Human growth hormone (HGH) is produced in the pituitary gland.
It is an important hormone that acts as a good predictor of overall health.
Low levels of HGH could be a risk factor for increased risk of disease and unhealthy weight gain.
HGH regulates metabolic functions and cell repair, which is why it is important for exercising, recovery and weight loss.
It is synthesised naturally in the body, and its production can be increased naturally through the following methods:
Healthy eating is beneficial to your overall well-being.
It optimises HGH production by keeping your body fat and insulin levels in check.
Some foods have even been linked directly to enhanced growth hormone secretion.
Melatonin-rich foods are recommended, as a good night’s sleep is linked to increased HGH.
These include foods like eggs, fish, mustard seeds, tomatoes, nuts, grapes, raspberries and pomegranate.
Another study found that a tryptophan-rich meal, combined with exposure to bright light outdoors during the day, significantly boosted HGH levels.
Tryptophan-rich foods include eggs, milk, grains, beans and meat.
Add these foods to your breakfast, then take a short walk in the morning sun to improve your night’s sleep.
When you fast for at least three days, HGH levels can increase by about 300%.
After one week, HGH secretion is at 1,250%.
Finding a balance between when to eat and when to fast is important, which is why intermittent fasting works to positively impact HGH secretion both in the short and long term.
Fasting also keeps your insulin levels low in the short term.
In the long term, it decreases your body fat, resulting in a long-term boost in growth hormone production.
Insulin has been linked to low growth hormone levels.
A study compared HGH levels between healthy people and others with insulin-related problems like diabetes, impaired carbohydrate tolerance and impaired insulin function.
Growth hormone production was shown to be three to four times higher in healthy people, indicating a clear link between insulin and HGH.
To maximise HGH production, ensure that your insulin levels are lowest at night.
To do that, watch your sugar intake, especially at night.
Avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice and pasta, as all these have been shown to spike your insulin levels.
Any exercise will increase your HGH levels, but high intensity activities create the most significant boosts.
One hour of weight training, running and interval training can boost HGH levels.
The benefits of exercise also extend beyond short-term spurts in HGH levels.
In the long term, it will help you cut down your body fat as well.
Arginine is one of the amino acids that improves the synthesis of HGH.
Foods that are rich in arginine include red meat, seeds, nuts, chicken, brown rice and soybeans.
In recent research, higher doses, such as 15-20g of arginine per day, boosts night-time HGH production by up to about 60%.
That’s the equivalent of taking 114mg per pound (0.5kg) of body weight.
Lower doses like 6-10g per day, about 45mg for every pound (0.5kg) of body weight, didn’t show any significant impact on growth hormone production.
Some sportspersons take arginine supplements in the belief that it helps enhance their performance, but this has not been scientifically proven.
If you are looking for something to boost your HGH levels during your workout session, then protein shakes are an option.
They can boost the secretion of growth hormones around the time of your workout.
HGH levels are the highest when you sleep, but they are greatly influenced by your sleep cycles.
Production typically peaks before midnight, followed by a few weak pulses before the daybreak.
To optimise your sleep cycles, go to bed about two hours, but no less than one hour, before midnight.
Research has shown that growth hormone levels begin to increase after about an hour of sleep, most likely while you are in deep slumber.
Datuk Dr Nor Ashikin Mokhtar is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and a functional medicine practitioner. For further information, email email@example.com. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.
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