The Indian household secret to getting tall and strong is Boost, Bournvita and Horlicks! How many of you bought into this facade? This is what happens in a society that lacks scientific knowledge and gives into deceptive advertising. Imagine the difference we could make for children with stunted growth, if only their parents knew about the incredible human growth hormone (HGH)!
Children with a short stature, impaired hair growth and delayed puberty might be deficient in the growth hormone. It induces growth in nearly every tissue and organ in the body. It is best known for its growth-promoting effect on cartilage and bone, especially in adolescents. It is the master regulator of somatic growth and plays a role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism through complex interactions with hormone insulin. It influences our height and helps build our bones and muscles. HGH is often called the ‘youth hormone’ or the ‘happiness hormone’.
Secretion of the human growth hormone
HGH is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain that secretes different types of hormones.
In adults, the most consistent pulse of GH secretion occurs shortly after the onset of sleep. This usually happens in the first phase of slow-wave sleep (SWS) or deep sleep. SWS is maximum in young children and decreases as we age; it is that portion of non–rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep characterized by high-amplitude and low-frequency brain waves.
The levels of GH increase during childhood and peak during puberty, focussing mainly on growth of bone and cartilage. Then throughout your life it regulates the fat, muscle, tissues, bones and metabolism in our body.
Hence, some symptoms of growth hormone deficiency include weight gain, decreased energy, loss of interest in sex, aging skin, insomnia and bone weakness. The levels organically reduce from middle age onwards. But, does that mean that there’s nothing you can do to keep the levels as optimal as you can? Definitely not, functional nutrition is here to your rescue!
Fasting to boost the growth hormone
Fasting is a rather fascinating technique. It can do more than just reduce calories, and lead to beneficial hormonal changes. It reduces insulin in the body while also triggering hormones such as GH. Can fasting really help build muscle and trigger anti-aging properties through the human growth hormone? Keep reading because you are in for a surprise!
First, let’s understand more about GH, also called the counter regulatory hormone: It counters the effect of insulin and prepares the body for the upcoming day by pushing some glucose out of storage into the blood to make it available for energy. This is one of the reasons why you may not feel hungry immediately after waking up, even though you have not eaten for 12 hours or so. Your body already has energy from the growth hormone surge.
There’s a lot of literature around fasting, especially intermittent fasting and its role in activating GH. We all know that digestion is the most energy-intensive process that our bodies carry out. When we stop digesting during fasting, the energy is utilised for other processes in the body such as detoxification and immune responses. This activates a cleansing process called autophagy, that translates to ‘eating oneself.’ Autophagy is when your body literally gobbles up old and damaged cells that can cause ageing or age-related diseases.
You are a community of ten trillion cells and there needs to be a balance between cell growth and cell cleansing. Think of it as regular ‘servicing’ that your body needs to replace the faulty mechanics! For example, misfolded proteins that mess with communication between the brain and cells are commonly found in Alzheimer’s disease. Autophagy can offer protection against such neurodegenerative diseases by discarding these proteins; and increase brain clarity among other things.
More ways to boost the growth hormone
- Control your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white bread as they shoot up your insulin levels that can lower the levels of GH in your body.
- Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid (breakdown product of protein) that is known to stimulate GH release, some foods rich in glutamine include meat, eggs, fish, and unsweetened yogurt.
- Ornithine is another non-essential amino acid that can boost our GH levels and influence protein synthesis and muscle mass. Some ornithine rich foods include fish, chicken, eggs or beef.
- Melatonin-rich foods like raspberries have also been found to increase GH secretion.
- Our adipose (fat) tissue has a complex relationship with GH. One way to stimulate GH is to lose body fat. In fact, obesity can suppress GH secretion from the pituitary gland — conditions such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic hepatic disease are associated with low GH secretion.
- Optimal and deep sleep is crucial for GH secretion in the long-term., It is released in pulses when you sleep based on body clock or circadian rhythm.
- Many aspects of exercising such as increased muscle strength and bone mineral growth are dependent partly on adequate secretion of hormones like GH. Acute exercise also triggers the release of GH. Sustained physical activity can elevate the amount of GH circulating in your body.
Supplements to boost the growth hormone
- Acetyl-l-carnitine and Ornithine may help facilitate night time growth hormone release.
- A 2008 study also found that taking GABA supplements led to a 400% increase in HGH at rest and a 200% increase following exercise.
- Melatonin supplements may also help enhance HGH production with adequate sleep.
- A combination of L-arginine supplement and exercise may also improve GH response, although the increase may be less than seen with exercise alone.
All-in-all, these are some targeted practices that you can follow if you’d like to pump up your GH levels. For children, parents often struggle to find solutions to their stunted growth. Food and nutrition are something that they miss out on as most households follow a culturally-conditioned food palate. These steps combined with a root cause analysis of your blood work and other advanced tests can do wonders in reversing diseases!
- L-arginine has been shown to increase human growth hormone levels - Green Med Info https://greenmedinfo.com/article/l-arginine-has-been-shown-increase-human-growth-hormone-levels
- 11 Abstracts with Human Growth Hormone: Enhancement Research - Green Med Info
- Autophagy - The Most Powerful Longevity Tool - Nutrition Matters
- DOES INTERMITTENT FASTING BOOST HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE (HGH) PRODUCTION? - DaVinci Laboratories
- Effects of Intermittent Fasting on the Circulating Levels and Circadian Rhythms of Hormones - Endocrinology and Metabolism
- HOW TO STIMULATE AUTOPHAGY TO LIVE LONGER AND HEALTHIER - Dr. Lauren Deville Logo
- 9 Ways To Boost Human Growth Hormone - DFW Anti-aging Wellness Centres
- Vitamin D and growth hormone in children: a review of the current scientific knowledge - Journal of Translational Medicine
- Foods That Promote HGH - Livestrong.com
- Effect of Circadian Rhythm on Metabolic Processes and the Regulation of Energy Balance - Karger
- The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism - International Journal of Endocrinology
- How to renew your body: Fasting and autophagy - Spartan Medical Associates
- The Intricate Role of Growth Hormone in Metabolism - National Centre for Biotechnology Information