Human Growth Hormone is the most crucial hormone when it comes to bodybuilding.
No matter how many workouts you perform or how many diets you try, insufficient HGH levels can prevent your potential muscle growth.
In this article you will find out the best ways to increase Growth Hormone production in your body naturally.
Whenever anyone talks about muscle gains, Human Growth Hormone or HGH is a term that often comes up in a discussion.
Let’s go over some of the basics of HGH:
- how it works?
- what might happen if your HGH levels drop down significantly?
- how you can increase this vital hormone naturally in your body?
What is a Hormone?
In simple terms, a hormone is nothing but a regulatory substance produced inside our body, transported through our bloodstream, meant for regulation of our behavior and physiology.
A hormone is our body’s unique way of regulating various functions including metabolism, sleep, digestion, tissue function, respiration, mood, stress, development, and growth.
What is Human Growth Hormone (HGH)?
Essentially an anabolic 191-amino acid, single chain polypeptide hormone, HGH gets synthesized, stored and released by the pituitary gland’s somatotropic cells, inside the brain.
Putting it in plain English, HGH is a hormone that’s produced and released inside the brain, and basically helps you grow!
The presence of an active supply of HGH ensures that your muscle tissues and bone grow consistently via metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the body.
HGH is also responsible for regulation of the body’s immune function, apart from taking care of various other physiological processes.
This hormone plays a very crucial role in promoting growth regarding height during the adolescence and childhood stages of life.
When in adulthood, HGH assumes the responsibility for various kinds of body maintenance tasks such as:
- Strengthening of the bones
- Improving blood circulation
- Maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels
- Reducing fat deposition and keeping the lean body overall
- Protecting the body’s different organs from aging effects
- Promoting consistent growth of nail and hair
Why is It So Crucial for Us?
HGH’s release from the pituitary gland depends upon various physiological stimuli such as food intake, sleep, exercise etc.
As is the case with other hormones, HGH also works through interactions with specific receptor sites located on the cells’ surface.
After that, it activates the anabolic processes inside those target cells and causes different actions based on the particular cell types.
For instance, in case of muscle cells, HGH stimulates the cell division, cell repair and cell proliferation processes.
In case of liver cells, it stimulates IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1) production which is then utilized by various body tissues for initiation of protein synthesis and repair.
Unfortunately, HGH’s natural production in the body declines significantly as you age.
This progressive decline starts from the early 20s and gradually leads to a reduction in the bone mineral density and lean body mass, with a simultaneous increase in body fat, particularly around the abdomen area; and reduced cardiovascular functioning.
Putting it another way, with HGH levels declining, you start to look and feel older.
Some other notable symptoms of low HGH levels are:
- Developmental delays like the slower rate of maturing or a short stature. Young men’s voices may not get heavier at the same pace as their peers, and young women may experience insufficient breast development.
- Frequent fractures because of reduced bone strength
- Constant fatigue and lack of stamina
- In adolescents, it can lead to delayed puberty and halting of sexual development
- High sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures
- Psychological effects like poor memory, lack of concentration, depression, emotional distress and anxiety
- More elevated risk of heart disease and diabetes
How to Naturally Increase HGH Production in The Body
Naturally increasing the HGH production has a lot to do with making certain important lifestyle and dietary changes. Let’s take you through some essential evidence-based methods of increasing your body’s HGH levels.
Please note, to achieve best results with these methods, you must follow them simultaneously, rather than one at a time.
1. Reducing Sugar Intake:
Increase in the insulin levels can cause a simultaneous reduction in the production of HGH hormone in the body.
As proven by scientific studies, regular consumption of refined sugar and carbohydrates is often the reason behind the rising insulin levels, hence, reducing their intake can optimize the growth hormone levels.
A particular study in this regard showed that nondiabetic and healthy people had almost 3 to 4 times higher HGH levels compared to diabetics (who usually suffer from impaired insulin functioning and carbohydrates tolerance).
Other than directly impacting the insulin levels, excessive consumption of sugar also contributes to obesity and weight gain, which in turn negatively affects the HGH levels.
Having stated all the above, please note, occasionally consuming that sugary treat won’t bring down your growth hormone levels and will not have an adverse effect over the long term.
