As hard working weight trainers, we are constantly keeping our ears and eyes open for anything that can help us lift a little more weight, perform more repetitions or lift the same amount of weight in a shorter time period.
Basically, we're looking for that edge to help us build more muscle and get stronger.
Really, that's what it boils down to, doesn't it? I mean, personally, I watch my diet, keep a consistent weight training schedule and get the proper rest in order to help me pump out a few more repetitions in the weight room.
I know, that once I start to get stronger and do more repetitions, my hard work and dedication is starting to pay off because I know that within a week or so, there's going to be larger muscle fibers. And this, is what we all want - More Muscle Tissue -
The actual process of building muscle is pretty simple. If you want to build muscle, you stimulate your muscle tissue by lifting progressively heavier weights:
I know, this is a very simplified version of building muscle with weights but, this is pretty much how it's done. We all know that, this process is anything but easy. It takes extremely hard work, an iron will, and the motivation to show up to the gym come hell or high water, day in and day out. So, when we hear of something that may help us move a little more weight in the gym without doing anything else to alter our diets or training (naturally of course), we want to look into it.
Lately, I've been hearing more and more about natural growth hormone boosters. It seems that more and more natural growth hormone boosters have hit the market in a big way. As a matter of fact, I asked the local GNC clerk what was the big seller and he told me that more and more people are buying growth hormone boosters and they seem to fly right off the shelves.
I guess that's no surprise because higher levels of natural growth hormone will produce a fat burning, muscle building effect. That is, growth hormone is exactly that, it helps your body grow, including muscle tissue. Now, growth hormone comes from your pituitary gland and it usually peaks around puberty. After puberty, the bodies production of growth hormone slowly fades away as we age. The key role that growth hormone plays in our bodies are in the:
- Maintenance of muscle tissue;
- Maintenance of bone mass;
- Help balance body fat levels.
It's no wonder growth hormone boosters are a top selling supplement, the possibility of producing the bodies natural production of this hormone can magically increase muscle tissue and get rid of fat.
Now, as you may or may not know, certain amino acids have been claimed to increase the bodies natural production of growth hormone. More specifically, arginine has recieved the lions share of research, and possibly the main ingredient in most of today's growth hormone boosters.
Nobody knows for sure the exact mechanism that arginine has on the bodies natural production of growth hormone, but it is believed that arginine causes the hypothalamus to increase its production of growth releasing hormone. Other theories suggest that since, amino acids are the percusors of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), increasing their amounts in the body may lead to increased HGH production.
I think the jury's out on this one. Studies have suggested that taking large quantities of arginine may increase HGH but nothing is very conclusive. One of the very first studies was carried out in the mid 1960's. In this study, the researcher's gave arginine injections to healty male and female subjects aged 17 to 35. The researchers divided the experiment into four subdivisions - 0, 1/12, 1/6, and 1/4 gram of arginine per pound of body weight. After 75 studies were performed the results showed that at 1/12 gram per pound of body weight, females showed a rise in HGH levels but males did not. To put that into perspective, if you weighted 200 pounds, your daily intake of arginine would be roughly 17 grams. At 1/6 gram per pound of body weight, both groups exhibited a marked increase in plasma HGH, with females showing the largest increase. To put this into perspective, if you weighted 200 pounds, your daily intake of arginine would be 33 grams of arginine.
At 1/4 intake per pound of body weight, both groups showed similar but proportionally larger results compared to the 1/6 trial group. To put this into perspective, if you weighted 200 pounds, your daily intake of arginine would be 50 grams of arginine. The researchers concluded that arginine could increase HGH release. The thing to remember about this study that each of the subjects were injected with arginine.
Another study done in 1982 looked at the effects of arginine on sleep related HGH release. The subjects were given oral doses of arginine in concentrations of 250 millimgrams per kilogram of body weight. To put this into perspective, if you weight 200 pounds, you were given 23 grams of arginine on a daily basis. All 5 subject showed an HGH peak that was 60 percent higher after arginine treatment.
These studies seem to suggest that arginine can, in fact, help raise growth hormone levels within the body and may indeed need further research. There are over 50 studies done on the growth hormone releasing effects of arginine that reportedly favour the supplementation on athletes and body builders.
Personally, I'm not totally convinced that arginine works. I remember, back in the mid 80's arginine hit the market in a big way and everyone seemed to be taking arginine before bedtime. All of my body building buddies swore by the stuff.
I first tried arginine back in 1987 taking 4 tablets before bed, which was about 4 grams. I got nothing. I tried taking 6 tablets and still got nothing. By that time, I was done two bottles and out a hundred bucks. I stopped taking arginine and dismissed it as a a sham. I tried taking arginine again in 2002 after hearing about all the studies that were done on the supplement. This time around, I took a little more but to tell you the truth, I got nothing. After 8 weeks, I gave up.
I think the one big thing that people seem to miss out on, is that you have to take monster doses of arginine for it to be effective. Most studies done on arginine are very dose related with doses as high as 40 grams per day. That is ALOT of arginine! Taking a quick peek at the prices for one bottle of arginine is about 22 bucks for 30 grams of arginine. To get the HGH releasing properties of arginine, you need to take about 1/6 grams of arginine per pound of body weight. So, if you weight 200 pounds, you need to take about 33 grams of arginine per day. That's a whole bottle in one day plus a little more! For a one week supply you need to spend about 160 bucks for arginine and about 640 bucks per month. For most people, this is way too much money. Even if you had the money, I'd say go with something else because there are much better supplements out there.
However, if you're dead set on trying arginine, try taking it in gradual doses. That is, try starting at about 5 to 10 grams per day, and slowly increase that amount and monitor your progress. However, this amount may vary so consult your doctor before attempting to do so.
I feel that there are more effective ways at greatly improving the release of growth hormone in the body. One of the best is the incorporation of compound movements in a weight training plan. In my opinion, this is the best way (outside of synthetic HGH - Which I don't recommend), to boost growth hormone.
All the best,
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
Home > Supplements HQ > Supplement Articles