Finals are (finally) over! I can now write and share a little more from now on, or until next semester starts. I can also start back in the kitchen, experimenting and testing new recipes. Today I will also be starting the holiday recipe kick off. Be sure to share with me your recipes too!
Anti-aging is a very interesting subject for me, and I have been studying many of the research I come across which delves into the matter of decreasing the signs and symptoms of aging, while increasing energy and vitality and keeping the body lean, fit and healthy. The main hormone that seems to be involved with slowing the down the aging process is human growth hormone. This hormone brings to mind steroid hormones (which it is) that is injected into athletes illegally for strength, endurance and muscle building. Although this can be done, growth hormone is mainly a naturally occuring hormone secreted from the anterior pituitary gland, which lies in the middle of the brain (thank you Anatomy and Physiology).
There are other important hormones needed for the maintenance of the human body, but human growth hormone seems to be a powerful aspect in providing vitality and youthfullness to a human being. This, along with diet, exercise and emotional managing techniques can provide a heck of a punch when it comes to improving your quality of health. As we age this hormone secretes less and less, so it is important to know how to increase its levels naturally and effectively.
First Off, What is Human Growth Hormone?
It is sometimes associated with (or almost always) athletes and bodybuilders who want to build muscle. Human growth hormone, or HGH, is also given to children and adolescents who have missed out on their full growth potential due to malfunctioning of hormonal secretion in the pituitary. Scroll down to read my comments and opinions about supplementing with HGH.
HGH, which you may also hear as being called somatotropin, is an anabolic steroid and protein hormone which aids in proper growth and maintenance of bones, tissues and organs. This hormone decreases after the age of 30, making it crucial for those in this age to find ways of naturally increasing and maintaining healthy levels in the body. (Go lower to read how to produce natural growth hormone.)
Human Growth Hormone Fights Aging
One of the first studies showing the effects of HGH therapy on older individuals was published in the American Journal of Medicine. This study pointed to older individuals being able to decrease their body mass index and become leaner through supplementing with recombinant human growth hormone (more on this below…). Critics point to the relatively small improvements of and reductions of weight, but they were nevertheless significant.
Organs in the body also decrease in size as it ages, yet studies have shown that HGH can restore vital organs back to original size. Organs like the liver, heart and even bone are stimulated for growth because HGH helps grow and build new cells. Natural human growth hormone also stimulates the production of osteoblasts, or bone building cells, making it a hormone one would like to keep functioning properly during childhood and older ages to protect bone health.
This study, like many others, show that human growth hormone also increases the elasticity of the skin, and may help stop, fight or even reverse wrinkles. Since HGH decreases as age increases, it makes sense that there should be a correlation between the signs of aging and the hormone; however, a simple deduction like this can lead one to ignore other factors, like a decrease in nutritional quality and choice of food, lack of exercises, environmental factors and more.
Should You Supplement with HGH?
Our bodies did not evolve to use supplements in any form, and it is very unnatural to take in artificial growth hormone (recombinant growth hormone) which was manufactured in a lab rather than your own body. Besides, research points out that human growth hormone side effects can lead to insulin insensitivity and diabetes in the majority of those who supplemented. There are also studies which go the opposite way, saying that it either improved their insulin sensitivity or had no direct impact at all. A subject that has too many opposing sides makes me want to stay away from it until they have a definite and concrete answer to their claims.
Ways to naturally increase Human Growth Hormone
It isn’t proven that increasing HGH is necessarily a fountain of youth, but I am holding it as a component in my anti-aging, beauty promoting program (guys do like promoting beauty–I’m just one of the brave ones that admit this!). I will not be supplementing with HGH; rather, I will be…
Getting plenty of deep, restful sleep. Many humans, especially during middle age or older, do not get enough sleep to help repair and restore their bodies and their minds. Even if they do get to sleep for the recommended eight hours every night (most researchers have settled on this dandy little number), it doesn’t necessarily mean they are delving into a deep, delta state of sleep.
Our brains switch through different brain waves when we relax and sleep. From theta, which is a relaxing, dreamful state, we can go down to delta, which is considered deep sleep. This is a soundless, dreamless state of sleep where our bodies performs the most healing and rejuvenation, all because this is the state that our pituitary gland releases growth hormone. Not getting to this state every night could be one reason why aging occurs to those who have stressful jobs or lives that keep them from resting fully.
The best way to get a great night’s rest is to plan out your time accordingly. I try to get at least 8 hours of sleep not matter what. Life happens sometimes (like during finals week–eek!), and we can’t always sleep as long as we want to. Sometimes we might have emotional difficuluties in getting to sleep. This is where I would recommend dealing with your emotions straight on and releasing them so you can become free. The best techniques I know is through EFT (emotional freedom technique) and self-hypnosis.
Exercising is a fantastic way to feel young, energized and alive! It’s also a great way to stimulate human growth hormone. One of the best types of exercise that brings up your metabolism and your healing, youthful hormones is interval cardio. You will burn more fat in a shorter amount of time, and you will be flooding your body with natural HGH. Some yoga postures are also considered to be good for stimulating HGH release. Inversions (like a handstand) are theorized to stimulate the pituitary gland through active blood flow toward the brain.
Darin Steen Explains the Health Benefits of Interval Cardio
Your diet can also make or break your efforts to secrete human growth hormone. Sugar will shut down your production of this hormone, making it an important culprit to minimize (or in my opinion, cut out completely) from your diet. Most of you are already far beyond this step in your life, and that is so good! Keep it up, because you are helping to keep yourself looking younger and more radiant! Eating any form of sugar after performing exercise will ensure an immediate cease on your HGH production.
Stress can hamper your immune system and can also perform a halting action on your growth hormone production. Some studies have shown that stress can increase growth hormone in males, but stress is a substance that isn’t needed by the body for long periods of time anyway, as it can quickly degenerate a state of health. It is OK to have stress at appropriate times, but when it becomes a chronic problem it may hinder the pituitary’s secreting actions of growth hormone and will make the body sick. As I said earlier, practice EFT, self-hypnosis or meditation techniques. They really work! They will also help you get to the core of your stress.
I am thinking about dedicating an entire week to anti-aging on this blog after the Christmas holiday. Starting Sunday, December 19th, I will be posting holiday recipes leading up to Christmas Eve. Stay tuned! If you have any good recipes of your own, please feel free to post your link in the comments section below. Also let me know if you have anything you would like me to make or “recreate” into a healthier version. I will be in the kitchen all week!
This is The Healthy Advocate.