The Human Growth Hormone (HGH), as the name suggests, plays a key role in the growth of the human body.
The HGH hormone, also known as somatotropin, is secreted by the pituitary gland and is responsible for a spurt of growth in humans during adolescence (4).
Its singular importance in the growth of the human body has led to its usage by athletes, who have reportedly resorted to injecting HGH in their bodies despite bans.
Optimum levels of the hormone are critical for a healthy life (5). With age, the production of the HGH reduces in our bodies (6). Sometimes, even young people might experience a deficiency in this hormone.
A healthy lifestyle, alongside making the right dietary choices can go a long way in increasing your HGH levels naturally.
Evidence-Based: 8 Natural Ways to Improve HGH Formation in the Body
It might sound bizarre, but one of the best ways to naturally increase HGH is by sleeping well (7). It has been observed that HGH is released in pulses during sleep and the largest of these pulses occur around midnight and early in the morning (8, 9).
Thus, maintaining a consistent sleep cycle wherein you get adequate amounts of deep sleep is essential for the production of HGH (10).
A few ways to ensure that you get quality sleep are as follows:
- Go to bed early and at the same time
- Do not eat things that may aggravate your mood before sleeping
- Avoid watching television or using your phone/laptop right before sleeping
Summary: Getting the right quantity and quality of sleep is crucial for the body to produce optimum levels of HGH.
Eat a Light Dinner
Now that we know that HGH is released especially at night, there’s something else you need to be mindful of before sleeping – eating a light dinner.
Research suggests that the insulin produced by eating a high-carbohydrate or a high-protein dinner can prohibit the release of HGH at night (11).
While there is little evidence to confirm this, it would be a good practice to not eat a lot of carbs or proteins 2-3 hours before sleeping.
Summary: A light dinner that contains lesser calories should be consumed to improve HGH production.
Regular exercise has its obvious benefits, but performing high-intensity exercises has shown to improve the production of growth hormones in our bodies (12).
You can choose to perform cardio exercises, running, swimming, repeated sprints, weight training, or circuit training. While exercises result in a short-term rise in the HGH production levels, exercising regularly can result in a steady increase to help you stay fit (16, 17).
Summary: High-intensity exercises and training can help boost HGH production in the body.
Choose the Right Workout Supplements
In addition to the right exercise and workout, choosing the right supplement is also important for improving HGH levels in your body.
Studies have shown that certain sports supplements, like beta-alanine, can help spike HGH levels (18).
Other studies have found that protein shakes with or without carbs, can help improve HGH levels around the workout (19). Naturally, you need to be mindful of the extra calories you will be consuming.
Similarly, consuming protein shakes can also help boost HGH levels while working out (20).
However, it is important to remember that if casein or whey protein is taken before the workout, it might reduce HGH levels (21).
Summary: The right supplement can aid the production of HGH while training and exercise.
Eat Less Sugar
As mentioned earlier, higher levels of insulin might prevent the production of optimum levels of HGH.
Refined carbohydrates and sugar are particularly responsible for higher levels of insulin, and thus, lower the secretion of HGH (22).
As a matter of fact, studies have found that the HGH levels of people with diabetes are 3-4 times lower than the average healthy human (23).
To this effect, eating less sugar is recommended, as high levels of sugar lead to higher levels of insulin in the body.
Reducing your sugar intake has other obvious health benefits as well, like reducing fat levels, weight loss, and preventing lifestyle diseases like diabetes.
Although this doesn’t mean you should cut out sugar from your diet completely, you must aim at eating a well-balanced diet.
Summary: Consuming less sugar can help improve HGH levels by producing lesser insulin, which is known to prohibit the production of HGH.
Lose Belly fat
The fat level in your body impairs the production of HGH in your body (24).
One study found that people who have three times the amount of belly fat have half the HGH levels of the control group (25).
Naturally then, people with higher levels of body fat, especially belly fat, will have lower levels of HGH.
However, evidence suggests that losing weight and belly fat can help HGH levels return to their normal levels over time (26).
As with other suggestions on this list, losing belly fat will also have other positive impacts on your overall health and physique.
Summary: High belly fat leads to lower HGH levels and reducing it can optimize the production of HGH in the body.
Research shows that fasting can result in a significant increase in the HGH levels in the body (27).
Intermittent fasting, wherein eating habits are divided between cycles of fasting and eating, can help people with lower HGH levels boost its production.
While there are several approaches towards intermittent fasting, it usually involves eating between specific time windows or restricting calorie intake a few days every week.
Next, it also keeps the insulin levels in check, which helps boost the natural secretion of HGH.
While studies have shown overwhelmingly positive results of fasting on HGH levels (30) more research is required to identify which fasting is more effective. Intermittent fasting or full fasting.
Summary: Fasting, or intermittent fasting, can help boost HGH levels by reducing belly fat and regulating insulin secretion.
Include other Health Supplements
Studies have shown that certain health supplements, which aren’t primarily meant for improving HGH levels, positively impact its production.
Additionally, GABA supplements have also shown promising results in the improvement of HGH levels (33).
Similarly, melatonin supplements have demonstrated an ability to boost HGH production as well (34).
Apart from these, glutamine, creatine, ornithine, L-dopa, and glycine supplementation have shown enhanced HGH production.
However, any health supplement must be consumed after due consultation with your health professional to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your existing medication or result in any adverse side effects.
Summary: Health supplements meant to correct other deficiencies have shown to improve HGH levels as well. However, you must consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
What is HGH Deficiency?
Since HGH is chiefly responsible for growth, increasing muscle mass, cell repair, and metabolism, its deficiency can lead to delayed sexual maturity, short stature, weaker bones, accumulation of fat, and overall inferior quality of life (35).
Those who suffer from its deficiency also tend to suffer from low self-esteem, depression, lack of concentration, and emotional distress.
As we age, the production of the HGH hormone decreases naturally.
Its deficiency can lead to the onset of low metabolism, high fat accumulation, and reduced capacity for performing exercises that require the use of cardiovascular organs.
Does Taking Melatonin Increase HGH?
Several health supplements, like melatonin, GABA, and arginine can help increase HGH production in our bodies. More studies need to be undertaken to assess the relationship between melatonin and HGH.
However, you can prevent HGH deficiency by following a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced diet.
How to Increase HGH With Supplements?
There are several ways to tackle HGH deficiency. You can follow one of the following methods:
- Regulate your diet, sleep, sugar-intake, and exercise to boost HGH production naturally
- Undertake growth hormone therapy
- Take HGH supplements, which come in the form of pills, gels, and injections
It is important to note that the use of growth hormones is allowed by prescription in the USA, and most supplements do not contain the hormone itself but carry nutrients that may spur the body to release the growth hormones.
The Bottom Line
HGH is an important hormone in the human body and its deficiency can result in several health issues.
It is best to maintain a healthy lifestyle to ensure that the hormone is secreted in the right quantity, and if need be, undertake HGH therapy or consume supplements.
All supplements, however, should be taken only after due assessments and consultation with certified health practitioners.