All in all, you must aim for a healthy and balanced daily diet. In fact, the foods you eat most regularly and will have the maximum impact on your hormone levels, body composition, and overall health.
2. Losing Body Fat:
The fat content of your body is directly proportional to the HGH produced by it.
It is often noted that people with higher body fat levels or large amounts of fat in their abdomen areas are most likely to have low HGH levels and a higher risk of suffering from related diseases too.
A study carried out in this regard revealed that people having 3 times the amount of fat in their abdomen area compared to lean individuals, had less than half HGH in their bodies than the latter.
Interestingly, the research also reveals that such impact of excess body fat on the HGH levels is noted more prominently in case of men. However, lowering of body fat works equally well for both the genders.
Another study found that obese people normally have low HGH and IGF-1 levels in their bodies, which return to normal once they lose a considerable amount of weight.
Of all the fat deposits, it’s the belly fat that is most dangerous and is associated with various diseases. Hence, getting rid of this fat can be the key to optimizing the body’s HGH levels and improving the other areas of health.
3. Intermittent Fasting:
A relatively new dieting trend, intermittent fasting is rapidly emerging as an excellent approach that limits your food-eating to only short periods of time during the day.
You can do it in several different ways, with the most common approach being 8-hour eating windows, followed by 16-hour long fasts.
Another one involves consuming no more than 500 to 600 calories on any 2 days of the week. Such intermittent fasting can go a long way in helping you increase your HGH levels.
First of all, it would help you burn body fat, which would directly affect the HGH production.
Secondly, it would keep your insulin levels in check, as insulin gets released whenever you eat.
Keeping insulin levels low can be very beneficial in this regard as insulin spikes are known to disrupt the natural HGH production.
One particular study revealed that the subjects’ HGH levels increased by more than 300% after 3 days of fasting. Their levels rose by a phenomenal 1250% after one week of such fasting.
Other studies have also revealed similar effects, causing 2-times or 3-times increase in the HGH levels after fasting for only 2 to 3 days.
Even if you can’t fast for 16 straight hours, fasting for shorter periods of 12 to 16 hours is helpful too.
4. High-Intensity Exercises:
Counted amongst the most effective means of naturally increasing the HGH levels in the body, exercise can be a key to an overall healthy body.
However, about HGH, it’s not just any exercise, but high-intensity exercises combined with a healthy diet, which delivers the best results.
As per studies, significant HGH increases were observed in weightlifting sessions involving limited rest breaks.
Owing to the lactic acid increase they cause and their impact on metabolism, high-intensity exercises have the most positive impact on HGH levels.
Regardless, you can do other types of exercises as well to improve HGH production. For instance, circuit training, weight training, interval training and repeated sprints also have a considerable effect on fat loss and HGH levels.
5. Not Eating a lot Before Bedtime:
The human body is such that it naturally releases large amounts of growth hormone during the night hours when you’re asleep.
Because most meals cause a spike in the insulin levels, many medical experts suggest that if you’re struggling with HGH levels, you should avoid eating food right before bedtime.
High-protein and high-carbohydrate meals may specifically increase the insulin levels and block HGH secretion at night.
It’s also worth noting that insulin levels normally start coming back to normal 2 to 3 hours after the meal, hence, it would be better that you avoid eating any proteins or carbs to 3 hours prior to hitting the sack.
6. Getting Enough Hours of Sleep:
As mentioned above, a good amount of HGH is released in the body while you’re asleep. It’s released in the form of pulses and is based on the circadian rhythm or the internal clock of your body.
Studies have revealed that the largest pulses are observed before midnight and smaller pulses during the early morning hours.
There is enough scientific evidence to prove that poor sleep patterns can reduce the HGH produced by your body.
You can use some of the following simple methods to improve your sleep overall:
- Avoid caffeine consumption during the evening hours
- Read some book before bedtime
- Avoid exposure to blue light before bedtime
- Maintain a comfortable temperature in your bedroom
As also highlighted in some of the tips above, you cannot avoid taking your diet into account if you really want to boost your HGH levels naturally.
There are specific foods that can help you increase growth hormone production in your body.
Including these food items in your daily diet along with regular exercising, sufficient sleep and a certain amount of dietary restraint can go a long way in not just normalizing your HGH levels but taking them to an all-time high!
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