Top 8 Best Ways To Increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Levels Naturally
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.
2. Get More Sleep
Getting enough good quality sleep will work wonders for your whole body. When you sleep you go through several cycles, from light sleeping where you will wake relatively easily, through to heavier sleep when you sleep soundly and it’s much harder to wake up. During Stages 3 and 4 of sleep, your so called Slow Wave Sleep cycle, is when you release most HGH.
Your body cycles through these stages several times during a good night’s sleep, so it stands to reason that the more good quality sleep you get the better potential you have for optimizing your HGH Release.
Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland in your brain that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. Studies show that oral administration of melatonin can also boost HGH levels by over 150% above natural levels. You don’t need a lot of melatonin, anywhere between 0.5 to 5 mg before bed. Try experimenting with different levels as it is a strong inducer of sleep. Take an amount that gives you a good night’s sleep and this should also be the level that will optimize your HGH release. Melatonin is a little hard to get over the counter in Australia, some health stores have it, otherwise it is available online.
If you prefer a natural source - pineapples, bananas, oranges, oats, sweet corn, rice, tomatoes, and barley have all been suggested to boost melatonin naturally. In one study, researchers found pineapple increased the presence of melatonin levels by over 260% while bananas increased levels by 180%. Oranges were able to increase melatonin by approximately 47%. A great way to intake all those nutrients is to throw it into a morning drink concoction.
GABA or Gamma Aminobutyric Acid is a neurotransmitter and has been shown in a number of studies to increase growth hormone production by up to 400%. 3 grams of GABA is enough to induce this rise. It can be taken before your workout to boost HGH levels post workout and before bed.
GABA is available from most supplement and health food stores.
To increase your intake from natural sources, the following foods are good sources: Almonds, walnuts, bananas, beef liver, broccoli, brown rice, lentils, oats, oranges, potato, rice bran, spinach, whole wheats.
5. Reduce Body Fat Levels
Your natural HGH production is directly related to the amount of body fat you carry. If you are male and have too much belly fat you are short changing your HGH levels. Keep your body fat levels in the normal to lower ranges, for guys this means less than 15%, and you will optimize your normal production. This means being super careful of your diet and managing your calories. Never skip those ab’ sessions and if you’re on the heavier size – use cardio to reduce your fat levels.
This is a relatively new dieting trend and can be tried in a number of ways. How does it work? You simply choose 2 or 3 days per week when you eat less than normal which has the effect of spiking HGH release. To help optimize HGH levels the best way to try this type of diet is to simply delay your first meal of the day by several hours.
When you wake up in the morning you are in a fasted state. Fasting stimulates HGH as a protective mechanism, it helps to mobilize fats for fuel. But when you do start eating, perhaps mid-morning or even delayed until lunch time, your HGH are highly elevated and you quickly switch to an anabolic state. This approach helps you build muscle and get leaner!
7. Avoid sugar after workouts
Consuming sugars (especially fructose) within 2 hours post workout will cause your hypothalamus to release somatostatin, which will decrease your production of HGH. Simple sugars that are high-glycemic also spike insulin levels which also inhibit HGH release.
If you want to maximize your HGH from training, have your protein shake in water but skip the high glycemic carbs.
8. Take Your Aminos
There are a number of single amino acids or amino acid combinations that have been shown to significantly increase HGH levels:
Arginine On it’s own Arginine produces a significant increase in HGH when taken before bed, but doesn’t have much effect on HGH when taken at other times.
Ornithine and Arginine By themselves, both of these amino acids have been shown to produce a mild increase in HGH release, however when combined they have a synergistic effect. Studies show big increases in strength and lean body mass from taking just 2 grams of Arginine and 1 gram of Ornithine when compared to a placebo after a 5 week progressive training program.
Arginine and Lysine This is another synergistic combination that shows a significant increase in HGH when taken at rest, but not when taken before exercise.
Glycine Supplementation using glycine has for some time shown increases in strength and performance. One study using between 5 – 12 grams daily showed a 32% increase in strength and an increase of 300 – 400% over baseline HGH levels.
Glutamine Again, studies show that just modest levels of this amino acid leads to increases in plasma HGH
The real question with all of these amino acids is – should you just take them singly or in the combinations listed. Or would they work better if taken all together. The research hasn’t been done to test this but it does appear that combining HGH stimulating aminos together seems to give improved results.
Start implementing these techniques on a consistent basis and you should experience a noticeable increase in your muscle size, growth rates and strength gains.
Supplementing with the right products can also increase & promote higher HGH levels. Products like our MAX'S Lab Series The Gear is a designed to increase free testosterone and promote muscle growth by using potent natural botanicals with proven links to muscle growth.
Want to know the 5 best foods you can eat daily to boost your HGH levels? Find out here!