How to naturally increase growth hormone (HGH) levels ?


Human growth hormone (HGH) is an important hormone produced by your pituitary gland.

Also known as growth hormone (GH), it plays a key role in growth, body composition, cell repair, and metabolism (123456).

HGH also boosts muscle growth, strength, and exercise performance, while helping you recover from injury and disease  (478).

Low HGH levels may decrease your quality of life, increase your risk of disease, and make you gain fat (9).

Optimal levels are especially important during weight loss, injury recovery, and athletic training (10111213).

Interestingly, your diet and lifestyle choices can significantly affect your HGH levels (614).

Read below what are the most effective ways to increase the level of this hormone:

 

1.Lose body fat

The amount of belly fat you carry is directly related to your HGH production (3).

Those with higher levels of belly fat will likely have impaired HGH production and an increased risk of disease.

One study observed that those with three times the amount of belly fat as the control group had less than half their amount of HGH (15).

Another study monitored the 24-hour release of HGH and found a large decline in those with more abdominal fat.

Interestingly, research suggests that excess body fat affects HGH levels more in men. However, lowering body fat is still key for both genders (1516).

What’s more, a study found that people with obesity had lower levels of HGH and IGF-1 — a growth-related protein. After losing a significant amount of weight, their levels returned to normal (17).

Belly fat is the most dangerous type of stored fat and linked to many diseases. Losing belly fat will help optimize your HGH levels and other aspects of your health.

 

2. Do intermittent fasting

Studies show that fasting leads to a large increase in HGH levels.

One study found that 3 days after fasting (IF), HGH levels rose by over 300%. After one week of fasting, they increased by a whopping 1,250%  (18).

Other studies have found similar effects, with double or triple HGH levels after only 2-3 days of starvation (192021).

However, continuous fasting is not sustainable in the long run. Occasional fasting is a more popular dietary approach that limits the diet to short periods of time.

Several methods of occasional fasting are available. One common approach is an 8-hour daily window with a 16-hour daily post. The second involves eating only 500-600 calories 2 days a week (22).

If you want to know more about this topic you can watch the video in which I talk about the occasional post (23).

Occasional fasting can help optimize HGH levels in two main ways. First, it can help you reduce body fat, which directly affects the production of HGH (24252627).

Second, it will keep insulin levels low for most of the day, because insulin is released when you eat. Research suggests that insulin spikes can disrupt your natural growth hormone production (2829).

One study observed large differences in HGH levels on the day of fasting compared with the day of food intake (30).

A shorter 12-16-hour fast will probably help, although more research is needed to compare their effects with a full-day fast.

 

3. Reduce your sugar intake

Increased insulin is associated with lower HGH levels.

Refined carbohydrates and sugar raise insulin levels the most, so reducing intake can help optimize growth hormone levels (2425).

One study found that healthy people had 3-4 times higher levels of HGH than those with diabetes, as well as impaired carbohydrate tolerance and insulin function (31).

In addition to directly affecting insulin levels, excess sugar is a key factor in increasing body weight and obesity, which also affects HGH levels.

However, the occasional sweet treat will not affect the level of HGH in the long run.

Aim for a balanced diet, because what you eat has a profound effect on your health, hormones and body composition.

 

4. Eat smaller meals before bed

Your body naturally releases significant amounts of HGH at night (3233).

Since most meals cause an increase in insulin levels, some experts suggest avoiding food before bed (25).

In particular, a meal high in carbohydrates or protein can increase your insulin and potentially block some of the HGH that is released at night (34).

Keep in mind that there is not enough research on this theory and that they are often contradictory.

However, insulin levels usually decrease 2-3 hours after a meal, so you may want to avoid carbohydrate-based meals 2-3 hours before bedtime.

 

5. Do high-intensity workouts

We all know what athletes whose training is based on intensive training (eg sprinters) look like.

Exercise is really one of the most effective ways to significantly increase growth hormone levels.

The increase depends on the type of exercise, intensity, food intake during training and the characteristics of your body (35363738).

High-intensity exercise increases growth hormone levels the most, but all forms of exercise are helpful (3940).

You can perform sprints, interval training, circuit training to increase HGH levels and increase fat loss (414243).

As with supplements, exercise generally causes short-term spikes in HGH levels.

However, in the long run, exercise can optimize your hormone function and reduce body fat, which will be further beneficial for HGH levels.

 

6. Optimize sleep

Most HGH is released in impulses while you sleep. These impulses are based on your body’s internal clock or circadian rhythm.

The largest impulses appear before midnight, and some smaller ones in the early morning hours (3637).

Studies have shown that poor sleep can reduce the amount of growth hormone that your body produces (42).

It has been shown that if you have adequate amounts of deep sleep, you have one of the best strategies to improve your long-term HGH production (3742).

Here are some simple strategies to help you improve your sleep:

⋅ Avoid exposure to blue light before bedtime.
⋅ Read the book in the evening.
⋅ Make sure your bedroom is at a comfortable temperature.
⋅ Do not consume caffeine late in the day.

 

7. Try supplements

⋅ GABA

Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter, sending signals to your brain.

As a good sedative for your brain and central nervous system, it is often used to improve sleep. Interestingly, this may also help increase HGH levels (44).

One study found that taking a GABA supplement led to an increase in resting HGH by 400% and 200% after exercise (45).

GABA can also increase HGH levels by improving your sleep, because your nocturnal release of growth hormone is related to the quality and depth of sleep (4142).

However, most of these increases were short-lived, and the long-term benefits of GABA for growth hormone levels remained unclear (4647).

⋅ Arginine

When taken alone, arginine can increase HGH.

Although most people use amino acids such as arginine with exercise, several studies show little or no increase in HGH levels  (4849, 50).

However, studies have noticed that taking arginine alone – without any exercise – significantly increases the level of this hormone (5153).

One study examined the effects of taking either 45 or 114 mg of arginine per kilogram (100 or 250 mg per kg) of body weight, or about 6-10 or 15-20 grams per day.

They found no effect for the lower dose, but participants who took the higher dose experienced about a 60% increase in HGH levels during sleep (54).

I would like to emphasize that there is a lot of contradictory research when it comes to the use of arginine or citrulline before or after training, my recommendation is to try it.

⋅ Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that plays an important role in the regulation of sleep and blood pressure (54 Reliable Source).

Melatonin supplements have become a popular sleep aid that can increase the quality and duration of your sleep (55565758596061).

Although only good sleep can benefit from HGH levels, further research has shown that melatonin supplementation can directly increase HGH production (58626364).

Melatonin is also quite safe and non-toxic. However, it can change the chemistry of your brain in some way and cause addiction, so you could consult a doctor before use (65).

If you decide to use this supplement, start with a lower dose to assess your tolerance, and then increase it if necessary (about 1mg).

Several other supplements can increase human growth hormone production, including:

⋅ Glutamine: A dose of 2 grams may temporarily increase the level by up to 78% (66).
⋅ Creatine: A dose of 20 grams of creatine increased HGH levels for 2–6 hours (67).
⋅ Ornithine: One study gave participants ornithine 30 minutes after exercise and found a higher peak in HGH levels (68).
⋅ L-dopa: In patients with Parkinson’s disease, 500 mg of L-dopa increased HGH levels by up to 2 hours (69).
⋅ Glycine: Studies have found that glycine can improve gym performance and provide short-term HGH spikes (70)

Although these supplements may increase HGH levels, studies show that their effects are only temporary.

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