Growth hormone secretion drops significantly after early adulthood. Then, it continues to drop by about 15% per decade. Since aging is associated with declining growth hormone secretion, it has been hypothesized that some undesirable effects of aging may be partly due to this decline.1,2
While a direct link to growth hormone decline and the unwanted effects of aging has not been established, it is important to pursue lifestyle choices that slow this unwelcome decline. After all, growth hormone is responsible for muscle growth and fat breakdown.
How to Increase Growth Hormone Naturally
The following article discusses how to increase growth hormone naturally. Aside from potential injury during weight training or aerobic exercises, these lifestyle modifications have no side effects. Start doing more of the things that increase growth hormone secretion, such as getting quality sleep and performing resistance and aerobic exercises. These positive lifestyle choices will also improve your overall health.
- Weight Training And Aerobic Training – Both weight training and vigorous aerobic training increase growth hormone secretion. This increased secretion promotes protein synthesis. It also helps support muscle, bone, and connective tissue growth.
For weight training, the magnitude of growth hormone release is related to the size of muscle groups used, the intensity of exercise performed, and the length of rest between sets. The larger the muscle groups utilized and the higher the intensity the greater the GH release.
Utilize big, basic exercises like the bench press, barbell row, military press, straight bar curl, close-grip press, squat, deadlift, and straight leg deadlift. Additionally, perform these exercises in the lower rep range with heavier weight (5-8 reps). Big, basic exercises that hit your largest muscles increase testosterone and growth hormone levels the most, so never skip out on leg workouts.
For aerobic training, the magnitude of growth hormone release is related to the intensity of the workout. More vigorous aerobic exercise stimulates greater GH release.
In addition to EMG’s Workout Routines, StrongLifts5x5 is a great source for high-intensity workouts that hit major muscles group in the low-rep range. StrongLifts5x5 uses only five free weight exercises (the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and barbell row). You perform three exercises each week three times a week. For each exercise, you perform five sets of five reps.
- Quality Sleep – Quality sleep will also increase growth hormone secretion. GH is primarily secreted at night during deep sleep in the first half of the night. Anything that reduces the quality of sleep will reduce GH secretion. These culprits include alcohol, caffeine, sleep apnea, or certain medications.
As mentioned above, alcohol reduces the body’s ability to achieve deep sleep and inhibits the release of growth hormone.3-4 For example, for a 200 lb. man, 4 ½ drinks of beer, wine, or hard liquor right before bedtime causes a 60% decrease in GH secretion on average. This decrease is even greater when more alcohol is consumed.
- Proper Rest in Between Weight Training and Aerobic Exercise – As mentioned above, weight training and aerobic exercise can increase growth hormone production. While exercise increases GH release, it is essential to rest adequately between workouts. Too much exercise can actually decrease GH levels. Most men should take at least one day off in between high intensity workouts.
What Lowers Your Growth Hormone Levels?
If you are looking at how to increase growth hormone, also avoid the following two conditions (stress and obesity) as best as possible. While reducing stress it is certainly easier said than done, any reduction may go a long way to improving hormonal balance.
- Stress – Stress, particularly chronic stress, reduces GH secretion. It is certainly not easy to reduce chronic stress in today’s world. Nevertheless, it is important to seek ways to reduce stresses in your life. Reducing stress will optimize your growth hormone release and improve overall health.
- Obesity – Obesity is associated with lower GH production.5,6 Therefore, on average, obese men produce less GH than non-obese men. Additionally, GH produces less positive benefits in obese men. This result occurs because obese men clear growth hormone more quickly than non-obese men. As a result, GH has less time to exert its positive effects.
EMG’s HGH Homepage: Human Growth Hormone
External Resources: Peak Fitness: How to Increase Growth Hormone
Updated: May 12, 2015
1. Corpas E, Harman SM, Blackman MR. Human growth hormone and human aging. Endocr Rev. Feb 1993; 14( 1): 20-39.
2. O’Connor KO, Stevens TE, Blackman MR. GH and aging. In: Juul A, Jorgenson JOL, eds. Growth Hormone in Adults. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 1996.
3. Ekman AC, Vakkuri O, Ekman M, Leppäluoto J, Ruokonen A, Knip M. Ethanol decreases nocturnal plasma levels of thyrotropin and growth hormone but not those of thyroid hormones or prolactin in man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Jul 1996; 81 (7): 2627-2632.
4. Roehrs T, Roth T. Sleep, sleepiness, and alcohol use. Alcohol Res Health. 2001; 25 (2): 101-109.
5. Williams T, Berelowitz M, Joffe SN, et al. Impaired growth hormone responses to growth hormone-releasing factor in obesity. A pituitary defect reversed with weight reduction. N Engl J Med. Nov 1984; 311 (22): 1403-1407.
6. Iranmanesh A, Lizarralde G, Veldhuis JD. Age and relative adiposity are specific negative determinants of the frequency and amplitude of growth hormone (GH) secretory bursts and the half-life of endogenous GH in healthy men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Nov 1991; 73 (5): 1081-1088.