Homemade growth hormone #
Growth hormone (GH) is a big deal. Not just because athletes use it to gain an
advantage at sports, but because it’s the closest thing to “youth hormone”,
which is probably what it should be called after someone reaches adulthood. It
only manages increases in height (bone length) before maturation occurs.
The controversy around this hormone relates to the advantages that someone gains
when injecting it, as well as the side effects that are seen with its use, or in
some cases, its overuse. But anyone at any age can get more growth hormone,
anywhere, and avoid the whole issue of side effects.
What is human growth hormone? #
GH is a small protein that is made by the pituitary gland and released into the
blood. GH production in the body is controlled by other hormones produced in the
hypothalamus of the brain, intestinal tract, and in the pancreas. The pituitary
gland creates GH in bursts; levels rise following exercise, traumatic events,
fasting, and sleep.
This means GH levels are highly variable over any given day, because of the
spikes in GH associated with the aforementioned activities are a natural part of
GH regulations. So unlike many biomarkers, periodic blood tests to measure GH
levels are can be quite meaningless since high and low levels alternate
throughout the day.
Historically researchers measuring overall GH production have reported that it
rises during childhood, peaks during puberty, and declines from middle age
onward when considering the total produced in a given day.
Why do people inject GH? #
Who would want to inject something on a daily basis, just to get an edge in
performance? The answer is, apparently, a tremendous amount of people. Before
the prescription laws changed a few years ago, the anti-aging applications of
this hormone totaled $4 billion in out-of-pocket spend, just in the United
Patients of this therapy were getting leaner, building muscle faster, and having
their skin tighten, as well as experiencing improvement in multiple other
metrics of health on a steady basis.
So why did all of this stop? There were side effects. Some of the more serious
ones included enlargement of organs. You may see this occasionally in more
recent bodybuilders who have tremendous abdominal distention. The industry calls
this “GH gut“, and it’s very noticeable. Some of these individuals look like
they have a sea turtle shell inside of their stomachs.
The issue here isn’t necessarily that there has been an overdose of the hormone,
although that could contribute, the issue more likely has to do with
introduction of the hormone in an unnatural way, such that other hormonal
changes that normally accompany a growth hormone spike due to exercise or sleep
This could have a huge impact on receptor site activity, which determines what
specific areas of the body will responds to the GH calling for growth, and if
the correct receptor sites aren’t active, growth hormone can manifest in the
growth of things that one may not necessarily want enlargement of.
Can I get it from a pill? #
The short answer is no. The molecular structure is too fragile and is destroyed
through the digestive process. There are some pharmaceuticals that are being
tested which may allow for an upregulation of growth hormone, but the efficacy
is (and the side effects are) yet to be determined.
You can find Growth Hormone anywhere #
We all know that there is an incredible amount of mis-information on fitness
found online, and even in books. The integrity of Scientific data is greater,
however, only found in peer-reviewed studies. It’s here that you can gain an
understanding of GH regulation that has not yet made it to mainstream sports
performance discussions. Exercise induced growth hormone upregulation had been
observed in some studies, but not others.
This body of evidence pointed to the existence of a GH mechanism of the human
body, just not one that had been fully identified. An example of this had been
seen in multiple studies that had shown free weight squats up regulating GH to a
high degree, but in comparison a leg press type exercise showing no significant
impact on GH levels (Shaner, et al. 2014).
Then, in 2004 Gosselink and researchers at NASA demonstrated that by applying
small oscillating motors to specific tendon insertion points, stabilizing
muscles experienced reflexive activation and initiated the upper regulation
effect. Basically this suggested that muscle activation related to keeping your
balance when in unstable situations can upregulate GH even though other muscle
activation situations don’t show any significant upregulating effect.
So does this mean that standing on one foot when waiting in line at Starbucks
will skyrocket GH levels? No, its more complex than that.
The Central nervous system determines certain changes in your biochemistry needs
to be made in extreme environments. This means increasing GH requires a more
extreme approach to balance and reflexive firing of muscle.
Stability muscle firing and GH #
Tonic contractions keep you upright, as in from falling over when you are
standing, but what about when in a more challenging environment? So how do we
apply this? There are two ways:
Very unstable surfaces can do this. Think the more aggressive/challenging
balance boards people stand on, or even vibration platforms. A 200%-300% GH
increase can be seen. This is actually a relatively small effect.
High forces that require balancing. Think heavy free weight exercises that
require multi-joint stabilization, like squats, bench press, deadlift, and
overhead press. (large effect) A 400%-600% GH increase can be seen.
Now if you were to use variable resistance instead of ordinary weights (more
force in stronger ranges) then you would end up using a higher peak weight in
these same movements, which would force even more reflexive firing. Because of
the offload in the weaker ranges, you would be able to go more repetitions and
further create an extreme environment for stability muscle firing.
Strong range firing and stability combined as described here has been seen to
yield over 2000% increases in GH. This sounds incredible, and many will wonder
if this is really correct.
Here is a real life example: ELITE SPRINTERS #
Elite sprinters are some of the leanest and most muscular athletes in the world.
Do you think they EVER cut calories? There is no way they could, they need the
energy to be explosive. Do you think they EVER do cardio? No! Because they would
not want to run and fire muscles in a pattern that would harm their stride in
So how are they so highly conditioned? A high speed sprint places high demands
on the central nervous system in terms of force production and stability, as
with each toe strike many stabilizers need to fire to protect the skull from the
impact and allow for the balance required to keep from shutting off muscles (a
process called neural inhibition) in preparation for the next stride. This
causes a similar GH upregulation effect. This hypothesis was validated by Stokes
and researchers (2002), who found that a sprinting bout forced an average of
450% GH increases.
The meta analysis showing and comparing all of this data was done in 2016
(Jaquish, Alkire) and can be found below. This is one of the principles of the
product, but this knowledge can be applied many ways for
greater GH levels post exercise, driving you to be leaner, faster, and stronger.
Shaner, A. A., Vingren, J. L., Hatfield, D. L., Budnar Jr, R. G., Duplanty, A.
A., & Hill, D. W. (2014). The acute hormonal response to free weight and machine
weight resistance exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research,
Gosselink, K. L., Roy, R. R., Zhong, H., Grindeland, R. E., Bigbee, A. J., &
Edgerton, V. R. (2004). Vibration-induced activation of muscle afferents
modulates bioassayable growth hormone release. Journal of Applied Physiology,
Stokes, K. A., Nevill, M. E., Hall, G. M., & Lakomy, H. K. A. (2002). The time
course of the human growth hormone response to a 6 s and a 30 s cycle ergometer
sprint. Journal of sports sciences, 20(6), 487-494.
Jaquish J, Alkire H, Hoesley K (2016) Stabilizing Motor Reflexive Activation and
Acute Growth Hormone Response: A Systematic Review. Journal of Steroids Hormonal
Science 7: 178.