It’s well known that human growth hormone (HGH) is used by many — including bodybuilders and athletes — to increase muscle mass. Because it’s used to add muscle mass it might seem contradictory that HGH is also used to reduce fat. Which is it for, to add weight or lose weight? It turns out that indeed HGH is helpful for both cases, in the same person.
- What Is Human Growth Hormone (HGH)?
- Benefits of HGH
- How HGH Reduces Fat
- HGH Supplements For Losing Fat
What Is Human Growth Hormone (HGH)?
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body, helping tissues and organs function as intended. There are dozens of different hormones, each one secreted by a gland and each one serving some specific function. Insulin, estrogen, and testosterone are examples of hormones just about everyone is familiar with. Human growth hormone is another example of a well-known hormone.
Human growth hormone (HGH), also known as somatotropin, is produced by the pituitary gland — a small gland in the brain. As its name suggested, one of the chief roles of human growth hormone is to cause height growth — mainly in children and adolescents. HGH does, though, serve other functions: it assists in cell reproduction and cell health, which in turn contribute to building, repairing, and maintaining healthy tissue in organs — including the brain. HGH also plays a role in metabolism, fat burning, and increasing muscle mass. It is these last functions that are the subject of this article.
Benefits of HGH
HGH does much of its work directly by binding to receptors on bones, muscles, fat, and all organs. HGH also works by stimulating the liver to secrete insulin-like growth factor-1, or IGF-1. As HGH binds to receptors specifically tuned to respond to HGH, IGF-1 binds to receptors specifically designed to respond to IGF-1. HGH does some of its own work, and also brings about the release of IGF-1 that does some work on its own. Together HGH and IGF-1 play important roles in just about every human system.
Some of the most important roles of HGH (and to a lesser extent IGF-1) play in a person’s health include the following:
- Promotes lipolysis — the breakdown of fats and lipids
- Increases lean muscle mass
- Contributes to a healthy immune system
- Stimulates the growth of organs
- Strengthens bones
- Increases cell production and cell health
- Reduces liver uptake of glucose
For a more comprehensive background on just what HGH is and the many benefits of HGH be sure to check out our extended article Human Growth Hormone Slows the Aging Process.
How HGH Reduces Fat
Subcutaneous fat is the “jiggly” fat that lies just beneath the skin and is readily visible. While a person doesn’t like the look of subcutaneous fat on their body, it is normally fairly harmless from a health perspective and having some subcutaneous fat may even protect against some diseases.
Visceral fat is fat present deeper in the abdominal area, surrounding the organs. If a person has very little subcutaneous fat (“surface fat”), then that person’s visceral fat — being deep inside the body — may not even be noticeable. Though it might not be noticeable, it is bad in that visceral fat is associated with numerous diseases.
A person should want to decrease their visceral fat because it’s unhealthy. A person will typically want to decrease their subcutaneous fat because while it’s not very unhealthy, a person won’t like the way it makes them look. Good news here — several studies have shown that increasing HGH levels can help decrease both subcutaneous and visceral fat in both men and women.
HGH works to reduce fat in two ways.
HGH and Fat Cells
Many types of cells — including fat cells — each have a growth hormone receptor. When HGH binds to a fat cell’s growth hormone receptor it triggers an enzymatic reaction in the cell that breaks down triglycerides. Triglycerides are the main constituents of body fat. Triglycerides are also referred to as lipids, so this process of breaking down triglycerides in fat is called lipolysis. This breakdown creates energy, which in turn speeds up metabolism.
HGH and Insulin
Insulin is a hormone that helps control blood glucose levels and plays an important role in cells taking in glucose to be used for energy. Insulin is obviously an important hormone, but a side effect of insulin is that it encourages the creation of fat cells. HGH in inhibits this insulin-caused fat cell creation process. Without proper levels of HGH to counteract insulin’s fat cell promotion fat cells would dramatically increase. When that happens the pituitary gland actually decreases its release of HGH, causing a harmful cycle.
HGH Supplements For Losing Fat
The production of HGH amps up dramatically during childhood and adolescence, and then starts to decline relatively early in life — usually when a person is in their mid-20’s. Once HGH production slows, the decline is fairly rapid — the pituitary’s output drops by as much as 50% every seven years. Throughout a person’s life the body continues to produce HGH, but the pituitary doesn’t effectively release the hormone. This sharp decline in the body’s available HGH makes supplement of this hormone important.
HGH Releasers a Better Option Than HGH Injections
HGH can be administered either by HGH injections or by orally consuming natural HGH releasers. HGH injections (also called recombinant HGH therapy), as the name implies, consist of actually injecting HGH into a person. HGH releasers (also called HGH secretagogues) are supplements that don’t actually consist of HGH itself, but rather natural compounds that are known to cause the pituitary gland to release additional HGH into the body.
HGH injections are available only by prescription, and only for a very limited number of medical reasons — such as for the treatment of short stature in children caused by a hormonal deficiency or to treat an adult deficiency caused by rare pituitary tumors. In addition to being available only by prescription, HGH injections are extremely expensive — a single shot can cost over one thousand dollars. For these reasons people who want to increase their HGH levels safely, legally, and at a reasonable cost opt for HGH releaser supplements. This article focuses on such HGH releasers.
HGH Supplements Are Superior to Diet Pills
Unlike traditional diet pills, HGH releasers are a natural and healthy way to lose body fat. Unlike diet pills, HGH releasers not only help to reduce fat, they also help increase lean muscle mass. HGH does this by maintaining the body’s nitrogen levels.
