Manipulating the Hormones

Manipulating the Hormones

Although it can be tricky, if we use supplements properly we can increase insulin, GH, IGF-1 and testosterone levels, and decrease cortisol levels and other anticatabolic factors at specific times to maximize increases in lean body mass. It's important to either create an anabolic hormonal cascade or make use of natural fluctuations and spikes in the endogenous anabolic hormones. The end result is an anabolic and anticatabolic effect in and around the time of training, in the critical post-training period and at other times of the day.

It may be difficult, however, to get the hormones and nutrients synchronized so that they can work together synergistically. For example, the problem with natural growth hormone spikes is that they almost always occur in the post absorptive phase when exogenous nutrients are in short supply and unavailable to muscle cells. That is, GH decreases muscle protein catabolism but has little anabolic action - there's relatively little influx of amino acids into the cells. In addition, very little insulin effect occurs because there's no stimulus for insulin release.

Ideally, all the anabolic and anticatabolic effects of the various hormones should be maximized (through a synergistic action of testosterone, insulin, GH, IGF-1 and thyroid), and the catabolic effects of cortisol minimized at a time when the availability of nutrients is maximal. The idea behind the target is supplements (along with appropriate training and diet) is to do all this naturally. You must be precise in your supplementation, however, and know exactly what you're doing to create and make maximum use of any possible synergism of elevated levels of endogenous testosterone, GH, insulin, thyroid and IGF-1, and decreased levels of cortisol. For instance, the use of the amino acid glutamine has been shown to prevent the cortisol-induced destruction of muscle contractile proteins. Glutamine has also been shown to increase both growth hormone and insulin secretion.

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