We all want to be the best we can be! To you it might be loosing a few kgs, building some muscle or even just having extra energy so you can get more things done. By leading a healthy lifestyle, consuming good foods & exercising regularly this is more than possible. It’s important to be aware of how our bodies work, so we can fuel them with the right foods & supplements to ensure that we are achieving our full potential. So how can we kick start our way to a younger looking, more energetic & better-toned body?
Growth Hormone To The Rescue!
The body naturally produces growth hormone (GH) in the pituitary gland. It is a protein-based peptide hormone that stimulates growth, cell reproduction and regeneration. It is responsible for growth & muscle production, as well as assisting in skin elasticity & cellulite reduction…yippee!
Growth hormone helps the body stay young! However, as we get older, growth hormone production slows down. A young adult in their 20’s will be producing nearly five times as much growth hormone as someone in their 60’s. By ensuring the body is producing enough growth hormone, we can slow down the signs of ageing, including wrinkles, thinning hair & of course loss of muscle mass & tone.
By utilizing natural growth hormone production in the body to help build muscle, it will not only improve overall appearance, but it will also improve metabolism. Metabolism is a combination of physical and chemical processes called anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is the constructive phase of metabolism in which body cells synthesize protoplasm for growth and repair; this is where growth hormone comes into play. By exercising & increasing lean muscle mass, metabolism will increase and aid in the weight-loss process. Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat tissue because it has a higher metabolic rate.
In addition to slowing down the ageing process & building muscle, natural growth hormone can provide the following benefits:
- Increases calcium retention, strengthening & increasing mineralization of bones
- Increases protein synthesis
- Stimulates the growth of internal organs
- Reduces liver uptake of glucose
- Stimulates the immune system
- Assists with skin elasticity
- Increased libido
So How Can You Naturally Increase Growth Hormone Production?
Well, first thing is first, you need to get back to basics and ensure you are getting enough sleep, after all sleep plays an important role in hormone production & balance. Insomnia leads to a release in the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn stimulates appetite and slows down the metabolism. Growth hormone is released at night, via messages from the hypothalamus gland, so it is important to ensure you are asleep for the body to work its magic, with repair & regeneration.
After sleep comes exercise! To bring about growth hormone release, the exercise must be strenuous enough to create muscle fatigue (yet not too much, or it will suppress the body’s release of growth hormone). Any activity that creates an oxygen deficit in the muscle will assist in shifting muscles to burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. Weight lifting & interval training is great for this, as well as sets of resistance exercise – the body will be stimulated to produce growth hormone for repair & to renew the tissue that has been placed under stress during exercise.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before! Consume a diet LOW in SUGAR!!! The release in growth hormone is inhibited by insulin. High glycemic carbohydrates & refined sugars are going to promote fat storage, which is the opposite of what we want! By ensuring that you are consuming clean food, high in protein, you are ensuring that you are fuelling your body with amino acids to help stimulate tissue repair and growth. So have a look at your diet, are you eating enough protein? Are you eating good clean low-glycemic carbs & are you getting enough FAT? All of which is beneficial for growth hormone production.
Have a look at your supplements. Along with sleep, exercise & a good well balanced diet, there are some supplements that are going to be beneficial for growth hormone production.
Glutamine – is the most important component of muscle protein & has been linked to protein synthesis, it prevents muscle from been catabolized (eaten up). It also helps to maintain cell volume and hydration. The amino acid glutamine is great for strengthening your immune system, it aids in absorption of the intestines and regulates the conversion of protein to muscles. L-Glutamine will stimulate growth hormone release.
Niacin – B vitamins help balance hormone levels & niacin. Vitamin B3 has been shown to stimulate release of growth hormones. One study, at a US University, showed that consuming 500mg of niacin caused significant rise in growth hormone. When fatty acids were injected along with the niacin, the effects slowed, as the growth hormone production is slowed by the fatty acid. This suggests that Niacin is best absorbed on an empty stomach, as insulin and glucose are known to inhibit growth hormone production.
Choline –is an essential nutrient needed for health promotion and disease prevention in individuals of all ages. It is essential for many of life’s most basic functions including the normal functioning of all of the body’s cells, brain and nerve function, liver metabolism and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. While the body does produce choline, it does not produce enough to meet everyone’s daily needs. Eating foods naturally rich in choline is the best way to get the recommended amount. Choline is found in foods such as beef and chicken liver, egg yolk, beef & milk. Regular consumption of choline has been found to aid in the manufacture of GH in the body.
Bee Pollen – One of my favourite superfoods, bee pollen prevents nutritional imbalance, deficiencies, accumulation of toxins in the body and helps strengthen the immune system as well as prevent disease. Bee Pollen is a whole food supplement that contains at least 130 substances of nutritional significance including niacin & choline – making bee pollen a great choice for anyone wanting to promote growth hormone production. Bee Pollen also contains a high percentage of lecithin that helps dissolve and flush fat from the body. As a side benefit this same process is very effective in lowering the bad LDL cholesterol in the blood.
Maca Powder – Another favourite superfood of mine (and Liz too!) is Maca. It contains natural substances that stimulate the pituitary and hypothalamus. These master glands of the body in turn trigger the ovaries, adrenals, testes, thyroid, and pancreas to return to healthy functioning, thus producing normal amounts of hormones. By regulating hormone function, maca powder is said to naturally stimulate growth hormone production. Unlike synthetic hormones, the active ingredients in Maca are not phytoestrogens. Instead, they are naturally occurring alkaloids, acting on the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, giving a feeling of greater energy and vitality.
So there you have it, although the clock is always ticking, it is possible to decrease the signs of ageing. By ensuring we get enough sleep, proper exercise, ensure our diet is clean & we are consuming adequate nutritional supplementation, natural growth hormone production can be increased ensuring that we are always looking and feeling our best!
This fantastic post is a guest post written by my talented invisible assistant, Malisa Celeste. Malisa is a nutrition student, biosignature consultant and writer for Tonic Superfoods. After successfully losing more than half her own body weight, Malisa decided to move away from her career in fashion to follow her passion of nutrition. Malisa hopes to spread the message that health & nutrition can be fun – You can have your chocolate cake, and eat it too!
And don’t forget if you want to buy any superfoods over at Tonic Superfoods, enter the coupon code ‘LWER’ to receive your discount 🙂