Human growth hormone (HGH) is a hormone that promotes growth, muscle mass, and fat metabolism. It can be especially important during weight loss, injury recovery, and athletic training. People can try to increase their HGH naturally by changing their diet and lifestyle choices.

HGH, which is also known as somatotropin or growth hormone (GH), plays a vital role in body composition. The pituitary gland produces HGH and releases it into the bloodstream. The body regulates the production of HGH in response to stress, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and the growth hormone itself.

Natural HGH is important in growing children and teenagers. A lack of HGH production can lead to a condition known as growth hormone deficiency (GHD). This can lead to a slow growth rate, and reduced facial bone development.

Similarly, excess HGH production can lead to a condition known as acromegaly. This condition can result in a number of signs and symptoms, the most well known being large hands and feet.

This article will explore the benefits of HGH, as well as the risks. It will also look at some of the ways to naturally boost HGH within the body.

A person exercising using free weights to help boost their HGH.Share on Pinterest
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HGH has been associated with potential benefits such as:

Weight loss

HGH stimulates lipolysis, which is the breakdown of fatty acids in fat tissue. This can lead to weight loss.

An older study suggests that GH treatment may help decrease body fat in obesity and growth hormone deficiency. A 2015 review supports this, indicating that growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) may be beneficial for people with obesity.

Increased muscle mass

Research notes that GH can enhance muscle performance in sports and muscle function in older adults. GH may help to increase muscle mass and strength through anabolic effects, in a similar way to anabolic steroids.

However, it is worth noting that the World Anti-Doping Agency view HGH as a doping agent. They prohibit its use due to the positive effect it can have on athletic performance.

Learning and memory

Evidence suggests that HGH may play a role in improving cognitive function. A 2013 review notes that GH may interact with specific receptors in the central nervous system, and may help improve memory and learning.

Improved wound healing

An older study suggests that GHRH may have a clinical use for treating skin wounds resulting from trauma, surgery, or disease. In particular, research suggests that HGH may help heal burn wounds and have a use in the rehabilitation process.

Improved bone health

A 10-year study that involved 80 women between the ages of 50–70 found that GH treatment was beneficial for bone health and fracture healing in postmenopausal women.

Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have only approved the use of GH treatment for specific conditions, such as GHD. It is only available on prescription.

Some athletes have used HGH on a non-prescription basis to improve performance, but this carries the danger of excessive use, or incorrect dosing.

Long-term use of HGH can result in acromegaly. This can lead to a number of complications such as:

In addition to the above, some complications of GH replacement therapy due to excessive HGH may include:

As a person must administer HGH by injection, it runs the risk of blood clots, dose error, and allergic reaction at the site of injection. People should only use HGH under the supervision of a doctor.

The pituitary gland produces HGH in the body and releases it in bursts. The levels of HGH rise and fall regularly, and people can increase them naturally by:

Reducing body fat

A 2020 article notes that excessive body fat, including visceral and central fat, is associated with reduced HGH. This is consistent with a 2015 review, which states that increased visceral fat is associated with lower levels of GH.

This suggests that by reducing body fat, a person may be able to increase the natural secretion of HGH.

Frequent exercise

Exercise is a powerful stimulator of GH release. A 2015 study found that regular resistance exercise, such as the use of free weights and bodybuilding machines, led to increased secretion of HGH and another hormone known as insulin-like growth factor-1.

Athletes may try to abuse both of these hormones due to their anabolic properties that may help enhance physical ability.

Intermittent fasting

A 2013 systematic review notes that intermittent fasting can substantially increase the levels of HGH. This may be due to the role HGH plays in breaking down fat, which the body may use for energy while fasting.

Reducing sugar intake

A reduction in a person’s sugar intake may also lead to an increase in HGH levels.

The pancreas releases insulin in response to consuming sugar or other carbohydrates. Research suggests that insulin may dictate the secretion of GH. A consistent increase in insulin may inhibit the release of HGH, reducing the level of HGH in the body.

A 2020 study also notes that insulin and GH are counter-regulatory in terms of glucose and fat metabolism. In cases of obesity, when insulin is high and GH is low, the hormonal imbalance promotes further fat buildup, further reducing HGH.

This suggests that a reduction in sugar intake, which will lower the need for insulin, may help to increase levels of HGH.


People can also use supplements to increase the level of HGH in the body.

The amino acids arginine and glutamine have been associated with the release of HGH. A 2020 study suggests that oral supplementation with amino acids significantly increased HGH levels in healthy adults. Therefore, arginine and glutamine supplements may help to boost HGH.

Older research indicates that melatonin may stimulate the release of GH. Melatonin is a hormone that the pineal gland releases in the body. It releases higher quantities of melatonin during the night and signals the need for sleep.

However, it is advisable for a person to speak with their doctor before taking supplements or significantly changing their diet.


Research notes that HGH levels increase during sleep due to the influence of melatonin. A regular sleep cycle is vital to naturally increase the level of HGH in the body.

Evidence also indicates that sleep disturbances, particularly deprivation, are associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and insulin insensitivity, which may lower levels of HGH.

Among other tips, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend exercising during the day to facilitate sleep at night. As both may help to naturally increase HGH, people can try to include regular exercise and adequate sleep in their routines to increase HGH levels.

HGH is a naturally occurring hormone released in the body by the pituitary gland. It has important functions in growth, metabolism, and muscle mass. Additional benefits may include improved learning, memory, bone health, and wound healing.

People may be able to naturally increase HGH levels through adequate sleep, exercise, and diet. However, a person should consult their doctor before making significant changes to their physical or dietary habits.

Additionally, illicit use of HGH is associated with risks. It is advisable that people only use prescription HGH to treat certain conditions, and not for other means.