I am sure you have heard of Human Growth Hormone (hGH) in the sports and bodybuilding industries; mostly taken illegally as a means of getting stronger, bigger, better, and faster.
It is the hormone that eats fat, builds muscle, strengthens bones, and keeps the heart strong.
Sounds like the miracle hormone eh?
hGH is a glob of an assortment of amino acids, and is secreted in the brain, by the pituitary gland. It is secreted several times in the day, mostly during sleep – particularly REM sleep, and the levels at which it is produced decreases after adolescence. The decreased levels during our later years in life contribute to the process of aging – degeneration of bones, muscle, and collagen.
It may seem like a miracle hormone; however, when hGH levels are extremely low, it results in dwarfism, and if levels are extremely high it results in Acromegaly (a.k.a gigantism).
In children, hGH’s main duty is to allow for growth and develop.
In adults (and children) it increases brain functioning, energy levels, metabolism, repairs our muscles, and allows for hypertrophy (increase in muscle size).
This anabolic hormone increases the absorption rate of proteins and amino acids, and resists the catabolism of the muscles, which you worked so hard to build. Remember, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism = the more calories you burn when sitting idle.
It also breaks down fat cells for energy use, and prevents any new fat cells from being produced.
Now, before you decide to start taking illegal performance enhancing drugs (like hGH), keep in mind that when this hormone is injected, or popped, or however people supplement with it, it can lead to insulin resistance.
Human Growth Hormone in the body will shuffle glucose found in the blood into the liver, rather than allowing insulin to send it to the cells, thus leading to insulin resistance.
That being said, we should try to increase (or should I say balance) our GH levels naturally!
There are three ways in which hGH is stimulated and released: good quality sleep, sound diet, and consistent, intense physical activity.
First off, GET GOOD SLEEP!
Since hGH is mostly released during our slumber time, we need to make sure we get adequate amount of sleep – and good sleep!
Secondly, we need to have a sound diet and keep our insulin levels in control.
One way we can do this is to consume good quality proteins because hGH is released with protein intake.
Another way we can do this is to keep the bad, refined carbs out of our mouths so that our insulin levels do not skyrocket.
Human Growth Hormone is released during intense bouts of exercise. So, get out of your comfort zone, increase that heart rate, break a solid sweat, and get that pituitary gland secreting some hGH!
The more of this hormone is released, the higher the chances of your body using fat as fuel, opposed to glucose.
There are many causes for this hormone to go out of whack, and it is often directly related to other hormone levels in the body; for example, too much estrogen, too much insulin, or too much cortisol can contribute to an imbalance in hGH.
Also, like I said earlier, not getting enough quality sleep can throw things off.
After reading about all the different hormones I am going to post about, you will start to realize a trend – eliminate refined carbohydrates, get good sleep, control stress levels, make a conscious effort to eat good proteins and good fats, and always stay active!
You will also notice that all the body’s hormones are linked; if one goes off, then they will all be affected, kind of like a domino effect.
This makes things complicated and frustrating, especially when you are trying to find the route of your hormonal problem.