What Your Science Teacher Never Told You About Muscle Growth
Work hard, do some heavy-duty strength training, and your muscles will grow. At least that was what we were told, right? The process is simple—muscle fibers break down after weight training and build back up thicker, faster, and stronger. Should be pretty easy… But then when you actually tried to hit the weights, you didn’t see the results you wanted, at least not that fast. So what gives? Were you given bad information? Nope. There is just much more to it than what you were previously told about muscle growth and training.
Enter sports nutrition and the immediate realization that just hitting the weights without adding some good protein didn’t cut it. But that is where it ends. The world of protein is a confusing place without a doubt. It seems like almost every week someone is coming out with either a new form or a new reported benefit.
Truth is, while much scientific literature does exist, we have only begun to scratch the surface of the power of protein. The reason? Proteins are very complex, even in their simplest forms, because they are comprised of several different components, including varying combinations of amino acids that are precisely sequenced and chained together to provide a specific function. At the micro level, before you even have an amino acid, let alone a complete protein, there is a group of tiny molecules collectively known as the Nucleic Acids (DNA and RNA). These are special nucleotides that are sequenced in triplets and then paired together to form specific codons (messenger systems) that house vital information and comprise the actual structure of the single building block of protein known as an amino acid. Together, all of these proteins work to carry out specific functions within the body that are crucial to life, but also to muscle development. So how do these proteins do their job?
Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS)
You’ve heard about protein synthesis. You know it is the building up of proteins, but have you ever wondered how that happens and what it really means. Let’s take a brief look, because if you understand the how, you will not only see the importance of this process, but you will understand why the foods and supplements you consume, and the time in which you do so, are critical to your success in fitness.
First, the general term Protein Synthesis refers to the building of all proteins in the human body, which include all cells in every organ and every system within the body. Specifically, for fitness and general exercise, while we say Protein Synthesis, we are really referring to Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) and that is what we will focus on from here on out. When muscle tissue breaks down due to exercise, the beat-up protein strands are either carted off or repaired on site. New proteins are shuttled over to damage site to be used for building new, stronger, thicker proteins that form both the skeletal framework of muscle cell itself, and the contractile units. Seems simple enough. Load the muscle with plenty of extra protein, and everything should be good.
Not so fast.
For protein to form or rebuild, there needs to be a specific combination of amino acids and a cellular environment that positively pushes MPS to occur. Interestingly, muscles have a specific capacity to utilize amino acids based on transfer gradients of each amino acid. In other words, simply having a high concentration of amino acids outside a cell does not guarantee the cell will pull it in. And since each amino acid has a different gradient transfer rate, precise combinations of these aminos and timing become crucial to making MPS work in your favor.
MPS Has Limitations
So now that we added the “downer” suggesting that MPS is not just about loading up on amino acids, understanding the limitations and finding the best solution is what we need to consider. Muscle, at best, has a finite limit of the amount of protein it can utilize and how fast it can grow. This is what protein and other ergogenic substances attempt to do—enhance both the speed and size of the growth of muscles. But since the entire process requires the right combination and exact key to open the lock, most proteins marginally succeed at helping this process. And the truth is, you could continue to load up on protein hoping to make it work, and likely it will help a little, but you would literally have to consume several hundred grams of protein every day, all the time. Even if you could do that, it would be almost impossible for the body to work through the load to extract the much-needed aminos.
In fact, research suggests, in average persons, consuming a clean whey protein can only be absorbed at about 8 to 10 grams per hour. Based on that stat, if you processed maximally, 24-7, you would be able to utilize 240 grams of protein. And I got news for you, that doesn’t happen in humans.
Additionally consider what that would mean as far as total protein and food consumption to ensure maximal absorption. So it is not likely that we can process gobs of protein, even when we exercise heavily. Often the suggestion to consume more protein is not based on absorption, rather, it is based on what could be lost through inefficiencies. Thus, consuming higher quantities of proteins give you the sense that more will be absorbed. But even consuming large quantities does not ensure maximal protein uptake and absorption since cells have to want (by signaling) and be ready (by utilizing) for full protein synthesis to occur.
Feeling kind of blah or almost nauseated thinking about how much protein you need to consume? What if I told you there was a way to speed up absorption without having to consume greater protein quantities? Or better yet, what if I told you that there may be a way to maximize protein synthesis with little additional protein and likely you could maintain or decrease your regular daily protein intake. You’d think it was just another marketing gimmick, right? Well, if you want to see how that may be possible, read on. And if you’re a skeptic, what the heck, how bad can reading further be? If you are of the “unconvincable type,” then you can stop here, but don’t come running back when others around you outgrow, outmuscle, and outperform you!
Bio-Active Peptides: The Essential Protein Elements
No doubt you have heard of the power of amino acids. No doubt you are aware certain amino acids when consumed in appropriate amounts have a heightened influence on muscle protein synthesis. You may not be aware that when varying combinations of amino acids join together, they form peptide chains. And when those peptide chains perform a specific biological function, they are known as bioactive peptides. For those of you who follow the science and understand proteins, you are probably saying, “that is nothing new.” And you’d be right.
