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Human Growth Hormone: Everything You Should Know

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Human growth hormone is the naturally occurring hormone that the pituitary gland secretes.

The hormone is beneficial for the growth and development of children, adolescents, and adults.

It helps to maintain normal body structure and keeps the metabolism in equilibrium for both children and adults.

In this article, you will learn what is this hormone, why is it important for the human body, and what happens if the body is in a deficit of this hormone.

What Is Human Growth Hormone?

It is a hormone that the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland secretes and it is also known as somatotropin or human growth hormone.

It promotes the development[1] of every tissue in the body, including your bones.

The somatotrophs (referred to as anterior pituitary cells) that produce and secrete GH, release one or two milligrams of hormone daily.

Growth hormone is extremely essential for children’s healthy physical development and its degrees gradually increase throughout childhood and reach their peak during the puberty growth spurt.

Triggers Of Human Growth Hormone

Throughout the day, your pituitary gland typically releases HGH in brief pulses.

The HGH is mainly supervised by two hormones that are released by your hypothalamus: somatostatin which prevents HGH release and growth hormone-releasing hormone (GnRH).

The human growth hormone is controlled by several other endocrine[2] hormones such as IGF-1 (i.e., Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) Thyroxine, glucocorticoids, and ghrelin.

While on one hand, these increase the release of hGH, the IGF-1 is a significant[3] suppressor of GH synthesis.

IGF-1 is essential in stopping the production of HGH through the stimulation of somatostatin and the prevention of GHRH release. 

However, the mechanism results in a feedback loop between the secretion of IGF-1 and HGH, with the latter preventing HGH release.

In healthy individuals, hyperglycemia or high blood sugar prevents HGH secretion while hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, amino acids, and exercise enhance its secretion.

Functions Of Human Growth Hormone

Human growth hormone primarily affects metabolism and stimulates growth and development, particularly in youngsters.

  • Growth

    Almost all of your body’s tissues and organs begin to expand when the human growth hormone is present.

    However, it is well known for its role in encouraging[4] bone and cartilage formation, particularly in an adolescent during puberty.

    HGH sends signals to the chondrocyte and osteoblast cells in bones and cartilage to boost replication and promote size growth.

    When a child’s growth plates have fused, it no longer HGH makes them taller. Instead, he supports preserving your body’s regular structure for the remainder of your life.

  • Metabolism

    The chemical processes in your body known as metabolism convert the food you eat into energy.

    Your body’s cells require energy to operate properly. Metabolism entails several intricate mechanisms.

    The main way that HGH affects metabolism is by boosting the body’s production of IGF-1.

    It is a hormone with a structure resembling that of insulin that supervises the impact of human growth hormone in your body.

    Your pancreas produces insulin, a necessary hormone that lowers your blood sugar and also plays a significant role in regulating sugar, as per research[5].

    The carbohydrates in the food you eat provide you with glucose. This sugar gives your body’s organs, muscles, and nervous system nutrition and serves as a significant energy source.

    Insulin and glucagon are two of the primary hormones that our pancreas produces for boosting our blood glucose levels when it is too low or too high.

    The study[6] shows that the effects of insulin can be countered by other hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline).

    Although much HGH in the body can negate the effects of insulin and cause raised blood glucose levels, HGH generally raises blood glucose levels.

Does Human Growth Hormone Make You Taller?

The vertical growth of children is accelerated[7] by the human growth hormone. However, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) cannot increase your height after your growth plates have fused.

Instead, HGH maintains the body structure after you reach your ultimate height. Moreover, it also has a significant impact on your metabolism.

Normal Level Of Human Growth Hormone

Pulses of HGH are released by your pituitary gland. The size and length of the pulses change depending on the time of day, age, and sex.

As a result, random HGH measurements are rarely helpful to medical professionals in supporting or disproving a diagnosis.

