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If you’ve spent any time at all in a gym, online on a bodybuilding forum, or a fitness-related discord server you’ve probably heard of Human Growth Hormone. It doesn’t get discussed often. When it does it’s blamed for a lack of progress, an early plateau, or just a terrible session. Usually, during these times lifters will typically look at their diets and their protein. But every now and then they will wonder if it’s their hormones. At which point they will open Google and ask the internet how the heck to increase growth hormone.
What is Growth Hormone?
Growth hormone, or Human Growth Hormone (HGH) when related to human beings, is an important anabolic agent related to growth and development. You’ll have felt its effects more acutely during your adolescent years. It’s directly responsible for growth spurts experienced during youth. That’s all HGH’s doing. But on a more macro scale, it is responsible for cell reproduction and regeneration. Muscle and bone growth. Protein synthesis. Gluconeogenesis. Lipolysis. Any process that involves growth and repair is all down to Human Growth Hormone.
It’s no wonder that in an age where anything and everything can potentially be supplemented or bio-hacked, lifters often wonder if there’s a way to increase growth hormone.
And interestingly enough, there has been some research on the subject and several evidence-based suggestions.
How to Increase Human Growth Hormone Naturally
Reduce Your Body Fat
If you’re in any way active or resistance training then you are already following a handful of the steps suggested increasing growth hormone. Studies released as recently as 2020 have suggested that a reduction in body fat can help the body’s natural production of growth hormone. Specifically, abdominal visceral fat has been shown to lower the production of growth hormones.
Researchers studied over 100 adults to determine which independent variables could contribute to lower levels of growth hormone. Visceral abdominal fat was observed as an independent predictor of growth hormone levels, irrespective of age or gender.
If you’re currently on a cut or looking to reduce your body fat in any way, then you are well on your way to improving your growth hormone production.
All forms of exercise are arguably beneficial. Whether it’s just for general improvements to your health and fitness levels. Or also because you specifically want to build muscle or train for a sport or event.
However, it’s also been shown to be incredibly beneficial to raising your levels of human growth hormones.
High-intensity exercise, specifically, has been shown to spike growth hormone in adult men. However, all kinds of exercise over time have been shown to increase growth hormone levels over time. Especially if it has resulted in a reduction in body fat.
Consider Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has an amazing PR company. It’s often aligned with thousands of health benefits. So, it’s no surprise that many people have also asked the question: ‘Does fasting increase HGH?’
It can reduce your body fat percentage over time if it contributes to a caloric deficit. And, it also lowers your insulin levels.
It has been suggested that high levels of insulin can reduce your growth hormone levels. As your insulin spikes every time you eat, the short eating windows cause a net reduction in insulin over time.
There are several different ways you can follow intermittent fasting. Either by having a set eating window every time, or severely reducing your calorie intake on set days. Neither is superior and the one you should follow is purely up to you. Follow the protocol that suits your goals and schedule.
Take a Supplement
Several supplements have been suggested to improve levels of HGH in adults.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or simply GABA for short, has been shown to increase growth hormone in adults by about 400%. And a further increase was observed following bouts of exercise. Although, these increases were short-lived.
L-Arginine has also been seen to increase HGH levels. And again, has been observed to increase these levels even further when paired with regular exercise.
Creatine, beta-alanine, or simply any isotonic sports drink has also been shown to assist with increased repetitions in resistance training workouts. In turn, also observed to increase human growth hormone levels. Creatine especially has been seen to acutely increase HGH levels. And the increased effort in the gym would lead to further increases.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is one of the most underrated tools to optimize both health and specific fitness goals. Most of the recovery and growth one expects to see from resistance training takes place outside of the gym. Mostly while you sleep.
So, if sleep issues are something you suffer from, you may want to consider a melatonin supplement. If only because it has also been shown to help with HGH production. As well as simply being useful for a good night’s sleep.
Do You Even Need to try and increase your HGH?
There are a number of supposed natural remedies for HGH production. The research does seem to mostly lean towards reduction in body fat and upping your activity to maximize production. However, the mayo clinic suggests that unless you have a tumor on your pituitary gland, the small section of the brain that produces HGH, it’s unlikely that you won’t already have an optimal production of the hormone.
Humans naturally slow down production due to old age. But rarely earlier in life.
You can be prescribed synthetic HGH to support the condition if you do have a legitimate deficiency in human growth hormone. However, a boost in HGH can come with some side effects.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Increased insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Swelling in the arms and legs (edema)
- Joint and muscle pain
- For men, enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia)
- Increased risk of certain cancers
(The Mayo Clinic, 2020)
There are a number of natural remedies and actions to be taken to increase one HGH. They all mostly work because they lead to a reduction in body fat and an increase in exercise capacity.
If you aren’t maximizing your HGH potential, it’s likely because you are more sedentary than you really should be. So, if you are moving more, taking care of any excess visceral body fat, and sleeping well you are doing all you can to produce as much HGH as possible.