Human Growth Hormone or HGH is one of those terms you hear thrown around when talk turns to muscle gains. So what is HGH and how does it work? Is it something you can take, or can you increase your own HGH levels naturally? Read on and we’ll answer some of these questions and more.
What is a Hormone?
Before we jump into HGH, it’s important to understand what a hormone actually is and how it works. If we can understand the basics, we’ll have a much better understanding of HGH and how we can promote it naturally.
Simply put, a hormone is a regulatory substance produced by your body and transported via the body’s bloodstream to regulate physiology and behavior. It's one of your body's ways to regulate things like digestion, metabolism, respiration, tissue function, sleep, stress, growth and development and mood. Hormones can be in the form of a protein (HGH is this type of hormone), or a chemical steroid compound (testosterone and estrogen are this type of hormone).
What is HGH?
HGH is an anabolic 191-amino acid, single-chain polypeptide hormone that is synthesized, stored, and secreted by somatotropic cells of the pituitary gland in your brain. In English – It’s a hormone, produced in the brain that helps you grow!
It stimulates bone and muscle tissue growth through the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It is also a strong regulator of immune function among other physiological processes.
In childhood and adolescence HGH is essential in promoting growth in height. In adulthood, its responsible for a number of maintenance tasks in your body including:
- Keeping your body lean and reducing fat accumulation.
- Strengthening your bones.
- Protecting your organs from age related depreciation.
- Promoting more rapid hair and nail growth.
- Improving circulation.
- Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
How HGH Works
The release of HGH from the pituitary gland is made in response to different physiological stimuli like exercise, sleep, food intake, etc. Like other hormones, HGH works by interacting with specific receptor sites on the surface of cells.
The HGH then activates anabolic processes within the target cell. Depending on the type of cell, different actions occur. For example, in muscle cells HGH stimulates cell repair, cell division and cell proliferation. In liver cells HGH stimulates the production of Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) which can then be taken up by multiple body tissues to initiate repair and protein synthesis.
Unfortunately, natural production of HGH declines as you get older. This progressive deficiency, beginning for most in our 20s, leads to a reduction in lean body mass and bone mineral density, an increase in body fat – especially abdominal, and a worsened cardiovascular risk profile.
In other words, you begin to look and feel older as HGH declines. While some people may suffer from Growth Hormone Deficiency as an adult, there are ways we you can help naturally boost its production.
How To Increase HGH production naturally
Exercise, stress, emotional excitement, diet and aging all affect the quantity of HGH production. It’s important to understand that you will achieve better results by following these tips in-tandem with each other, rather than for example - just doing high intensity training but not getting enough sleep. Below are our top 10 tips for naturally increasing your HGH production, follow them carefully and you’ll be on the road to getting shredded in no time.
1. High Intensity Training
Research has demonstrated High Intensity Interval Training where your heart rate bursts above your anaerobic threshold is a strong stimulator of HGH. There are a number of proven interval-based training methods for this. A good example is performing 30 second running sprint, cycling sprint, rowing sprint or swimming sprint intervals with a one minute rest between sprints, five or more times in a workout.
The intensity should be at a level where you are quite uncomfortable, can’t carry on a conversation, but not be going absolutely flat out. This type of training can increase HGH to over 450% of base line levels and when performed once or twice per week in addition to your weight training can have a very beneficial affect on body composition.