As its name implies, growth hormones stimulate growth, cell reproduction and regeneration in humans.
Growth hormone diminishes as you age, but there are steps you can take to make sure that your hormone levels remain in check as you get older.
The following steps will help you manage your hormone levels and may even promote weight loss.
1. Eat Less Sugar
Elevated insulin levels can lead to reduced levels of growth hormone, especially in overweight adults(1). Obesity is a major factor in stifled growth hormones, so make sure you drop the sugary treats.
Cut down on foods with added sugar. And if you’re insulin resistant, be wary of higher-sugar whole foods like bananas and grapes.
Focus instead on lean proteins, whole grains (like quinoa), and leafy green vegetables; one study found that losing weight led to increased growth hormone levels(2).
2. Get More Sleep
Eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep is ideal; less than that and you risk decreased levels of growth hormone(3). Your body makes most of your growth hormone while you sleep, so if you’re a light sleeper or just don’t get enough sleep, you may not be producing enough. If you have trouble getting to sleep, try melatonin supplements; these may help stimulate the production of growth hormone(4).
3. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Chronic stress is unpleasant, but it can also wreck metabolic and hormonal havoc in your body. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol is associated with lower growth hormone levels and increased insulin resistance and risk of obesity(5). Prioritizing activities that help you unwind can go a long way towards regulating your hormone levels.
4. Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting involves alternating between periods of eating and periods of fasting. While there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence of intermittent fasting’s benefits, one study found that 24-hour fasting could boost growth hormone production by a significant amount in both men and women(6). Intermittent fasting isn’t always for everyone, but if you’re able to do it sustainably it might help increase your levels of growth hormone.
Exercise is one of the biggest promoters of growth hormone in your body(7), but mild exercise doesn’t always cut it – high-intensity training is needed to increase lactic acid and boost growth hormone levels(8). If you’re a casual exerciser, start building up to a more intense exercise routine.
The key here is to exercise at high intensity for a short period of time followed by a prolonged period of rest. For example, sprint for 15 seconds followed by a 3-minute rest. Repeat for 4-8 sets.
6. Increase Your Amino Acid Intake
Dietary protein can help stabilize your insulin levels, regulating other hormones like growth hormone. Protein is high in essential amino acids, so get plenty of high-quality protein from wild fish, free-range poultry, and grass-fed beef(9).
7. Avoid Toxins
There are many chemicals that can disrupt your body’s endocrine system, throwing your hormones seriously out of whack. Endocrine disruptors can be found in plastic bottles, detergents, food, toys, and cosmetics(10). Avoid toxins by buying organic whenever possible, and avoiding plastic food and beverage storage containers – invest instead in some high-quality metal or glass containers for your food and drinks.