Growth Hormone (GH)
GH was in charge of making you taller as a child. As an adult, it does lots of other things. It develops muscle mass, participates in protein synthesis, cellular growth, and also fat breakdown.
GH is a hormone that builds things and breaks things down. When everything’s in balance, GH works harmoniously with your hormones cortisol and adrenaline to build muscle and burn fat.
But when good hormones like GH go bad and become unruly or your body stops making enough, fat increases, muscle breaks down, energy decreases, and life, in general, becomes miserable.
GH-deficiency symptoms include:
- Increased abdominal fat
- Reduced lean body mass
- Increased insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- High triglycerides
- Decreased bone density
- Your body naturally makes less GH (Growth Hormone) as you age. No debate there.
And no, age is not to blame for everything that is wrong in life!
GH declines with age, but researchers found something far more interesting: abdominal fat plays more of a factor in GH decline than age. Physical activity also determines GH levels.
When cortisol and GH work together as a team, great things happen. You become lean, toned, and energetic.
Cortisol, a good and useful hormone, becomes a hungry monster when chronic stress strikes. Once cortisol goes bad, it wreaks havoc on other hormones like insulin and GH.
With elevated insulin levels and inadequate GH, cortisol becomes power-hungry, and your body starts burning muscle and storing fat.
Now with your Cortisol out of control, a vicious cycle ensues. You don’t sleep, which means you don’t make GH. Studies also show even one night of poor sleep increases your risk for obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes.
Couple stress, poor sleep, and inadequate GH levels with a high-sugar, high-processed food diet, and you’ve got surefire formula to feel horrible and chronically fatigued.
BOOST YOUR GH NATURALLY
Dump the sweet stuff.
Add whole, unprocessed foods to your diet that include plenty of lean protein, healthy fats, and high-fiber veggies, nuts and seeds, low-sugar fruit, and legumes.
Spend more time in bed. Aim for uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep.
Stress less. Be aware and intentional about handling stress.
Find non-food rewards. Meditation, deep breathing, watching a dumb comedy or walking your dog around the block. Put it on the calendar. Make stress management mandatory. Remember to take a “mindful minute” at least 3-4 times per day. (see blog1)
Be aware of your posture. Leading researchers at Harvard University have proven that “power poses” lower cortisol and increase testosterone. More to come on”posture and presence” in future blogs.
Melatonin. Maybe you used melatonin for jet lag or changing time zones, but studies show supplementing can also stimulate GH secretion.
Last but not least, remember to love yourself to “hormone harmony” by thinking happy, positive, gratitude thoughts, smiling more often, practicing self-forgiveness, accepting yourself just as you are, and believing you deserve to feel Optimized mind body and spirit!