Why do we dread turning 30? This age marks the beginning of significant changes in our bodies that start to show on the outside. If you're thinking it's all downhill from there, don't fret, there's a reason and a way to fix it.
On the July 12 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz explained that one tiny gland could be the culprit for some of those body issues we develop with age: the pituitary gland. So, how much do you know about it?
Get to Know Your Pituitary Gland
This gland is located right in the center or the brain, near the hypothalamus at the base of the skull. It's only about the size of a pea, but it's incredibly important, secreting various hormones into the bloodstream to assist in several processes throughout the entire body. According to the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery, this gland is often referred to as the "master gland" because of it's many roles in the body. To name a few, the pituitary gland is involved in childhood growth, body temperature and thyroid function.
In extreme cases, you can have hypotuitarism, which means the gland is producing too little or none of a certain hormone. Symptoms of this progressive condition include chronic fatigue, excessive weight loss and decreased appetite, lowered sex drive and a consistently low body temperature. This condition can affect the blood pressure and reproductive abilities and requires treatment with medication.
One of the primary hormones the pituitary gland secretes is human growth hormone (HGH) that plays many roles in the body. The amount of this hormone the gland secretes peaks in childhood and adolescence as we grow and develop, but starts to decline after the age of 30, resulting in various physical changes. HGH can also affect the metabolism.
What can it affect?
As the amount of HGH decreases, we can see changes on the outside that reflect what's happening on the inside. The body tends to lose muscle mass and store more fat, which can explain certain areas getting "flabby" which can be difficult to tone, like the stomach, upper arms, thighs and hips. Our skin also loses elasticity, which can lead to a sagging appearance. Overall, HGH is what gives us that vibrant, youthful appearance and there isn't anything we can do to prevent our body from producing less.
Now for the good news. Dr. Oz recommended three different treatments to help replace the hormones lost as we age:
Sounds easy enough, but not getting sufficient sleep affects the body in more ways than we may realize. He recommended using an eye mask for anyone who isn't sleeping soundly through the night. Since the mask blocks out the light, this triggers melatonin production in the brain -- another hormone that helps you stay in deep sleep.
Fenugreek: Used commonly in the Asian diet, this herb has been shown to stimulate the release of HGH while also giving your energy levels a kick. You can drink it as a tea, steam the actual herb or take it as a supplement. Try cooking with it to add bold flavor to dishes and enjoy the nutritive benefits.
This amino acid also promotes the secretion of HGH from the pituitary gland. Arginine helps the body to synthesize nitric oxide which is a waste product and promotes tissue and bone repair. Arginine can also help with migraines and sexual health. You can take 2 g three times a day in supplement form.
While pure HGH supplements are available, Dr. Oz recommended trying to boost HGH naturally first. Try some of these alternative methods before turning to treatments like injections -- they just may have you calling human growth hormone the human youth hormone.
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