Study: Both Exercise and Whey Augment Human Growth Hormone Production,
Which Can Keep Your Body Young
by Joseph Mercola:
Soybean Oil: One of the Most Harmful Ingredients in Processed Foods
on an empty stomach has been shown to have a number of health
and fitness benefits as the combination of fasting and exercising
maximizes the impact of cellular factors and catalysts that force
the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy, effectively forcing
your body to burn fat without sacrificing muscle mass
interval training boosts your body's natural production of human
growth hormone (HGH), a synergistic, foundational biochemical
that addresses the serious muscle loss and atrophy that typically
occurs with aging
- New research
has shown that not only does exercise increase HGH concentrations,
but you can influence its production nutritionally through the
intake of whey protein
- When participants
ran on a treadmill for 90 minutes, then consumed whey protein
during their recovery, they had an increased HGH response after
completing a second bout of intense exercise
- Once you
hit the age of 30, you enter what's called "somatopause," at which
point your levels of HGH begin to drop off quite dramatically;
this decline of HGH is part of what drives your aging process,
so maintaining your HGH levels gets increasingly important with
one of the “golden tickets” to preventing disease and
slowing the aging process.
for this is because exercise is one of the most effective
ways to regain insulin and leptin sensitivity and reverse
insulin and leptin-resistance, which is a key to staying
healthy as you get older.
reason why exercise is sometimes regarded as a real-life fountain
of youth is because, when done intensely, it boosts your body's
natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), a synergistic,
foundational biochemical that addresses the serious muscle loss
and atrophy that typically occurs with aging.
fasting has many of the same benefits, including dramatically
boosting HGH and optimizing insulin- and leptin sensitivity, which
I’ll discuss more toward the end of this article.
also shows that ingesting carbohydrates (sucrose) with added whey
protein isolate during short-term recovery from 90 minutes
of treadmill running increases the growth hormone response to a
second exhaustive exercise bout of similar duration.
previously discussed the issue of implementing an exercise and diet
plan based on your desired goal, either:
longevity and reproductive success
If you are
seeking to optimize competitive athletics, then carb-loading as
used in the featured study can be useful. However it is not a wise
strategy if you’re seeking long-term optimal health, as that
requires a different approach. Avoiding carbs then becomes
paramount, along with making sure you’re using only high quality
protein sources. (Clearly, competitive athletes could also improve
if they used high quality organic, grass-fed whey rather than the
far inferior whey protein isolate.)
in the wake of Lance Armstrong being stripped of his seven titles
and banned from cycling for life after being found guilty of doping,
one study known as the Goldman Dilemma, showed that more than half
of Olympic-level athletes would gladly use a drug that would kill
them within five years as long as it guaranteed them a gold medal.2
To most people,
however, this would be an unacceptable exchange. The featured approach
clearly will not kill you in five years, and I suspect most of the
adverse longevity consequences are reversible, but in my opinion
carb-loading is not ideal for long-term health.
is Not Recommended if You Exercise for Longevity
The idea behind
carb-loading is to saturate yourself with carbs so your muscles
will have plenty of glycogen to go on while you exercise. This works
fine for really fit athletes that have an intense workout regimen.
They also have the muscle mass that could accommodate large glucose
surges as muscles can rapidly utilize glucose. Additionally most
athletes have optimized insulin and leptin signaling and are exercising
which also allows them to better use the carbs.
believe it is totally inappropriate for the vast majority of non-athletes
that exercise casually, or just to get healthy as their muscle mass
isn’t as well developed and their insulin and leptin signaling
is typically impaired. Another point to consider in this study is
that, while whey is great for stimulating muscle protein synthesis,
I disagree with the use of whey
protein isolate as whey protein concentrates are clearly superior.
As I'll discuss
below, the focus on carbs is one of the most detrimental pieces
of advice that is still widely promoted to athletes and non-athletes
alike, and there are FAR better ways to boost HGH production than
what was tested in the featured study, in which participants ran
for 90 minutes with a four-hour long break in between repeated session.
important to remember that what you eat can either add to
or detract from your exercise benefits, and if you're devoting
the time to exercise for health and longevity, you'd be well advised
to harness your meals to support your goals, not detract from them.
