Aside from taking injections and supplements to raise levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) in the body, I am often asked if there are any natural ways to boost this essential hormone.
Of course regular intense exercise is clearly the most important, but there are also a number of foods which can certainly help, as your diet plays a key role in general hormone production and regulation.
You really need to ensure that your diet is rich in foods such as nuts, milk, whey protein, eggs, healthy fats such as olive, fish and coconut oil, and goji berries. Make sure to avoid high glycemic sugars that stimulate insulin production, such as white bread and rice, cornflakes and foods that are high in glucose.
I will be taking a deeper look into the foods you should eat to raise HGH in its own blog post very soon and will link to it as soon as its done. Below I take a look at some other options and the evidence behind their HGH boosting claims
1. The relation between exercise and HGH
- STUDY 1 – Research at Brunel University in 2003 clearly demonstrates that exercise can stimulate levels of HGH very significantly. The scientists concluded that exercise for a minimum of 10 minutes at an intensity above lactate threshold (the level at which lactic acid starts to accumulate in the blood stream) provides the greatest boost to HGH at rest over a 24 hour period. This research also found that intense anaerobic exercise produces a similar effect.
- STUDY 2 – Scientists at Loughborough University conducted research in 2002 into the effects of sprinting on HGH. Participants in the study performed either a 30 second or a 6 second intensive sprint, following which levels of HGH were monitored over four hours. Those who carried out the 30 second sprint showed levels 450% higher than athletes who completed only the 6 second sprint and their levels remained elevated for much longer.
It is probable that a 6 second sprint is too short a period of exercise to reach lactate level, hence the huge differentiation in readings. Of course, serious athletes would tend to carry out significantly more than one short sprint during a training session, and subsequent exercise, although not achieving the very high HGH increase of the first 30 second sprint, would accomplish further moderate upsurges.
2. Fasting can dramatically increase HGH
- STUDY 3 – A study at the University of Virginia in 1992 showed that fasting for 24 hours can produce a five-fold increase in HGH as compared to eating a normal diet. This appears to be based upon the release for energy of stored body fat
Two 24 hour periods of fasting each week is thought to yield the best results. Since intermittent fasting is the trendy diet of choice at the moment, this pattern of eating should also yield benefits by reducing calorific intake as well as boosting HGH.
3. Sleeping your way to higher HGH levels
Good, deep sleep is vital for boosting HGH since the highest levels of the hormone are secreted during the REM stages of sleep. Researchers suggest that to maintain optimum levels of HGH, a regular sleep pattern should be sustained.
Those who normally sleep from 10.30 pm to 8 am, but like to party at weekends, should not enjoy the luxury of the usual Sunday morning lie-in, but should instead arise at 8 am to ensure their sleep pattern is not disturbed.
One popular supplement that has shown to help promote deep REM sleep is ZMA. This contains zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 and is often taken by bodybuilders 30-60 minutes before bed time. Unfortunately, the jury is still out as to whether it can actually stimulate the release of HGH in any significant amount.
Lest it be thought that boosting HGH naturally must inevitably be painful, let’s finish on a positive: increasing HGH can also be pleasurable.
- STUDY 4 – According to research carried out at the Loma Linda University and presented to the American Physiological Society in 2006, laughter increases HGH by a staggering 87%!
So between the intense workouts, sensible diet and regular sleep-time, make sure you find time in your life to laugh a lot. Dig out the amusing films, visit a comedy club or cultivate hilarious friends.