While the positive effects of the Human Growth Hormone (“HGH”) on the human body are widely known, the interplay of sugar intake and HGH release is a lesser-known topic. This article explains the relationship between these two.

The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is associated with a variety of important effects on the human body, such as stimulating protein synthesis (the protein production in cells), increasing lipolysis (the breakdown of fat), bone mineralization (e.g. the transportation of new minerals like calcium into the bones), stimulating the immune system and a multitude of other effects associated with anti aging and longevity.

HGH levels in the body are affected by a multitude of factors, but many lifestyle choices can be beneficial for increasing HGH release such as certain diets or specific physical training regimes. For example: The intake of proteins or amino acids promotes HGH release as well as High Intensity Interval Training (“HIIT”).

Sugar intake, however, has a negative effect and ultimately inhibits the release of HGH.

When sugar is ingested, it is quickly absorbed in the stomach, which causes the blood glucose level to rise. The body’s reaction to rising glucose level is to release Insulin, but also to release Somatostatin. Somatostatin is the natural antagonist of HGH and blocks further release of HGH.

Unfortunately most sports drinks, snacks and shakes, while containing valuable proteins and amino acids, also contain sugar, which raise blood sugar levels and ultimately lead to an inhibition of HGH release.

Thus, everyone seeking to optimize their benefits from HGH focused regimen or exercise should avoid snacks, drinks and shakes containing sugar immediately before, during and some time after exercise to get the full benefits of the bodies own release of HGH.

References:
1. Schmidt, Robert F., Florian Lang, and Manfred Heckmann, eds. Physiologie des Menschen: mit Pathophysiologie. Springer-Verlag, 2011.
2. Rudman, Daniel, et al. "Effects of human growth hormone in men over 60 years old." New England Journal of Medicine 323.1 (1990): 1-6.
3. Nair, K. Sreekumaran, and Kevin R. Short. "Hormonal and signaling role of branched-chain amino acids." The Journal of nutrition 135.6 (2005): 1547S-1552S.
4. Eigler, Tamar, and Anat Ben-Shlomo. "Somatostatin system: molecular mechanisms regulating anterior pituitary hormones." Journal of molecular endocrinology 53.1 (2014): R1-R19.
5. Schiaffino, Stefano, and Cristina Mammucari. "Regulation of skeletal muscle growth by the IGF1-Akt/PKB pathway: insights from genetic models." Skelet Muscle 1.1 (2011): 4-4.