First and foremost, contrary to popular advice, to maximize the
benefits of exercise you'll want to avoid fructose and
other sugars unless you are engaged in intensive and prolonged cardio
exercises that will allow you to burn these sugars, especially fructose,
and not store them as fat.
which in and of itself improves insulin and leptin sensitivity,
will NOT completely compensate for excessive use of fructose.
that most casual exercisers and those seeking to improve their body
composition and optimize health and fitness rather than boost athletic
performance or competitiveness, need to ditch the energy drinks,
sports drinks, most energy bars and even "healthy" drinks like vitamin
water, as these will effectively sabotage your exercise benefits.
which is found primarily in the form of high fructose corn syrup,
is particularly detrimental as it tricks your body into gaining
weight by turning off your body's appetite-control system. This
happens because fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin,
which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") and
doesn't stimulate leptin (the "satiety hormone").
The end result
is that you end up eating more, causing uncontrolled accumulation
of sugar metabolites in your liver, which then leads to insulin
resistance. Fructose also rapidly leads to decreased HDL ("good"
cholesterol), increased LDL ("bad" cholesterol), elevated triglycerides,
elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure – i.e. classic
metabolic syndrome. And if that's not bad enough, fructose has shown
to increase the levels of TNF-α, a pro-inflammatory cytokine
known to inhibit fat burning and promote muscle wasting.
Protein During Your Exercise Recovery May Boost HGH
of vital human
growth hormone increases by up to 771 percent during a high-intensity,
interval workout like Peak Fitness because you are stimulating your
fast twitch muscle fibers, which are rarely used during most
exercise programs. The higher your levels of HGH, the healthier
and stronger you will be.
Once you hit
the age of 30, you enter what's called "somatopause," at which point
your levels of HGH begin to drop off quite dramatically. This decline
of HGH is part of what drives your aging process, so maintaining
your HGH levels gets increasingly important with age.
choose to inject HGH for its performance enhancing potential, though
it is a banned substance in nearly every professional sport. I do
not recommend injecting HGH however, due to the potential side effects,
the cost and, more importantly, its potential to cause more long-term
harm than good. Besides, as we now know, taking such risks is unnecessary
because if you eat and exercise correctly, you will naturally
optimize your HGH.
What You Eat
in the Two to Three Hours After You Exercise is Extremely Important
After an intense
workout, there's an exercise recovery phase of two to three hours
during which you have to be somewhat careful about what foods you
choose to eat. Specifically, in order to promote HGH release, you
do need to restrict
sugar intake post-exercise (although carbs can benefit those
more interested in fast recovery, such as professional athletes).
Fitness veteran Phil
we recommend... is to get 25 grams of protein afterwards within
that 30-minute golden window. There is a lot of research to support
that, but there's also some research done by Dr. John Ivy of the
University of Texas, a great researcher on a young cyclist who made
recovery. They're not looking at growth hormone or maximizing growth
hormone. They're trying to get to recover as quickly as possible
so they can cycle several days in a row.
showed that getting a ratio of 4:1 carbs to protein is better for
recovery... 4:1 starts recovery faster. If you're going after recovery,
that's the best strategy... [if] you're not looking for growth hormone,
the other side, if your goal like most middle-aged adults and
older is to maximize growth hormone, and to get this wonderful
hormone circulating for that full two hours in the surging window
for going after body fat (just about like you're doing cardio for
two hours), you can do that. ...if you throw too many carbohydrates
in... then that releases the hormones called somatostatin. That,
for whatever reason, just shuts down growth hormone. That's clear
in the research."
So it's important
to avoid carbs, especially sugar or fructose-containing foods, in
the two hours after your workout, and this includes sports drinks,
to be sure you're getting the full HGH benefits. Consuming whey
protein, however, appears to be nearly ideal, as it is a protein
that assimilates very quickly, and will get to your muscles within
10-15 minutes of swallowing it, supplying your muscles with the
right food at the right time to stop the catabolic process in your
muscle and shift the process toward repair and growth.
