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The aim of this study is to determine the effect of the techniques of  hatha-yoga  specially selected, on the production of growth hormone in the middle age groups.

In this pilot study five healthy volunteers (4 men and 1 woman) of the age of 48 years (48.80 ± 7.09) were chosen. To maintain group uniformity,  anthropo-physiological parameters  such as: height, weight, body mass index  (BMI), hand muscle strength, resting heart rate, peak expiratory flow, were measured before and after six weeks of practicing the  yoga.

Growth hormone basal concentrations  in the blood were measured using an enzyme immunoassay before and after six weeks of yoga practice. The study was conducted in an experimental group, using selective testing (carried out "before" and "after") of  t-Student with a standard deviation (which allows you to determine whether the values of the whole group can be different from the mean value).

Using the anthropo-physiological indicators, the following values were recorded: (p-value): Weight (p = 0.38), BMI (p = 0.52), right hand muscle strength (p = 0.57), left hand muscle strength (p = 0.66), resting heart rate (p = 0.26), systolic blood pressure (p = 0.48), diastolic blood pressure (p = 0.84), respiratory rate at rest (p = 0.0023), peak expiratory flow (p = 0.01).

The production of growth hormone after six weeks of practicing  yoga  has been improved:

  • before the practice it was: 0.29 ± 0.35 ng / ml

  • after practice it became: - 0.93 ± 1.40 ng / ml (p = 0.37)


the  aging  is associated with a gradual decrease in the activity of all physiological functions of the person. human growth hormone  plays a fundamental role in the regeneration of almost all body tissues and influences metabolism. the  hormone level  reaches its maximum at the age of puberty, then this level falls by 14% per decade.
Hall et al. (2001) reported that physical exercise is very important to stimulate growth hormone secretion and maintain a positive training effect on its generation (Ambrosio et al., 1996, Horber et al., 1996) .
  the constitution and the physical form of the individual have an influence on the  secretion of growth hormone, which is increased by the practice of physical activity (Stokes, 2003). 

The basal level of the hormone increases after jogging (Weltman et al., 1992), endurance training (Mannetta et al., 2002), strength training with progressive load (Craiqet al., 1989) and speed training (Stokes et al., 2004). Regular exercise also increases the initial level of growth hormone in the elderly
  (Ari et al., 2004, Lanfranco et al., 2003, Ravaglia et al., 2001).
The effect of the practice of
  growth hormone secretion yoga  had never been thoroughly investigated before. 

The aim of this study is to analyze the effect of
  yoga exercises  specific on the production of growth hormone  on middle-aged people.





The study involves five healthy volunteers (4 males and 1 female) aged 48 (48.80 +/- 7.09) years from Bolpur City, Birdham District, West Bengal, India. All subjects belonged to a single socioeconomic caste and were unfamiliar with the practice of hatha yoga.


Anthropo-physiological measures

Height was measured to the nearest centimeter, using the DRBON scale. Weight was measured to the nearest 100 g using a full-scale floor scale. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated using the standard formula: weight in kg / height in meters squared. Indicators of muscle strength of the hands were measured by a wrist dynamometer (Lafayette dynamometer, model 78010).
Resting heart rate and blood pressure - by the OMRON Varied Electronic Blood Pressure Monitor (Model 0200 769 L). Respiratory rate was measured manually, and peak expiratory flow - using a spirometer (CE0318, made in Spain).


Taking Growth Hormone Measurements

On an empty stomach (at least 12 hours after the meal). the  growth hormone level  in serum was measured by enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) in Pathological Biochemistry Laboratory, Bolpur, West Bengal, and Ranbaxy Pathology Laboratory (Pharmaceutical Group) in Bombay, India.

The protocol of hatha yoga practice

The activity program has been developed in accordance with the level of physical health of the practitioners. The practice consisted of several rounds of  Surya Namaskar  (dynamic sequence),  kriyas  (cleaning procedures), the  asanas  (static postures), the  pranayama  (breath control) and  meditation. A detailed report is given in Table 1.

Table 1. The detailed protocol for the practice of  haha yoga



Statistical analysis

With a probability of uniformity of 95%, the results of the study are uniform and therefore the measurements of the sample can be applied throughout the study.



Anthropo-physiological data

To determine the homogeneity of the sample in the current study, the following parameters were analyzed: height, weight, body mass index (BMI), muscle strength of both hands, resting heart rate , blood pressure (systolic and diastolic), respiratory rate and peak expiratory flow. All these data were recorded before and after six weeks of yoga practice (Table 2).


Table No. 2. Anthropo-physiological parameters:


growth hormone data

The  basal concentration of TSH  in the blood of the experimental group before and after six weeks of  yoga practice  is shown in Table 3.


Table No. 3. Growth hormone indicators in the experimental group:



Diagram 1. The effect of  yoga practice on growth hormone production, in the experimental group (middle-aged) before and after the introduction of yoga practice: GH values (ng/ml)




The study was designed to observe the effect of the practice of  haha yoga  on the production of growth hormone  (GH) in a group of middle-aged people in India. It was found that the  GH level  increased after six weeks of training. The type of mechanism for increasing the  growth hormone secretion  after exercise is not determined by a specific exercise.


growth hormone secretion  in the pituitary gland is regulated by the hormones of the hypothalamus: somatoliberin and somatostatin. The first is the main stimulator of the  secretion of growth hormone, the second - inhibits its production.


Such physiological variables as: food, stress, sleep, ultradian and circadian rhythms, and physical exercise - are responsible for the secretion of hypothalamus somatoliberin and somatostatin, as well as the functioning of the mechanism of the  growth hormone production  in the human body (George et al, 2003, Chahal et al., 2007).


Also, there is a positive relationship between  sex hormones  and growth hormone. Intense and regular exercise in men in older age groups leads to higher levels of growth hormone and testosterone (Hurel et al., 1999). Strength training can stimulate growth hormone and testosterone secretion regardless of age, but is more pronounced in younger age groups compared to older ones (Craig et al., 1989).


In the long term, physical exercises reduce reaction time and increase the volume of the  testosterone  and growth hormone, even in men of older age groups. the  enriched blood  by testosterone and growth hormone can be very helpful for brain function (Ari et al., 2004). 
Brief endurance exercise decreases cortisol levels and increases
  secretion of anabolic hormones  (Kostka et al., 2003).


Physical exercise is an important regulator of exogenous secretion (which comes from outside) of growth hormone in the human body (Lanfranco et al., 2003). Ambrosio et al. showed us the increasing stimulation of the  growth hormone production  compared to the control group, with sedentary subjects.


The effect of  growth hormone yoga practice  also caught the attention of researchers. Maclean et al. (1997) studied the behavior of thyroid-stimulating hormones in the experimental group before and after 4 months of meditation practice compared to control groups under stress reduction conditions. 
In the first group, baseline cortisol levels decreased, and the
  testosterone and growth hormone levels  increased accordingly. In the current study, as in previous ones, a higher level of growth hormone was recorded after the introduction of the practice of  hatha yoga, which can positively affect the condition of middle-aged people and contribute to healthy aging. In the future, more in-depth, daily investigation will be needed to draw conclusions about the impact of the practice on growth hormone secretion.






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The authors: Chatterjee, Sridip and Mondal, Samiran (“Yoga Mimansa”, April 2010)
Translation: Aleksei Papin

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