While growth hormone deficiency is generally associated with young children, healthy adults can experience a decline in growth hormone production as they age. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor levels were lower in 61- to 81-year-old men than in adult males younger than 30. The study suggested that the elderly adults may benefit from "growth hormone administration to the body."
Synthetic human growth hormone replacement therapy can be expensive and potentially dangerous. Many adults may wish to seek natural HGH alternatives before injecting growth hormone on a daily basis. Consult a doctor before taking any nutritional supplements or making changes to your diet.
L-glutamine supplementation is a natural HGH alternative. In a 1995 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists found that glutamine raised plasma growth hormone levels. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and is available as a dietary supplement in powder and pills form. Dietary sources of L-glutamine are beef, chicken, fish, dairy products, beets and spinach.
Regular, uninterrupted sleeping patterns are perhaps the most natural of HGH alternatives. According to Life Extension Magazine, the majority of growth hormone release occurs during "slow-wave" sleep. Poor sleeping habits significantly decrease growth hormone secretion. It is suggested to avoid caffeine and alcohol before sleep and to try to keep regular sleeping and waking hours. Normal circadian rhythms can be critical to optimizing natural growth hormone release.
Exercise is another natural HGH alternative, not to mention the other numerous health benefits physical fitness has. Bodybuilding.com states that the two biggest factors on growth hormone release are: sleep and exercise. Both resistance training and endurance training can naturally raise HGH levels. A study published in the English Journal of Sports Medicine concluded that trainees who lifted heavier weights for less repetitions, taking less time between sets, exhibited the greatest amount of growth hormone release. It is thought that heavier weight loads require a greater number of muscle fibers, resulting in an increased level of growth hormone secretion. This study also found that intense cardiovascular exercise of 10 minutes performed several times a day released a greater amount of growth hormone than endurance exercise performed over a longer duration.
- New England Journal of Medicine: Growth Hormone for the Elderly?
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Increased Plasma Bicarbonate and Growth Hormone After an Oral Glutamine Load
- Life Extension Magazine: Increasing Growth Hormone Naturally
- Bodybuilding.com: Human Growth Hormone
- Pub Med: The Exercise-induced Growth Hormone Response in Athletes