With Muscle-Building, Too
review found that consumption of ~20–25 grams of a rapidly
absorbed protein, such as whey protein, may serve to maximally stimulate
muscle building after resistance exercise in young healthy individuals;3
high-quality leucine-rich proteins, such as whey, may be particularly
important for the elderly to maximize muscle protein synthesis as
well. Further, consuming whey not only immediately following your
workout but also for up to 48 hours after resistance exercise may
still offer some benefit:4
resistance exercise increases MPS for up to ~48 h [hours] consumption
of dietary amino acids 24-48 h post-exercise recovery would also
likely convey the same synergistic effects on MPS [muscle protein
synthesis] as those that are observed when amino acids are provided
immediately after resistance exercise. The synergistic enhancement
of pre-existing resistance exercise-induced elevations in MPS by
protein provision is greatest immediately post-exercise and wanes
over time, but may still be present up to 48 h later.
recently shown that feeding 15 g of whey protein, a less than optimally
effective dose of protein for maximizing MPS, ~24 h after acute
resistance exercise results in a greater stimulation of ...protein
synthesis than the same dose provided at rest. ...We propose that
there is, at least in young individuals, an extended 'window of
anabolic opportunity' beyond the immediate post-exercise period
that persists for at least 24 h..."
A recent study
published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports &
Exercise demonstrated that consuming whey protein (20g protein
/ serving) 30 minutes before resistance training also boosts
your body's metabolism for as much as 24 hours after your workout.5
In practical terms, consuming 20 grams of whey protein before exercise
and another serving afterward will most likely yield the double
benefit of increasing both fat burning and muscle build-up at the
Fasting: Another Way to Boost HGH Naturally
Just as combining
whey protein with high-intensity exercise appears to work together
synergistically to boost HGH production, so too does exercising
while in a fasted state. Research has found that fasting raised
HGH by 1,300 percent in women and 2,000 percent in men!6
And the combination of fasting and exercising maximizes
the impact of cellular factors and catalysts (cyclic AMP and AMP
Kinases), which force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy.
important to realize that this fitness-enhancing strategy is more
about the timing of meals, as opposed to those fad plans where you
essentially “starve” yourself for several days in a
fasting, the longest time you'll ever abstain from food is 36 hours,
although 14-18 hours is more common. You can also opt to simply
delay eating. For example, skipping
breakfast may be just the step to get you off a plateau in your
fitness routine. Personally, I've revised my own eating schedule
to eliminate breakfast and restrict the time I eat food to a period
of about six to seven hours each day, which is typically from noon
to 6 or 7 pm. On the days that I weight train I will have one scoop
of Pure Power Protein (20 grams of protein) about 30 minutes after
the workout to provide nutrients, especially leucine, for muscle
growth and repair.
For more information
on healthy, safe intermittent fasting, read this.
Fasting for General Health and Longevity
of research showing that fasting has a beneficial impact on longevity
in animals. There are a number of mechanisms contributing to this
effect. Normalizing insulin sensitivity is a major one as insulin
sensitivity is critical for the activation of the mTOR pathway,
which along with IGF-1 plays an important part in repairing and
regenerating your tissues including your muscles and thereby counteracting
the aging process. The fact that it improves a number of potent
disease markers also contributes to fasting's overall beneficial
effects on general health.
Even if you
take the exercise component out, modern science has confirmed there
are many good reasons for fasting, including:
your insulin sensitivity, which is key for optimal health as insulin
resistance (which is what you get when after prolonged periods
of over-secreted and elevated insulin) is a primary contributing
factor to nearly all chronic disease, from diabetes to heart disease
and even cancer
ghrelin levels, also known as "the hunger hormone"
human growth hormone (HGH) production, which plays an important
part in health, fitness and slowing the aging process
inflammation and lessening free radical damage
Tying it All
seek to optimize your athletic performance or health and longevity,
incorporating 1-3 sessions of high-intensity exercises per week
will help you achieve your aims by significantly boosting HGH production.
Adding intermittent fasting can kick it up another notch. The same
cannot be said for your diet, however.
can be useful for professional athletes, those seeking health and
longevity will not benefit from this strategy. On the contrary,
severely limiting sugars and grains is part and parcel of any diet
designed to optimize overall health and prevent chronic disease.
Furthermore, it’s important to note that consuming fructose
within two hours prior to or after high-intensity exercise will
nullify HGH production... So carb-loading while doing Peak Exercises
will amount to wasted effort.
2013 Dr. Joseph Mercola
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