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Hormones for muscle growth

Jacky, HK BioTek Intern

Working out in the gym has been more popular than ever, as people begin to strive for aesthetic physiques massively exposed on social media nowadays. The role of muscle here brings a big, heated topic on how to efficiently propels muscle growth after a tiring workout in the gym.

Testosterone is a male hormone made in the testicles of men, the production of which is also found in ovaries, adrenal glands, and other secretory tissues in women. Testosterone in women, however, is minimal compared to men, at one-tenth to one-twentieth of the naturally existing level in men based on genetic differences.

Human growth hormone (HGH) is naturally produced in the pituitary gland in our brain, which is responsible for stimulating the secretion of Insulin-like growth hormone 1 (IGF1) in the liver. However, each individual responds to the stimulation of HGH to a different extent, in which various quantities of IGF1 would be secreted based on genetic differences. IGF1 is the major anabolic hormone responsible for muscle growth. Moreover, a higher level of IGF1 and HGH found in our body is correlated with lower body fat in our body.

Insulin is responsible for converting glucose into storage glycogen after our meal. With its secretion, glucose will be stored in the muscle as glycogen for energy supply for muscle growth and is thus also considered as an anabolic hormone for muscle.

Yet, how do we stimulate these hormones in our body to reach our ‘body goals’? Research has been done on factors contributing to the release of these hormones in our bodies, which corresponds to the following:

A regular sleeping pattern is essential in their release. In other words, simply sleeping and waking up at a fixed time every day may do us the best. Not only can we maintain a good circadian rhythm, but also have these hormones released regularly during our sleep. The level of testosterone and HGH peaks when we are entering deep sleep at night, while studies showed disturbance in circadian rhythm greatly reduces the secretion of these hormones, since our bodies rely on our sleeping pattern to determine the time interval for the subsequent hormone secretion.

Resistance training has also been proved to be boosting HGH and testosterone in our bodies. However, it does not mean that the more we do, the more the secretion would be.

Why? Excessive training put our bodies in a state of stress, which stimulates the ‘stress hormone’, cortisol and epinephrine. They are catabolic hormones that are responsible for breaking down the muscular tissues in our bodies. Thus, exercising regularly or making use of a healthy habit to relax after an adequate workout can stimulate more muscle growth than pushing yourself too hard in the gym.

Therefore, stay relaxed and take a sip of tea following your workout, abandon your worries and you will gradually see your results!

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