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Exercise and Growth Hormone Releasers

You hear lots of advertisements for growth hormone releasers. Everything you eat is a growth hormone releaser since all foods raise blood levels of growth hormone. Exercise is also a growth hormone releaser because every time you exercise, blood levels of growth hormone rise (6,8).

It is true that growth hormone levels drop as a person ages, but there is no evidence whatever that lack of growth hormone causes aging or that taking growth hormone slows aging, and the evidence is highly controversial that growth hormone grows muscle and gets rid of fat (2,3,4,7). The latest research shows that growth hormone is lowered by having lots of fat stored in your belly, and having high blood levels of two hormones called insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-I) (1). So the aging process and resultant tissue damage may be caused by these two hormones which are caused by sudden rises in blood sugar that follows meals. High blood levels of insulin are associated with increased risk for heart attacks and high levels of IGF-1 are associated with increased risk for cancer. The best way to lower insulin and insulin-like growth factors is to reduce your intake of sugar and flour.

Entrepreneurs cannot sell you growth hormone because it is against the law to sell growth hormone without a prescription. But they can sell you growth hormone releasers because they are nothing but food (amino acids, the building blocks of protein). Every time you eat anything, blood levels of growth hormone rise. When you eat protein, blood levels of growth hormone rise even higher. All foods are growth hormone releasers, but growth hormone releaser pills cost much more than regular food and have not been shown to raise blood levels higher than food does. If you want to lose weight and gain muscle, exercise. A study from Utrecht University in the Netherlands shows that exercising raises growth hormone even higher than eating does (4). If you want to gain muscle and lose fat, reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and fatty foods, eat more foods taken from plants and start a regular vigorous exercise program.

1) ML Hartman, JL Clasey, A Weltman, MO Thorner. Predictors of growth hormone secretion in aging. Journal of Anti - Aging Medicine, 2000, Vol 3, Iss 3.

2) JAMA, October 13, 1993.

3) Clin Endocrinology Oct,93;39(4):417-425.

4) Taaffe DR, Jin IH, Vu TH, Hoffman AR, Marcus R. Lack of the effect of recombinant human growth hormone (GH) on muscle morphology and GH-insulin-like growth factor expression in resistance trained elderly men. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1996(Jan);81(1):421-425.

5) Medicine and Science in sports and Exercise July, 2000 Pages 1226-1232.

6) Growth hormone release during acute and chronic aerobic and resistance exercise - Recent findings. Sports Medicine, 2002, Vol 32, Iss 15, pp 987-1004. L Wideman, JY Weltman, ML Hartman, JD Veldhuis, A Weltman.

7) Does exogenous growth hormone improve athletic performance? Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 2002, Vol 12, Iss 4, pp 250-253. H Dean.

8) SJ Hurel, N Koppiker, J Newkirk, PR Close, M Miller, R Mardell, PJ Wood, P KendallTaylor. Relationship of physical exercise and ageing to growth hormone production. Clinical Endocrinology, 1999, Vol 51, Iss 6, pp 687-691.

Checked 10/2/12

May 11th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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