In 1992, an empty bottle of growth hormone was found in the dressing room of the Barcelona Olympics, sparking widespread speculation about the substance’s abuse.
So far, some drugs remain difficult to detect, such as peptide hormones, including erythropoietin (EPO), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and growth hormones.
In fact, growth hormone (hGH, Pfizer Genotropin) is one of the preferred (banned) drugs in most sports, from sprints that focus on bursts to body-building arenas that test muscle tone.
Now, with a lot of money and manpower invested, although there are means to catch drug abusers, but more people are curious about these drugs, so many people obtain them through illegal means.
But growth hormone isn’t an expensive business. Instead, it’s part of our daily routine of exercise and rest.
The natural secretion of growth hormone
In general, athletes can adopt specific training regimens and dietary strategies to optimize their natural growth hormone (hGH) secretion.
HGH is produced in the front of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized organ located just below the brain that produces no fewer than nine different hormones.
These hormones regulate many basic physiological functions, including water and energy balance, reproductive activity, and the work of many other glands in the body.
As the name suggests, growth hormone is largely related to growth and developmental functions.
For centuries, scientists have thought of adolescence as a tipping point after which growth hormone (hGH) has no effect on growth or any other function.
The truth is, however, that growth hormone is involved in many physiological processes throughout life, including the conversion of muscle, bone and collagen, the regulation of fat metabolism and the maintenance of a healthier body later in life.
The presence of growth hormone deficiency, or GHDA, has further revealed the important function of this small hormone.
GHDA patients have relatively low muscle mass, high body fat, are prone to obesity, have an increased risk of heart disease, and are significantly less able to exercise.
Treatment for this condition usually requires regular injections of growth hormone.
The secretion of human growth hormone follows a circadian rhythm that is secreted daily in the form of 6-12 discrete pulses, the maximum of which is secreted about an hour after the onset of sleep at night (midnight for most people).
The release and inhibition of human growth hormone (hGH) is regulated by two hypothalamic hormones: growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) and somatostatin.
Growth hormone secretion can be triggered by many natural factors, the most powerful of which are sleep and exercise.
Most bodybuilders (should) know that exercise is a major stimulant of the natural release of growth hormone, but there’s still no evidence to go into more detail.
Many researchers believe that it may be triggered solely (or jointly) by increases in adrenaline, nitric oxide, blood lactic acid, acidity or neural activity induced by exercise.
Optimizing growth hormone production in a natural way is an optimal strategy for today’s exercisers.
This will keep more people away from any risks associated with hormone abuse.
These risks include joint pain, arthritis, abnormal heart growth, muscle weakness, increased blood lipids, impaired glucose regulation, diabetes and, of course, the consequences of drug abuse.
Relationship between diet, exercise, sleep and growth hormone
Sleep and growth factors
Because under normal circumstances, the largest hGH spikes during the day tend to occur about an hour after the start of the night’s sleep.
If sleep is poor, human growth hormone production decreases, negatively affecting health and fitness outcomes.
Good sleep is a prerequisite for optimal growth hormone production during sleep, including sleeping in a room close to darkness.
Of course, the amount of sleep you get is also important, which is about 8 hours for most people.
Diet and growth hormones
In terms of diet, because we tend to eat more carbohydrates — for example, foods with a high glycemic index (that is, high sugar content) immediately after exercise — and starchy carbohydrates most of the time.
In terms of fluid intake, many people drink carbohydrate and electrolyte (exercise) drinks before, during and after exercise.
In many cases, though, a high-carb diet may be appropriate because building muscle requires a lot of carbohydrate and water as an energy source.
But since high carbohydrate content tends to turn off human growth hormone (hGH) production, this strategy may not be the best one.
In addition, fat intake before exercise can interfere with the production of human growth hormone.
Many people take in carbohydrates immediately after training to ensure a quick replacement of the carbohydrate stores in their muscles.
However, this is not the best way to maintain the release of human growth hormone (hGH) after exercise, especially if the carbohydrate intake is high glycemic index. These foods stimulate insulin secretion, which in turn leads to a decrease in hGH.
It’s also important to drink more water during training, as dehydration also reduces exercise and promotes human growth hormone production.
What should I eat before exercise?
Taking 1.5g of arginine before exercise increases the production of human growth hormone by blocking the release of somatostatin, although some studies have shown this can cause stomach disorders.
In addition, some studies have shown that taking 2g doses of glutamine before exercise increases human growth hormone (hGH) after 90 minutes without side effects.
After exercise, you can also take in some amino acids, which can promote the secretion of human growth hormone.
In terms of fitness, some studies have shown that to raise growth hormone (hGH) levels above baseline, you need to train at least 10 minutes above the lactate threshold intensity to produce the maximum amount of human growth hormone in one workout.
Hormone levels will drop gradually within an hour.
Also, training multiple times a day can produce more hGH in 24 hours.
One study looked at the effects of exercise three times a day, each with a recovery time of 1.5 or 3 hours.
They found that within 24 hours, the longer the recovery time, the higher the human growth hormone production.
Another study showed that human growth hormone peaks during sprints on an exercise bike.
Therefore, it is not long time of continuous high intensity training that can stimulate hGH secretion continuously.
If planned periodic training is used, growth hormone secretion will be better stimulated.
Without growth hormone drugs, we can increase growth hormone production through exercise, diet and sleep.
In terms of exercise, which we care more about, long-term high-intensity training does not consistently stimulate growth hormone secretion. Instead, a periodic program is best.
To optimize natural growth hormone (hGH) secretion, exercise and dietary strategies are recommended as follows:
Three times a week, each time at least 10 minutes above the lactate threshold training or multiple sprints, training rest ratio of 1:3.
Eat no fat 60 minutes before, and take 2g of glutamine 60 to 90 minutes before exercise.
Drink plenty of fluids, such as 200 ml every 10-15 minutes during training at 18-21°C.
It’s best to avoid sugar for two hours after exercise, but consume around 25 grams of protein immediately after exercise in the form of a protein shake, protein bars, lean meat or eggs.
Of course, don’t forget that adequate and quality sleep not only promotes recovery, but also stimulates the production of more growth hormone.
Natural is the best.
The process of going against nature is painful, and throwing away one’s health for the sake of momentary vanity is a long way from the original purpose of fitness.
If this world really has any muscle enhancement elixir, it should be the persistence of it!