One in 4,000 to 10,000 people do not look their age; they either have short stature or look underdeveloped with a chubby body. People with these conditions are said to be either partially or completely growth hormone deficient. However, there are ways to boost human growth hormone as well as specific nutrition plans for mothers to follow during their pregnancy in order to avoid growth hormone deficiency in their children.
What is growth hormone deficiency?
Also known as, dwarfism or pituitary dwarfism, growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is a rare condition caused by an insufficient amount of growth hormone secretion from the anterior pituitary gland of the body. It could be a result of being born without a pituitary gland, severe brain deficiency, or genetic defects. GHD can either be presented at birth, called congenital growth hormone deficiency, or develop later in adulthood, called acquired growth hormone deficiency. Often, GHD can be associated with lower levels of hormones other than growth hormones, such as:
- Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone: which controls the adrenal gland and related hormones
- Gonadotropins: responsible for the controlling production of male and female hormones
- Thyrotropins: responsible for controlling the production of thyroid hormones
- Vasopressin: controls water production in the body
The human growth hormone in adults and children both is essential for injury recovery, and healthy muscle movements. The symptoms of low human growth hormone in adults are characterized in a separate way relative to that in children. However, they are both dependent on the severity of the defect in the pituitary gland’s production of growth hormones.
Symptoms of growth hormone deficiency in children
Growth hormone deficiency in children is usually due to abnormalities in certain gene clusters. While low HGH is more prevalent in children than in adults, approximately 1 in every 3,800 babies is seen to be affected by childhood-onset GH deficiency. Symptoms of low growth hormone in children include:
- Abnormally low blood sugar in newborns
- Slow bone development
- Small penis in male infants
- Slow nail growth
The most prominent symptom for children suffering from a lack or decreased amount of growth hormone is their slow growth rate. These are observed in the first 6-12 months from the baby’s birth. An unusually slow-paced growth rate could be identified by the slow development of facial bones and teeth, of long bones such as that of the arm and the thigh, and the inability of the fontanels of the skull to close. These children are likely to have an unusually high voice and excessive fat in their abdominal region. Along with these, they tend to have fine hair and a yellow hue to their skin tone, relative to those children without GHD.
Symptoms of low human growth hormone in adults
Also known as acquired GHD, this tends to result from inflammation, infections, autoimmune diseases, radiation therapy, or tumors in the pituitary gland. The symptoms of low human growth hormone in adults include:
- An unexpected decrease in body mass
- Low energy levels
- Low endurance levels for exercise
- Reduced bone density and strength
- Increased sensitivity to hot and cold
- Decreased mental stability
- Avoiding social contact
- Increased fat deposition around waist
- Dry skin
In adults, growth hormone plays a vital role in healthy muscle physiology. For an adult with too little growth hormone, one of the most common symptoms is seen to be a higher body fat level, around the waist in particular. This results from an altered ratio between low-density and high-density lipoproteins in the human cholesterol levels and bone density. Since GH is necessary for normal brain function, symptoms of low human growth hormone in adults result in decreased brain activity. This usually leads to anxiety and depression, decreased sexual function and interest, and the continuous feeling of loneliness and isolation.
Having too little or complete a lack of growth hormone could also present a person with symptoms of muscle weakness, fatigue, lean body mass, and low overall stamina. Low GH in adults can also be characterized by reduced bone density and a tendency to have frequent fractures, characterized by osteoporosis. Blood test results also show changes in the composition of blood cholesterol, because of higher triglyceride levels circulating in the blood than usual. All of these factors also contribute to the body’s increased sensitivity to temperature changes.
Let us now look at the multiple ways of increasing human growth hormone, and avoiding such diseases (in cases where they can be avoided).
How to increase human growth hormone
As mentioned above, low levels of growth hormones are a risk factor for unhealthy weight gain and increasingly severe diseases. Since the human growth hormone is synthesized naturally in the body and regulates metabolic functions and cell repair, it is important to know how to increase the HGH naturally in your body.
Healthy food keeps the HGH production rate to an optimum, by keeping track of your body fat and insulin levels. To maintain a normal range of human growth hormones in the blood, foods rich in melatonin, such as eggs, fish, mustard seeds, tomatoes, nuts, grapes, and raspberries are highly recommended by experts. A study shows that tryptophan-rich foods including eggs, milk, beans, and meat, along with exposure to bright sunlight naturally boost HGH levels.
Cut down on sugar intake
Low HGH levels are naturally associated with an increase in insulin. Studies show that the production of growth hormone is three to four times higher in healthy people than that found in diabetic patients. This suggests a link between HGH production and blood insulin levels. HGH production is reported to be maximum at night when the blood insulin level is at its lowest. Hence, to optimize growth hormone levels, it is necessary to reduce consumption of refined carbohydrates and high sugar products, especially around nighttime
Try an arginine supplement
According to researches, the consumption of 15-20 mg of Arginine per day has a proven history of showing increased night-time HGH production, which goes up to about 60%. This amino acid speeds up the synthesis of HGH and can naturally be found in red meat, nuts, chicken, brown rice, soybeans, and seeds. To reduce exhaustion during workout sessions, protein shakes are recommended, which provide the required Arginine supply to boost HGH levels.
Opt for intermittent fasting
Fasting for just three days has shown a record increase in the body’s HGH levels, about 300%. Intermittent fasting provides a good balance between eating and fasting cycles in the human body. This balance works towards a positive influence on HGH secretions, both in the short and long term. In cases of short-term fasting, HGH production is maximized by the body’s lowered insulin levels, while the reduced body fat in long-term fasting boosts the HGH production.
Get a good night’s sleep
Your sleeping pattern greatly influences your human growth hormone levels, which are reported to be high during sleep. According to scientists and health practitioners, an ideal sleep cycle can be optimized by going to bed at least an hour or two before midnight. Research has shown that the production of HGH typically increases after about an hour of sleep, peaks before midnight, and is followed by a few short bursts of production before the daybreak.
While we have listed some of the most common practices about how you may increase growth hormone production in the body, it is important to always visit a doctor or a healthcare practitioner. A growth hormone stimulation test or other diagnostic tests such as prolactin, TSH, FSH, etc. are usually prescribed to analyze the growth hormone levels to reach a possible diagnosis.
It is important for children and adults, both, to receive treatment as soon as possible. This would help make children more likely to grow at a normal growth rate, and prevent loss of muscle mass and brain impairment in the adults as a result.