The human growth hormone or HGH is a hormone produced by the body’s pituitary gland. It is present in both men and women, and is necessary for growth, cell reproduction, and cell regeneration.
Among the important roles of HGH are:
- Muscle mass
- Burning of fat
- Building and repairing of tissues in the brain and other vital organs
- Repairing of tissues after exercising
- Speeding up of the healing process after getting injured
- Slowing down of the aging process
Information on Growth Hormone Deficiency
If you are unable to produce enough HGH, you have a condition known as growth hormone deficiency.
In children, the common symptoms of growth hormone deficiency include:
- Increase in height of less than 2 inches per year
- Younger-looking than other children of the same age
- Increased fat around the abdomen
- Slow growth and development of teeth and hair
- Delayed puberty or even no puberty at all
In adults, some of the most common symptoms of growth hormone deficiency are:
- Dry skin
- Excess fat especially around the abdomen
- Hair loss in men
- Reduced muscle strength and mass
- Reduced bone strength and density
- Increased risk of osteoporosis
- Low energy levels
- High cholesterol levels
- Heart problems
- Impaired memory and concentration
- Depression and/or anxiety
Causes of Growth Hormone Deficiency
Sometimes, the pituitary gland fails to produce enough HGH. This results to slow growth, and a medical condition known as growth hormone deficiency. Some people are born with this condition, and it is called congenital growth hormone deficiency. There are others who develop this condition as a child or an adult, and it is called acquired growth hormone deficiency.
There are many factors that can cause a lack of HGH in the body. Examples are:
- Disrupted blood flow to the pituitary gland
- Pituitary tumors
- Hormonal problems linked to the pituitary gland or hypothalamus gland
- Brain surgery or radiation treatment
Diagnosing Growth Hormone Deficiency
To diagnose growth hormone deficiency, you have to undergo a series of tests and exams.
The first step is usually a physical examination in which your doctor looks for signs and symptoms of impeded growth. It requires checking your height, weight, and bodily proportions.
After that, your doctor may require you to go through a number of blood tests to measure your HGH and other variables. The binding protein level blood tests, for instance, is necessary to know whether or not the low HGH problem is caused by something going on in the pituitary gland. The other blood tests that may be done are GHRH-arginine test, growth hormone stimulation test, and insulin tolerance test.
Once the blood tests are done, your doctor may perform a few more extra tests and exams to help them get a more accurate diagnosis of your condition. Examples of these additional exams for HGH are dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or DXA scan, which measures bone density; hand x-rays, which help spot abnormalities in your bones based on their shapes and sizes; MRI of the brain, which can show the condition of your hypothalamus and pituitary gland; and head x-rays, which can show any abnormalities in your skull.
Ways to Increase Human Growth Hormone
If your doctor diagnoses you with growth hormone deficiency, they may recommend that you get growth hormone therapy. With this method, you can increase your body’s HGH by injecting growth hormone into your body.
People who undergo growth hormone therapy usually need to get shots of HGH daily for a number of months. The doses and frequency of their growth hormone injections are dependent on the severity of their deficiency.
Your doctor may require you to see them every 4 to 8 weeks during your treatment so that they can keep a close eye on your progress. Throughout the treatment, you may need to take some more blood tests and exams to determine if there is a need to increase the dosage or the frequency of injections, or if there are negative side effects. Your blood sugar, cholesterol, and bone density will also be checked to ensure that they are at ideal levels.
In addition to growth hormone therapy, your doctor may advise you to make some lifestyle changes to help increase your HGH, such as:
Lose the fat
The more extra fat you have in your body, the lower your HGH can get. As a result of that, your risk of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other disease increases.
Being more physically active can naturally boost your HGH. Among all the types of exercise around, the most effective in increasing HGH are the high-intensity routines. If you can do about two and a half hours of weight training, interval training, sprints, circuit training, and other high-intensity exercises a week, you can enhance your HGH and also burn those extra fats away, lowering your odds of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, and others.
Get enough sleep
Sleeping seven to nine hours a night is essential in raising your body’s HGH. Not only that, it also allows your body to rest and rejuvenate, your tissues and muscles to heal and repair, your energy levels to recharge, and your brain to relax.
Minimize sugar consumption
There was a study that found that eating too much food that are high in sugar can increase insulin levels and reduce HGH in the body. Also, if your diet consists of many foods that are loaded with sugar, you are likely to gain weight quickly and suffer from obesity.
Take L-arginine supplements
L-arginine supplements can supply the body with more essential amino acids that can relax the blood vessels, remove blockages that disrupt blood flow, ease the symptoms of some cardiovascular problems, boost erections and penis health, and reduce the risk of heart attack and other heart diseases. They can also help in increasing the body’s HGH levels.