But what we now know versus what we once thought has begun to change the landscape of bio-active peptides (also known as BAP’s) with regards to performance, fitness, and health. Bioactive peptides are the direct link that unlock and activate specific functions within the human body. More importantly for fitness enthusiasts, they open up key channels that accelerate MPS. While this is good news for all proteins in general, the extraction process by the human body requires considerable quantity and timing, and this may be difficult if not impossible to achieve.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel in that not only do amino acid combinations form bio-active peptides, so too do any genetic coded sequence of proteins. Through years of trial and error and intense research, protein engineers have found that deep within the microstructures of proteins, there are specific micro-constituents (smaller than amino acids), that have unique and extremely powerful properties forming very concentrated and powerful bioactive peptide chains.
It is these concentrated bio-active peptides that take MPS to a new level beyond that of which has been traditionally seen with intense supplementation and training programs.
The Role of BAP’s in Protein Synthesis
Rather than trying to overload the muscle with large quantities of protein or amino acids which use volume to saturate muscle tissue to try to trigger a response, these bio-active combinations are the direct signaling mechanisms that trigger protein synthesis itself. In fact, without them occurring naturally in the body, protein synthesis would not occur. Collectively, these micro-concentrated bio-active peptides form growth factors, proline-rich peptides (signaling proteins), and immunoglobins (antigen, immune fighters) that cause an immediate effect on muscle protein synthesis, among some other cool benefits.
When isolated and extracted from the rest of the full protein, the micro-concentrated bio-active peptides are able to specifically target and actuate the exact sequence of events that cause protein synthesis and reduce inflammation. Interestingly, micro-concentrated forms of bio-actives exist in all proteins. The problem is, often they go unabsorbed, are broken down and used for other purposes, or are simply just discarded.
In other words, you are consuming bio-active peptides and micro-concentrated forms every day, but likely are only using what you need, not what you would like to use!
To try to isolate bioactive peptides, manufacturers have gone to great lengths to clean up protein by extracting various constituents, isolating specific amino acids, and fortifying their proteins with additional amino acids. This helps. We definitely know that straight amino acid consumption at the right time will outperform that of whey protein concentrates and isolates when it comes to MPS. We know if we do oversaturate the cells, there is a greater chance of absorption. One thing is certain—we have been able to positively increase the free floating amino acids in the bloodstream through supplementation. However, even with good solid eating habits and protein-rich diets, you will have sufficient levels of amino acids. Again, the problem is related to the uptake, the ability to increase the transportation efforts and force MPS to occur more rapidly. Fortunately, the bio-active peptides are our allies in that they can achieve the much-needed speed of action. But what we also know, and haven’t really pushed the limits with, is increasing the concentration of the actual signaling potentiators and their specific protein synthesis amplifiers.
Optimizing Performance Through BAP Supplementation
Of course you want to see results from training. You are hoping the products you are taking will ensure rapid recovery, stronger sets, and more energy. There are no guarantees when it comes to training because every person is unique, not only in their genetic make-up but in their ability to process foods, build muscle, and maintain shape. This is where precision engineered bioactive peptides can help you the most. Again, since we know we need specific proteins to be utilized, and it is impossible (at least at this point) to know how much and when the body will require it, rather than overload it with a ton of stuff that may not get used (or worse, be converted to fat), choose bio-active peptides whenever possible. Through our extensive research process, we have come to the conclusion, the best way to explain how BAP’s work is by using the analogy of how your lawn grows.
You know you need sunlight and water for your lawn to grow under normal circumstances. Add fertilizer and other special chemicals and your grass comes in greener, longer, stronger, and healthier. And that is precisely how specifically engineered BAP’s work. They act as fertilizer for your muscle.
The unique thing about BAP’s is that they can be consumed just about any time of day; along with meals, on their own, as pre- or post-workout supplements, or any time you want to consume more bioactive-building components. While they are not a direct substitution for whey protein, their active components are, and in fact, they’re often more powerful, thus BAP’s could be consumed with your protein supplementation or amino acids for an even greater effect. Early indications confirm BAP’s may have a positive effect when consumed around your exercise sessions (pre and post workout); however, data strongly supports that day-round supplementation with BAP’s returns positive results out of your efforts. In addition to their influence on MPS, BAP’s appear to have other strong benefits that aid in recovery and pain reduction that may further enhance the results from those hard-fought workout battles.
You still need protein and other nutrients to make muscles grow. Most of those come from the foods we eat. But getting muscles to activate faster, grow quicker, stronger, and firmer, can only be achieved by adding an amplifier. Bio-Active Peptides, due to their micro-concentrated power, will help promote better Muscle Protein Synthesis, and thus promote better overall gains from your training. As the emerging leader in the field of Bio-Active Peptides and their application to training and Muscle Protein Synthesis, iSatori is delivering the leading technology in the category: Bio-Gro™. Powered by Bio-Pro™ Bioactive Peptides, Bio-Gro™ has taken center stage as the must-have supplement to enhance performance, increase strength and power, develop leaner, harder muscles, and reduce soreness and recovery time, which allows you to increase volume and frequency of training. In other words, Bio-Gro™ will allow you to do more, more often.