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 States. 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 haven't occurred. 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. 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:
1. 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.
2. 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
Those 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 the sprint. 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 X3bar 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, 28(4), 1032-1040.
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, 96(6), 2097-2102.
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.