T Nation

Natural GH


I am not a body builder, just a frustrated parent. I'm hoping someone can help. I'll try to be short with this long story.
My son who is 7 years old, has gone from the 50 percentile at age 4 in height to below 15 percentile at age 7. His doctor brought up at his last check up that he is not progressing in height and his growth curve is declining. (There is not a problem with being in the 15th percentile it's just that the drop to the 15th percentile brings up a red flag)
Six months ago he had a couple tests one of them being (exercise/GH)and it was shown that his body is not producing the amount of GH that he should for that age. (Thank God it wasnt anything more serious)His doctor recomends GH therapy.
My wife and I have talked and we do not want to do GH treatment. We both feel that:Yes we do not want him to keep declining in height but No we do not want to do GH injections. (At least not until we exhaust all other possibilities)
While my wife and I were deciding what course of action we should take, my wife and I spent hours upon hours investigating the internet searching for as much information on this subject as possible.
Our search brought up many articles on boosting GH naturally and of course led us to this site. We started to implement a few of the things we have learned.
1. Only three desserts a week and none past 5:00PM
2. Low Glycemic foods only past 2PM.
3. Three servings of milk a day.
4. Protein at every meal.
5. Bed time starts at 9PM
6. Exercise more and less television. (We got him involved in Indoor soccer and basketball)

We have been doing these 6 things for about 5 months and we see great improvment. (The declining has stopped.)But still is not seeing the results that supposedly GH injections will give.

Does anyone have any info that could help boost GH levels naturally? Are my wife, son and I doing the right things? or did we just get lucky? Are there things we are missing?

Thanks In Advance for any help


those look like good steps that you mentioned, however, it would help if you could show us what his diet looks like.


This is what he ate yesterday

Whole Egg
8oz Milk
Shredded wheat cereal

Lunch (For lunch we generally let him pick every other day) This day he picked
8 oz Milk
Raw Carrots and Celery

Rotissere Chicken
Ranch Dressing
8oz Milk

Thanks for your time
Sorry if I put this in the wrong category. I should have put it in OFF Topic I guess


TR858, the son of some friends of mine started taking GH for the same reason. I hope you won't dismiss GH therapy. It has been life altering for my friends' son, with no downsides.

GH is, of course, expensive. I hope it is covered by your insurance if you should decide to avail yourself of the therapy. If it is not, it may be worthwhile flying to Mexico every 3 months to refill a GH prescription for, er, yourself?

There are also any number of book resources on the topic. You could check out amazon.com. For the most current research/info on the topic you might want to do some research on www.pubmed.com. You'll only get the abstracts, but if you hit a medical or university library, a lot of them have a subscription to the service that gives them access to the full document.

Good luck to you!!!


i'm going to comment on the diet, and make suggestions based on my opinions and my opinions alone. so please take it for what it's worth.

eggs are awesome for him to eat...perhaps replace the cereal with eggs. despite what a lot of people here (and elsewere) think, i do not see any value in processed cereals. many cereals also have soy products and other junk in them.

in my opinion, milk might not be a good thing, although some tolerate it better than others (i'm not referring to lactose intolerance).

peanut butter and jelly is a terrible choice for food, although school lunches are a difficult thing to do well. i think the easiest "best" option would be a sandwhich on good whole wheat bread along with some healthy lunch meats (not cured, preserved, etc). white bread is not a food...it's some where concoction that should not be eaten. most peanut butters contain sugar along with trans fats - both being bad for health. jelly is just sugar, and should not be used. perhaps you can find natural peanut butter (with only peanuts and salt as ingredients) and put it on apple slices for lunch to go with the sandwhich. fruits such as apples are excellent, as are the carrots and celery.

as to dinner...does he eat the skin and dark meat, too? one thing that i do not think is healthy is eating only lean meats in the diet. eating eggs, beef, and chicken with the skin give the body the fat that is needed for proper hormone function.

also, ditch the ranch dressing. a good idea would be to make your own dressing out of olive oil, vinegar, water, and italian seasoning. commercial dressings are loaded with vegetable oil and most likely trans fats. not to mention all the other additives they use in them.

ok, now on to general diet recommendations.

  1. filtered water. buy a water filter if you don't have one and have him drink this for his main beverage.

  2. avoid sugar as much as possible. a treat every now and then is ok, but make a treat a treat, not a habit. sugar does many bad things to health...really too many to name. this includes fruit juices. also note that white bread and a lot of cereals might as well be sugar, as they cause huge increases in blood sugar just like pure sugar would.

  3. try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. pop tarts, cereals, pastas...anything that comes in a box. replace these foods with real whole foods. instead of mac and cheese, have steamed veggies for example.

  4. don't avoid high fat foods such as beef, chicken skin, eggs, etc (although it doesn't sound like this is the case).

  5. include nutrient-dense foods into the diet. if it's possible, it would be great for him to have a little liver once a week (the best way to make it taste "good" is to get a little flour, add some salt and pepper to it, and take the liver and rub it in it and then just fry it in butter. this is the best method i've tried to make it taste somewhat good.) oysters, clams, and mussels would be good if you can get him to eat it. also, vegetables such as spinach, steamed broccoli, and other dark greens are very good to eat and should be eaten regularly. eggs are also an excellent source of good nutrients. if you could buy any food organic, this would be it, as it's still not expensive to buy these organic, and it provides a great sources of nutrients.

  6. this goes with above, but always eat lots of vegetables. many are good to eat raw, but others such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage should be at least steamed.

  7. try to include probiotics into the diet. yogurts are good, but as far as kids go, a supplement would be the best route, as truely beneficial probiotics usually have too strong of a flavor for kids to eat. if nothing else, this would greatly help support his immune system (60% of the immune system is the gut).

that's all i can think of at the moment. i don't know if this will help his height, but if it doesn't, he will at least be very healthy. these steps would be good regardless of his height.

hope this is of some help.


I wouldn't get too worried about the fact that your son's growth has slowed down over the past few years. With boys, the rate of growth slows down considerably at age 4 and doesn't pick up again until the growth spurt around age 12. So, it's actually normal for his growth rate to slow down and then plateau for a while.

Regardless of any other options you may pursue, eating protein with each meal and keeping the high GI foods to a minimum is a good idea.

There are various stimuli that cause GH secretion, including sleep, low blood sugar, exercise, certain amino acids, etc. You're already on the right track with diet and exercise. There have been studies done that show an increase in GH secretion following ingestion of the following amino acids: arginine, glutamine, lysine, and ornithine (if I remember correctly, you can look it up on Medline). The problem is that the study involved taking at least 5 grams of each amino acid at a time! Even with 1 g pills, that would be 20 pills, not feasible for a 7 yr old, or anyone else for that matter. The point is, there is sufficient data to suggest that certain amino acids in the bloodstream cause GH secretion. Try adding in a whey protein shake at least once a day to ensure adequate amino acid intake. This is a good idea for anyone, especially those who exercise.

Now, if you wanted to take it one step further and you weren't completely against a pharmacological approach, you could try l-dopa. This is a pill that, when ingested, enters the brain and is converted to dopamine. This acts to stimulate GH secretion. That said, you should check with a doctor who specializes in GH therapy before trying this therapy. I don't know if this approach has produced any worthwhile results in kids, and I don't know much about potential side effects. I can tell you that there is a somewhat delicate balance in the brain between dopamine and other chemicals that, when altered, can cause serious problems with movement and secretion of other hormones, such as prolactin.

I take a supplement called Z Mass by Cytodyne Technologies that contains an herb called mucuna pruriens. This herb is a natural source of l-dopa, but if you're going to go that route, you might as well get the synthetic version. I take it mainly for the zinc and magnesium and the herb is just an added benefit. The synthetic version is cleaner and guaranteed to be of a certain potency.

There is also a relatively new supplement called bovine colostrum, aka cow mother's milk. It contains insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), which is naturally secreted by the liver following GH stimulation. Whether or not this is actually absorbed by the human gut, I don't know. Just something you may want to look into.

There is also a product called Secretagogue 1 by MHP, which is a drink mix that one takes before bedtime. It is supposed to cause GH release. Most people on the internet are skeptical about this product, but the science behind it makes some sense. I worked at a nutrition store, and we had little old ladies buying this stuff every month and swearing they found the holy grail. So, it's my theory that this stuff doesn't do squat for people who normally make enough GH, but may be at least somewhat effective for people who aren't making enough (GH secretion naturally declines as we age).

Sorry for the long post, hope this helps. You can PM me if you have any questions about anything.


I agree w/what morg said about the diet, but I'm not so sure about #4. Morg, maybe you can elaborate that point. The only reason why I bring this up is because free fatty acids decrease GH secretion, according to one of my sources. This is not set in stone, and I hope you have data to support #4 as we all know the benefits of supplementing w/EFA's.


oh, i just thought of one more recommendation that i think is important.

i think that supplementing with cod liver oil would be an excellent idea. there are two very good reasons: most diets are defficient in both vitamins A and D, which are very important for growth and development. second, it also includes EPA and DHA, which are also important for healthy development.

i would recommend the norwegian cod liver oil from this company:


you have to call to order, but ask for the cod liver oil capsules. norwegian cod liver oil is more concentrated, meaning that you have to take less to get the same effect. just two capsules per day would be great for him. i can give you more details on this if you wish.


Overall i would say that the meal plan looks pretty good. However the one thing that stuck out the most while reading it is the lack of 'good' fats. I second morg's opinion regarding olive oil as a dressing .(being Cypriot we are a little obsessed with the stuff!)


TR, from your original post it sounds to me like you think that the changes that you made to your son's lifestyle are responsible for increased GH output. If you are thinking this, I think that you're almost undoubtedly wrong.

