Human Growth Hormone (HGH)!
Human Growth Hormone (HGH)!
With thousands of supplements to rave about, an entire cloaked market of potent steroids and the debate about their legalization, why on earth would anyone want to discuss Human Growth Hormone (HGH)? Hasn't it been proven totally useless as a muscle builder?
Well, if that were true then why is every pro on the circuit injecting massive amounts of the stuff into his already crowded veins? It should be obvious that HGH is one of the most active hormones in the world today. The miracles of testosterone have amazed the world of bodybuilding with its regular turnout of 300-pound behemoths and she-men, but GH is another story altogether.
When you take into account that hormones may hold the secret to stopping aging in its tracks and that GH is the hormone produced on the largest scale in the human body, it may be our own fountain of youth. I'm not saying that if you start injecting large amounts of an illegal substance you'll live to be 200, there is also the matter of tissue resistance, but again: every little bit helps.
GH starts to decline in the body as we grow older. After the age of 30 it declines by 25 percent every decade, so by the time you hit 60 you are operating at 25 percent of original capacity. If HGH was present in the same amount throughout our lives we'd easily live to 140, be several inches taller and a lot more muscular.
The Benefits of HGH
Growth hormone was discovered in the 1920's and was isolated in the form of somatotropin in 1956. The benefits of HGH are immense, even today new research pops up regularly that reveals new uses for it. HGH is present in the body at a rate of 500 micrograms at any time in the blood of males between the ages of 20 and 30.
It's produced by the anterior pituitary gland under the stimulation of the Hypothalamus (like LH, the testosterone precursor). The effects on our system are tremendous:
HGH promotes and increases the synthesis of new protein tissues, such as in muscle recovery or repair. This is the way new muscle is built.
Recent research suggests its involvement in the metabolism of body-fat and its conversion to energy sources. Tests were conducted in obese people and medical use in treating obesity was proven beyond a doubt. Pro's have used GH as a way of maintaining and increasing lean mass while dieting for years.
It improves the sleeping pattern, makes for less unintended awakenings and betters REM-stage sleep.
HGH produces more energy
It may improve sexual performance
It builds stronger bones
- Improves the quality and duration of heart and kidneys
So you can tell the benefits are not few. What's an even bigger card in the weighing of HGH against testosterone and its derivatives is that it is not androgenic, causes no aromatization and shows no side effects in limited doses. It just makes you bigger, huge even in combination with testosterone.
It is believed that we may benefit from doses up to 1 to 1.5 mg in the bloodstream. That is somewhere in the optimal range for natural GH.
How do I up my GH?
Well that's the point everyone was hoping I'd get to. The ways to improving GH concentration is by utilizing the 4 areas of bodybuilding: Training, rest, nutrition and supplementation.
The first way of stimulating GH release naturally is training. Working out, putting the body under extreme stress, I'm sure it's something none of you are unfamiliar with. Intense workouts, energy-consuming events and long periods of physical exhaustion are keys in releasing more Growth Hormone because these catabolic states require extra protein synthesis and in case of lack of energy, fat metabolization to make up for glycogen depletion.
This is no doubt the most potent kind of GH release as it's targeted to meet the demands of the bodybuilder. Of course I'm not telling you anything new when I'm saying you have to work out to gain muscle mass. I hope. Moreover the production of this GH is a direct reaction to a catabolic state that is not wishful to those looking for gains.
The only interesting I can tell you is this: I learned this in my first year of physiology. GH can be manipulated. The general rule of thumb when working out is never to train longer than 45 minutes because that's when GH tapers off and cortisol production sets in. But the half-life of HGH can be influenced.
If you train 40 minutes for a month and increase it by 2 minutes every month, after 10 months, you could train for an hour without inducing a catabolic state. No one has ever tested how far you can push the envelope, but is a proven fact. At this point I see no use for working out longer than an hour. Anyone using moderate to heavy intensity should be able to finish 25 sets in that time.
The highest I use at this time, being a competitor myself, is 22 sets for back. Since I'm still growing I assume that's enough. And since you have to match recovery to training intensity and vice versa, 25 or more sets would nescessitate at least 4500 to 5000 calories, maybe more. My stomach just isn't that big.
75 percent of your total daily HGH output is produced while sleeping, and most of that in REM sleep. This again stresses the need for a good night's sleep, in case that hadn't quite dawned on you. Though cat naps may further your case a bit, it's unlikely that you can induce a deep enough sleep to start producing GH.
This GH, in any case, is not near as potent as the other kinds because it is produced as a response to a need for sleep protection and a need for energy repletion for the next day, not so much in response to a need for EXTRA energy. But I think everyone understands that without this amount of GH other sources of GH will not be used as efficiently. Getting at least 8-10 hours of sleep is a sacrifice everyone should consider making if you want to get big in a hurry.
Also the regularity of your sleeping pattern could promote more REM cycles and result in more hormonal output. So keeping steady hours of rest is beneficial. If you are one to stay out late on weekends it may be best to still wake up at the same time instead of sleeping in. Otherwise you may disturb your sleeping pattern.
If you are used to sleeping from 10 to 8 and in the weekend you get home at 1, sleep until 8 and add a 1-hour nap every afternoon for the next 3-days to make up for the lack of sleep. But if at all possible maintain steady hours.
Most likely the most important section of the article, and that of the most interest to the natural bodybuilder looking to make the most of his GH. Naturally I have to ask you to take the past two paragraphs into regard before continuing here. You can't expect gains from nutrition or supplementation if your recovery is not adequately adapted.
