Here’s what’s on the healthspan menu today:
- Age Better By Increasing Your Human Growth Hormone Naturally with Sauna Use
- Dark skin. Great for sun protection, bad for vitamin D
- 80 year olds gaining muscle at same rate as 20 year olds
Age Better By Increasing Your Human Growth Hormone Naturally with Sauna Use
Growth hormone is something we produce less of as we age. Increasing it naturally will improve your exercise capacity, bone density and muscle mass which are all important attributes of longevity and health.
It seems that sauna use substantially increases growth hormone in the body.
In one study, two 20 minute sauna exposure periods with a 30 minute cooling time in between resulted in a 2 fold increase
Another study showed a 5 fold increase with two 15 minute sessions with a 30 minute cooling period in between.
Shockingly, a 16 fold increase in growth hormone occurred when 17 people were exposed to two, 1 hour sessions per day for a full week.
In all of the above studies a dry sauna at 80°C (176°F) was used. While infrared sauna is an option, the issue is that their temperature typically ranges from 49°C (120˚F) and 60°C (140˚F) which is lower than what was studied. Steam rooms are the least hot at a maximum temperature of 49°C (120˚F).
Dr Andrew Huberman mentions that it’s the prolonged exposure and contrast between heat and cold that causes the highest rates of growth hormone increases.
If you have access to a sauna try this. Go in the sauna for 15-20 minutes, come out and cool off. Then repeat a few times.
Dark skin. Great for sun protection, bad for Vitamin D
Do you naturally have darker skin but live in a place with limited sun exposure? If so, you will want to keep reading.
First, a quick refresher on what health issues you may have if you are Vitamin D deficient:
- Heart disease and high blood pressure
- Infections and immune system disorders
- Falls in older people
- Some types of cancer, such as colon, prostate and breast cancers
- Multiple sclerosis
Something I didn’t know was how the darker your skin tone the less Vitamin D you can produce. This means in order to get enough Vitamin D you’ll need to either take supplements or spend more time in the sun.
As an example, in one study, they compared African Americans to Caucasians and they had to stay in the sun 6X longer to make the same amount of Vitamin D.
This clip from Ronda Patrick gives her theory on why this is.
80 year olds gaining muscle at same rate as 20 year olds
This clip showcasing Layne Norton speaking with Peter Attia is another great example of how it’s never too late to start resistance training.
In the clip, he talks about a study where frail 80 year olds were put through a simple resistance training program, they were taught to squat down to a high chair, to see what effects on muscle growth it would have.
Amazingly, the researchers discovered that by percentage of their body mass they were able to increase their muscle mass at the same rate as 20 year olds!
If you’re older and think it’s too late for you to gain muscle, think again and get started.
For some inspiration, check out this video below of Jacinto Bonilla (now 82, but at time of video 79) doing CrossFit and talking about why he loves it.