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The Muscular System, and how to keep it youthful
The muscular system makes up the muscles of the skeletal, smooth, and cardiac systems. It allows the body to move, keep its posture, and circulates blood through the heart.
Any movement inside and outside of the body is controlled by muscles, which are connected to bones, internal organs, and blood vessels. Muscle contraction is the source of nearly all movement in the body. The neurological system controls the muscular system, while certain muscles can function independently. For example, the heart muscle is entirely autonomous. About 700 identified muscles are attached to the bones of the skeletal system, accounting for nearly half of a person's total weight. Visceral, cardiac, and skeletal muscle are the three forms of muscle tissue.
The ageing muscular system
Many aging-related changes happen to the muscular system. For example, older people often experience a loss of strength that can be directly attributed to anatomical and physiological changes in skeletal muscles. Because of changes in muscle tissue during aging, and changes in the neurological system, muscles are becoming less toned and less able to contract. Even with regular exercise, muscles can become inflexible and lose tone as they age. Already at the age of 30, the amount of muscle tissue (muscle mass) and muscle strength start to decline, and this trend continues throughout life. Physical inactivity, as well as lower levels of growth hormone and testosterone, which promote muscle development, are contributing to the decline. Muscles can't contract as easily as they used to because more of the fast-twitch type muscle fibers are lost than slow-twitch (slow-twitch) muscle fibers. Muscle tissue degeneration accelerates after the age of 60. The limbs may lose so much muscular tissue in late life that people with limited movement appear to be nothing more than skin and bone. Intercostal muscle atrophy can generate deep furrows between the ribs, while facial muscle tissue loss leads to a general relaxation of the features. This significant loss of muscular tissue, known as senile sarcopenia, is linked to growing frailty in later life. While there are many factors that contribute to frailty, musculoskeletal degradation and sarcopenia are the most prominent. They are both linked to increasing weakness, fatigue, and the likelihood of adverse events like falls, all of which can increase morbidity.
Common age-related changes to the muscular system include:
Protein synthesis declines.
The size and number of muscle fibers declines.
Muscle growth declines.
The ability of muscles to repair themselves declines.
Collagen-rich non-contractile fibrous tissue replaces active muscle fibers.
The number of motor neurons decline, and neuromuscular junctions deteriorate.
Fat deposition increases at the expense of lean muscle tissue.
The age-related pigment lipofuscin accumulates.
Metabolism of muscle fibers decreases.
The blood flow to the major muscle groups declines.
Maintaining muscle mass during aging
In the absence of illness, much of the muscle mass loss above the 10% - 15% can be avoided by exercising regularly. More significant muscle loss (known as sarcopenia, which literally means "flesh loss") is caused by disease or inactivity, rather than by aging alone. Regular muscle-strengthening exercise (resistance training) may help to prevent or postpone the loss of muscle mass and strength. In contrast to early adulthood, the level of body fat doubles by the age of 75. Too much body fat can put you at risk for health issues like diabetes. The distribution of fat often shifts, altering the torso's form. A balanced diet and daily exercise can help older people avoid gaining fat-based weight.
Physical exercise and activity
The most obvious sign of aging is frequently a significant loss of muscle mass and strength (sarcopenia), accompanied by a diminished regeneration capacity, and a compromised athletic performance. Impaired muscle metabolism, including mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance, usually follow. Surprisingly, physical activity and exercise are well-established anti-aging strategies that have been demonstrated to reduce age-related declines in muscle mass, strength, and regenerative ability, as well as slow or avoid muscle metabolic deficits. Exercise and physical activity can affect many of the changes in muscle that occur as people age, and that they should be promoted as part of a healthy aging lifestyle. Regular physical activity is widely recognized as one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health. Many of the health problems that seem to accompany aging can be avoided or delayed with it. It also aids muscle growth, allowing you to continue doing your daily duties without becoming reliant on others.
Human growth hormone (HGH)
Human growth hormone has been shown to be important for muscle growth and maintenance. Growth hormone levels drop with age, resulting in loss of muscle mass and strength. There are ways to naturally boost growth hormone levels, and some of the most effective are the following:
Reduce body fat. Your HGH production is directly proportional to the quantity of belly fat. Those with more abdominal fat are more likely to have poor HGH production and a higher risk of disease. Furthermore, obesity has been linked to reduced levels of HGH and IGF-1, a growth-related protein. After obese people lose a significant amount of weight, the HGH levels can reverted to normal. The most dangerous type of fat is belly fat, or visceral fat, which has been related to a variety of health conditions. HGH levels and other attributes of your health will benefit from losing this abdominal fat.
