Growth hormone (GH) is a peptide hormone that is intimately involved in tissue growth and repair. Together with insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), GH helps regulate metabolism and maintain normal brain and cardiac function.
Secretion of GH falls dramatically with aging, correlating with age-related symptoms such as disordered sleep patterns, fragile bones, cognitive decline, and decreased muscle mass and strength.
Injections of growth hormone can help to reverse these problems. Growth hormone cannot be taken orally, because it is broken down in the digestive tract.
An alternative method of increasing one's level of growth hormone is to take a growth hormone releaser. Arginine is an amino acid that is known as a growth hormone releaser and a precursor of the vital substance nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is the the chemical secreted by the lining of human blood vessels that causes the blood vessels to dilate, and thus determines what parts of the body receive extra blood flow, and what parts will receive less in response to other biological signals. Nitric oxide now also appears to be the neurotransmitter that is mainly responsible for converting short-term memories to long-term memories in the brain. This is another ability that often declines with aging.
Overall, the role of nitric oxide in the human body is a major area of current medical research. The human body manufactures nitric oxide from only one nutrient: Arginine.
Recent studies have shown that resting growth hormone responses increase with oral ingestion of L-arginine and the dose range is 5-9 g of arginine. Within this range there is a dose-dependent increase and higher doses are not well tolerated.
Most studies using oral arginine have shown that arginine alone increases the resting growth hormone levels at least 100%, while exercise can increase growth hormone levels by 300-500%.
The combination of exercise and oral L-arginine increases resting HGH levels by 200%.
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