The search for natural GH secretagogues (secrete and agogue (to teach), so literally to teach to secrete or induce the production of) begins with the most basic of nutrients. Yup you guessed it (or you read it in the previous article): amino acids. But for aminos to have a good effect you need to make sure that 15-20 percent of your diet consists of clean fats. These induce cholesterol, the storage of the base-hormone in the body that leads to the manufacture of most steroidogenic hormones.
The ultimate goal of this paragraph is to give you a complete stack, with amounts, of amino acids that can synergistically produce more GH, but any of them should further the case. I'll list them in order of importance (in this instance, this is not the importance of the amino in the diet).
The doses I'm about to give you are the best range for maximizing GH in a pre-workout stack. If you have anti-aging properties in mind, smaller doses will work as well.
Arginine (5-8 g) or arginine Pyroglutamate. I hinted at this in my last article, are prime movers in the production of natural GH.
Ornithine (4-7 g) works synergistically with arginine, from which it is derived. Together they have the best impact.
Glutamine (5 g) or Glutamine Peptides preserve the use of arginine in depleted circumstances.
Glycine (3-10 g)
OKG (3 g) is very expensive, but useful
BCAA's (3-6 g) for musclebuilding properties, enhanced by GH.
Other dietary sources of GH promoting nutrients are Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Vitamin B3 and most anti-oxidants. Take your stack, which ever amino's it ends up consisting of, 45 minutes prior to your workout for maximal levels of Growth Hormone. On non-workout days, take your stack either before bed or in the morning, both on an empty stomach.
If you wish to learn more about specific amino acids in this stack, or others that may be of benefit to your training regimen, I refer you to the previous article about amino acids. This stack is more than adequate to boost HGH gains by 50 percent. If I hadn't convinced you of the use of protein to gain muscle, the potential amount of GH you get from maintaining protein levels should make you change your mind.
Whey protein especially, and dessicated liver are high in arginine levels. Gearing protein intake to specific goals could be a motivation to keep up the work on the nutritional end of things.
No I'm not telling you to inject GH. Until it becomes legal and then still under a doctor's supervision, I don't suggest you use it. GH supplementation has many benefits though. It increases the protein synthesizing effect of testosterone and causes growth in muscle tissue. Unlike most steroidogenic substances it is currently undetectable in drug tests.
What's more, in small doses it exerts no side effects. In large doses it may be very harmful however.
Too much natural GH causes a condition called acromegaly. A person's muscles grow, but so do his bones, his face, his intestines. Not funny, huh? Plus the muscle you gain on GH is not functional. GH causes no gains in strength. Larger muscles naturally increases strength a little, but without training of the tendons and attachments, no strength increase is noticeable.
The enlarged intestines are what cause the bloated guts on stage in Mr. Olympia contests. Only two substances cause this bloating: IGF-1 (insulin-like Growth factor 1) and HGH. Pros swear by the stuff. It's relatively new to the market as well. For a long time the only source of GH was from cadavers.
This held a great risk of infection with BSE (Kreutzfeld-Jakob disease) a debilitating disease that leads to death in weeks and is currently a hot topic because of recent cases in the European bovine stock as a result of processing animal waste in animal food. Now it's available as somatotropin, synthethized outside the body.
So why did I bring up supplementation if it's illegal? Well how do you suppose you make an illegal drug a legal supplement? In the States there is a law that says that you can sell certain substances over the counter if they are below a certain concentration. So GH is currently being sold as a supplement, though suspended in alcohol. It is supposed to be absorbed sublingually (under the tongue) or through the nasal glands (in the nose).
It's small enough to do this and yields high rates. It can't survive the digestive process and find a way into the blood through ingestion and the only other way is to inject it, which makes it illegal again. The law is the same one that allows ephedrine in fat-loss supps and pseudo-ephedrine in cold-medicine.
The GH we are talking about here is not very effective, nor very cheap, but it pays off as a recovery supplement. I tried it once taking a few drops sublingually after every workout. I didn't gain much extra muscle, none to speak of, but I found that my muscles recovered faster, noticed a decrease in lactic acid buildup and slept better overall.
So it has its merits. The downside: a pricetag of 70 or 80 bucks for a months worth. I wouldn't regard this last paragraph as key to your supplementation regimen and take the three paragraphs prior to it, if you learn anything, but for those who had questions about legal GH, I hereby answered them.
HGH is a necessary factor in your training and recuperation, and knowing how to manipulate its release may be one of the most important steps you could make towards optimizing gains in muscle mass. Growth Hormone may not have revealed all its secrets yet, but to pass up on the benefits would be a bad deal and unacceptable for the hard-working hardgainer such as yourself.
I could digress and deliver endless dissertations about the remarkable Growth Hormone, but I think you have the core elements. Many believe that making growth hormone legal, and authorizing hormone replacement therapy for the elderly would be a great advantage to the health care system, but the fact remains that GH is a dangerous substance to fool around with.
I'm all for it, but with the nescessary restrictions naturally. Whatever will be decided about the furure of HGH, I'll be following the evolution closely (not that there will be much movement in that department as long as there is a Bush in office).
I understand that this is a complex and complicated matter and should you have direct questions pertaining to this article, as always you can mail me.
Growth is measured in inches, hard work is measured in sweat, but getting smart is only a result of little effort. I can tell you which yields the greatest gains.
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