Human growth hormone (HGH) is produced by the pituitary gland to fuel growth during developmental years, and to help maintain tissues and organs throughout life. However, as we age the pituitary slowly reduces the amount of growth hormone it produces, which leads many to believe it is the anti-aging hormone.
Growth hormone plays a key part in body composition through maintaining muscle and bone growth and by regulating fluid in tissues. It also has a role in sugar and fat metabolism and perhaps even cardiovascular health.
This natural slowdown of growth hormone as we age has prompted an interest in the use of synthetic HGH to stave off the realities of old age. Synthetic growth hormone is approved to be taken only by injection, so those pills and sprays you see when you type ‘growth hormone’ into your browser are most likely not going to do much except empty your pocketbook. So who is a candidate for HGH therapy? It has been approved for use in children with abnormally low growth hormone leading to short stature, patients with chronic renal failure, adults with pituitary adenomas and adjunct treatment for AIDS patients. Off-label, it is used to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat. It’s use in anti-aging medicine is becoming more common although it has not been approved for use in this manner.
Your body’s natural production of growth hormone can increase vitality, exercise capacity, bone density, as well as increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. So you might wonder, what are some natural ways to stimulate production of HGH? Listed below are some very effective and proven ways to increase your own growth hormone without the risks that go along with injecting synthetic HGH.
1. Sleep– roughly 80% of your HGH production takes place during sleep. Optimal sleep consists of 7-to-9 hours consecutive, preferably in a dark room.
2. Stabilize insulin- keep your insulin levels low as possible before going to bed so you can produce more HGH while you sleep. When insulin is elevated your body produces less HGH. Stop eating 2-3 hours before bed to assure your insulin is at a low point during sleep. It’s important to mention that anything you eat will cause the pancreas to release insulin.
3. Exercise- intense workouts that involve using your entire body such as weight training, moderate to high intensity interval workouts, swimming, biking, and circuit training. Interval training has been shown to increase growth hormone the most compared to other forms of exercise.
4. Avoid carbohydrate heavy foods that spike blood sugar and contribute to insulin/ glucose imbalances, which often cause symptoms such as hypoglycemia and fatigue. Stabilizing blood sugar will not only keep sugar cravings at bay, but will help you lose weight by increasing your body’s ability to tap into fat stores.
5. Protect and support your liver- poor liver function due to fatty liver disease, excessive alcohol consumption or chronic inflammation will decrease the body’s ability to convert growth hormone into an active hormone. The liver also regulates hormones such as estrogen and testosterone that if out of balance, can also make it difficult to shed weight.
If you are interested in learning more ways to optimize weight loss, balance hormones, increase endurance and keep your mind sharp and body vibrant, talk to your primary care doctor or contact Dr. Schulz at Avalon Natural Medicine.