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Longevity and the Human Growth Hormone

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In our youth, the human growth hormone (HGH) is a force that is actively working to stimulate and regulate our bone and organ growth, among other things. As the name implies, it is the hormone that literally helps us grow.

As we reach maturity, our levels of HGH slow down and our upward growth comes to a halt. In adulthood, HGH takes on a different function. It is responsible for many other metabolic processes, including protein synthesis. This means there is a correlation between our bodies' levels of HGH and our percentage of lean muscle mass.

It is part of the natural aging process for HGH levels to decline. No one is naturally going to have the same level of HGH in middle or later age that they had in their youth. Efforts have been made to reverse this process through an injectable form of HGH that created a lot of excitement in recent years, but the findings have been somewhat inconclusive. Research appears to show a number of unwanted side effects that tend to discourage its use without strict medical supervision.

In recent years, other anti-aging substances known as secretagogues, precursors to HGH, have come onto the over-the-counter market. They come with the promise that they will lower your unfavorable blood lipids and increase your muscle mass and strength as well as having other health benefits. Secretagogues are ingested orally before bedtime. They are believed to stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete more HGH, creating a balance in the body.

The jury is still out on the long-term effects of secretagogues. In certain people they may cause hypertension. If you want to take them, get your doctor's opinion and, after testing, the physician can determine whether this amino acid blend is right for you.

The best way to stimulate your human growth hormones naturally is through a rigorous and closely supervised program of exercise and a balanced meal plan. I recommend both aerobic and anaerobic exercises in my four-week "Fat-Burning Metabolic Fitness and Nutrition Plan," after your physician takes a complete medical history and gives you a physical.

Over the past 30 years of working with thousands of professional athletes and ordinary people, I have found that you should never focus entirely on one particular hormone -- in this case, HGH. You have to look at the big picture, at all of the body's hormones and how they work in concert with each other like the individual instruments of a symphony orchestra.

My plan calls for a program of circuit training, core exercises and interval training. Circuit training includes resistance exercises that alternate between the upper and lower extremities of the body in specified time intervals: 10 minutes of exercise and 50 minutes of steady-state cardio training. Circuit or resistive training is an anaerobic form of exercise in that it creates an oxygen debt when you work out. The body shifts from predominantly burning fat to burning carbohydrates that are stored in the muscles and the liver and, to a lesser degree, in the circulatory system.

Core exercises are those that develop the mid-body region. Interval training involves exercises done at specific ratios of work to active rest. It can include walking, sprinting, bicycling or working on the cross-trainer.

Also important to the anti-aging process is an adequate consumption of proteins. I like to suggest a daily intake of 30 percent of your diet from lean protein sources. Protein is a stabilizing food that assists in insulin management, the building of lean muscle and immune function.

In summing up, a monitored program of anaerobic and aerobic exercises and a balanced meal plan should make you feel young and healthy, even as you age chronologically. We can't stop the natural aging process, but we can slow it down and enjoy the benefits of feeling good and healthy throughout our adult lives.

Eat healthy, exercise regularly, maintain a positive mental attitude and check in with your doctor regularly. Follow these tips and you should enjoy a long, healthy life.

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