Despite our best wishes, we are all going to get older. However, that does not mean we have to just sit idely by and let our bodies deteriorate. While taking growth or bioidentical hormones as a means of creating youth has gained a buzz recently, the technology is not quite there as of yet. However, your body has the ability to create these hormones within itself with a few good habits. While the topic of growth hormone physiology and release could occupy a text book, there are some natural ways to promote it. First of all, what is growth hormone? It is a hormone which is important in the growth of humans, helping to maintain muscle, bone, reducing cholesterol and collagen in skin. This is why growth hormone is being touted as the fountain of youth. Taking growth hormone by pill format is a clear ethical controversy due to many risks and uncertainties surrounding its use. However, naturally producing this hormone in your body is a safe way of promoting a healthy lifestyle and youth preservation.
- First of all, get enough sleep. Growth hormone is released throughout the day with a surge occurring while you sleep.
- Secondly, and perhaps the greatest signal for your body to release growth hormone is exercise. It is thought that the release of catecholamines, nitric oxide or lactic acid will stimulate growth hormone during exercise. Resistance exercise, such as free weights or machines, plays a role in release in growth hormone with less rest between sets causing more release. In addition, endurance exercise for limited amounts of time can release growth hormone while long excessive times can actually release cortisol, decreasing benefit.
- Diet is also important and as is eating foods high in protein and plenty of water. Interestingly, eating foods high in fat or with a high glycemic index (high sugar) are not recommended and may release less growth hormone.
- Get enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is the hottest of vitamins and is actually a hormone. There is a whole host of things Vitamin D is purported to help with including calcium regulation, boost immunity, reduce insulin resistance (i.e. diabetes), blood pressure regulation, reduce risk of cancer, and reduce risk of Alzheimers.
- For Men- Get enough testosterone. Testosterone peaks around age 30 and decrease about 1% a year after that. Testosterone is critical to bone density, fat distrubition and muscle mass, as well as overall sexual health. First of all, diet can play a role in creating enough testosterone. Eat adequate (but not overwhelming amounts of protein) and the appropriate amount of unsaturated fat (between 20-30%). Foods such as nuts, canola oil, and olive oil all can have a direct effect on your amount of testosterone produced. Alcohol will decrease testosterone levels. Exercise with weights and getting enough sleep are also critical to getting enough testosterone. Finally, use it or lose it applies to testosterone levels and frequent sex (hopefully in a safe manner) will lead to more testosterone production. Feel free to use that one with your significant other at night.
- For Women- There is not a consensus on which hormone is entirely responsible, healthy and best for women and which to use. Stick sleep, diet, and exercise and seeking the care of a trained physician in hormone physiology is your best bet. Every day there is a new study in support or against hormone replacement, bioidentical hormones, and it has been controversial which hormones are most important to aging, progesterone, DHEA, or estrogen.