studies have shown that fasting can significantly increase HGH levels. But the research doesn’t end there, with one study revealing a 300% increase just 3 days into a fast. After one week, this increase in HGH rockets to 1,250%.
But what is it about fasting that works so well for growth hormone secretion? Well, it actually works in two ways.
- It helps to reduce body fat, which we already know can disrupt HGH release
- It’ll keep your insulin levels low for the majority of the day. If your insulin levels spike, it can directly affect the human growth hormone (HGH)
However, it is important to note that fasting continuously isn’t sustainable long term.
3. Take an arginine supplement
Research suggests that arginine, whether taken in the form of natural supplements or via diet has the potential to optimize HGH levels. This type of amino acid is most popular as a form of support for exercise, with some research concluding that it may show little or no effects on important thyroid hormones.
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Nonetheless, some claim that the use of arginine (via food intake or natural supplements) may boost HGH levels. During one study, participants on a lower dose of arginine showed to have no real effect, while a higher dose revealed around a 60% increase in HGH levels during sleep.
In short – higher doses of arginine may improve HGH levels, but not when taken around exercise. I think it’s fair to say there is room for further research in this area.
4. Reduce your sugar intake
If you’re looking to boost your HGH levels, it’s important to take a closer look at your diet and lifestyle choices. This often means, reducing your sugar intake, since it has the power to spike insulin levels.
Both refined carbs and sugar have the biggest effect on your insulin levels, which can mean that reducing both of these can help to boost HGH naturally. Of course, it isn’t just growth hormone deficiency we need to be concerned about – since too much sugar (and carbs) can lead to an increased risk of diabetes, obesity and weight gain.
Of course, the occasional moment of self-indulgence isn’t going to permanently slow HGH levels, but it is important to keep an eye on your over health, hormones and body composition to help optimize HGH production.
5. Don’t eat leads before bed
As we touched upon earlier, HGH production naturally increases at night – since the majority of meals spike your insulin levels, experts have suggested to avoid eating a lot right before heading to bed.
If you were to eat a high-carb or high-protein meal too close to bedtime, you could potentially block some of HGH production released at night. However, I wouldn’t get too caught up in this theory, as there is definitely room for further research into slow growth rate and the effects of insulin before bed.
6. Try a GABA supplement
Yet another amino acid, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid that works to send signals around your brain. Interestingly, a GABA supplement is often used to aid a good night’s sleep, calming your brain and central nervous system.
Alongside these uses, it has the potential to increase HGH levels. However, during research, GABA’s benefits were relatively short-lived, which leads us to believe that the benefits are short term, with long-term results a little unclear at present. Either way, deep sleep is going to benefit your HGH levels!
7. High intensity interval training
By now, we’re all well aware that HGH is an important hormone produced by the body – which means that many of us want to find ways to naturally boost our HGH levels. However, it isn’t quite so simple as just hitting the gym.
Yep, the type of exercise you do – matters. But that’s not all. The intensity, what you eat around the workout and your body’s natural traits all come into play here.
While running on the treadmill will certainly benefit your body weight (therefore weight loss, and the reduction of belly fat), high intensity exercise has been shown to increase HGH levels the most.
8. Take beta-alanine around the time you workout
Studies have shown that beta-alanine can support your workouts and increase your HGH levels in the short term. One study, in particular, has shown that taking 4.8 grams of beta-alanine before working out increased repetitions performed by 22%.
The research also showed that peak power was also doubled, while HGH levels showed an increase compared to a non-supplement group. It comes as no surprise that protein shakes have remained popular with gym-goers looking to up their weight training game and optimize growth hormone levels.
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9. Get plenty of rest
Released in pulses as you sleep, optimizing your sleep is crucial for injury recovery, cell repair, and of course, your HGH levels. The largest pulses occur before midnight, with smaller releases of HGH happing in the early morning.
This makes sleep crucial to your HGH levels. So much so, that poor sleep can reduce the amount of HGH produced by the body.
Struggling to nod off at night? Try to stay away from caffeine late in the day, avoid blue light (no scrolling on social media endlessly!) and be sure to sleep at a comfortable temperature.
10. Try melatonin supplements
In recent years, melatonin supplements have risen in popularity, acting as a sleep aid for many. It has been said they can increase the quality and duration of your sleep, supporting HGH level production.
As well as helping you enjoy better rest each night, melatonin has also been shown to directly enhance your HGH levels. To maximize its effects, take 1–5 mg about 30 minutes before bed.
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