The effects of HGH in the human body have been studied intensively for decades, but the factors that affect HGH production remain rather complex and mysterious. Part of the reason for this is that the quantities of these substances produced by the body are on the order of a milligram per day in adults. Most people only produce about a teaspoonful of these substances during their entire adult lives.
To make the HGH situation even more complex, HGH is normally released in pulses or bursts throughout the day. There are usually 10 to 20 surges of HGH release, with the largest release occurring shortly after you fall asleep. Is there any advantage to having HGH released in pulses? Or is this simply the body's most efficient way of producing HGH? Nobody knows the answer to this important question.
There are three basic ways for increasing HGH:
- Taking a substance that increases the natural secretion of HGH by the pituitary gland.
- Using an injectable human growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH).
- Using injectable human growth hormone.
With current technology, taking a substance that increases the natural secretion of HGH generally works best for those between the ages of roughly 30 to 45 years.
For most people over 45, injectable HGH is most effective -- and usually the only effective -- option (although sermorelin and tesamorelin, discussed below, can also be very effective). But let's look at these three methods in greater detail.
There are a number of substances that increase the natural secretion of HGH. Some of them are amino acids. The most effective and economical way of causing this HGH release seems to be taking 2 grams of the amino acid L-glutamine in the morning and taking 10 to 30 grams of the amino acid L-arginine before bedtime. Both of these amino acids must be taken on an empty stomach. Amino acids are not very effective in people over the age of about 45.
There has been only one scientific study showing that L-glutamine causes HGH release, but there is a large body of anecdotal evidence from anti-aging physicians and their patients that L-glutamine is actually effective in persons under about age 45.
There is a large body of scientific study on the effects of L-arginine on growth hormone release. In fact, the administration of a large dose of L-arginine is the standard test for the ability of the pituitary to release growth hormone. (Another test using insulin is actually more effective, but it is not accepted as the standard test by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.) Most scientists believe that L-arginine promotes HGH release by inhibiting somatostatin. L-arginine has many other benefits in addition to being a growth hormone releaser. See the chapter of this manual on Arginine for additional information about using arginine as a growth hormone releaser and for safety warnings about the use of arginine.
There are several problems with the use of amino acids as HGH releasers. Their effectiveness generally diminishes with age, and with continued use. This has led some people to the opinion that amino acids such as L-arginine are weak HGH releasers. This can be a dangerous assumption. In some young people, L-arginine may actually cause dangerously high levels of HGH release. Many young people use L-arginine, but it should not be used by anyone until at least 5 years after they have completed their long bone growth (unless they are under close medical supervision).
In order for your body to naturally produce HGH, or to produce HGH in response to certain amino acids, the following things must NOT be present:
- Anti-cholinergic medicines. This includes most medicines that make you drowsy or dehydrated. The most common of these medicines are the antihistamines that make you drowsy, including Benadryl (or any other brand of diphenhydramine), Sominex, Nytol, Tylenol-PM, and Zyrtec. (Claritin, Clarinex and Allegra probably do not affect the HGH-releasing effect of amino acids or natural HGH release.)
- Alcohol, in any appreciable quantity, blunts the HGH-releasing effect of amino acids and also suppresses natural HGH release. An ounce or less of alcohol two or three hours before taking a HGH releaser will have little effect on HGH release, but using alcohol to get to sleep can dramatically suppress your natural HGH release during sleep.
- Eating protein or carbohydrate within 3 hours before (or one hour after) taking an amino-acid HGH releaser will significantly blunt the growth hormone release induced by these amino acids.
There are many commercial products that are advertised to promote HGH release. Many of them are simply extremely expensive versions of the amino acids known to cause HGH release. Some of these products do work, but often at an extremely inflated price. Most of these products (especially the heavily advertised ones) are simply very expensive scams. (I get a lot of email from people asking about the latest of the many scams, and saying that surely this product must work because the advertising says that it does.) As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made it more difficult to obtain real human growth hormone, the number of HGH scams has grown by an incredible amount. If you search for information on HGH on the internet, you will find hundreds of these frauds and scams.
Many products are currently being advertised as Oral HGH sprays. I don't see how these products can possibly work. They don't contain enough HGH to have any biological effect, and all of the scientific evidence indicates that the HGH molecule is far too large to be absorbed through the membranes of the mouth. If HGH is swallowed, it is destroyed in the digestive tract before it can be absorbed into the blood stream.