Instead, HGH levels are evaluated based on a suppression or stimulation test. The usual range[8] for HGH values often includes:

  • For male adults: 18-44 (pmol/L) or 0.4-10 (ng/mL)
  • For female adults: 44 to 616 (pmol/L) or 1 to 14 (ng/mL)
  • For children: 440 to 2200 (pmol/L), 10 to 50 (ng/mL)

Growth Hormone Deficiency

Due to damage to the pituitary gland, one, many, or all of the hormones of the gland may start to function abnormally which may impact[9] the human growth hormone or HGH.

However, adults and children may respond differently to growth hormone insufficiency.

Moreover, it can also be developed from an absence of the pituitary gland from birth, genetic abnormalities, and even brain trauma.

Even sometimes there may be no obvious cause behind that deficiency of growth hormone.

Again, lower levels of other hormones could be occasionally linked to growth hormone deficiency. The hormones like –

  • Vasopressin that regulates the body’s production of water
  • Gonadotropins that regulate the production of male and female sex hormones
  • Thyrotropin which regulates the production of thyroid hormones
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone

Symptoms Of Growth Hormone Deficiency

The following are the symptoms of growth hormone deficiency:

  • Delayed Growth or complete absence of growth
  • Shortened height (below the fifth percentile compared to children of the same age)
  • Headaches
  • Absence of or delayed sexual maturation
  • Growth Hormone Deficiency and other pituitary co-morbidities
  • Sexual maturation is absent or delayed during adolescence
  • Increased frequency in urine production
  • A tiny percentage of children with GHD may have facial deformities, which are typically brought on by pituitary problems.
  • Extreme thirst

Excessive Production of Growth Hormone

Acromegaly is a hormonal disorder[10] that happens when your pituitary gland overproduces growth hormone as an adult and affects just the bones in your hands, feet, and face.

Too much growth hormone results in bone enlargement. It is also known as gigantism in children and it causes a rise in height as an adult.

Acromegaly is a rare disorder, and it takes time to perform a correct diagnosis because the physical changes take place gradually over the years.

If left untreated, it can heavily impact the bones along with the other body parts. Serious health issues may arise along with life-threatening ones.

However, treatment is reliable and it can greatly improve the symptoms, including the growth of your features, and lower your chance of issues.

Ways To Boost Human Growth Hormone

  1. Reduce Body Fat

    Your HGH production is strongly correlated[11] with how much belly fat you have. Hence, you need to shred all the extra pounds in your weight.

  2. Fasting

    Fasting causes a significant rise[12] in HGH levels. Continuous fasting, however, cannot be maintained over time.

    A more well-liked dietary strategy that restricts eating to short periods is intermittent fasting. It is best to practice intermittent fasting by utilizing effective strategies.

    A daily eight-hour eating window followed by a sixteen-hour fast is one popular strategy.

  3. Utilizing Arginine Supplement

    Arginine may increase resting HGH by 100% but when taken in combination with exercise it could increase the HGH level to 300%-500% as shown in the study[13].

  4. Limiting Sugar Consumption

    Lower HGH levels are related to higher insulin levels. Cutting less on refined carbohydrates and sugar may assist to maintain[14] optimal levels of growth hormone.

    A balanced diet is what you should strive for because it has got a big impact on your hormones, general health, and body composition.

  5. Eating Less Before Going To Bed

    HGH is a hormone that your body naturally releases in large numbers, particularly during the night.

    Since most meals raise insulin levels, several doctors advise against eating anything right before night.

  6. GABA Dietary Supplement

    The non-protein amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA transmits impulses throughout your brain as a neurotransmitter.

    It is frequently used to promote sleep because it is a well-known relaxing agent for your central nervous system and unexpectedly it could also aid[15] in raising your human growth hormone levels.

  7. Intense Physical Activity

    Exercise could help you to increase[16] your HGH levels. The rise is influenced by the type of activity you are performing, the amount of effort, the timing of your meals, and your body’s natural traits.

    For enhancing fat loss and boosting growth hormone levels, you can engage in sprints, weight training, or circuit training.

  8. Improve Your Sleep

    When you sleep, the majority of human growth hormone is released[17] in pulses, and then the pulses get dependent either on the internal clock of your body, or circadian rhythm.

    Before midnight, the biggest pulses happen, while some larger ones happen in the early morning.

