Have you ever seen an animal that has myostatin deficiency ? Those of you that are interested in building muscle would be even more interested to see one. The animals with myostatin deficiency can grow to enormous proportions of muscle mass with very low percentage of body fat. A human with very low levels of myostatin would probably look like a top level bodybuilder.
What is myostatin ?
Myostatin (a.k.a. growth differentiation factor 8 or GDF8) is a myokine protein, produced and released by skeletal muscle cells. When secreted in the organism, it has the ability to suppress muscle cell growth and differentiation. For bodybuilders, it’s important to know how to control the secretion of myostatin and hormones like cortisol in order to maximize their muscle building potential.
From a biological point of view, the primary function of myostatin is the control of metabolism in order to support the immune system. I’m sure professionals would like the things to be the other way around – muscle anabolism over the needs of the immune system.
The scientists have found that when there is an infection in the body, muscle growth is compromised because of the increased secretion of myostatin.
The infection leads to inflammation that automatically triggers the production of this protein in the blood. Muscle cells cannot grow or multiply during these conditions, because the priority of the organism at that moment is the immune system, rather than muscle growth.
This means that amino acids are used in immune system processes and not as building blocks during inflammations. In fact, too much of this muscle growth suppressing protein can ruin a well build physique.
When basic training and diet become your second nature and everything is in check – muscle growth happens. In a similar way myostatin can work for you, not against you.
How to reduce myostatin production naturally
The good news is that you can control myostatin to an extent with your way of life. Taking care of yourself and avoiding (or at least minimizing) the effects of infections and inflammations can greatly reduce myostatin and cortisol.
When I talk about avoiding infections and inflammations I mean the ones that are caused by overtraining, not enough sleep, the ones caused by problems with your teeth, the digestive system and even STD’s. Also, try to avoid toxic substances like alcohol, drugs and tobacco.
A few tips to reduce myostatin and cortisol secretion :
– Eat balanced meals that contain the needed proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and also soluble and insoluble fiber.
– Take supplements that help support your immune system and especially omega-3 fatty acids.
– Consume the needed vitamins and minerals to stop the inflammation, but don’t overdose on them.
– Avoid overtraining and achievement of unrealistic goals.
– Sleep enough every night and if you can – take naps during the day.
– Keep your mouth, teeth and sinuses healthy – this is where lots of infections start.
– Keep your digestive system healthy. Regularly consume probiotics and prebiotics.
– Use supplements such as creatine and glutamine during infections to support muscle metabolism.
– Take a rest day or two when you feel sick or unusually tired.