Intermittently fasting. Fasting causes a significant boost in HGH levels, according to multiple studies. HGH levels increased by over 300 percent during three days fasting, according to one study. The HGH levels rose by 1,250 percent after a week of fasting. Other studies have reported similar results, with HGH levels doubling or tripling after only 2–3 days of fasting. Long-duration fasting is however not maintainable, and intermittent fasting has therefore become an increasingly prevalent dietary strategy that restricts eating over shorter periods of time. Intermittent fasting can be done in a variety of ways. A daily 8-hour eating window followed by a 16-hour fasting is a popular strategy. Intermittent fasting can boost HGH levels both by promoting fat loss, and by keeping insulin levels low. Insulin spikes can cause your normal growth hormone production to be disrupted.
Decrease sugar consumption. Lower HGH levels are linked to an increase in insulin. Refined carbohydrates and sugar are the foods that boost insulin levels the most, thus limiting your sugar intake may help you achieve optimal growth hormone levels. A study showed that healthy adults had 3–4 times higher HGH levels than diabetics. Excess sugar intake also results in weight gain and obesity, which negatively affects HGH levels.
Avoid eating before going to bed. HGH is mostly produced during night sleep, and because most meals produce an increase in insulin levels, it is recommended to avoid eating right before bedtime. A high-carb or high-protein meal will boost your insulin and block some of the HGH released at night.
High-intensity exercise. Exercise is one of the most effective strategies to significantly boost your HGH levels. The most effective form of exercise for increasing HGH is high-intensity exercise, but any type of exercise is useful. To boost your HGH levels and enhance fat loss, conduct repeated sprints, interval training, weight training, or circuit training. Exercise has also the potential to reduce body fat, which is also beneficial for boosting HGH levels.
Improved quality of sleep. When you sleep, the majority of your HGH is released in pulses. Your body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is responsible for these pulses. The biggest pulses happen before midnight, while some smaller ones happen in the morning. Poor sleep has been found in studies to limit the quantity of HGH your body produces. In fact, getting enough deep sleep is one of the most effective ways to boost your long-term HGH production.
Arginine supplementation. When taken alone, arginine may promote an increase in HGH levels. Despite the fact that most people take amino acids like arginine in conjunction with exercise, multiple studies have found that HGH levels do not increase much. However, studies show that consuming arginine on its own, without any exercise, greatly boosts levels of HGH. One study showed that ingesting 114 mg of arginine per pound of body weight (250 mg per kg), or 15–20 grams per day, resulted in a 60 percent increase in HGH levels during sleep.
GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is a non-protein amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter, transmitting information throughout the brain. It's commonly used to help people sleep because it's a well-known relaxing agent for the brain and central nervous system. Surprisingly, it may also aid in the rise of HGH levels. Because your nightly growth hormone release is linked to sleep quality and depth, GABA may help you enhance HGH levels by improving your sleep. GABA is present in some foods, including spinach, sweet potato, kale, and broccoli. Barley and beans are two foods that help the body produce more GABA.
Beta-alanine supplementation. Beta-alanine is an amino acid that can help you feel less tired and improve your exercise performance. In addition, if you follow an exercise routine, beta-alanine may help you gain muscle mass. Some beta-alanine -containing sports pills can help you improve your performance while also temporarily increase your HGH levels. Taking 4.8 grams of beta-alanine before a workout boosted the number of reps performed by 22%, according to one study. However, if you're attempting to lose weight, the extra calories in the drink will cancel out any advantage from the short-term HGH boost. Protein drinks, both with and without carbs, have been found in studies to increase HGH levels during workouts.
Melatonin is a hormone that aids the regulation of sleep and blood pressure. Melatonin pills have become a popular sleep aid that can help you sleep better and longer. While getting enough sleep can help increasing HGH levels, studies have shown that taking a melatonin tablet can further boost HGH production directly. Take melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime to get the most out of it. Begin with a smaller dose to gauge your tolerance, then gradually increase if necessary.
Other natural supplements to consider for HGH production:
A 2-gram glutamine injection can raise HGH levels by up to 78 percent for a short time.
