HGH, short for Human Growth Hormone, is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland. It has a huge range of roles in the body, and keeping HGH levels high appears to have benefits for weight loss, body composition, recovering from injuries, cell repair, and metabolism. However, HGH levels decline naturally as we age, and there are plenty of bad habits that slow down our production of HGH levels, which keeps us from performing and feeling our best.
Below we’ve put together a list of the best ways to boost your HGH levels naturally (so you won’t see any illegal HGH injections on this list!) These tips fall into three general categories, diet, exercise and general lifestyle.
Your body releases the most HGH when you are sleeping, especially when you are in a slow wave sleep stage. Your body goes through several sleep cycles per night, and so the more sleep you get and the higher quality of sleep you get, the higher your HGH production will be.
Taking a melatonin supplement before bed can improve the quality of your sleep, but it also appears to boost your HGH levels independently. Studies show that oral administration of melatonin can also boost HGH levels by over 150% above natural levels.
Melatonin is a sleep hormone, produced naturally by your body, but it can also be supplemented. Daylight and Blue light (from tvs, laptops, and tablets) stop production of melatonin, and can interfere with sleep cycles. Avoid blue light exposure before bedtime by having screen-free time for at least 30 minutes before bed. Some tablets and e-readers have a blue light filter option, which adds a yellow, red, or orange filter to the screen, although there is no evidence to support their use yet.
Studies show that when Arginine is supplemented without exercise, Human Growth Hormone levels significantly increase. However, this does not seem to be the case when Arginine is supplemented alongside exercise (when comparing HGH level increases after exercise, and after exercise and taking an arginine supplement). Arginine appears to have the biggest benefit when take in a dose of between 15 and 20 grams.
GABA may also improve HGH levels. Not only does it act as a sleep aid, but studies show that it also causes a short term spike in HGH levels, even without sleep.
Having higher amounts of body fat is associated with reduced HGH production (as well as an increased risk of numerous illnesses). Losing weight, especially belly fat, increases HGH levels, which will then help you to keep the weight off. Losing even small amounts of weight can also offer benefits for your health in general, and lower your risk of numerous diseases too!
All forms of exercise appear to benefit HGH levels, and obviously regular exercise plays a role in weight loss, which will then improve your HGH levels further. However, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) appears to cause the biggest spikes in HGH production.
Diet plays a huge role in HGH levels, and there are numerous dietary changes that could help to boost your HGH levels.
Human Growth Hormone is comprised of numerous amino acids. Amino acids in our diet come from foods that contain protein. If you have a protein deficiency in your diet, then it is possible that it is preventing your body from producing as much Human Growth Hormone as it should be.
The best sources of the complete range of essential amino acids you need are meats including chicken, beef, pork, and turkey, as well as dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt. You are more likely to be eating insufficient amounts of protein if you are vegetarian or vegan. Try counting your macros for a few days to see how much protein you are getting on average.
High insulin levels cause lower HGH production. This is especially seen in diabetics, who have impaired insulin function; diabetics in studies have been found to have three or four times less HGH than non-diabetic trial participants.
Carbohydrates, especially refined carbs and sugar, increase insulin levels in the body and so reducing your daily sugar intake could help to maximise your HGH production.
Following a carb restricted diet would have the best impact, but any reduction in sugar intake is going to have some benefit not just for your HGH levels, but for your health in general.
We are big fans of intermittent fasting and its many benefits, which we summarise here. It is one way of keeping your insulin levels low for much of the day, which, as we discussed above, boosts HGH levels. But studies also show that intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight quickly and healthily, which will boost your HGH levels even further.