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Myostatin inhibitors

Myostatin inhibitors


Remember Wendy, the ultra-muscular dwarf greyhound dog who made the front page of the New York Times? Or those huge laboratory smiles and that German child who had twice the muscle mass of other children his age? They all have one thing in common: a myostatin deficiency.

What is myostatin ?

Myostatin is an extracellular cytokine, a protein known as GDF-8, which belongs to the tumor growth factor β family. It is found in muscle and is known to play a crucial role in the negative regulation of muscle mass. Put simply, it's a protein that inhibits muscle growth, meaning that if you have high myostatin, you develop less muscle. So, in theory, it's in your interest to inhibit myostatin to gain muscle mass. In fact, weight training reduces myostatin levels to a certain extent, and promotes muscle growth.

The older we get, the more myostatin we produce. Myostatin levels increase with age, and this is one of the mechanisms that causes muscle loss as people age. We lose almost 50% of our muscle mass by the age of 80, a condition known as sarcopenia.

Interestingly, centenarians were found to have increased levels of a variant of the myostatin gene, so that a person with this variant was almost 4 times more likely to reach the age of 100 than others (1). In fact, deleting a myostatin gene in mice led to an increase in lifespan. This is paradoxical, as growth and longevity are generally inversely related. The faster an organism enlarges and grows, the faster it ages, and the shorter its lifespan, in general. But myostatin deficiency seems to increase both muscle growth and longevity, reserving many surprises.

How can I inhibit myostatin naturally ?

In addition to building muscle, some studies show that blocking myostatin promotes fat burning. All the more reason to demonize this protein and make it the ultimate enemy of all bodybuilders. Sensing the lode, supplement companies began launching new ranges of miracle supplements: myostatin inhibitors or myostatin blockers. Why do they do this? Because some people are desperate for solutions to gain muscle effortlessly. The question is whether these products really work, or whether they're pure marketing..

There are many ways of inhibiting myostatin to promote muscle growth. This is not only important for those of us who want to improve our physique, it's very important for the elderly who are losing muscle, becoming frail and dependent.

1 - Boost testosterone

This hormone declines with age, and that doesn't help maintain muscle. In younger people, it also tends to decline, partly due to the obesity epidemic and endocrine disruptors. In aged mice, testosterone treatment halts muscle loss in a number of ways, one of which is by inhibiting myostatin. We already know that testosterone treatment in men significantly increases muscle mass. If you are experiencing symptoms of low energy and/or libido, or depression, have your levels of this hormone checked.

To increase testosterone naturally, you can consider changing your diet, eliminating sugar and most refined carbohydrates, and increasing the fat content of your meals. Leading a healthy lifestyle and engaging in physical activity such as weight training is also important. You can also consider testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), if this is - really - necessary.

2 - Using myostatin-inhibiting supplements

Some supplements have shown effects on myostatin such as :

Epicatechin, a polyphenol found in green tea and chocolate. In aged mice, this substance reduced myostatin by 18% and increased follistatin, a myostatin inhibitor. In humans, epicatechin increases grip strength by 7% in just 7 days, and the follistatin/myostatin ratio by 49% (2). The dose used is 50 mg/day, in two divided doses. You can obtain large doses of epicatechin in chocolate and tea, and there are also supplements containing it.

Leucine and creatine. Leucine, one of the branched-chain amino acids, and creatine, creatine reduces the expression of myostatin-related genes (3). Creatine can be taken at a dose of 3 grams per day. For leucine, 2 to 3 grams up to 3 times a day. Leucine is easily found in BCAAs.

Follistatin. It is a myostatin antagonist which may be useful in the treatment of muscular atrophy (4). In humans, the use of follistatin - isolated from egg yolks - increases muscle mass. In one study (5), nearly 1.7 kg of lean body mass were gained compared to the placebo group with a daily intake of 10 g during 12 weeks of resistance training. The follistatin product used in this study was MHP's "Myo-X".

You can, of course, combine all these methods to inhibit myostatin.

Do myostatin inhibitors really work ?

On paper, myostatin suppression seems miraculous. The less you have, the more muscular you are. But it's not quite that simple. Studies have shown that myostatin-deficient mice have fragile tendons and suffer trauma. Muscle of steel and weak tendons don't mix. However, similar results have not been observed in bulls. So there's still hope... Another negative effect that could arise from myostatin inhibition is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease in which part of the myocardium (heart muscle) enlarges without any obvious cause, creating a functional impairment of the heart.

The war against myostatin is sponsored by the giants of supplements and pharmaceuticals. If a company came up with a substance capable of safely inhibiting myostatin, it would probably strike it rich. Various supplements claiming to effectively inhibit myostatin have appeared in the past. But they didn't make much of a splash, probably due to a lack of efficacy. Currently, there are no anti-myostatin drugs that are both effective and safe for humans. As a result, major pharmaceutical companies have abandoned some of the compounds they were looking for. Nevertheless, supplement manufacturers continue to promote myostatin-inhibiting supplements, albeit less so at present.

If effective products are ever released, they will be manufactured by pharmaceutical companies and available in pharmacies, just like steroids. What's more, the main purpose of these drugs will not be to gain muscle for aesthetic reasons, but to cure disease. Inhibiting a protein naturally present in your body is not trivial... If you think you'll be able to go to the supplement store and buy an over-the-counter myostatin-blocking formula that will profoundly affect your body, you're dreaming..

Finally, Myostatin

Maybe in the future there will be a breakthrough in myostatin inhibition, who knows? But for the moment we don't have a gene therapy myostatin inhibitor treatment available that allows you to double or triple your musculature without doing anything. And that's a good thing, because we go into bodybuilding to stand out from the crowd and be different from Mr. Everyman. If everyone can display a muscular physique without doing anything - with a few injections of gene therapy or drugs - doing this sport will no longer have any value or meaning. It's a safe bet that professional bodybuilders will lose their incomes and supplement companies will go out of business. Time will tell.

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AuthorAlexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers

Posted in: Steroid profile