A 20-gram dosage of creatine raised HGH levels for 2–6 hours.
A study indicated that giving ornithine to subjects 30 minutes after exercise resulted in a higher peak in HGH levels.
500 mg of L-dopa boosted HGH levels in Parkinson's disease patients for up to 2 hours.
Glycine has been shown in studies to boost gym performance and provide short-term HGH spikes.
Testosterone is another hormone that is known to be important for body composition and raising testosterone can result in increases in muscular mass and vitality over a relatively short period. There are natural ways to boost testosterone levels that have been proven to work.
Strength Exercise. Exercise is one of the most efficient ways to prevent many diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle, and it can also increase testosterone levels. Regular exercisers had higher testosterone levels, according to a comprehensive study. Exercise boosts testosterone levels, fitness, and reaction time in the elderly. Weightlifting is considered the best type of exercise for increasing testosterone in the short and long term. Although all types of exercise should work to some extent, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be particularly beneficial.
Keep stress and cortisol levels at a minimum. Long-term stress has been linked to elevated levels of the hormone cortisol, and when cortisol levels that are abnormally high it can result in a decrease in testosterone levels. These hormones work in a seesaw fashion: as one rises, the other falls. High cortisol levels and stress can increase food intake, weight gain, and the build-up or belly and visceral fat. and this will have an adverse effect on testosterone levels. Reduce recurrent stressful circumstances in your life for optimal health and hormone levels. Focus on a whole-foods-based diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, laughing, and a well-balanced lifestyle to reduce stress and boost testosterone levels.
Get plenty of restful, high-quality sleep. A good night's sleep can have a significant impact on your testosterone levels. The appropriate quantity of sleep varies by individual, but one study revealed that sleeping only 5 hours per night was connected to a 15% drop in testosterone levels. According to one study, testosterone levels rise 15% higher on average for every additional hour of sleep you obtain. Although some people appear to function well with less sleep, studies suggests that 7–10 hours of sleep per night is optimal for long-term health and testosterone production.
Consume protein, fat, and carbohydrates. What you consume has a significant impact on your testosterone and other hormone levels. As a result, you must be mindful of your long-term calorie consumption and diet strategy. Eating adequate protein can help you maintain healthy levels and lose weight, both of which are linked to your testosterone. Carbohydrate consumption can assist boosting testosterone levels during resistance training. Consuming sufficient amounts of healthy fats is also helpful for increasing testosterone levels. The optimal diet is one that consists primarily of whole foods and has a balanced fat, protein, and carbohydrate content.
Avoid estrogen-like compounds. High quantities of estrogen-like substances may also alter your testosterone levels, so avoid Bisphenol A (BPA), parabens, and other chemicals found in some types of plastic on a daily basis. Excessive alcohol or drug usage, whether medical or recreational, can also lower testosterone levels.
Supplement with vitamin A, B, C, D, E and zinc. Zinc and vitamin B supplementation improved sperm quality by 74% in one trial. Zinc also increases testosterone levels in athletes and people who are zinc deficient. Other evidence suggests that vitamins A, C, and E may influence testosterone levels. Vitamin D has been demonstrated in studies to provide a variety of health benefits and may possibly act as a natural testosterone booster. Vitamin D and zinc pills may be the greatest of all the vitamins and minerals available, according to testosterone studies. Frequent exposure to sunlight, or taking roughly 3,000 IU of a vitamin D3 supplement daily, can raise testosterone levels, and gain the other advantages of vitamin D.
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera or winter cherry, is a Solanaceae (nightshade) family annual evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and portions of Africa. It is one of the most significant herbs in Ayurveda (India's ancient medical system), and it has been utilized as a concoction promoting wide-ranging health effects including young physical and mental state of health as well as happiness. Compounds in ashwagandha may aid to relax the brain, decrease edema, lower blood pressure, and boost the immune system. Ashwagandha is one of the herbs with the most research behind it, and one study reported a 17 percent increase in testosterone levels and a 167 percent increase in sperm count in infertile males who took this herb. Ashwagandha boosted testosterone levels by 15% in healthy men. Another study found that it reduced cortisol by roughly 25%, which could help testosterone increase.
Ginger extract has a number of health benefits as some of its 400 compounds can aid in the prevention of chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and lung disorders. Ginger has long been known for its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Research in infertile people discovered that ginger can increase testosterone levels by 17 percent and other critical sex hormones.
