Human Growth Hormone - what it is and why you want to boost it
In this article, at a glance:
You can click on the links in the summary here to jump to any of these points in the article....
- Why controlling your insulin levels is essential to HGH production
- Your diet and how to keep your insulin levels in check
- The importance of healthy weight and keeping your weight in check
- The best foods in your diet to help HGH production
- Supplements that help boost HGH levels
- The importance (yuck) of exercise
- How intermittent fasting helps boost HGH
- Summary (and a recommendation if you can't do all of this to maintain your growth hormone levels naturally
What is human growth hormone (HGH)?
HGH (or, human growth hormone) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. If you don't know what hormones are, they are chemical messengers the body uses to tell your body to do things such as:
- regulate body temperature
- regulate your mood
- regulate digestion
In the case of HGH, it triggers the body to:
- grow muscle and bone
- better energy levels
- more youthful appearance (younger, thicker looking hair)
- more youthful appearance to the skin
- help the body control flab
Your HGH levels are usually a reliable indicator of your general health.
Low levels of HGH are associated with a higher risk of disease and unhelpful weight gain.
Optimal growth hormone levels are essential for weight loss, exercise, and recovery. This is because HGH controls your body's ability to stimulate bone and muscle growth and to repair your cells.
So you want to do what you can to keep your HGH levels optimized. The bad news is that our 21st century lifestyles don't help our bodies to maintain healthy levels of HGH.
But the body does produce this growth hormone naturally. And making changes in your diet and lifestyle can help your body to produce greater levels of HGH.
Let's examine some things you can do to raise HGH naturally.
Good sleep: vital in maintaining healthy HGH levels
Your body produces much of your HGH while you are sleeping. But it doesn't happen evenly all night long.
Your sleep cycles have a significant impact on how your body produces HGH.
Production usually reaches its peak before midnight and there isn't as much production later on, into the morning hours.
A lot of this happens because of how your body naturally responds to light and darkness. In an ideal world, you should want to be deep asleep before midnight in order to benefit the most from these natural sleep cycles.
Unfortunately, this isn't always possible. But if you can, you should be in bed at least one hour before midnight, but preferably two.
Your sleep and your REM cycles
Have you heard of "REM sleep?"
REM and NREM are the two primary phases of human sleep cycles.
The research shows that your growth hormone levels start to rise after roughly an hour of sleep, before you hit the "REM" stage.
NREM (Non-REM) sleep: This non-REM phase of your sleep cycle is where the HGH magic happens.
When you're in your "non-REM" sleep, your body goes through waves of different things happening.
Your body goes through non-REM "cycles" as you sleep
There are 3 levels of non-REM sleep. The HGH production happens in levels 3.
Stage 1: For the first five to ten minutes of sleep, your brain starts to become less active. You're sleeping lightly. This can be for about 5 to 15 minutes.
Stage 2: your brain is now getting ready to go into "slow wave sleep." (SWS). This might last 5 to 10 minutes.
Your pulse rate decreases and your body temperature drops during this phase.
Stage 3: This stage typically lasts between 45 and 90 minutes. If someone wakes you in this phase of sleep, you'll likely be groggy and disorganized for a bit.
comes REM sleep
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep occurs about an hour to an hour and a half after you go to sleep. This phase could extend for an hour or more. It is characterized by intense brain activity and vivid dreams.
REM comes after NREM. And then, you go back into another non-REM cycle.
As the night goes on, NREM cycles get shorter.
Remember, this has to do with your body's natural reaction to light and darkness.)
So, it's much better to go to bed a few hours before midnight.
Your body has to go through these non-REM and REM cycles for proper rest and HGH production.
Your body produces HGH during phase 3 of your non-REM sleep.
Good sleep is essential for maintaining high HGH production.
You'll do better if you avoid the computer and the television right before bed. Try reading a book to fall asleep if you're not tired when you get in bed.
And of course, avoid caffeine later in the day, especially at night.
HGH, insulin, and how to keep it well controlled.
A high insulin level at night has been associated with reduced levels of growth hormone. So ideally, you should Make sure that your insulin levels are at their lowest especially at night to help your body maximize your HGH levels.
So, how do you keep your insulin levels low - especially at night?
Monitor Your Sugar Intake
So many of these things are easier said than done. But as with most things, you can develop better habits.
One of the best things you can do to lower your sugar intake is to be aware of how much sugar you actually take in.
Your insulin levels can spike up when you consume sugar and processed carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, and pasta. Lowering your sugar and refined carbohydrate intake helps maximize HGH production.
Sugary beverages are the worst.
Sugary drinks (like soda and even too much fruit juice) are kind of like "sugar on steroids." It's interesting to note that the body doesn't react to sugary liquids the same way it does to solid food.
- These liquids don't fill you up like real food does, so you can cram more of them into your system before your stomach has time to say "stop."
- Because they are in liquid form, they're absorbed more quickly and therefore can cause your insulin to spike more quickly to counteract them.
Be especially aware of your calorie intake before bed.
After a meal, insulin levels quickly increase and then normalize in two to three hours. Eat every meal at least two hours before going to bed.
Eating late-night snacks causes the body to produce insulin. And insulin production fights HGH production.
So choose wisely, young jedi.
Tackle your body fat
Excess body fat is kind of like the mortal enemy of HGH production.
