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How To Control Your Metabolism By Thyroid & Growth Hormones

Key Takeaways

  • Metabolic functions include repair of injury and brain tissue, clearance of damaged neurons, and energy for cells – not just BMI and weight-related concerns

  • Thyroid and growth hormones have similar pathways and are both critical to metabolism and repair and growth of tissues

  • Iodine, L-tyrosine, and selenium (found in Brazil nuts) are all important for proper thyroid hormone production and function

  • Some “clean” diets can interfere with thyroid functions by disrupting iodine pathway – plant-rich hard diets make it challenging to get enough L-tyrosine; with a carnivore diet it is hard to get enough iodine

  • Growth hormone release peaks in puberty and decreases 2-3 fold between 30s-40s

  • Lifestyle activities to increase growth hormone: (1) increase slow wave/deep sleep; (2) exercise 60-75 minutes – but not working to failure which increases cortisol; (3) sauna at 176-210F for 20-30 minutes – increase growth hormone 16 fold; (4) supplement with arginine, ornithine, or L-citrulline

  • Arginine supplementation caution: potent vasodilator and blunts growth hormone benefits of exercise

  • Most hormones we make have been synthesized and are available by prescription or on the market but use with caution – any time you intake an exogenous hormone, your body stops producing on its own

Overview of Metabolism

  • Metabolism isn’t just about losing weight

  • Metabolism is the consumption of energy and use of energy in the cells of the body for growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues

  • Functions of metabolism include repair of injury, repair of brain tissue, clearance of damaged neurons rate to fuel consumption – not just BMI and weight-related issues

  • Most of resting metabolic needs are for the brain – 75% of metabolic needs come from the brain

  • Muscle burns more energy than fat

  • Metabolism can be increased by increasing muscle and/or reducing fat

Physiology Of Hormone Release & Thyroid

  • The brain releases hormones; the pituitary stimulates hormones

  • Example: thyroid releasing hormone in the brain tells the pituitary to release thyroid stimulating hormone

  • The thyroid hormone controls many features of the face and eyes but its main role is to promote metabolism and convert energy

  • Thyroid hormone acts on muscle, liver, cartilage, and bone

  • Thyroid needs sufficient levels of iodine to produce thyroid hormones

  • Thyroid increases glucose uptake and bone mineral density with age

  • Some markers of hyperthyroidism: bulging eyes, trouble maintaining weight, shakiness

  • Some markers of hypothyroidism: thinning of hair, difficulty losing weight

  • Levels of thyroid hormones can fluctuate throughout menstrual cycle

  • Ketogenic diet may negatively impact thyroid hormone once carbs are reintroduced because carbohydrates stimulate production of T3 and T4

Iodine And Selenium For Thyroid Health

  • Iodine (found in table salt) works with L-tyrosine to produce T3 and T4 thyroid hormones

  • Goiter: thyroid disfunction from lack of iodine presents as bulging thyroid in the throat

  • The thyroid doesn’t need much iodine, you can get enough even by breathing coastal air regularly

  • Some “clean” diets can interfere with thyroid functions by disrupting the iodine pathway – plant-rich hard diets make it challenging to get enough L-tyrosine; in a carnivore diet it is hard to get enough iodine

  • L-tyrosine and iodine-tyrosine compound can be taken as a supplement

  • Iodine can also have an anti-inflammatory effect

  • Selenium increases thyroid hormone production by allowing L-tyrosine and iodine to interact

  • Brazil nuts are the largest sources of selenium – also present in tuna, shellfish, pork in much smaller doses

  • Selenium is important for offsetting pre-eclampsia risk (high blood pressure in pregnancy)

  • Some evidence that selenium can also reduce prostate cancer risk

Growth Hormone

  • Mechanism and functions of thyroid hormone and growth hormone are similar

  • Growth hormones come from the brain and are released to the pituitary which stimulates bone, muscle, fat to increase metabolism

  • Growth hormone is also involved in the metabolism and repair and growth of tissue

  • During puberty and development pituitary releases a surge of growth hormone but tapers after that

  • Profile of growth hormone changes over time: between the 30s-40s, growth hormone decreases two to three-fold

  • Problem with injecting growth hormone unnecessarily: causes growth of all tissues, not just muscle – so it can lead to the growth of heart, liver, spleen, etc.

  • Many effects of growth hormone are mediated by an effect on the liver which releases insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1)

Actionable Ways To Increase Growth Hormone

  • Growth hormone is released in sleep: (1) need slow-wave/deep sleep; (2) need blood glucose to be relatively low – so try not to eat within two hours of sleep

  • Slow-wave/deep sleep mechanism to release growth hormone: delta wave activity stimulates the brain which stimulates the pituitary

  • Small doses of melatonin can increase growth hormone release: 500 micrograms can be beneficial in shifting pattern towards increased slow-wave deep sleep

  • Meditation can increase growth hormone release: 20 minutes of mediation per day can stimulate delta wave activity

  • Specifics of exercise to increase growth hormone release: weight lifting or endurance activity but must be limited to 60-75 minutes – (1) proper warm-up (literally warming body temperature) of about 10 minutes accelerates growth hormone release; (2) exercise hard but not to failure; (3) moderate blood glucose before and after exercise (no sugary energy drinks); (3) bring body temperature back down quickly

  • Exercise triggers the release of growth hormone and IGF-1 which positively impacts memory and cognition

  • Duration of exercise has sex-dependent effects on IGF-1: women could access the biggest peak of IGF-1 in the first 30 minutes of exercise; men needed 60 minutes to realize the peak of IGF-1

  • Sauna has a profound effect on decreasing cortisol and releasing growth hormone, increasing 16-fold (that’s 1,600%): (1) sauna between 176F-210F; (2) 20-30 minutes in duration then rapid cooling, repeat

  • If you don’t have a sauna you can wear plastics or sweats and jog to warm body

Supplements To Increase Growth Hormone

  • Arginine taken in pill form or IV: 3g -10g has been shown to increase growth hormone but there are diminishing returns above that range

  • In studies, Arginine raised growth hormone from 400-600% of baseline

  • Important side effects of arginine: (1) can’t combine arginine and exercise to double down – arginine will blunt effects of exercise for growth hormone; (2) arginine is a potent vasodilator which can be bad for those with cardiac or blood pressure concerns

  • Ornithine and L citrulline can also increase growth hormone but take vasodilation concerns seriously

Prescription Drugs

  • Most hormones we make have been synthesized and are available by prescription from a physician

  • Caution: anytime you inject something, you will shut down your own production of that hormone

  • Peptides: short sequences of amino acids that resemble hormones enough, they mimic the effect of the hormone in the body – some peptides change gene expression and set pathways for continued production of the hormone of interest

  • Peptides increase healing rates, weight loss, recovery, etc. and are used by actors, athletes, etc


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