What Raises and Lowers Growth Hormone Levels Naturally?

by Dr. David Minkoff April 08, 2021 6 min read

Athletic person jogging on a wooden trail next to the beach during the sunset.

Growth Hormone (GH or HGH) is one of the most important hormones in regard to muscle gain and fat loss for men and women:

It increases muscle mass, increases protein synthesis, strengthens bone, internally makes your metabolism “younger,” and is, to a large degree, “anti-aging” in its effects. And it does this in large part by stimulating the uptake of amino acids in the cells. 

In fact, GH is so closely tied to amino acids, that not only does GH stimulate the uptake of aminos, but taking aminos stimulates the release of GH to get the cells to take in the aminos.

Growth Hormone Is Also Essential For Fat Burning

Beyond building muscle, Growth Hormone stimulates the release of something called IGF, Insulin-like Growth Factor, which is key to burning fat. When Growth Hormone rises, IGF rises. 

Pretty important if what you want is a lean, muscled body.

So What Lowers Growth Hormone? (Insulin, Cortisol and Sugar)

First, the amount of belly fat you have is directly related to your GH production. The more you have, the less GH is produced, and the less you have, the more GH is produced [1].

Even more though, insulin (which is tied directly to fat storage) leads to decreased GH production. The bigger the insulin spike, the greater the decrease [2]. And we know rising insulin comes from rising sugar levels as the insulin makes the cells take in the sugar, and insulin spikes come from high levels of sugar hitting fast, especially processed sugars. The faster the sugar hits, the higher and longer the spike.

There have even been studies done that found pre-workout meals actually produced lower post-exercise growth hormone levels due to the insulin released than fasted workouts [3]. So not eating pre-workout meals, and doing fasted workouts instead, just taking PerfectAmino beforehand, produces higher amounts of muscle-gaining, fat-burning growth hormones! 

Also… increased insulin leads to cortisol, the stress hormone that simultaneously breaks down your muscle to use for energy, while building up fat stores. And cortisol will absolutely kill GH production.

Sleep Significantly Raises Growth Hormone Levels

Sleep is the most important part of recovery for the day. It’s when your body does most of its actual muscle building, but also most of it’s fat-burning. It’s also one of the most significant times for the release of growth hormone and IGF. 

This is why it’s always smart to take PerfectAmino before bed if you can, as the body will put it to use during one of its most needed times. 

But, if you get less sleep, we get the opposite reaction. We get lowered insulin sensitivity, meaning, the next day, when you’re eating, your body will need to put out more insulin than normal to get your cells to take in sugar. So we have higher insulin levels and more fat-building potential. Your body will also release more cortisol, the stress hormone, to keep you awake — even more fat-building potential. 

Lack of sleep also reduces Leptin production (the hormone that tells you you’re not hungry anymore), and increases ghrelin production (the hormone that tells you that you are hungry and to eat more!)

So What Increases Growth Hormone the Most? 

Well, outside of sleep, two main things cause the largest surges in growth hormone. The first is high-intensity workouts [4]. Low-intensity ones barely stimulate it. But high intensity resistance training, especially when done to muscle failure, stimulates the maximum levels of growth hormone which then tells the cells to increases uptake of amino acids to use to rebuild the muscle. 

This is why it’s important to take you PerfectAmino before your workout. Your workout stimulates the release of GH almost immediately to begin muscle repair. So, if you’ve taken your PerfectAmino 20 minutes beforehand, it’s already present in your bloodstream and synchronizes with the growth hormone release to produce maximum results. 

Fasting Also Significantly Increases Growth Hormone Levels

One study found that 3 days into a fast, GH levels increased by over 300%. And after 1 week of fasting, 1,250% (5). 

It does this by dropping body fat levels, which naturally increases GH production [6], and by keeping insulin levels very low, preventing GH suppression,and inducing something called autophagy to clean out the old debris in cells which then stimulates growth hormone to bring in new amino acids to rebuild them. 

