Skip to main content

Human Growth Hormone Guide | Nick Rana


A “miracle drug,” the “fountain of youth”—human growth hormone (HGH) has a strong reputation for solving pretty much every health concern a middle-aged man has. Rumor has it, HGH can help you look younger, build more muscle, burn fat, boost your libido—and science says most of these things are actually true.
But that doesn’t mean HGH is right for every guy. We did some digging to find out everything you need to know about the “healing hormone” and help you decide if you should talk to your doc about getting a ‘script.


What exactly is HGH?

Human growth hormone (HGH), often known as just growth hormone (GH), is a peptide hormone produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain. The name is on-point: In adolescence, it’s responsible for helping kids get taller. But GH is also a “master hormone,” explains Robert Kominiarek, D.O., a medical director and hormone specialist at the Alpha Male Medical Institute in Springboro, Ohio. That means, even in adults, GH helps balance all other hormones—so there isn’t an area of your health it doesn’t touch.
A healthy supply of GH keeps you healthy psychologically—it maintains your sense of well-being, keeping you happy, engaged, and able to handle stress—and physically, keeping your heart healthy, your cholesterol levels down, inflammation down, bones solid. It even boosts your body’s ability to heal faster.
But there’s one area the master hormone has gained particular fame among bodybuilding types: its ability to help maintain muscle mass, shed belly fat, synthesize amino acids, and metabolize fat and protein. GH stimulates the release of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), the main driver of tissue growth. Together, these help you build more muscle and burn more fat.
And by the same token, insufficient amounts of growth hormone have become a contending culprit behind delayed gains at the gym—and taking synthetic GH has been touted as an avenue to help guys get swole. But there are a few things you should know before you try it.


Do you have a deficiency?

Clinically, probably not. According to a study in Frontiers in Endocrinology, roughly 6,000 new cases of adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD) are diagnosed each year in the US. To put that in perspective, about 481,000 cases of low testosterone are diagnosed annually. “A true growth hormone deficiency is uncommon, and it typically occurs only in patients who have had damage to the pituitary gland or to the area in the brain that controls the gland, such as from a traumatic brain injury,” explains Susan Samson M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Pituitary Center at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.
However, your levels of growth hormone decline naturally, starting at around 25 years old and accelerating once you reach 35 when you enter a GH-deprived state called somatopause. Some studies say men lose 14 percent of their GH production per decade, others by up to 50 percent every seven years. According to a study in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, by the time you’re 65, you generally secreting less than one-third the amount of GH you did when you were 35.
Guys who live a healthy life with low stress, minimal alcohol, and a balanced diet can hold onto their levels a little longer, Kominiarek points out, but over the age of 40, it’s rare to see someone with levels over the 200 marker—which is why spending the same amount of time in the gym can deliver sub-par results at that decade in your life.

How do you find out if you’re deficient?

Unfortunately, the symptoms for low GH are pretty similar to a middle-aged guy feeling depressed and fighting against time’s effect on his body: physically, you’ll lose lean muscle mass, gain fat around the middle, have aching bones and joints, and feel a strong need to sleep during the day. Your hair will thin, and skin will sag. Psychologically, you’ll feel more irritable, less motivated, more inclined to avoid social situations, more tense, and more easily stressed. You might experience a lack of libido or a worse memory. In addition to these symptoms, Kominiarek adds, any issues with heart disease or high cholesterol can also be a further red flag for deficiency.
Sound eerily familiar? Ask your doc to run a test. After all, GH deficiencies in adults have been linked with cardiovascular, neuromuscular, metabolic, and skeletal abnormalities, as well as earlier death, according to a study in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism—so it’s definitely worth checking out. But remember, it’s unlikely that you have a severe case—and there are plenty of other factors that can make you feel all-around crappy.
Because growth hormone has a very short half-life, you’ll want test for other related issues too—potentially insulin tolerance, arginine levels, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and IGF-binding protein 3 (IGF-BP3). “Ideally we want a guy’s level to be around 300 at any age—that’s the healthy youthful level,” Kominiarek adds.

Do you have to be deficient to take a supplement?

