Simple Truths About Muscle Growth (part 5)

Last post, I wrote about the virtues of a form of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), commonly referred to as MGF, short for MechanoGrowth Factor. MGF, could very well also be coined EGF, for Exercise Growth Factor, as the mechanical stimulus that activates its expression and is inherent in its name (MGF) is simply EXERCISE. I ended the post with the speculation that the expression of MGF might be augmented in response to creatine supplementation. Although, yet unproven in scientific studies, the possibility has profound clinical possibilities. This would mean that creatine supplementation per se might produce some of the benefits of exercise – but without exercise. Creatine supplementation would then have great promise for use in the elderly and the injured. This is just speculation at the moment, but nonetheless very provocative…

This page describes how creatine use might be used to promote rehabilitation of a muscle injury: Creatine, Injury and Rehabilitation


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Have you ever really thought about why it is so adamantly preached that exercise must be followed by sufficient rest for maximal muscle growth? Training a muscle group too frequently and/or resting insufficiently are the roots of an insidious condition known as Overtraining Syndrome (OTS). Overtraining is an easy trap for any overzealous athlete to fall into and can be truly frustrating as gains in strength and muscle mass become harder to achieve despite (and because of) increasing one’s training efforts… Most of us have been warned of the dangers of overtraining and in practical terms, it makes sense to us. But, what is really going on at the molecular level, inside the muscle cell, to make it so sensitive to training density and what is within our reach to placate the drawbacks of overtraining and hence, maximize muscle regeneration? This week we’ll look into the genetic and molecular basis of one extremely important aspect of overtraining that can rob you of gains, if proactive measures are NOT taken to effectively counteract it.

This post gives easy to implement advice as to avoid overtraining syndrome: 3 Simple Tips to Overcoming Overtraining Syndrome

According to some scientific studies MGF and canonical IGF-1 work in cohorts. Both MGF and IGF-1 must act in the correct order and balance for muscle development to occur. Precisely, exercise awakens the muscle stem cell pool by producing MGF, whereas IGF-1E is called into action following a delay, once exercise has terminated and after the myoblast pool has expanded sufficiently. IGF-1’s job is to then induce a change in motivation of the muscle stem cells after a day (or so) to cease dividing and instead, to physically fuse with existing muscles to augment their size, and possibly the quantity of muscle fibers. The process of fortifying muscle fibers consumes most of the muscle stem cells produced because of MGF. In essence, IGF-1 depletes the muscle stem cell pool, whereas MGF replenishes it, which has important implications for regenerative and geriatric medicines though, both are necessary for muscle development.

If it were not for MGF that provokes muscle stem cells to increase in number after each bout of exercise, the existing stem cell pool would become depleted after just a few consecutive rounds of muscle growth. Unfortunately, as we grow older exercise is less effective at releasing MGF, which leads to a steady loss of muscle mass with time. Fortunately, living an active lifestyle, getting plenty of good quality rest and eating well extends one’s ability to produce MGF (in response to exercise) later in life.

Important: Muscles must metabolically primed to produce the most MGF, fastest. If MGF levels are not sufficiently elevated by exercise, for whatever reason, the muscle stem cell pool would not increase in number sufficiently and the muscle that is subsequently produced by IGF-1 would be feeble. It is therefore imperative that MGF levels rise as high as possible after exercise and then recede sufficiently for IGF-1 expression to have the greatest effect. It is my belief that part of the catabolic consequences of Overtraining Syndrome can be attributed to an upset in the balance of MGF and IGF-1.

I my next post I will explain how to use creatine supplementation to strengthen the ability of MGF and IGF-1 to promote muscle regeneration. Until then...

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15 Comments

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  4. Posted April 28, 2013 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    So just think of MGF as a highly anabolic variant of igf. After you have trained, the IGF-I gene is spliced towards MGF then that causes hypertrophy and repair of local muscle damage by activating the muscle stem cells as well as other important anabolic processes, including the above mentioned protein synthesis, and increased nitrogen retention.

  5. Posted April 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    the body works the same with all substances put into the body… since aas shuts down natural test levels its plausible that injecting igf can interfere with the bodies own secretion. messing around with the system that actually is rebuilding muscle doesn’t sound like a good idea.

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