Let’s face it, as we grow older, our body stops functioning with the vim and vigor as it once did –this is normal.
Do you look into the mirror now and notice you have collected some extra fat around your waist or your physique isn’t as built and shredded as it was in your early college years?
These are some of the more visible signs of growth hormone deficiency, depending on your age.
Because human growth hormone (HGH) is involved in fat metabolism, energy production, bone strength, and supple, healthy skin, it’s been receiving quite a bit of media attention.
During an episode of Dr. Oz’s “Super Charge Your Body With Human Growth Hormone,” Dr. Oz explains, “By the time you’ve hit middle age, you have lost 85% of your growth hormone.” A noticeable gasp is heard among the studio audience, to which he adds, “and every year after that, 2% less.”
That said, there is no need to run to the doctor and get poked with expensive synthetic HGH –many researchers still question its efficacy and safety.
What many don’t realize is there are several ways to raise HGH naturally. Below, we will take a look at 5 things you can start doing to increase HGH production; most of which may be done from the comfort of your home.
Get Off the Couch
Exercise is among the most effective activities you can do to markedly increase HGH. Researchers indicate resistance training in particular significantly induces growth hormone response. 
The evidence surrounding exercise-induced HGH response is dependent on load and frequency. So, the more weight and reps you do, the probability of HGH spiking dramatically increases as well.
Compound exercises like deadlifts, barbell bench press, and dips involve muscle fibers from several different muscle groups. These exercises optimize mass gain and strength of secondary muscles. Switch up your exercises daily to give each muscle group a primary and secondary workout.
If you don’t have the means or time necessary to get to the gym, do some compound exercises at home like pushups and squats. Invest in a pull-up bar (around $30.00, but it’s a one-time fee).
The best results are seen when exercise intensity remains above lactate threshold for at least 10 minutes.  This intensity was shown to amplify HGH release at rest for up to 24 hours.
Exercise around 4-5 times a week, but make sure to give yourself a sufficient amount of rest between workouts. This ensures optimal energy for subsequent workouts to push above the threshold and spike HGH secretion.
Shed Those Muffin Tops and Spare Tires
The overweight and obesity epidemic becomes more widespread and out of control with time. According to the 2013 Statistical Fact Sheet by the American Heart Association, among Americans 20 years and older, 154.7 million are overweight or obese. 
Consequently, researchers are discovering obesity may be a reason why HGH levels are lower than normal. Impaired growth hormone secretion as a result of obesity is said to be of a secondary, adaptive nature, “since it is completely reversed by the normalization of body weight.”  Consequently, normalizing weight by shedding spare pounds allows your body to produce healthier HGH amounts.
Along with exercising, eating healthy is another important activity to losing weight. Making healthier eating decisions for snacks and meals speeds weight loss results, gets your body in tip-top shape, and increases HGH secretion.
Try eating plenty of fiber rich foods like fruits and salads, so you fill up on fewer calories. Pears and grapefruits are excellent fiber-rich fruits.
If you need suggestions for a healthy snack without compromising flavor (not all snacks have to be boring), try a 94% fat-free butter popcorn. Most popcorn brands offer it, and it contains as little as 100 calories per 6 cups.
Get Some Adequate Shuteye
Sleep and HGH production have an interesting relationship. Research shows, along with exercise, sleep is among the most powerful, physiological stimuli of HGH. 
One sleep study reveals peak GH secretion was delayed if sleep onset was delayed. Researchers noticed altered hypothalamic activity involved in sleep “results in a major peak of growth hormone secretion unrelated to hypoglycemia or changes in cortisol and insulin secretion.” 
One way to improve sleep quality and stimulate HGH is to establish a normal sleep schedule to obtain 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Of course, sometimes it is difficult to get adequate amount of rest when we are ruled by our errands, work schedule, and day-to-day activities. If you are unable to get a sufficient night’s rest, try to at least take a solid power nap during the day. However, don’t nap to close to bed time or else you may throw off your sleep cycle and end up staying up later than expected.
Also, limit liquid intake before bed, as this results in having to get up to urinate. Nighttime urination may completely interrupt sleep and make it harder to doze off again and get that much needed rest.
Drink Amino Acids
Amino acids like glycine, arginine, and ornithine, as well as others, are able to not only repair muscle damage after intense exercise but also stimulate HGH secretion significantly.
There are several studies analyzing each amino acid’s effects on HGH production.
Arginine supplementation in 250 mg/kg a day for 7 days resulted in a 60% increase in growth hormone during slow wave sleep when compared to the control period. 
Glycine raised growth hormone levels up to 300 – 400% compared to baseline in 19 normal, non-obese test subjects when administered in 6.75 g orally. 
Lastly, ornithine was shown to increase growth hormone up to 4x the baseline level in bodybuilders when administered in 40, 100, and 170 mg/kg. 
Even if you are only able to consume a fraction of the clinical doses, anything is better than nothing. Most protein shakes come packed with several amino acid mixtures. Depending on the brand, you can find an affordable protein pack on Amazon.com or Supplementing.com.
Try Intermittent Fasting
By definition, intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of fasting and non-fasting. This may sound like torture to some, but a study at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Utah suggests otherwise.
Dr. Horne, a member of the research team states, “Fasting causes hunger or stress. In response, the body releases more cholesterol, allowing it to utilize fat as a source of fuel, instead of glucose. This decreases the fat cells in the body.”
Additionally, a 24 hour food fast resulted in an average of 1,300% and 2,000% increase in HGH in women and men, respectively. The fasting effect on HGH protected lean muscle and metabolic balance. 
Fasting for 24 hours may seem daunting at first, so start at smaller. Try an 8 hour fast and see how you fare. If it’s difficult for you, drink water throughout your fast to stay hydrated and perhaps eliminate some of the hunger pangs. Slowly work your way to a 24 hour fast over the following months. Though, be mindful and don’t over-do it. Fasting for excessive amounts over long time periods is dangerous to health.
Mike Jackson is nutritional consultant and freelance writer for eSupplements.com in the field of health and fitness
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 “Statistical Fact Sheet 2013 Update.” American Heart Association. Available from: http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@sop/@smd/documents/downloadable/ucm_319588.pdf
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 Kasai K, Kobayashi M, Shimoda SI. Stimulatory effect of glycine on human growth hormone secretion. Metabolism. 1978;27(2):201-8.
 Bucci L, Hickson JF, Pivarnik JM, Wolinsky I, McMahon JC. Ornithine ingestion and growth hormone release in bodybuilders. Nutr Res. 1990;10:2
 “Study finds routine periodic fasting is good for your health, and your heart.” Intermountain Medical Center. Available from: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2011-04/imc-sfr033111.php
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.