The only way to obtain a safe supply of synthetic growth hormone is with a prescription from your doctor, and they’re not going to write you a ‘script unless your tested levels say you need it.
Yes, you can score the stuff on the black market without your doctor’s help. In fact, both Kominiarek and Samson say they’ve had patients admit to taking GH obtained illegally, typically online from places like China.
One really important note: Because GH is a peptide, it must be injected to have any effect. Any GH packaged in pills or creams are 100% scams. And we can all probably agree the risk of injecting yourself with a substance you bought online probably isn’t worth whatever potential gains you’re hoping for—so put the sketchy needle down, dude.

What are the benefits and risks from taking HGH?

“FDA-approved synthetic growth hormone is identical to naturally-produced growth hormone,” Samson says. “It behaves the same and is just as safe.”
People with clinical deficiencies, in general, see great benefits from receiving supplementation. “There’s a synergistic effect to getting your levels of the master hormone on track—you’ll see a benefit across so many hormones and therefore have a higher quality of life,” says Kominiarek. That comes in the form of physical improvements (better muscle mass, less fat retention around the abdomen, healthier bone density) as well as psychological (less irritability, less social isolation, more motivation).
But can healthy people score these perks by loading up, too? That’s where it gets tricky.
For starters, there is slim-to-zero research on what happens when guys with already healthy levels start taking extra GH.
We do know that if you boost too much, you risk acromegaly—the clinical disorder of having too much growth hormone in the body. Acromegaly causes a thickening of the bones in the jaw, forehead, and hands—your hands start to look like lobster claws, your forehead protrudes out like a caveman. This is sometimes seen in the bodybuilding community, and what has given GH a bad rap, Kominiarek points out. “It’s normally taken in large doses alongside anabolic steroids, among other things,” he adds. But that’s after years of overuse, Kominiarek adds. “Taking normal levels—one, two, three units—you’ll only see the positives, and any minimal side effects, like swelling of the ankles, muscles aches, bone aches, can be mitigated by reducing your dosage.”
As for long-term health effects of just-above-healthy levels of GH, the science is sparse. What studies do exist pretty much contradict one another. Some say decreased GH levels are detrimental to longevity. Others say high levels are what shortens your lifespan.
And even though GH has a reputation for supercharging your gym gains, it may not actually be the muscle potion you imagine. Researchers at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose conducted a meta-analysis on studies with non-deficient athletes, 85 percent of whom were male. After receiving growth hormone injections for 20 days, the athletes gained almost five pounds of lean body mass. While that’s a good bit of muscle to pack on in just three weeks, it didn’t actually make the guys stronger or more fit. In fact, in two of the three studies, non-deficient men taking hormone replacements had higher lactate levels during exercise, suggesting taking the hormone unnecessarily could actually decrease your physical fitness.

Is it worth getting tested?

Sure, if you want to.
But there’s an even bigger roadblock if you qualify for low GH: Synthetic growth hormone is really, really expensive. It’s often not covered by insurance, so guys who have a ‘script for the stuff are shelling out at least $600 a month, and probably closer to $1,000. So yeah, it might deliver slight gains in muscle, reduction in fat, and a significant boost to your well-being (albeit along with potential long-term detriment)—but you’re going to be paying out the ass for the vial.

What can you do without a prescription?

A cheaper and guaranteed safer bet? Boost your levels naturally. Whereas there is potential risk in too much artificial GH when you’re not deficient, boost production naturally and you can trust your system will balance it. “Our bodies knows how to regulate to keep things in control,” Samson adds. Here are a few ways to boost your HGH naturally:
1. Score better sleep
“Good sleep hygiene is crucial since sleep is when you secrete the highest amount of growth hormone,” Kominiarek explains. The power is really in slow-wave sleep, since roughly 70 percent of the GH pulses in men occur during this stage, according to a study in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. That means you need to minimize habits that are thwarting your body’s ability to enter the stage of deep sleep, like screen time before bed, caffeine too late in the day, and these 7 Ways You’re Destroying Your Sleep Cycle.
2. Log more cardio
The absolute best way to boost your growth hormone levels naturally is exercise, says Samson. “Growth hormone is often called the fountain of youth, and I can spot an older person who exercises regularly from across the room. It’s not just that they are more toned and at a healthy weight, but they actually look younger, their skin is healthier—all because growth hormone affects how you age,” she adds.
But wherein most guys head to the weight rack to build muscle, it’s really aerobic exercise that delivers a boost in the hormone, according to a study in Sports Medicine. Most effective is repeated bouts of aerobic exercise within 24-hours, the researchers say, so hitting the gym in the morning and taking a walk or bike ride at night.
3. Stop eating crap
Remember, your goal is essentially hormone optimization. A major factor in off-balance hormones? A diet of junk food. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before: “Eat healthy—lean proteins, plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like nuts—and stay away from processed foods,” Kominiarek says. Clean it up.
4. Get all your levels tested.
Your hormones are all connected, so if other hormones are in check, your body will make more growth hormone, Kominiarek points out. “If a guy’s GH is low, I’ll check his testosterone and DHEA, and typically these are below ideal as well. Since these are easier to boost than GH, I might start here. Upping these two can boost production of GH by default,” he explains.
Want to find out more? Check out the NICK RANA FITNESS     



Want more?

Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest adventures, workouts, destinations, and more.
https://www.nickfitness.co.in/
https://www.instagram.com/nickrana1993

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Build Muscle and Burn More Fat 20-Minute Workout | NICK RANA

It would be great if we could all spend a full hour in the gym each day. Then again, it would be great if our bosses would stop with the last-minute assignments, if there was no rush-hour traffic, and if you didn't just waste 15 minutes of your potential gym time watching YouTube fitness fail videos. The American Heart Association and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services both recommend Americans get at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. But the truth is that just 20 minutes can be just as good — especially if you really turn up the intensity. "If you're going to gain any recognizable training benefit, short workouts have to be hard workouts, and really short workouts have to be really hard," says Chad Timmerman, a USA Cycling Level 1 certified coach with more than 25 years of racing experience. Get ready to hurt. These seven 20-minute workouts will burn calories, build muscle, and eliminate any excuses about being too busy to get in shape.
T…

10 Ways to Build Muscle Faster | Nick Rana

Seeing new and faster gains Opens in New Windowdoesn’t always require getting on a drastically different workout plan or following an ultra-scientific diet.


Small changes can add up to major results. Start making the following tweaks and build muscle faster.

1. Set strength goals Rather than focusing strictly on gaining “X” pounds of muscle—which may or may not be doable in a given period of time—work on getting stronger. Increasing strength improves your body’s ability to recruit muscle fibers, particularly the ones that make the biggest difference in the way your physique looks. Training for strength also makes your goals more tangible and concrete. If you shoot to hit certain numbers on your lifts and then meet them, you’ll see your muscles respond Opens in New Windowalong the way. Choose three exercises you want to see improvement on: one upper-body push (such as the bench press), one upper-body pull (like the chinup), and one lower-body exercise (try the deadlift), then get to wor…

How Much Body Fat You Need to Lose to Uncover Your Abs | NICK RANA

Overall muscle definition is the sign of true health and fitness—but a six pack is the blue ribbon of weight room achievements. Even worse news: You can’t spot-reduce body fat. That means your only path to revealing your washboard is to reduce overall body fat, Jordan explains. The lower your number, the higher the likelihood of a drool-worthy stomach. Even though 18 to 24% is considered healthy by the American Council on Exercise, your abdominals are but a shadow at this number, says ACSM Health Fitness Instructor Jim White, R.D., owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach. Cut it down to 15% and you’ll start to see the upper two abs, but the bottom probably won’t be coming in as much. Trim off just two or three percent from there, and bam—your hard-earned six pack has stepped up from understudy to lead role. “If you’re anywhere from 6 to 13% body fat, you definitely have a six pack—in addition to being totally ripped,” White says. However, a small percentage …

The Miracle of the 12-Hour Fast | Nick Rana

The Miracle of the 12-Hour Fast
Going at least 12 hours without eating has pretty amazing weight-loss benefits, a new Salk Institute study has found. Groups of mice on various diets (normal food or food high in sugar/fat) were either allowed to eat around the clock or forced to fast 12 hours a night. Result: Mice that fasted at least 12 hours gained less weight overall than mice that were fed the same type and amount of food but had the run of the feed through all 24 hours. Even when the fasters got free “weekend passes” to gorge anytime, in the end they still put on fewer pounds (OK, grams) than the nonstop nibblers. And when non-fasting obese mice were put on the 12-hour fast, they dropped 5% of their body weight—though they were eating the same calories! 12 “Zero-Belly” Recipes >>>Opens in New Window The researchers, who hope to conduct human trials soon, theorize that overnight fasting makes the body switch from burning food to burning fat. Intermittent-fasting expert Mark …

The Best Types of Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss | NICK RANA