  9. Add Melatonin To Your Diet

    A hormone called melatonin is crucial for controlling blood pressure and sleep.

    Supplemental melatonin has gained popularity as a sleep remedy that can lengthen and improve the quality of your slumber.

    While getting enough sleep may raise HGH levels on its own, additional study[18] has revealed that melatonin supplements can increase the production of HGH.

Conclusion

Finally, we have seen that the pituitary gland secretes HGH, which is a hormone already present in the body naturally.

It plays a lot of crucial roles which include maintaining the body’s metabolism, muscular mass, and growth.

The further possible benefits of HGH are improved bone health, wound healing, and improved learning and memory.

We have also observed how we can increase the human growth hormone by utilizing some natural ways.

However, before consuming any supplements or making any lifestyle changes, it is better to consult a medical professional.

References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.

  1. Joshua E. Brinkman; Muhammad Ali Tariq; Logan Leavitt; et al. Physiology, Growth Hormone Last Update: May 8, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482141/
  2. Miles Campbell; Ishwarlal Jialal. Physiology, Endocrine Hormones Last Update: October 1, 2021. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538498/
  3. Z Laron Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1): a growth hormone Mol Pathol. 2001 Oct; 54(5): 311–316.doi: 10.1136/mp.54.5.311
  4. Growth hormone Reviewed on: 28-04-2017 Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/growth-hormone
  5. Shin-Hye Kim and Mi-Jung Park. Effects of growth hormone on glucose metabolism and insulin resistance in human Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Sep; 22(3): 145–152.Published online 2017 Sep 28. doi: 10.6065/apem.2017.22.3.145
  6. I Lager The insulin-antagonistic effect of the counterregulatory hormones J Intern Med Suppl. 1991;735:41-7. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2043222/
  7. Juan F Sotos and Naomi J Tokar Growth hormone significantly increases the adult height of children with idiopathic short stature: comparison of subgroups and benefit Int J Pediatr Endocrinol. 2014; 2014(1): 15.Published online 2014 Jul 16. doi: 10.1186/1687-9856-2014-15
  8. Growth hormone test Review Date 1/26/2020 Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003706.htm
  9. J Ayuk and M C Sheppard Growth hormone and its disorders Postgrad Med J. 2006 Jan; 82(963): 24–30.doi: 10.1136/pgmj.2005.036087
  10. Acromegaly Last Reviewed January 2020 Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/acromegaly
  11. K R Kim, S Y Nam, Y D Song, et al. Low-dose growth hormone treatment with diet restriction accelerates body fat loss, exerts anabolic effect and improves growth hormone secretory dysfunction in obese adults Horm Res. 1999;51(2):78-84. doi: 10.1159/000023319. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10352397/
  12. K Y Ho, J D Veldhuis, M L Johnson, et al. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. J Clin Invest. 1988 Apr; 81(4): 968–975.doi: 10.1172/JCI113450
  13. Jill A Kanaley Growth hormone, arginine and exercise Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2008 Jan;11(1):50-4. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3282f2b0ad. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18090659/
  14. T J Merimee, A J Pulkkinen, C E Burton Diet-induced alterations of hGH secretion in man J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1976 May;42(5):931-7. doi: 10.1210/jcem-42-5-931. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/773953/
  15. Michael Powers GABA supplementation and growth hormone response Med Sport Sci. 2012;59:36-46. doi: 10.1159/000341944. Epub 2012 Oct 15. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23075553/
  16. Laurie Wideman, Judy Y Weltman, Mark L Hartman, et al. Growth hormone release during acute and chronic aerobic and resistance exercise: recent findings Sports Med. 2002;32(15):987-1004. doi: 10.2165/00007256-200232150-00003. Available form: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12457419/
  17. J R Davidson, H Moldofsky, and F A Lue Growth hormone and cortisol secretion in relation to sleep and wakefulness. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 1991 Jul; 16(2): 96–102.
  18. R Valcavi, M Zini, G J Maestroni, et al. Melatonin stimulates growth hormone secretion through pathways other than the growth hormone-releasing hormone Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1993 Aug;39(2):193-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.1993.tb01773.x. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8370132/

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