There are many hormones men should pay extra attention to one being human growth hormone. Human growth hormone (HGH) is a important hormone produced by the pituitary gland. HGH is responsible for stimulating muscle and bone tissue growth through the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
In adults it is responsible for many tasks such as:
- Keeping your body lean.
- Reducing fat accumulation.
- Strengthening your bones.
- Protecting your organs
- Promoting more rapid hair and nail growth.
- Improving cardio vascular health
- Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels
HGH works by interacting with specific receptor sites on the surface of cells. Physiological stimuli such as exercise, sleep, food intake, etc Releases HGH from the pituitary gland.
HGH can help us feel and look younger. Unfortunately when we age our the production of HGH declines. Which can lead to an increase in body fat and a decrease in bone density and muscle mass. Unfortunately HGH starts declining after puberty and takes a big Spike after age 30.
There is always ways to help increase your HGH production hence why I am writing this post. In this post I will share with you ways that you can naturally increase your HGH production.
How To Increase HGH production naturally
High Intensity Training
I have previously written about how Resistance training can boost testosterone levels up to by 40%. But exercise can also increase human growth hormone. High intensity training is where your heart rate burst over your anaerobic threshold for a short period of time. HIT training sessions usually last no longer than 25 minutes.
A good example is performing 30 second running sprint intervals with a one minute rest between sprints, five or more times in a workout. Studies have shown this type of training can increase HGH to over 450% of base line levels. I highly recommend performing Hit training once or twice a week . When performed once or twice per week in addition with resistance training it can have great beneficial impact on your hormones while also improving your body composition (study, study).
Get More Sleep to increase HGH
Sleeping has proven to be one of the easiest ways to maintaining health T production, so there is no surpise that sleep can do the same for HGH producion. When you are asleep it is the time your body goes under repair. A lack of sleep means you are not giving your body enough time to heal itself and release vital hormones such as HGH and testosterone.
There are 4 stages of sleep. During Stages 3 and 4 of sleep, your so called Slow Wave Sleep cycle, is when you release the most HGH. HGH levels typically peak between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Which makes sense that the more quality sleep you get the better potential you have for optimizing your HGH Release.
Melatonin increases HGH
Your pineal gland produces melatonin which helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles. Studies show that melatonin supplementation anywhere between 0.5 to 5 mg before bed can boost HGH levels by over 150% above natural levels. Although this boost last for a short period of time (approximately 150 minutes) according to studies done by researchers from “Cinical Endrocrinology”.
Note: Over supplementing with Melatonin can cause drowsiness. It is recommended you start from a small dosage first and then work your way up.
I prefer natural sources of Melatonin. Some great sources of Melatonin are pineapples, oat, oranges, rice, tomato and sweet corn. In one study, researchers discovered that pineapple increased the presence of melatonin levels by over 260% .
Reduce Body Fat percentage
You should aim at keeping your body fat percentage below 15%. The amount of body fat you carry is directly related to your HGH production (Study). People with 3 time the excess body fat have less than half the amount of HGH as lean individuals according to this (Study).
One of the most effective ways to increase HGH and improve your overall health is by loosing that excess body fat.
So we know that losing that excess body fat increases HGH and testosterone production (study, study). Fasting also stimulates HGH as a protective mechanism and helps to mobilize fats for fuel. This is a great way to lose weight while maintaining muscle mass.
Another benefit of fasting is reducing the amount of meals you consume reducing overall insulin spikes. Research suggests that insulin spikes can disrupt your natural growth hormone production (study, study).
According to this study 3 days into a fast, HGH levels spiked by over 300%. HGH levels kept increasing to well over a week peaking at a massive 1,250% .
TYPES OF INTERMITTENT FASTING
Fasting can be done in many ways. The most popular type is the 8/16 intermittent fasting method. Which consist of a daily 8-hour eating window with a 16-hour fast.
1.) The 16-hour fast
This method is the most popular especially in the fitness community. This method is also very flexible adjusting the fasting window to match your daily schedule.
2.)The 24-hour fast
The 24 hour is a bit more advanced and requires more discipline. It is usually done once a week or for beginners once a month.
Note: For everything you need to know about fasting I highly recommend reading eat stop eat by Brad Pilion.
Avoid sugar after workouts
This one came as a surprise to me. Somatostatin which is known as growth hormone–inhibitor will decrease your production of HGH. Somatostatin can be released after consuming sugars within 2 hours post workout. Simple sugars that are high-glycemic also spike insulin levels which also inhibits HGH release.
With this tip you have to weigh up the pros and cons of eating sugars after your workout. If your post workout meal is the biggest meal of the day I would not stress too much and continue your natural sugar intake as your body will benefit from the nutrition value of the high sugar foods you consume such as fruits.
Take Your Amino acids
There are a number of amino acids that have been shown to significantly increase HGH levels. The two main amino acids are:
Arginine: Arginine is popular as a pre workout supplement. But Arginine may help boost HGH production. strangely enough studies have proven that it will only boost HGH when taken before bed.
This study shows this has little or no benefit for HGH levels when taken around a workout period . This study’s findings are also reconfirmed in similar studies such as this one (study) when participants taking a larger dose of arginine had around a 60% increase in HGH levels during sleep.
To prove the long term benefits that arginine has on HGH we need more studies to be done. But it is plausible to say supplementation of arginine before sleep may help boost HGH production.
Glutamine: Glutamine makes up for 50% of all amino acids in the blood and 60% of those in the body. It helps sustain healthy growth hormone levels while also boosting the immune system, gastrointestinal health and helps maintain muscle.
If you follow these tips you will be allowing for greater HGH release. This will allow for greater muscle gain, increased strength, improved bone health and an increase in overall well-being. HGH levels start declining from puberty and takes a big decline after age 30. So HGH production is something men should not ignore.