What is HGH
At a glance: HGH - human growth hormone
HGH, also known as somatotropin, is the 191-amino acid human growth hormone. Secreted by the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland, the growth hormone of huge importance in human development, thus, it participates in many processes in the human body throughout life. It is responsible for bone and muscle growth, fat burning and skin regeneration. It also helps a human body to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats. There’re more than 100 forms of naturally occurring HGH hormone and 20 types of amino acids that the hormone’s molecule consists of.
Its synthetic form called rHGH (recombinant human growth hormone), synthesized in E.coli that facilitates final purification, was introduced in 1985. One of its forms existing in the pituitary gland – 22-kDa isoform – amounts to 20% of all HGH produced in the body.
This protein hormone is synthesized and secreted (different processes, aren’t designed to coincide) by somatotrophs – the cells in the anterior pituitary. HGH production is modulated by a number of factors, but its level normally remains the same all day long while the levels of its secretion, on the opposite, constantly change, being regulated by somatoliberin (growth-hormone-releasing hormone) and somatostatin (growth hormone-inhibiting hormone), both secreted by hypothalamus. Thus, the former stimulates the secretion of HGH, while the latter inhibits it. Their levels change throughout the day, thus enabling HGH secretion into the bloodstream.
How HGH works
HGH has two ways to influence the body: it either does it on its own or through the somatomedins, the proteins produced by the liver: IGF-1, IGF-2 and Vitronectin.
IGF-1, also known as somatomedin C, stimulates the growth of a variety of tissues (including muscle tissue), as well as facilitates fat loss, promotes bone growth and helps to heal the injuries. Its production site and a major target organ is a liver, but it is also produced (less intensively) in the target tissues.
IGF-2 is structurally similar to insulin, secreted y the liver. It enables cell division, including muscle and bone cells. According to the research , local injections of IGF-2 can stimulate the development of the bones.
Vitronectin isn’t under-explored so far. At the moment, it’s believed that it potentially has anabolic functions.
HGH itself impacts the body as well. For example, it increases metabolic velocity (REE) by 20%, what makes it useful for weight loss .
The effects of HGH
Prevents catabolism (the breakdown of amino acids and proteins);
Boosts synthesis of muscle protein, thus making the muscles grow;
Boosts the FFA (free fatty acids) levels and bone mineral density;
Speeds up synthesis of collagen and elastin, helping to heal cartilage and improve skin;
Strengthens the immune and cardiovascular systems;
Lowers cholesterol levels.
HGH secretion dynamics
The hormone secretion occurs every 3-5 hours, amounting from 1 up to 5-10 ng/ml and peaking in the beginning of the night (70% of its daily amount are released at this time).
HGH level declines with age. The HGH levels peak during puberty (2 mg - about 6 IU - of HGH per day) and begin to dramatically decline after the age of 30: that’s when many people are likely to experience the first symptoms of GH deficiency. The hormone levels decrease to 0,2 mg in the early forties. Changes in HGH levels with age impact the appearance, reflecting in muscle mass loss, weight gain and development of wrinkles.
Ways to increase your HGH
It is important to sleep well because HGH peaks during the first four hours of sleep.
Stable sleep schedule is a must. Go to the bed and wake up at the same time daily to help your body in general and your pituitary in particular to improve their performance.
Go to bed before midnight. The best time for falling asleep is 10-11 PM, otherwise, GH secretion won’t be that effective. A few examples: if you fall asleep at 10 PM, your HGH will reach its peak of as much of about 30 ng/ml instead of just 10 if you go to sleep at 3 AM.
Sleep continuously. Even if the interruptions are short, they impede HGH secretion.
Having a nap during the daytime is a good option
Your bed should only be for sleeping. Say no to reading in bed, listening to music, surfing the Internet and etc to create a right sleep environment. Your bed should only be a place for rest: this will help you to drift off quickly and sleep better.
Choose total darkness. Sleeping when it’s dark has always been a natural part of human life. Exposure to light kills melatonin, the hormone of sleep, also known as “the darkness hormone”. Keep your room as dark as possible when you sleep if you want to improve your sleeping.
Right foods before bad are one of the key factors to good sleeping, and sweet or fatty foods aren’t the list of things to eat before going to bed. Sugar enables insulin production, thus inhibiting HGH secretion. The same goes for fatty foods.
HGH response to resistance exercises
The effect of exercise on GH secretion has been widely researched. Kraemer and Godfrey [7,10] explored the response of HGH to heavy-resistance exercise through several experiments. They focused on such factors as the lifted weight, the number and duration of sets, real time between sets.
Basing on the results of their work, here’re the main training principles for GH secretion increase.
Compound exercises provoke more intense HGH secretion than isolation ones;
High volume training helps to achieve better results than low volume training. Increase the number of sets and make the pauses shorter, doing 40-50 sets within 1 – 1,5 hrs is good for HGH secretion.
Avoid eating carbs while HGH level is high (for 30 minutes after you have finished training).
HGH response to aerobic
W.M. Hunter  held an experiment to prove that aerobic exercises are able to boost HGH secretion up to 40- 100 ng/ml (see the picture) – 8-20x more than the average daytime level! The reason lies in the high level of fat acids in the body during the aerobic workout: the pituitary has to secrete more growth hormone to get rid of the fatty acids.
Let us list several methods to boost HGH secretion:
An aerobic workout should last for 1 hour: that’s when most of HGH is released.
No carbs within an hour before an aerobic workout.
Eating foods rich in protein before an aerobic workout can help to increase HGH level, but harden fat burning at the same time.
The best time for an aerobic workout is the morning when blood sugar level is low.
Forms of HGH
Pills and capsules. Of course, it’s not HGH itself, otherwise, it would be destroyed in the stomach and wouldn’t produce any effect. These are secretagogues that help the body to produce HGH on its own. As a rule, such ingredients like ornithine, arginine and other amino acids are used to increase HGH levels. The product price is usually 5-10x higher than the real price of its ingredients.
HGH sprays and patches. The same goes for the sprays and patches, the differences are the way to use them and the prices. The HGH sprays are used sublingually, meaning that you have to spray under your tongue, so that the capillaries could absorb the substance into the bloodstream. The sprays are even more expensive than the pills. As for HGH patches, it’s not clear how they work and they are very likely to be just scam.
HGH injections. The only form you can find real growth hormone in. Subcutaneous injections are more effective than intramuscular ones. rHGH is similar to natural human growth hormone, but it has bacterial residue. If it isn’t purified properly, it can cause an immune response.
HGH use cases
Initially, rHGH was synthesized to treat children with HGH deficiency, but now it has more ways to use, including anti-aging therapy and sports.
HGH rapidly gained popularity among bodybuilders due to its anabolic effects, such as the facilitation of muscle growth and fat burning.
Bodybuilders should use it for at least 2-3 months to achieve significant results. The dosage depends on such factors as the purpose, the athlete’s weight and his or her experience, usually it varies between 4 and 20 ius. Good fat burning effect is already achievable at the level of 4-8 ius, but muscle growth requires 10ius per day and more.
HGH half-life period is 4-6 hours, thus, an athlete needs 3 injections per day, the pauses between injections should be equal. The first injection should be made in the morning, the next one should follow 6 hours later.