10 Functions of Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

muscle growth training adaptations Jul 15, 2022

Photo Credit: RODNAE Productions

Understanding the functions and physiology of growth hormone can impact the training decisions that you make for your athletes. Growth hormone, like all hormones, circulates in the bloodstream and tells other things what to do. Growth hormone is produced in the anterior pituitary. 

#1 Reduces Glucose Utilization

You consume a meal, and then you go to bed. Growth hormone increases at night. When growth hormone increases, fat becomes mobilized. When we have fat in the bloodstream, the need for glucose as a fuel source is decreased.

#2 Reduces Glycogen Synthesis

When growth hormone is increased, this reduces the formation of glycogen (multi-strings of glucose chained together). Glycogen has an anti-insulin effect, meaning it doesn't allow insulin to do its job of storing energy. 

#3 Increases Amino Acid Transport & #4 Increases Protein Synthesis

When growth factor makes it way to the liver, it can stimulate the release of IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor). Therefore insulin-like growth factor can then stimulate amino acid transport, which therefore increases muscle protein synthesis, cell repair, and tissue growth (the growth & repair of tissues).

#5 Increases Fatty Acid Utilization & #6 Increases Lipolysis

Growth hormone promotes the breakdown of fatty acids, which break down into glycerol and fatty acid carbon chains. These carbon chains can leave the fat cell (adipocyte) and then be broken down into acetyl-CoA, which can therefore be used for energy.

#7 Increases Collagen Synthesis & #8 Increases Cartilage Growth

Growth hormone increases the repair and building of things like ligaments, tendons, and joint structures. 

#9 Increases Immune Cell Function

As growth hormone moves throughout the bloodstream it promotes the release of other types of cells like T-cells, B-cells, and cytokines which are all related to the inflammatory & repair process involved in immune function. 

#10 Increases Retention of Nitrogen, Sodium, Potassium, & Phosphorus 

Lastly, growth hormone increases electrolyte storage and maintenance because it has an effect on the renin-angiotensin system that regulates things like electrolyte & water balance. This promotes a tissue building environment. 


Support & Courses Available

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Edited by Danielle Abel, MSN, FNMS(c) CSCS(c)

https://www.instagram.com/danielle_s_abel/?hl=en

 

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