Sufficient levels of nitrogen are important to maintaining health and building lean muscle. Too little nitrogen is associated with malnourishment and muscle loss. Diet pills typically deplete the body of nitrogen so that while fat loss may occur, muscle mass will not increase and will most likely decrease. That is, diet pills can cause the loss of both fat and muscle, which is unhealthy. The goal of losing weight should be to lose weight and get healthier — it shouldn’t be to just look physically better at the cost of decreased health. Increasing HGH, on the other hand, has no negative effect on a body’s nitrogen levels.
Best HGH Supplements for Fat Loss
There are a number of natural compounds that act as natural HGH releasers that lead to fat loss and lean muscle mass gain. You can buy any or all of these as individual supplements, or you can buy a single supplement that includes several ingredients in a single pill or capsule.
Deer Antler Velvet
Deer antler velvet is exactly what its name states — it’s the soft, fuzzy “velvet” that is a part of new antlers. Deer antler velvet is a natural source of IGF-1. As mentioned earlier, HGH stimulates the production of IGF-1 by the liver, and the IGF-1 then carries out growth-promoting functions. If you’re concerned about using an “animal part” as a supplement, don’t be — deer antler velvet is a renewable resource that is painlessly harvested from the new antler growth on deer that are captured and then released (to live and regrow more velvet).
L-arginine is an amino acid and HGH releaser that has been proven to stimulate fat metabolism (and thus burn fat) while also enhancing the formation of lean muscle mass. L-arginine is an ingredient that has been included in a variety of nutritional supplements for everything from enhancing sports performance to improving cardiovascular health. As a nitrogenous acid it increases the production of a nitrogen in the body which is important for maintaining and gaining muscle mass.
L-lysine is an amino acid that helps in the production of enzymes, hormones and antibodies. It also plays a role in maintaining the body’s nitrogen balance. It’s been shown that there is a synergistic effect between lysine and arginine; with L-lysine and L-arginine — one boosts the effects of the other creating a situation referred to as “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” For this reason you’ll find that most HGH supplements include both of these amino acids.
The best, most effect HGH supplements include six, eight, or more individual HGH releaser ingredients. These many-ingredient supplements are also fairly expensive. If the best is out of your price range, consider getting a supplement that consists of just a couple of HGH releasers. The GH Factor product from Beverly International consists of L-arginine and L-lysine — two powerful HGH releasers that work best together.
L-glutamine is the amino acid that is most used by the body — especially in times of stress. L-glutamine can be thought of as the fuel that keeps the immune system engine running. By having an adequate level of L-glutamine in your body, you’re better able to lose weight while still maintaining, or even increasing, lean muscle mass. L-glutamine also provides the benefit of reducing carbohydrate cravings.
HGH Stacks: Combining HGH Releasers
There are a number of HGH products on the market that each include several, or many, HGH releaser ingredients. The hgh.com website sells, unsurprisingly, hgh-related supplements. As a combination of 10 HGH releasers (including all the ones mentioned above), their HGF MAX product is their most popular HGH releaser.
The ingredients in a second hgh.com product — HYDROX SLIM — are included for their thermogenic properties. Thermogenic means to produce heat, and when used in the context of supplements it more specifically means to increase the body’s metabolic response — to burn more calories and fat. The ingredients may also help to suppress appetite, which is of course helpful when trying to lose weight. HYDROX SLIM consists of a dozen ingredients, include the following:
Synephrine is an extract of the Citrus Aurantium plant (also known as bitter orange), and is a natural, mild stimulant that’s known to increase metabolism.
Hydroxycitric Acid (HCA) (Garcinia Cambogia)
Hydroxycitric acid, or HCA is a compound found in the garcinia cambogia fruit (which is why it is sometimes referred to as garcinia cambogia). HCA increases the body’s mood elevator serotonin, making it less likely that a person will overeat due to anxiety or depression. As such it acts as a natural appetite suppressant for some people. HCA also inhibits citrate lyase, which is an enzyme that contributes to building fat from carbohydrates.
Guarana is a plant native to the Amazon basin. The guarana fruit is about the size of a coffee berry. Guarana contains several stimulants, including caffeine, which helps boost metabolism. Guarana also is very rich in antioxidants. In fact, it is so rich in antioxidants that guarana is used as an ingredient in many nutritional supplements, including ones that have nothing to do with weight loss.
Willow bark is an extract of the bark from the willow tree. Willow bark contains a chemical called salicin that is similar to aspirin. When a stimulant (like synephrine) and an aspirin-like compound (like willow bark) enter the body at the same time, the body is triggered to keep thermogenesis (fat burning) sustained for longer periods of time.
Incidentally, this concept of combining certain ingredients to take advantage of their synergistic effect is referred to as stacking, and is popular and common in the health supplement field. It’s particularly popular and effective with nootropics (congitive enhancers, or “brain building”), as well as weight loss and muscle gain supplements.
At hgh.com they take stacking to the next level. Their HGF MAX product is a stack of many HGH releasers that work together synergistically to form the basis of a single, powerful HGH releaser capsule. They then recommend to take their HYDROX SLIM metabolism boosting stack along with their HGF MAX supplement. Either product alone is helpful for fat loss — taken together the results will be far superior to what either product offers individually. You can buy either product on it’s own, but they do offer a price break on a package that conists of both supplements.
HGH helps to build, maintain, and repair healthy tissue in all the major organs. It also helps in building muscle mass, boosting metabolism, and burning fat.
HGH encourages fat loss by attaching to growth hormone receptors on fat cells to start a process called lipolysis — the breaking down of triglycerides, or lipids. Triglycerides are the main part of body fat. This breakdown releases energy which increases metabolism, an act that itself helps to burn fat. HGH also acts to inhibit insulin’s propensity to create fat cells.