Teenagers experience many changes — physical and emotional. Many of the physical changes are due to the release of human growth hormone (HGH) in the body. Nutrition plays an important role in supporting growth and development. If your teenager’s growth is delayed, a balanced diet could be the key to accelerating their growth and development.
Human growth hormone is a key hormone during puberty.
Exercise, sleep, and a balanced diet can all support the release of human growth hormone.
Teens must eat a balanced diet to capitalize on their growth rates during puberty.
Human growth hormone (HGH) is necessary for growth, cell repair, and metabolism. It is produced by the pituitary gland and released into the bloodstream. The release of HGH from the pituitary gland is controlled by two other hormones, growth hormone-releasing hormone and somatostatin. The growth hormone-releasing hormone, as its name implies, prompts the production and release of the human growth hormone. Somatostatin on the other hand stops the release of the growth hormone.
During puberty, teenagers undergo a lot of body changes. Boys grow more muscular, develop facial hair, and deepen their voices. Girls get rounder hips, and their breasts begin to develop. In addition, they grow taller; all of these changes are influenced by human growth hormones.
How does the human growth hormone work and how to boost it naturally?
HGH is released in bursts. Its release is highest during adolescence and slows down in adulthood. When released, HGH acts on parts of the body to induce growth. In the bones, HGH is responsible for promoting cell division in bone cells and cartilage. There is a series of signals and activation of various bone cells to increase replication and cellular growth. The result of this is irreversible bone elongation. This process occurs progressively until the bones have fused. At this point, HGH can no longer induce further bone development but will help maintain normal body structure.
Another interesting thing HGH does is promote the production of an insulin-growth factor that suppresses the body’s insulin activity. Insulin is a hormone that controls the blood glucose level. It prompts the body to store glucose in the liver, fat, and muscles. HGH inhibits insulin action so that blood glucose levels are higher. This ensures that body cells and tissues have enough energy to replicate and grow. This is how the human growth hormone regulates metabolism to support normal growth.
For normal growth and development, the human growth hormone must be within normal levels in the body. Studies have demonstrated the association between certain physiological factors and growth hormone levels in the body. A few studies have gone further to show that hormone levels can be boosted naturally. Exercise, improved sleep, and a balanced diet have been identified as ways to optimize growth hormone levels in the body.
What specific nutrients are needed for the fast growth of a teenager?
The role nutrition plays in normal growth and development cannot be over-emphasized. A well-balanced diet is required for the production and secretion of HGH. Studies have shown that nutritional deprivation and malnutrition are associated with abnormal levels of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factors in the body. There are specific nutrients that are required for promoting normal growth in teenagers.
Proteins and amino acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and they are excellent sources of nitrogen for hormones. Proteins and amino acids promote growth and provide cells and muscles energy to support life. Poor protein intake has been linked to stunting in children. Protein-rich foods help stimulate growth in children and teenagers. Similarly, individual amino acids like lysine, arginine, and glutamine also boost growth hormone secretion in the body.
Carbohydrates are found naturally in many foods as simple sugars or complex sugars. They account for about 45–60% of the total energy intake in most people. They provide energy for most cellular activities including growth. Carbohydrates are broken down by the body to provide glucose, which is required for effective cell metabolism and growth hormone regulation.
Hormonal changes leading to less healthy dietary preferences may be a reason for numerous gut microflora-related issues, including digestive difficulties, weakened immune systems, and infections. Thus, you may consider in addition to a healthy and probiotics-rich diet.
Lipids and free fatty acids
Lipids and fatty acids are also excellent sources of energy. They make up the fundamental structure of cell membranes and are also needed for the production of hormones, including the growth hormone.
Vitamins are micronutrients we get from our diet, but they play a very crucial role in regulating growth hormone production and secretion. Vitamin D is known to be essential for bone development, and studies have also shown that it also influences growth hormone and insulin-growth factor levels in the body.
Vitamin A is another important vitamin that regulates growth hormone secretion. Vitamin A interacts with certain receptors in the pituitary gland, thereby increasing the release of growth hormone. Studies have demonstrated that vitamin A deficiency is associated with shorter heights in children.
Other vitamins that contribute to growth development include vitamin E and B complex vitamins.
Minerals are also micronutrients we obtain from our diet. They support many biochemical reactions of metabolism. Minerals are also needed for growth hormone secretion, bone development, and body maintenance. Minerals that should be included in a balanced diet include sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and iodine. Other trace minerals that are also important are sulfur, chlorine, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and selenium.
What food to include in the diet to maximize growth
The best way to ensure healthy growth in teenagers is to give a balanced diet so they get the right balance of nutrients. Here are some things to note when building a balanced diet for healthy growth:
Fruits and vegetables should be consumed every day.
Calcium is needed in a daily diet. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are dairy sources of calcium. Non-dairy sources include almonds, figs, soybeans, salmon, and broccoli.
Protein-rich foods such as beans, eggs, and tofu should be included in the daily diet.
Iron-rich foods are needed to support growth. Good sources include beef, cereals, and spinach.
Whole grains support energy stores and should be consumed daily.
Limit processed foods and foods high in sugar and saturated fat.
The teen years come with spurts of growth. The human growth hormone is ultimately responsible for triggering body changes and developments. Teens require a well-balanced diet, so they get all the right nutrients to boost the human growth hormone and their growth.
- StatPearls. Physiology, Growth Hormone.
- NIH. Impact of acute exercise intensity on pulsatile growth hormone release in men.
- NIH. Growth hormone and nutrition.
- NIH. Role of Protein and Amino Acids in Infant and Young Child Nutrition: Protein and Amino Acid Needs and Relationship with Child Growth.
- NIH. Vitamin D and growth hormone in children: a review of the current scientific knowledge.