(BeWellBuzz) Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a peptide, or protein, hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. It is naturally prevalent in children as the hormone that causes them to grow. At 20, the hormone is no longer produced at the rate we experienced during childhood. After the age of 30, levels tend to decline (rapidly!) unless you build an HGH-friendly environment in your body through lifestyle. In adults, the hormone is credited with the power to:
- Regulate/minimize fat storage
- Build muscle
- Maintain a lean body
- Fortify bones
- Improve circulation
- Promote hair and nail growth
- Maintain youth
- Support fitness
Certain supplements augment production, such as L-arginine and L-lysine, which can increase the hormone by as much as 700% taking a 3-5 g dose before exercise and before bed. Bodybuilders have often resorted to high doses of HGH by injection or other supplement forms, but this is controversial and dangerous. The safest and most effective way to optimize your HGH production is through a special kind of exercise; rest; and superior nutrition.
Any exercise stimulates the production of HGH, but not just any exercise gives you the power boost that’ll turn your health around and maintain optimal health through your years. Despite the slow-cardio, aerobic “boom” we saw in recent decades, study after study shows that slow, aerobic activity such as long distance running creates an excess of free radicals in the body, can depress immune system and damage joints, promotes aging and actually reduces muscle mass. It’s also the least effective way to boost HGH production.
High intensity “burst” training (aka HIIT, high intensity interval training) capitalizes on anaerobic activity, and has been proven to accelerate fat loss while building lean muscle. Phil Campbell, a fitness veteran who’s been training athletes for 35 years, conducted an 8-week study to measure the increase of HGH production in the body with regular high intensity workouts. They saw an average of not 50% increase; nor even 150%; but 771% increase of human growth production. Impressive.
HIIT should only consume about 60 minutes of your time… per week. You start with 3 minutes of warmup, then sprint as hard as you possibly can for 30 seconds on bike, elliptical, treadmill, swimming or on foot. Recover for 90 seconds. Repeat. If you’re advanced, do 8 sets, or work your way up (I’m doing 6).
Beginners: Campbell recommends starting out with 2 sets, after you’ve gotten approval from your healthcare pro. Listen to your body. For best results, train this way 3x/week. Make sure you eat enough, and well.
Experts say we produce most of our HGH during sleep. To achieve optimal levels while you sleep, get a full night’s rest, 7-9 hours, on a regular basis and in a consistent rhythm. The more you sleep, the more HGH you make. But light or interrupted sleep won’t cut it. Research shows that the pituitary gland is stimulated to release the protein during slow-wave (deepest) sleep.
Melatonin not only helps you sleep deeper, but is shown to trigger HGH production. Dr. Mike Callagher, DO is an expert in age management medicine, certified in family medicine and owner of The Body Well. Callagher testifies that melatonin increases growth hormone by as much as 157%.
Recommended dose is 0.5 – 5 mg, depending on how your body responds. OR, You can increase melatonin naturally by exposing your eyes to lots of natural sunshine during the day, and sleeping in a completely dark room with no light. Try a pair of “blue blocker” glasses, in the final hours before bed to kick start melatonin secretion. If you can’t prevent the street light from streaming through your blinds, consider a sleep mask. Light, particularly the blue ray, inhibits melatonin and interrupts deep sleep, but darkness encourages it.
3. Minimize Glucose
Sugar and carbs absorb most quickly into the bloodstream, causing a quick rise in insulin levels. Insulin inhibits HGH and increases fat storage. During the awesome fat burning 2 hours immediately following your high intensity workout, avoid carbs, starches, fructose and all simple sugars to keep HGH flowing. Sugar stimulates production of somatostatin hormones, which shut down somatotropin, another name for human growth.
Some athletes strategically carb-load during these hours in order to improve recovery time and get back to their workout the next day. This does help you to recover, but at the expense of growth hormone.
To optimize HGH post-workout, Campbell recommends 25 g of quality protein during the first 30 minutes. Avoid carbs before bed, but there is some allowance for an evening snack…as long as it’s high in quality protein and very low-carb. “Stubborn-fat expert” Shaun Hadsall recommends cottage cheese. The amino acids assist in hormone production without triggering a rush of insulin. In some sense, you’ll be working out in your sleep.
The suggestions for peak HGH and fitness are the same for any vibrant, healthy lifestyle. Working out hard, eating healthy, getting lots of fresh sunshine and deep sleep all help to eliminate chronic stress, create an environment for longevity and wellness in your body, and balance emotions. At first I hesitated to take on HIIT, but it’s been the best fitness adjustment of my life. If you haven’t already, try one of these suggestions today, and go from there. It won’t be long before you can see and feel the results.
 “Blue blocker glasses impede the capacity of bright light to suppress melatonin production.”