Is stress robbing you
of muscle growth by affecting the growth equation? Muscles grow when
anabolism (tissue buildup) is greater than catabolism (tissue
breakdown). The key questions are which side of the equation is more
important, and how stress alters the balance.
An animal study
conducted at the University of Maryland School of Medicine suggest that
catabolism may be more important. In fact, the results imply that
high-dose anabolic steroids exert their anabolic effect not by
stimulating anabolism, but by inhibiting catabolism. More specifically,
steroids block the effects of cortisol, a catabolic hormone released
Your next question
should be: " How can I reduce cortisol levels ?" Although some
bodybuilders resort to anabolic steroids, you can effectively reduce
cortisol levels in other ways. Decreasing day-to-day stress is obviously
one answer, but it isn't very practical in most cases. Cortisol normally
increases when you exercise anyway, so your body needs a way to handle
it. 2 clinical studies suggest you might want to supplement with a
substance called phosphatidylserine (PS).
2 human studies found
that phosphatidylserine can actually eliminate exercise-induced increases in cortisol.
The first study involved PS administered intravenously, which doesn't
have a practical application for bodybuilders. The second study may be
more relevant. It found that the oral administration of 800mg of phosphatidylserine for
10 days significantly inhibited the exercise-induced increase in cortisol. Long-term studies must now determine if this anticatabolic
effect of PS could result in a true anabolic effect.
benefit of phosphatidylserine supplementation may be improved mental performance. More
than 20 human studies have demonstrated that phosphatidylserine supplementation (300mg
per day) can improve mental function in those with age-associated memory
decline. One study found that in just 3 weeks. phosphatidylserine supplementation
reversed up to 12 years of memory decline that normally occurs between
ages 25 and 65.
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