Between sleeping well, nourishing your body with the proper nutrients and hitting the gym as often as possible, it’s no secret that muscle growth is a fitness goal which relies on multiple factors, both environmental and endogenous. And while some of them do their best to grow your muscles by the day, some others go all out on setting back your muscle-building progress. That’s the case with myostatin.
No matter how hard you try, this relatively unknown protein is out to promote muscle wasting and, thus, negate your training efforts. That’s why myostatin inhibitors are considered the next big thing for those seeking to build muscle without limits. But, what is the truth about myostatin inhibitors? Do they actually work?
What is Myostatin?
Also known as Growth Differentiation Factor 8 (GDF8) in the scientific community, myostatin is a molecule which regulates muscle growth by determining both muscle fiber size and number. In fact, myostatin serves as a potent mediator in various catabolic processes, meaning it plays a significant role in muscle wasting. On the flip side, individuals who lack myostatin have significantly more muscle mass.
Even though the mechanism behind myostatin activation is still unclear, experts claim that the function of this muscle-degenerative molecule mostly depends on a network of protein interactions which vary from one person to the other. That’s why it can be hard to determine whether myostatin inhibitors work.
What is a Myostatin blocker ?
As the name implies, myostatin inhibitors are substances which block the molecule’s pathway. By doing so, one study suggests that myostatin inhibitors promote dramatic increases in muscle mass. Given this, such elements are considered ideal for treating not only patients who suffer from muscle dystrophy but also athletes who want to boost their muscle gains.
How Do Myostatin Inhibitors Work?
As the human body develops, myostatin is there to restrict muscle cells from growing. Once developed under the influence of myostatin, muscle cells work synergetically with a variety of other factors such as vascular and skeletal patterns of growth to sculpt the limbs. So, skeletal and vascular cells respond to the restrictions set by myostatin by downregulating cell proliferation and affecting muscle differentiation.
As soon as myostatin inhibitors make the scene, the sky is the limit. The restricting effect of myostatin on muscle cells is no longer active, and you can finally grow your muscles to new sizes, be that biceps or glutes.
Elements Which Serve as Excellent Myostatin Inhibitors
The extensive use of androgen steroids in athletes these days may pose a variety of long-term health risks, from sterility and cardiac hypertrophy to depression and anxiety. That’s why the inhibition of myostatin is considered a viable alternative with minimum to no side effects, at least compared to most steroids. If you’re thinking of giving this muscle boosting approach a chance, here are the most natural myostatin inhibitors to include in your life.
We all know and love the effects of a top-shelf testosterone booster on our muscle mass. But, what does this male hormone have to do with myostatin? As men age, testosterone levels are rapidly declining. With that decrease comes a variety of side effects such as weight gain and muscle loss. And this is where testosterone supplements step in.
Athletes who resort to such treatment to reverse naturally declining T levels force their body to stimulate various muscle pathways which may remain inactive until then. One of these pathways refers to the inhibition of myostatin.
Creatine is one of the most popular natural ways to increase muscle gains these days. However, most of us don’t think of creatine as a potent myostatin inhibitor. The truth is, though, that this synergy may have a significant effect on our muscle anabolism.
According to one study, serum levels of myostatin massively decrease after an 8-week period of creatine supplementation. Add a couple of resistant training exercises in the mix, and you’ll see your serum myostatin levels take a dive like never before.
If you don’t know this by now, leucine is one of the three branched-chain amino acids. Known for its muscle boosting properties, leucine also serves as an effective natural myostatin blocker. Research suggests that this amino acid decreases the expression of myostatin-related genes and, thus, promotes muscle growth. Leucine is also rumored to achieve significant muscle gains when combined with creatine supplements.
Follistatin is known as the primary antagonist of myostatin in the human body. That’s why it’s one of the most common ways to reverse the unpleasant side effects of muscle atrophy. Usually found in egg yolk isolate, follistatin may decrease myostatin levels up to 46% for about 18 hours, making daily dosing a necessity. Scientists also claim that this is one of the safest options as it doesn’t result in side effects such as infertility or low immunity.
Commonly found in dark chocolate and green tea, epicatechin is a potent myostatin blocker with a unique function in the human body. Experts claim that this polyphenol crushes the muscle-degenerative effects of this molecule by balancing out the follistatin/myostatin ratio. More specifically, it increases serum follistatin by 56% while decreasing myostatin levels by 17%.
Myostatin Inhibitors and Weight Loss
Muscle homeostasis aside, myostatin plays a significant role in weight and bone density management. In fact, according to one study, myostatin inhibitors can decrease fat mass while increasing bone formation. How come? Myostatin levels are extremely high in obese or overweight people. As soon as these levels take a nosedive, you are bound to lose weight.
Possible Health Concerns
Even though myostatin blockers seem to do the trick when you hit a plateau, and your muscles don’t grow anymore, research suggests that there is still one thing you need to consider. By inducing muscle hypertrophy through the alleviation of myostatin, you may actually cause additional stress to some of your (already) fragile muscle fibers. So, there is a high chance you induce further damage to your previously weak muscles without even knowing.
So, the primary concern is that myostatin blockers may provide short-term muscle building benefits, but they are also likely to accelerate muscle wasting in the long run.
With little research and hardly anything to prove the long-term effects of myostatin blockers on human health, we should think it through before taking such supplements. After all, we still don’t know anything about recommended dosages, and it’s best not to experiment with gene-altering drugs, at least not during their infancy stages. Instead, it’s best to wait and see where it leads.