T Nation

Aminos to Increase HGH Levels?


After spending sometime reading and following the HGH threads and coming to the realisation that exogenous administration is simply not an option at this point.

Consequently, I have researched 'natural' methods of increasing HGH levels and it appears particular amino's appear to offer some merit under certain conditions.

Three in particular, arginine, ornithine and lysine, have supportive literature and may be more effective in conjunction with each other than when administered alone.

Here is an article which addresses these matters with references.


Now I know both Barr and TC have poo-poo'd this concept to a certain extent in past articles on this site. However, I feel they overlooked some key characteristics for this concept to be explored to its full potential in their writings.

Barr was concerned with the effect of arginine around workout time versus the rest of the day or long term sporadic administration.

TC was closer to the mark suggesting that for the amino concept to have merit users would have to take capsules multiple times a day to mimic natural GH release. His concern was based upon cost and adherence as arginine should probably be taken around 5-10 grams per serving which is certainly a lot of capsules (if you go the capsule way).

So the $10,000 question; do you think there is a possibility of getting a 'significant' increase in HGH levels from taking multiple (3-6 x day), upper limit doses of the three aforementioned AA's?


This basic idea has been around a long time. It has been tried by countless lifters.

There is just one problem:

It hasn't resulted in much, if anything, in practice.

There may be a subtle effect. That would be hard to rule out.

A very smart doctor well versed in bodybuilding and strength training offered me what seems a reasonable explanation of this: None of the studies that show an increase in levels at some given time point shortly after the dosing took the trouble to see if total release over the total 24 hour period was any higher.

Thus, there is no evidence that the only thing happening may not just be the same amount of GH for the day being released at a different time. If the same total amount for the day, then no wonder, no extra results.

Show me a study that shows increased total release over the 24 hours after the dose and then I'll agree a study has shown a relevant effect.

In terms of working in practice, I'd be interested to hear of a single GH user, that has used doses he considered effective, who came around to deciding "Hey I discovered that I can just use arginine instead and save a lot of money! Works pretty comparably!"

I don't think that person exists, just as a guess.


Thank you, Bill, for a very objective and accurate comment on this topic. Not only does the science need to look at the 24 hour period but, like so many supplements, to my knowledge there has never been a replicated trial performed......something that goes unnoticed and ignored by many attempting to market the latest and greatest supplements.


Great post Bill. I see your point about the need to measure over a 24 hour period. Consequently, do you know of lab test where you could, for example, measure the amount of GH you produce over a ~24 hour period?


I haven't done such a test for GH. When I've done time-course blood level measurements for Biotest (I like testing something myself to have initial information on what's going on before saying let's spend some money and have it done formally and with more subjects) I've just had a phlebotomist do multiple draws. So I'd wind up getting stuck at say 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 1 hr, 2 hr, 3 hr, 5 hr, 8 hr, 12 hr, and 24 hr, just as example values. I don't really care for it but when I've asked about using a butterfly in a manner where there was just one needle stick and I wore it the rest of the day, the phlebotomist didn't think it worthwhile in such instances.

However that has always been for things that had reasonably slow clearances.

I don't recall the half-life of GH but it is short.

I would think the way to do it would be to set it up where a single needle stick allowed multiple draws, and take same fairly large number of draws over the 24 hour period. A large number of analyses wouldn't have to be run -- the samples would be pooled.

Probably there is in the literature an established way to do it, but I've never tried to find out.

A somewhat similar problem is LH measurement. Because LH release is pulsed and the half-life is short, any single measurement is not necessarily at all an accurate picture of average levels for the individual. Studies involving large numbers of individuals typically just trust that it will all average out. Where better accuracy is desired, I understand the standard protocol is draws every 15 minutes over a 3 hour period.

But few studies do that, because it must be a PITA.