So let’s look at how this fits into the old model of working out.

Pre-Workout Carb-Loading Lowers Growth Hormone Release

We see that we take in a bunch of carbs and low-utilization proteins before our workout, do our weightlifting, hoping to trigger GH production to increase cellular uptake of amino acids and build muscle. Then we make sure to get our carbs within a half hour after because “everybody knows” that’s necessary, and… we’re just triggering insulin and counteracting the body’s natural release of GH…

This carb loading immediately after a workout is counter-productive. You’ve just done a high intensity workout to muscle failure, raising growth hormone levels necessary for maximum muscle rebuild, and now you add sugar, raising insulin and cortisol levels, which reduces growth hormone? 

If it’s a high glycemic carb it will restore glycogen reserves fast, but the faster the sugar is absorbed, the faster and larger the insulin spike, lowering GH even more. And if it’s a low-glycemic carb, it will take a few hours to be broken down and put into use and so doesn’t get your glycogen stores refilled immediately anyways. 

If you really want some carbs right after a workout, have an apple and leave it at that. Any more potentially reduces your gains, not the other way around. Then, have some low-glycemic carbs a couple hours later.

Carbs Before Bed Lower Growth Hormone And Raise Insulin & Cortisol

Beyond this, as your body naturally releases significant amounts of GH at night [7], we see that, if most meals will raise insulin levels for approximately 2-3 hours (depending on the load), thus lowering GH production, it’s smart to not eat another meal or snack after dinner. If we do, we’re risking suppressing one of our largest GH releases and thus slowing our recovery and gains. 

Instead, get the food you need at dinner time, and nothing more, so the insulin is mostly out of your system by the time you get to sleep, and doesn’t block GH release, fat-burning and muscle recovery during the night. 

This is also why it’s a good idea to take PerfectAmino before bed, if it doesn’t disrupt your sleep. It won’t stimulate insulin or break a fast, and, on its own, stimulates the release of growth hormone for muscle building and thus Insulin-like Growth Factor for fat-burning. 

So when you take PerfectAmino before bed, or a couple hours before bed, your body now has exactly what it needs to recover with.

If you follow my advice here, take your PerfectAmino before you work out, before bedtime, and cut down on those sugars, you will lose fat and build the lean muscle you desire. 


  1. Rasmussen MH, Hvidberg A, Juul A, et al. Massive weight loss restores 24-hour growth hormone release profiles and serum insulin-like growth factor-I levels in obese subjects. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 1995;80(4):1407-1415. doi:10.1210/jcem.80.4.7536210.
  2. Lanzi R, Luzi L, Caumo A, et al. Elevated insulin levels contribute to the reduced growth hormone (GH) response to GH-releasing hormone in obese subjects. Metabolism. 1999;48(9):1152-1156. doi:10.1016/s0026-0495(99)90130-0
  3. Cappon JP, Ipp E, Brasel JA, Cooper DM. Acute effects of high fat and high glucose meals on the growth hormone response to exercise. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 1993;76(6):1418-1422. doi:10.1210/jcem.76.6.8501145
  4. Klempel MC, Kroeger CM, Bhutani S, Trepanowski JF, Varady KA. Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women. Nutrition Journal. 2012;11(1). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-98
  5. Kerndt PR;Naughton JL;Driscoll CE;Loxterkamp DA. Fasting: the history, pathophysiology and complications. The Western journal of medicine. 2020;137(5). doi:
  6. Klempel MC, Kroeger CM, Bhutani S, Trepanowski JF, Varady KA. Intermittent fasting combined with calorie restriction is effective for weight loss and cardio-protection in obese women. Nutrition Journal. 2012;11(1). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-98
  7. Davidson JR, Moldofsky H, Lue FA. Growth hormone and cortisol secretion in relation to sleep and wakefulness. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN. 1991;16(2):96-102. Accessed April 8, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1188300/


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.