Growing Vitality

Helping your body produce growth hormone gives well-being a natural boost.

By Lisa James

February 2012


If “testosterone” is the first word that comes to mind when you think of male hormonal health, that’s understandable. Testosterone plays a key role in keeping men vigorous.

Testosterone isn’t the only hormone men need to concern themselves with, though. Human growth hormone (HGH) is essential for cellular regeneration, particularly in muscle and bone tissue.

HGH tends to decline with age. Fortunately, there are natural ways to help safely and effectively boost production of this vital hormone.

Falling HGH Levels

HGH is released into the bloodstream from the pituitary, a small gland underneath the brain. The pituitary is controlled by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus that produces two hormones, one to promote HGH release and one to inhibit it.

Besides building muscle and bone, HGH helps maintain stamina, energy, sexual function and upbeat mood. By aiding the body in creating proteins and maintaining water balance, this hormone helps fight aging’s effects on skin and hair appearance. HGH also strengthens the immune system, promotes lipolysis, or fat breakdown, and supports overall metabolic health.

HGH production peaks during one’s teens. But it falls about 50% every seven years after early adulthood, leaving many men HGH deficient.

HGH decline involves more than just the passage of time. For one thing, aging can impair digestion. This can hinder the body’s ability to absorb amino acids, the protein building blocks used to create hormones. The calorie overconsumption that often results from a slower metabolism can depress HGH production, as can problems with blood sugar control. HGH levels are also reduced by the free fatty acids (FFAs) that tend to accumulate in the blood and by reductions in L-dopa, which prompts the hypothalamus to encourage HGH release. Finally, unstable molecules called free radicals hinder all bodily functions, including hormone production.

Encouraging HGH Release

Healthy habits, such as vigorous exercise and getting enough deep sleep, promote HGH release. However, as a man’s body ages it often needs a gentle assist in producing adequate amounts.

Providing the body with preformed amino acids helps overcome reduced digestive capacity. One of those amino acids, L-arginine, also fights the release of somatostatin, the hypothalamus hormone that inhibits HGH, and improves blood flow to boot.

Proper blood sugar levels are crucial not only for HGH production but for overall well-being. Chromium is required for the proper functioning of insulin, which regulates blood sugar, especially in the form of chromium polynicotinate. It’s effects are enhanced by two sea vegetables, Asco­phyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus.

Two herbs used in Eastern medicine can also help boost HGH. Cassia nomame, an herb native to China, protects against free fatty acid development by blocking fat absorption in the intestines; it may fight obesity and fat accumulation in the liver as well. Velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) provides a natural source of L-dopa and appears to help neutralize free radicals. Glutathione, zinc and vitamins C and E also fight free radicals.

Hormones interact with each other, so boosting testosterone along with HGH helps enhance its effects. Another Eastern herb, Tribulus terrestris, has been shown to encourage testosterone production.

Declining HGH can cramp a man’s style. Boosting levels naturally can help slow the effects of age.

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