Human growth hormone (HGH) is the one hormone that will substantially affect not only how old you feel but also how old you look. It’s essential for tissue repair, muscle building, bone density and healthy body composition. Want to boost your HGH level without breaking the bank? Read on for five natural strategies.
Sleep deeper, longer: When we sleep in total darkness, melatonin is released, triggering a very slight but critical cool-down in the body. Our body temperature drops, and growth hormone is released to work its regenerative magic. Once in the bloodstream, growth hormone has a very short life—only half an hour or so. During that time, however, it makes its way speedily to the liver and many other cells in the body. The best way to maximize your exposure to this youthful hormone is to get to sleep by 10pm (and no later than 11pm). [My favorite sleep remedies are magnesium glycinate before bed in conjunction with either Relora (2 capsules) or melatonin (1-3 milligrams, one hour before sleep).]
Consider HGH supplements: Ask your local pharmacy or natural health practitioner if they carry homeopathic HGH drops or sprays such as Secretrotropin (www.secretropinrx.com). Certain amino acids (the building blocks of protein) also help support growth hormone production when taken before bed or after exercise. Try one of these before your next workout:
- Tyrosine (500 – 1000mg/day)
- Glutamine (1 tsp or 2000mg)
- Arginine/ornithine combination (2000mg of both)
- Glycine (1 tsp or 1000mg).
Laugh it up: I once prescribed watching the movie Bridesmaids to a 65-year-old woman who was constantly worried about her health. Research shows that a good chuckle can relieve stress, improve health and boost growth hormone levels. One study found that those who were told they were about to watch a funny movie saw a 27% increase in beta-endorphins and 87% more human growth hormone. So, make time for laughter in your life—or just think about doing it!
Kick it up a notch on cardio: They say variety is key and when it comes to the right type of cardio for growth hormone levels, this is certainly true. While schedules don’t always allow for twice daily bursts of cardio, short, repeated bouts of aerobic exercise have been shown to boost HGH concentrations over a period of 24 hours. Another option is to stick to interval cardio training, which increases both growth hormone and testosterone levels, getting you twice as slim in half the time. To get started with walking, jogging, running or cycling intervals, try:
- 5 minutes warming up at a gentle or moderate pace (doing the activity of your choice)
- 1 minute at a fast pace or high intensity followed by 1 minute at a moderate pace.
- Alternate this five to eight times.
- 5-minute cool-down at a gentle or moderate pace.
Remember not to do your cardio work prior to strength training; it should be done afterwards or at a separate time entirely.
Workout with weights: One study of women found that growth hormone was responsive to moderate and heavy exercise regimens having 3-12 repetitions while varying the amount of weights used. A friend of mine who is a personal trainer put it this way: “Always lift weights that are heavier than you purse for best results.” And since I know my bag is usually over 10 pounds, that’s certainly good advice that may keep you looking younger!
Are you Low in Growth Hormone? Take the pinch test: Belly fat is considered a sign of excess insulin, but it’s also been linked to low growth hormone levels. If you can pinch more than inch on your belly button you may be low in one or both hormones (insulin and HGH).
Are you Low in Growth Hormone? Take this quick quiz.
If you check off 5 or more you will benefit from boosting your levels.
- Thinning skin or skin that has lost its fullness
- Dry or sagging skin
- Menopause (women); andropause (men)
- Lack of exercise
- Loss of muscle tone in arms or legs
- High alcohol consumption
- Fat gain around “love handles” or abdomen
- Difficulty building or maintaining muscle
- Loss of bone density or osteoporosis
- Generalized overweight/weight gain/obesity
- Failing to sleep in total darkness
- Difficulty staying asleep (especially waking between 2 and 4 a.m.)
- Sleep apnea
- Use of corticosteroids