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Aging Well
Diet & Nutrition
Health & Fitness

7 Strategies to Optimize Your Growth Hormone

“My husband and I had the most amazing sex in years,” Martha began, slightly cautious she was oversharing.
When my facial expressions suggested otherwise, she continued:

In my last article on ThirdAge.com, How to Boost Your Fountain of Youth Hormone in 5 Simple Steps, I shared five natural strategies that helped my 42-year-old patient nearly double her levels of growth hormone (GH), a super-crucial hormone that – among its numerous roles – keeps you lean, energized, and feeling sexy.

Inspired by her example, some readers asked for more. “There’s so much misinformation out there,” one follower wrote. “Just give me the science and a hands-on plan to make it happen.”

As a medical doctor and hard-science junkie, I’m cautious about creating those It’s so easy! action guides. You know the ones: Rock-hard abs in five days; better sex overnight; fabulous fat loss by this weekend. You and I know change doesn’t occur so quickly, nor does it happen linearly or without hard work.

Before I provide a strategy-by-strategy plan to optimize GH levels, let’s be honest with each other. These seven strategies may take some time to fully implement. You’re not going to master them by this weekend.

Don’t tackle them all full-throttle all at once or you’ll crash and burn. Maybe take one strategy every few months and make 2014 the year you optimize GH.

The cool thing is when you put this plan into action, other things simultaneously happen. You balance other hormones to burn fat, feel and look better, have better sex, and regain your joie de vivre.

Stop using age as an excuse to hold you back. Even though growing older can diminish GH levels, the ball still lies in your court to become your best no matter what your birth year.

Think of tackling these strategies as a buy-one-get-10-free sale: You come to optimize GH and get all these cool bonuses like fat loss and better energy.

Strategy #1: Dump the sugar.

Indulging in too many mocha chip brownies or whatever sugary concoction your favorite coworker brought in raises your blood sugar, sending your hormone insulin to clean up the mess. Insulin is a powerful, overeager guy: Keep him around too long and other hormones like GH become out of whack as your muffin top expands. One study with obese adults found high insulin levels stifled GH levels.

Action plan: Eliminate added sugar in your diet and, especially if you’re insulin resistance, be mindful about higher-sugar whole foods like bananas and grapes. Focus instead on lean protein, healthy fats, and high-fiber foods like leafy greens, lower-glycemic fruits, and legumes. Besides optimizing hormone levels, this whole food, organic diet helps you burn more fat. One study with older overweight and obese women found fat loss increased GH levels.

Strategy #2: Sleep more.