Nutrition is key to good health. Achieving nutritional balance in the foods we eat is not difficult, but counter to the guidance given to us by professional and federal agencies and organizations. A nutritional balance should be maintained throughout our lives to maximize our health.
Almost every American is deficient in a nutritional component – vitamin, mineral, amino acid, etc. Deficiencies in nutrition affect the levels of HGH (human growth hormone) production. We should be vigilant about the foods we choose to ensure nutritional balance is attained daily. Our bodies make hormones to help us eat at the right time.
Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach and pancreas. It tells the brain that we are hungry because the stomach is empty. Have you ever experienced ‘hunger pangs’? Ghrelin is giving us that feeling. Ghrelin levels decrease as we eat. Leptin is another hormone – one that directly counters the effects of ghrelin. Leptin is produced in our fat cells. Leptin levels increase after eating a meal.
A hunger pang might be confused with the emotional desire to eat food. Or, it might be confused with a deficiency of a nutritional element, such as zinc. A diet consistently high in carbohydrates typically leaves us hungry for more carbohydrates a few hours later.
In our society, we eat more by habit than when we are hungry. We eat breakfast after awakening. A few hours later we eat lunch. We eat dinner later in the day. Ask yourself, are you eating because you are hungry or because it is time to eat?
Eastern medicine tells us to eat only when we are hungry. Western medicine tells us to eat three to five or six small meals a day. Western medicine tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eastern medicine tells us that breakfast is not important – eat it if you want, but you don’t have to.
As we sleep, we lose fluid through respiration. After we awaken, we lose fluids through urination. Our bodies are dehydrated by the time we are finally awake. Dehydration is not the same as hunger. Drink filtered water after you wake up. Wait an hour and see if you are hungry.
Eating several times every day shuts down your ghrelin production. It also has a more dramatic effect on the other hormones your body produces. Excessive eating increases your insulin and glucose levels. Consistently high glucose levels can lead to serious health problems over time. If you must eat several times a day, choose your food wisely. Choose foods that do not increase your insulin response – foods low in carbohydrates and sugars. Fruits, vegetables, and proteins are more nutritionally dense than carbohydrates.
Eating a large meal late at night disrupts the quality of your sleep. The quality of your sleep affects the amount of HGH your body will produce while you are sleeping. Eastern medicine tells us that lunch should be the largest meal of the day. We have the rest of the day to digest it. We should not eat anything for at least three hours before going to sleep if we really want good, quality sleep.
Amino Acids and HGH
Amino acids are one of the nutritional components of our diet. An unbalanced diet will cause our bodies to produce less of some hormones. As a result, an imbalance in amino acids can impact your health. Certain amino acids have been shown to increase HGH levels in the body. These amino acids are:
● L-Dopa (dihydroxyphenylalanine)
● GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
The amino acid, arginine, has been shown to increase HGH levels significantly. The amino acid, ornithine (which is derived from arginine), shows HGH levels rising as much as five times within 45 minutes. These results were done experimentally using intravenous methods. Arginine is derived from red meat, fish, poultry, and fish.
Oral supplementation of ornithine showed increases in HGH. Scientists tested various subjects using oral arginine prior to going to sleep. After seven days, the higher-dose subjects had a 60 percent increase in HGH levels. Other tests (double-blind studies) were done using both oral supplementations of arginine and ornithine in combination with short-term intensive exercise.
Subjects taking the oral supplementation of both amino acids demonstrated significantly higher results in total strength and lean body mass. Additional test results showed that the group taking the oral amino acids were faster to recover from the effects of exercise, specifically the chronic stress due to tissue breakdown. It is speculated that the HGH aided in this result.
L-Dopa is an amino acid (dihydroxyphenylalanine) that has been used as an anti-aging treatment. It causes the brain to create dopamine. Synthetic L-Dopa (Levodopa) was approved in 1970 by the FDA to treat Parkinson’s disease. It is thought to improve nerve conduction. L-Dopa has risks as an anti-aging drug because of the high levels that must be used to see results when used alone. Typical side effects from the high doses of L-Dopa are:
● Abnormal heart rhythms
● Movement disorders
● Mental disturbances
● Increased risk of cancer
Additional testing has been done with other amino acids – individually and in combination. Results are mixed, but positive results have been seen in those tests. Oral glutamine has been shown to increase HGH levels in some studies. Arginine and lysine used together have similar results. Oral supplementation using glycine (a non-essential amino acid) shows positive results in increasing levels of HGH. Glycine and arginine taken together showed substantial improvements in total muscle gain compared to the control group.
Glutamine is the most plentiful amino acid in the human body. HGH levels increased in the testing of oral glutamine supplementation. Glutamine is converted to citrulline which in turn produces arginine. Even though one might think you are testing one specific component, there are other factors (chemical reactions) that happen in the human body at the same time. Glutamine is also converted into glutamate. Glutamate has been shown to increase HGH.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid is GABA. GABA is unique in that it increases HGH when the subject is at rest and inhibits HGH when exercising. Oral supplementation of GABA has demonstrated increases in HGH in test subjects compared to a control group.
The amino acids discussed above (plus a few more) have some ability to increase HGH under various conditions (exercise, sleep, etc.). However, deficiencies of amino acids can cause serious health problems. The body breaks down protein into amino acids. Cells use amino acids to build new proteins, enzymes and other components needed by the body. Our bodies require twenty different amino acids daily to remain healthy. We can create eleven of them. We must get the other nine (essential) amino acids from the foods we eat.
What happens when there is a deficiency of the amino acids? If we don’t eat enough protein over an extended time, we end up with a condition called protein-energy under-nutrition. Protein-energy under-nutrition is most frequently found in the United States in older people who do not eat enough dietary protein on a consistent basis. Symptoms commonly associated with protein deficiency are:
● Weight loss
● A decrease in muscle mass
● Changes in hair/skin
● Extreme fatigue
● Difficulty recovering from infections
● Frequent colds
● Slower recovery from exercise
● Slow healing of cuts and other minor injuries
● Swelling in hands, feet, and abdomen
Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin