Is Testosterone Therapy the Same as HGH?
Medically reviewed by Dr. Larry Lipshultz M.D
Testosterone (T) therapy shares some traits with another hormone therapy that is frequently marketed to aging men: HGH therapy, or human growth hormone. So how is testosterone therapy similar to HGH?
HGH is produced naturally by the anterior pituitary gland in the brain and, like testosterone, its levels are high when you’re young, decline as you age, and the symptoms associated with low levels are undesirable. Men who experience very low HGH can be plagued with high total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, compromised mental function, fat accumulation, reduced athletic performance, and loss of muscle mass, tone, and strength.
How Is Testosterone Therapy Similar to HGH?
Like T therapy, HGH therapy has some limited and legitimate medical uses. In the case of HGH, those purposes include short stature of unknown causes in children and, in adults, short bowel syndrome, muscle wasting associated with HIV/AIDS, and HGH deficiency due to rare pituitary tumors. However, like T therapy, use of HGH supplements has become popular among men who want to look better and feel strong.
Both testosterone replacement therapy and HGH can be expensive, costing up to $1500 per month. HGH also comes with another risk, as men frequently acquire it illegally and expose themselves to legal as well as health consequences. Long-term use of HGH can result in kidney failure, diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and a bulging forehead resembling a Neanderthal appearance.
How Can You Increase HGH Naturally?
Here’s another similarity between testosterone replacement therapy and HGH therapy: you can achieve the goals you want from both of them by adopting natural treatment options. Some of the lifestyle choices are the same as those that boost testosterone levels, which means you get twice the benefits from introducing lifestyle changes into your life. At the top of the list of these changes are exercise and sleep.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) stimulates production of HGH. This type of exercise incorporates short, intense exercise intervals with short rest periods in between. A recent study in the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that HGH levels were higher immediately after men engaged in HIIT .
Resistance/weight training also can raise HGH. A team of experts found that heavy resistance exercise boosted HGH levels in both men and women, and that men showed a more sustained response.
In another study, 16 healthy men were evaluated after doing free weight bench press exercises at slow eccentric velocity and fast eccentric velocity. HGH increase was greater after the slow versus the fast velocity.
Adequate (7-9 hours) uninterrupted sleep is necessary for the healthy release of HGH. Inadequate or disrupted sleep patterns can reduce or even stop the nightly release of this hormone. If you want to ensure healthy release of HGH, be sure to get 7 to 9 hours of natural (without medications) uninterrupted sleep on a regular basis. Of course, there are occasions when this sleep cycle might be altered, but try to get back on tract ASAP. Too little sleep or disrupted sleep patterns can reduce or even stop HGH release.
High protein foods can boost HGH production, including protein from both plant and animal sources. Any animal sources should be organic to avoid exposure to hormones, steroids, antibiotics, and pesticides. Otherwise, plant sources of protein are entirely adequate to meet your needs and come without the saturated fat, cholesterol, and harmful additives. Healthy choices include green peas, lentils and other legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds, along with clean fish (e.g., mussels, sardines).
Some amino acids called secretagogues stimulate secretion of HGH. These include arginine, glutamine, lysine, and ornithine. The author of a study from Syracuse University explained that 5 to 9 grams of arginine can increase resting HGH. Most studies also have shown that arginine alone can raise resting HGH levels at least 100%, compared with an increase of 300 to 500% with exercise alone.
In another study, nine healthy men were given 2 grams of glutamine. Within 90 minutes of ingesting the amino acid, the men showed an elevation in HGH levels.
It’s best to get these amino acids from food, but if you want to try supplements, talk to a health professional before you begin taking them.
Choline in the form of CDP-choline (which is found naturally in the body) can increase HGH levels as demonstrated in several studies. One study showed a fourfold rise in HGH among healthy elderly adults. Another study showed a significant increase in the HGH in healthy males. As a bonus, choline also promote brain cell health. Choline however has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
References for “Is Testosterone Therapy the Same as HGH?”:
Ceda GP et al. Effects of cytidine 5’-diphosphocholine administration on basal and growth hormone-releasing hormone-induced growth hormone secretion in elderly subjects. Acta Endocrinology (Copenhagen) 1991 May; 124(5): 516-20.
Luk HY et al. Acute resistance exercise stimulates sex-specific dimeric immunoreactive growth hormone responses. Growth Hormone IGF Research 2015 Jun; 25(3): 136-40.
Peake JM et al. Metabolic and hormonal responses to isoenergetic high-intensity interval exercise and continuous moderate-intensity exercise. American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism 2014 Oct 1; 307(7): E539-52