Caffeine and creatine monohydrate, when paired with a fitness program, may help to enhance testosterone levels.
Other muscle mass promoting supplements
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound in your body that provides your muscles and other tissues energy. Taking it as a dietary supplement can boost muscular creatine levels by up to 40% above normal. This has an effect on your muscle cells as well as your exercise performance, resulting in muscle gain. In fact, a vast body of evidence suggests that creatine boosts muscle strength and growth. Greater strength allows you to workout more effectively, resulting in higher muscle mass gains over time. Creatine can also help to boost the amount of water in your muscle cells. Your muscle cells may enlarge slightly and produce signals for muscle growth as a result of this. Furthermore, this supplement may raise levels of hormones that promote muscular growth, such as IGF-1. Furthermore, some evidence suggests that creatine may reduce protein breakdown in your muscles. Many researchers have studied creatine supplement’s effect on exercise and muscle performance, and one thing is clear: creatine can aid in muscle growth. Creatine has also an excellent safety profile.
Protein supplements. Getting enough protein is essential for muscular growth. To increase muscle mass, you must ingest more protein than your body can break down through natural mechanisms. While protein-rich foods can provide all of the protein you require, some people find it difficult to do so. If this describes you, you should think about taking a protein supplement. Protein supplements come in a variety of forms, but whey, casein, and soy protein are among the most common. Protein isolates from eggs, beef, chicken, and other sources are used in other protein supplements. Supplementing with extra protein induces somewhat more muscle gain in those who exercise than supplementing with extra carbs, according to research. However, the consequences are most likely to be seen by persons who do not get enough protein in their regular diet. In fact, some studies suggest that taking a lot of protein supplements won't help you gain muscle if you already eat a high-protein diet. Many people are unsure how much protein they should consume on a daily basis. If you're looking to gain muscle, 0.5–0.9 grams of protein per pound (1.2–2.0 grams per kilogram) of body weight may be the best option.
Weight Gaining Supplements. Weight gainers are dietary supplements that make it easier to consume more calories and protein. They're commonly taken by people who are having trouble gaining muscle. Even when eating a lot of calories and training weights, some people struggle to grow muscle. Weight gainer supplements vary in calorie count, however it's not uncommon for them to contain over 1,000 calories per serving. Because protein is so crucial for muscular growth, many individuals believe these calories come from it. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, provide the majority of the calories. These high-calorie supplements typically contain 75–300 grams of carbs and 20–60 grams of protein per serving. While these items can help you consume more calories, it's crucial to remember that weight gainer pills aren't magic. Overall, weight gainers should only be used if you are having trouble eating enough food and find that drinking a weight gainer shake is easier than eating more real food.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that can help you feel less tired and improve your exercise performance. In addition, if you follow an exercise routine, beta-alanine may help you gain muscle mass. In one study, college wrestlers and football players who took 4 grams of beta-alanine per day for eight weeks gained more lean body mass than those who took a placebo. Another study found that supplementing with beta-alanine increased lean body mass by around 1 pound (0.45 kg) more than a placebo after a six-week high-intensity interval training program. While further research on beta-alanine and muscle gain is needed, when paired with an exercise routine, this supplement seems to support muscle gain.
Branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the three amino acids that make BCAA. They can be present in almost all protein sources, especially those that come from animals, such as meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish. BCAAs are essential for muscular growth, and account for around 14% of the amino acids in your muscles. BCAAs have been found in a modest amount of study to promote muscle building or minimize muscle loss when compared to a placebo. While BCAAs may be advantageous if your diet is lacking, further research is needed before they can be suggested as a go-to supplement for muscle gain.
Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB). When your body processes the amino acid leucine, it produces HMB. Some of the positive benefits of protein and leucine in the diet are attributed to HMB. It may be especially beneficial for decreasing muscle protein degradation. Although your body produces HMB naturally, taking it as a supplement allows for higher levels and may boost your muscle growth. Taking 3–6 grams of HMB per day can boost the gains in lean body mass following weight training, according to several studies with previously untrained persons. Other studies suggest that equivalent doses of HMB are unlikely to increase muscle mass in individuals who have previously lifted weights. This could suggest that HMB is best for people who are just starting out with exercise or want to increase the intensity of their activities.
Carnitine with glutamine. Carnitine has been demonstrated to have some benefits for muscle mass in the elderly people.
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