If you’re like most guys, you do cardioOpens a New Window. to help you stay leanOpens a New Window. and show off the muscle gainsOpens a New Window. you get from hitting the weights, aka “the usual workout routine.” And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But when it comes to which type of cardio is best for burning fat, you have to decide which lean body type you’re going for. “If you train like a distance runner, you’ll get a distance runner’s body: little muscle, very lean from lots of miles logged at relatively slower paces,”  “If you train like a sprinter—short, high-intensity workouts—you’ll get a sprinter’s body with muscle growth and fat loss.” Here’s something we can all agree on: Intensity is paramount. As intensity rises, more calories get burned. That’s why high-intensity interval workouts are a great choice for getting shredded while maintaining (or even gaining) muscle. Here are the expert-approved top 10 types of cardio to help you lose weight faster and show r…

Do pre workout Meditation and Breathing | Nick Rana

You’ve got an hour at the gym, but instead of focusing on repsOpens in a new Window., your brain is grinding on that big work project or a tiff with your partner. Your inclination may be to pick a workout so hard that the discomfort will drown out the noise. But there’s another antidote: meditation and mindfulness. These practices aren’t new to sports. “Pro athletes know the power of pregame routines,” says Corey Phelps, a Washington, D.C.Opens in a new Window.–based trainer who does meditation with clients.  Tons of research touts meditation, and some specifically center on athletics. A study involving junior elites in NorwayOpens in a new Window. found that after 12 weeks of consistent mindfulness practices, athletes had better focus, performance, and recovery. And University of Miami football players who meditated 12 minutes a day for a month had improved concentration. Plus, distance runners doing a mindfulness regime showed higher self-confidence and lower anxiety before a big r…

Get More Muscle Without The Fat Nick Rana

It’s an endless cycle for some guys: Turn into a garbage disposal to bulk up, then crash diet to burn the belly fatOpens in a new Window. and reveal those hard-earned abs. Needless to say, that’s probably not the best way to go about changing your physique. (Also: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.)
We’ll never call it easy, but it’s definitely possible to get strong and stay cut with the right balance of macros, nutrients, and training.  Get More Muscle Without The Fat-NICK RANA
1. Increase your calories-Nick Rana “You can’t gain muscle or weight if you continue to be in a caloric deficit,” says Nick. “You need to take in more calories on a daily or at least weekly basis.” (Most guys, especially those new to the weight room, mess this part up.) A good estimate of how many calories you should be consuming is to take your body weight and multiply it by 16. (For example: 200 pounds x 16 = 3,200 calories.) If you don’t see any gains after two weeks, try increasing your calories by 200 p…

The Benefits of Infrequently Fasting | Nick Rana

The Benefits of Infrequently Fasting | Nick Rana By now, everyone’s heard about the life-extending benefits of caloric restriction. Lab results show that drastically cutting food intake can nearly double longevity in rodents, worms, and flies, and a massive 20-year study on rhesus monkeys, a species closely related to humans, found that the benefits of the diet seem to be universal: a resistance to cancer, heart disease, and age-related cognitive decline. There’s even a Calorie Restriction Society InternationalOpens in a new Window., with thousands of members who live off roughly 30 percent fewer calories than the number recommended by conventional medicine. The downside, of course – and it’s a big one – is, who wants to live a life of deprivation? But what if there were a shortcut? What if you could get the benefits of calorie restriction without the same degree of sacrifice? Many people now believe you can. The idea is called intermittent fasting (IF), and it’s becoming the diet du …

The Best Moves To Lose your Love Handles Belly Fat With These 10 Fat-Burning Exercises | Nick Rana

The Best Moves To Crush  your Love Handles Belly Fat With These 10 Fat-                                           Burning Exercises | Nick Rana

You’ve tried situps, cardio, and dumbbell side bends, but nothing seems to get rid of that stubborn belly fat on your sides. Sound familiar? It might be time to change up your gym routine—or start a new one. Commonly called “love handles or tyre,” that belly fat collecting around your torso is a key indicator of poor overall health. To get the best moves for a slim torso,10 exercises to shed love handles. "This workout is effective because it's fast paced and designed to target both the rectus abdominals and the transverse abdominals," he says. "To burn fat, you must do more then just crunches and situps; you need to recruit your entire body to enter a thermogenic state that leads to an accelerated rate of fat loss." Complete your dream physique with these 10 moves that will carve up your core fast. DIRECTIONS Vinod Ran…