Saturday, March 13, 2010

Growth Hormone and Health

Most growth hormone is released at night. Peak spikes of growth hormone release occur around 10 P.M., midnight, and 2 A.M. Therefore, if we do not get enough sleep, our growth hormone production will decrease. Children will have slower growing rates, while adults will gain weight, have more wrinkles, and lose muscle mass. Furthermore, adults will have difficulty to repair their body’s injury. I once treated a 19-year-old college student, a very talented young lady. She was kicked on her left eye during her martial arts class at her college. She was diagnosed with a brain concussion, with severe headaches, and had to drop out of classes. During her recovery period, she slept more than 10 hours every day. Surprisingly, her asthma disappeared, and she grew half an inch during that 3-month period. I think that the extra sleep stimulated her brain to produce more growth hormone. Also, histamine levels drop dramatically while one is sleeping, and this explains the healing of her allergy. 
When blood glucose levels fall, growth hormone-releasing hormone triggers the secretion of stored growth hormone. As blood glucose levels rise, growth hormone-releasing hormone release is turned off. Increases in blood protein levels trigger a similar response. As a result of this hypothalamic feedback loop, growth hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day and night. The normal plasma growth hormone level is 1 -3 ng/ml with peaks as high as 60 ng/ml. If children eat or drink foods containing simple sugars all day long, their high blood sugar levels can inhibit the secretion of growth hormone. If adults do not sleep after 12pm, their growth hormone will not be secreted sufficiently. If they continue to eat during the night, their blood sugar will go up and their growth hormone will be even lower. That is why people develop diabetes, arthritis and tendonitis. Their body cannot rejuvenate due to the wrong sleeping time.