I don't know what your son's lifestyle was like before, but if he used to be sedentary and eat a lot of junk, then by cleaning up his diet and making him get out and run around more (= exercise), you're basically giving him a healthier lifestyle, which of course will have a profound effect on his health...and possibly growth.

But I am virtually certain that none of this is affecting his GH levels or output in any significant way.

Morg's advice above was right on. The only thing I'd say would be to add in another protein meal (so that your son's eating four times a day instead of three).

As for GH secretion, basically, from everything I've read, going with the therapy is about your only real solution. The amino acid stuff was popularized back in the early 80's by Dirk Pearson and Sandy Shaw,with a lot of good-looking research to back it up, but doesn't pan out in the real world. I won't comment on the rest of the options given above, but bodybuilders have been trying to stimulate natural endogenous GH release for decades now, and with virtually no success. I'm inclined to think that if there were a way, they'd've found it.

I don't understand why you're opposed to getting the therapy, but my advice would be to go with it if you and your doctor are worried. There's no other substitute that I'm aware of.

Hope this helps.


TR, you and your wife get my vote for "parents of the year." I am presuming that the 15 percentile range that you mentioned is based on age gradations. If so, I think you would be giving your son a leg up if he did have some mild gh assistance. Sometimes it is warranted. Have you seen an Endochronologist to look into the metabolic reason as to why your son's gh production levels have declined? If not, please do as it could be an indication of some underlying health problem. Keep us posted!


TR, we're talking about your son's health here.
Of all who responded to your thread so far, Scrub is the only whose advice I would explore in more detail. Remember, this is a bodybuilding site, not a medical site - DON'T take this information to heart.

Please, find a qualified specialist to assist you. Believe me, it's money very well spent when talking about your SON's life and well-being.

While Scrub gave informative insight to YOUR dillema, Morg completely missed it altogether. Yes, Vitamins A and E are very important, but who said the kid lacks them? The problem posed to you was lack of GH, not lack of Vitamins A and E. Additionally, if what Scrub said is right and EFAs interfere with GH levels, you may want to restrict them.

TR, pay a visit to a qualified specialist as Scrub suggested. Believe me, of all advice, that is the only sound one.

Good lucK!


I've seen quotes all over the place for years now that heavy weight training in childhood years can stunt growth. To be honest I am not a guru at all in this area, but from what little I've gleaned from the info I've seen I believe the training elicits a hormonal response, and part of the changing hormones causes growth plates to fuse earlier, thereby stopping growth earlier. Again, could be wrong, but I think it's something to do with elevated female sex hormones of some kind making the growth plates fuse - I imagine the elevation is in response to testosterone elevation from the increased training.

My thinking is that perhaps it's possible to prolong the time your son has to grow by using applying information in reverse, i.e. perhaps partially block whatever hormone it is and thus stopping the growth plates from fusing so early and increase his time of growing.

I hope all that makes sense. Again, I'm no doctor, and not overly knowledgable in this specific area, I'm just someone who's read more than the average person on health and exercise, and has come across something that may ultimately lead you to a new/better/different answer.

Good luck!


A book that I read recently said that there was a correlation between milk drinking and height. It stated that the bovine growth hormone fed to cows is passed into milk and then into humans. Therefore heavy milk drinkers are more likely to grow tall - despite genetic disadvantage. I dunno if there's any science behind it, but I can check it when I go home for Christmas next week.

Here's the cover:


I would forget all the diet stuff. That will have a minimal effect at best. The best thing to do would be to get a couple of other opinions from doctors who specialize in the area. Do not listen to what someone on a message board says. No offense to anybody on here but none of us are qualified to assess this situation over the internet. Get second opinions from other doctors. Go with the one you trust.


I'll 2nd that Goldberg. Unless you are an endocrinologist, don't play one on the Web.


Sure we may not be doctors on this website, but some of the info given is stuff you should follow anyway. Pop tarts, cereals, and peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches on white bread should not be eaten instead of foods such as chicken, tuna, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables. Sure our opinions shouldn't be taken over a qualified doctor, but I would say that most people on this site are considerably knowledgeable when it comes to diet.


But not when it comes to endocrinology. This is a much bigger issue than most, if any, are qualified for.


Goldberg, T4, Thuunder, etc. I feel are right on with their post. We may know how to eat clean too shed fat and build lbm, but have no qualifications to be toying with some young boys life.

I, for one, am just not comfortable giving advice that may, or may not, effect this kid for the rest of his life. Eat clean 4 sure. But I wouldnt want to suggest a breakdown of the %'s of macro's without the experience/qaulifications, and facts on his particular situation.




My only real point was that the dietary changes are unlikely to have had any effect on the child's GH secretion/levels. It sounded like TR thought that it did, though. TR, care to respond?

But yes, by all means see someone qualified about replacement therapy, if you decide to go that route.