It’s the one hormone that will substantially affect not only how old you feel – but how old you look. Growth hormone (also known as HGH) is essential for tissue repair, muscle building, bone density and healthy body composition. It is present in the young, however, expensive therapies to replace this potent rejuvenating hormone don’t have to be limited to the rich or famous – there are ways to boost it naturally without breaking the bank.
Sleep Deeper, Longer: When we sleep in total darkness, melatonin is released, triggering a very slight but critical cool-down in the body. As body temperature drops, growth hormone is released and works its regenerative magic. Once released into 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 favourite sleep remedies include: magnesium glycinate (to bowel tolerance) before bed in conjunction with either Relora (2 capsules before bed) or melatonin (1-3mg one hour before sleep).
Take the pinch test: Belly fat isn’t just a sign of excess insulin – it has been linked to low growth hormone according to one study of postmenopausal women – if you can pinch more than inch on your belly button you may be low in one, or both hormones. After a year of treatment, participants improved insulin sensitivity and reduced abdominal fat and total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations. Certain amino acids (the building blocks of protein) 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) or Glycine (1 tsp or 1000mg). With time you may find that your belly fat problem is a thing of the past.
Laugh it up to look younger. 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 had quite a reaction – 27 per cent more beta-endorphins and 87 per cent 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 GH 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. Here is an example of how to get started with walking, jogging, running or cycling intervals:
- 5-minute warm-up at a gentle or moderate pace of the activity of your choice.
- 1 minute at a fast pace or high intensity followed by 1 minute at a moderate pace. Alternate 5 to 8 times.
- 5-minute cool-down at a gentle or moderate pace.
Just remember not to do your cardio work prior to strength training – only afterwards or at a separate time completely.
|Are you Low in Growth Hormone? Take this simple Quiz.
Thinning skin or skin 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.)
Use of corticosteroids
If you check off 5 or more you will benefit from boosting your levels.
Workout with the guys . While we know the importance of strength training to improve overall tone and metabolic health, not all workouts are made equal. 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 but 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 lbs it’s certainly good advice that may keep you looking younger.