Simple Truths About Muscle Growth (part 3)

Exercise stimulates muscle growth; hardly anyone would argue with this assertion. In essence, muscle adapts to the additional load you are placing on it by growing. Think of this developmental process as a type of memory. Muscle is anticipating the new heights in physical activity (exercise) that you will be imposing on it. But, as most things in life, this is only a temporary response. And, just as in mental terms, where one can forget a memory if not reminded, muscles will become smaller (memory lost) if not worked (reminded). Admittedly, sort of a strange way of thinking about it but, welcome to my world…

So, train your brain and train your body. Test both on a regular basis and they will stay stronger for longer.

Now, back to the point at hand. One of the most fundamental ways that muscle enhances its potential for growth is by producing and locally releasing IGF-1. In response to exercise (mechanical stimulation) the IGF-1 gene is read (transcribed), converted into protein (translated) and locally released into the community of surrounding muscle. IGF-1 then acts as a trigger to stimulate muscle development. How this is actually achieved is still not fully understood, though I have my ideas. This will be the topic of a future post. The important point to remember for now, however, is that muscle activity produces IGF-1 – for the local use by muscle – that then acts to stimulate muscle development.

Go here for more information about the IGF-1s:

It was thus somewhat surprising that IGF-1 expression could also be induced in response to a simple nutritional intervention even in the absence of mechanical input. I purposefully use the term “mechanical input” in this instance because these results were obtained in muscle cells outside an animal and maintained in artificial conditions known as tissue culture… In this made-made environment you can stretch muscle cells as well as provoke them to contract with electrical signals - but one cannot accurately call this form of cellular activity exercise…

The simple nutrition maneuver I alluded to earlier, the one that instigates IGF-1 production without “mechanical” stimulation, is nothing other than creatine monohydrate added to the solution (media) bathing the cells. This was a rather exciting result in the field.

Obviously, the hope was that creatine would do the same in an intact human being. That is, that creatine could stimulate IGF-1 production in a person despite being incapable of training for whatever reason, injury, illness, old age…

The story continues….

Read about the latest creatine research here:

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