Ditch the snacks at night.
Eating high-sugar containing foods before bed It is strongly linked to weight gain.
Do you see why? Your body is spiking your insulin to deal with the food you ate as you're trying to go to sleep. And since the mechanisms of HGH production and insulin production are mortal enemies, your body has to deal with the food.
So your HGH levels suffer for it.
Avoiding sugary foods at night helps control your weight and insulin levels.
Ditch the belly fat.
In one study, participants who had three times as much body fat as the control group had half as much growth hormone present.
So if you're taking in more than you're using up, it's going to go somewhere. And the more weight you're carrying, the more your body is left unable to produce healthy amounts of HGH.
The good news is that studies show obese people's HGH levels usually return to normal after losing weight.
One little fun fact: men are more affected by this "body fat lowers HGH production" problem than women. However, after losing a little weight, growth hormone levels rise in both sexes.
Men have different reasons for not being able to deal with excess weight. And they tend to hold it in specific areas, like around the belly. Some men find some great help with non-stimulant fat burners. (CalmLean is the best one I'm aware of. Great reviews.)
Boost HGH Levels with the right kinds of food.
Your general health will benefit from healthy diet.
And by targeting foods that help control your insulin and body fat levels, it will help promote HGH synthesis. Some foods do have a stronger impact on increasing your body's human growth hormone secretion.
Let's examine some of the foods that have been shown to increase HGH the most.
Melatonin and human growth hormone
As you sleep, your body releases a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate your sleep cycles, and it facilitates a longer, deeper sleep. And deeper sleep increases HGH production.
Eating foods that contain melatonin at breakfast helps your body release more of it at night when you sleep. Foods that contain melatonin:
- Fish and Egg
- Mustard seed
- Raspberries, Pomegranate, Grapes
Tryptophan and human growth hormone
There is another chemical - an amino acid - called "tryptophan."
Eating foods that contain tryptophan will help increase HGH levels - especially when you can spend the day absorbing some good old-fashioned sunlight.
The sunlight helps your body use the tryptophan to set you up for better HGH production at night.
So, what foods are high in tryptophan?
- cereals (grains)
- pork (although this is a double-edged sword; pork isn't so good for you for so many other reasons. So just keep that in mind.)
Supplement with melatonin
Some studies show that taking a small amount of melatonin supplement directly increases the production of HGH.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring substance in your body too. So it's probably not bad for you to supplement with a little bit of it. And a lot of people take it before bed to help them sleep better.
But, as with all advice you get from Dr. Internet, you should only use these supplements under a doctor's supervision.
And, as usual, if you are pregnant, check with your doctor or other healthcare practitioner before using these supplements. There is actually a study that showed a connection between melatonin supplements and decreased birth weight and increased infant mortality.
(And THAT is why you should always talk to your doctor about these kinds of things.)
Glutamine and HGH production
Foods high in glutamine include:
- Fish, Meat
Sorry to bring it up, but EXERCISE helps boost HGH levels
All types of exercise will raise your HGH levels, but high-intensity exercise results in the biggest increases.
Although there is no standard session length, it's probably good to get an hour or so in at least a couple times a week.
Weightlifting, and interval training have demonstrated significant promise in raising HGH levels.
Exercise has advantages beyond momentary spikes in Human Growth Hormone, too.
An added benefit of exercise (like weightlifting) is that building muscle tone aids in maintaining fat loss. The reason is that muscle requires more calories just to maintain. So more fit muscles will burn calories even at rest.
So, over time, it will assist you in losing body fat and boost HGH production.
Some emotional hardcore: Alternate-Day Fasting
After fasting three days, your HGH levels rise by roughly 300 percent. Researchers have seen a doubling or tripling of HGH levels after 2 to 3 days into a fast.
Intermittent fasting also shows long-term benefits for HGH production. Fasting keeps your insulin levels low short-term.
And it reduces your body fat over time, which causes a sustained increase in the synthesis of growth hormone.
Some final thoughts
HGH is needed for cell growth and repair. Our pituitary gland produces it the most when we are sound asleep - especially during the final portions of our non-REM sleep cycles. Remember these happen best if you can get to sleep before midnight.
Our HGH production is also significantly impacted by body fat, just like other hormones. So you need to watch your nutrition and lifestyle.
Foods that help: eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, cereals (grains) all help. Exercise helps. Intermittent fasting helps.
You can naturally enhance your body's natural HGH production to optimal levels by following the steps outlined above.
When you eat well and lead a healthy lifestyle, your endocrine system—the system that controls growth hormones—performs at its best.
The things covered in this article are pretty simple. But they're not easy.
Quite simply, our processed diets, odd work schedules and the busyness of our lives doesn't always allow for this "HGH perfect lifestyle." It's not always possible to eat perfect diets or exercise regularly.
And fasting really helps. But that is a real discipline for most people.
Sometimes, we need some help.
Fortunately, there are products like "GenF20 Plus." GenF20 is probably the best HGH releaser I've been able to find.
See what Dr. Steven Lamm says about GenF20. You've probably seen him on TV. He's highly rated and is a professor at NYU medical center. In the video below, he talks about this supplement and how GenF20 gives you an "unfair advantage" to boosting your HGH levels, doing what lifestyle and diet changes alone can't do.