Virtually every man dreams of having a god-like physique with well-defined muscles. Even women dream of having a physique with well-toned muscles. Not only is this physique more attractive, but it is also more healthy since more muscle mass means less body fat.

Unfortunately, growing muscle is no easy task and often requires a highly disciplined approach combining exercise with diet. However, even in the most disciplined athletes, muscle growth is still suboptimal unless there is an extra push. Luckily, muscle growth supplements provide this extra push. In this article, we shall explore the mechanisms of muscle growth, the natural means of growing muscles and what supplements aid this process. Keep reading!

The physiology of muscle growth

Muscle growth is a steady process that occurs when muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. Your body replaces and repairs damaged muscle fibers after a workout through a cellular process, fusing the muscle fibers to form new muscle protein strands. Hence, the repaired protein strands gradually increase in thickness and number to form muscle growth (hypertrophy); this process occurs at rest. Muscle is added to the muscle cells by the satellite cells. Hence, activating the satellite cells helps add more nuclei to the muscle cells, causing the growth of muscle cells. In other words, the more your satellite cells are activated, the more your muscles grow.

muscle growth through stress

Mechanisms That Make Muscles Grow

One of the major components of muscle growth is stress, which alters the homeostasis within your body. Hence, stress and altered homeostasis cause three mechanisms that help in muscle growth.

Muscle Tension

To cause an increase in muscle growth, there is a need for a certain amount of stress. Therefore, you have to apply a load of stress more than what your muscles are previously used to. One of the ways to achieve this is by progressively lifting heavier weights. This load helps to cause a change in the muscle chemistry, hence resulting in activation of the mTOR and satellite cell.

Muscle Damage

Muscle damage usually occurs after a stressful workout. This muscle damage causes satellite cells’ activation, helping them jump into action by releasing inflammatory molecules and immune system cells. You might not always feel sore after workouts, but the damage from the workout must be present in your muscle cells for activation.

Metabolic Stress

Metabolic stress occurs with a burning feeling during exercise. However, metabolic stress results in cell swelling around the muscle, contributing to muscle growth in the body. This type of muscle growth is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy because the growth is formed from the addition of muscle glycogen, which helps to swell the muscle and enhance connective tissue growth.

Natural ways of growing muscles

There are lifestyle patterns you can adopt or other natural ways to grow muscles. They are:

1.   Be conscious of what you eat.

What you eat says so much about you. Eating too much food is not healthy, as it does not define your body status. The body and muscles need fuel and energy to grow; hence, you must eat food with enough calories that balance your weight. When your body lacks calories, your body enters a catabolic state, which destroys the muscle in the body. Hence, it is important that you know your calorie intake and controls the number of calories you take to avoid too much fat gain.

2.   Eat enough carbs

Carbs are needed in the body to prevent catabolism (muscle loss) and serve as glycogen for workout fuel. Bodybuilders and athletes need carbs to protect protein stores as your body needs to burn carb calories. Without enough glycogen in the body, you might not be able to put in energy during workouts.

3.   Have Quality sleep

Sleep is very important for muscle growth. If you have poor quality sleep, it affects your body as you don’t have enough time to recover, burn fat and grow muscles. You should sleep for at least 8n hours per night.

4.   Your Workouts should focus on Building Muscle

When considering muscle building, your workout should be geared towards muscle building. The perfect workout formula for muscle growth or hypertrophy is moderate repeated ranges, body-part splits, and plenty of rest. You do not need excessive workouts to grow muscles because they can be counterproductive to your muscle growth journey. Hence, you can do 4-5 exercises per muscle and change the training pattern every 6-8 weeks. You also need to rest after training each muscle group and give yourself at least 2 days of rest in a week for your muscle to rebuild and repair.

5.   Slow Down Your Repetition Speed

This refers to the tempo of your weightlifting. The tempo at which you lower and lift weights is also a determining factor in the outcome of your workout. However, when you lift weight for muscle growth, your lifting tempo should be slow and controlled as muscles grow when they are under tension for longer periods.

supplements for muscle growth

Supplements that can help with muscle growth

Certain supplements have been proven to help muscle growth. These supplements do not displace the aspect of the workout. Instead, these supplements help the body recover fast and help in muscle growth. These supplements are:

Folic acid

Folic acid is a form of vitamin B9. They are known to be commonly prescribed to pregnant women to avoid complications. Food sources for folic acid are leafy vegetables, okra, asparagus, tomato juice, mushroom, yeast, mushroom, animal liver and kidney, orange juice, beans and certain fruits. The folic acid supplement is often used with other B vitamins. They are used for treating and preventing folate deficiency and hyperhomocysteinemia. They are also used in treating depression, stroke, high blood pressure, skin disorder, a decline in memory and thinking skills, and many others.

Dosage

Folic acid is an important nutrient needed in the body. Adults’ recommended dietary allowance for folic acid is 400 mcg DFE daily.

Folic vs. folate acid

Folic and folate acid are forms of vitamin B9. Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9, and leafy vegetables are the best folate source. Folate contains a different group of related compounds with similar nutritional components. Your digestive system converts folate to the active form of vitamin B9, which is 5-MTHF, before entering the bloodstream. On the other hand, folic acid, also known as pteroylmonoglutamic acid, is a synthetic form of vitamin B9. Unlike folate, not all folic acid is converted into the active form of vitamin B9 — 5-MTHF in your digestive system. Instead, they are converted into your liver or other tissues in a slow process. Folic acid takes time for your body to convert all of it to 5-MTHF; when taken, a 200-400mcg of folic acid might not be metabolized all at once until after the intake of another dose.

L-glycine

L-glycine is an amino acid. They are found in the body and can also be consumed in the diet. Sources of L-glycine include meat, fish, dairy, and legumes. This amino acid is the building block of protein formation in the body. They are used to treat schizophrenia, insomnia, stroke and to improve memory and thinking skills. 

Dosing

Adults should use L-glycine in doses of 3 grams by mouth daily for up to 24 weeks. You should also speak with your doctor to know what dose is best for you.

L-lysine

L-lysine is an amino acid; it also serves as a building block for protein formation. However, this amino acid cannot be produced in the body; hence, it must be eaten in the diet. Sources of L-lysine include meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. L-lysine is used in treating diabetes, canker sores, cold sores, increases athletic performance, etc.

Dosing

Adults should use L-lysine in doses of up to 3 grams daily for up to 1 year. You should also consult your doctor to know the type of product and dose to take.

L-Ornithine

L-Ornithine is an amino acid made in the body. They are also made in the lab and used as supplements. L-Ornithine is commonly used to improve athletic performance, reduce weight, wound healing, and increase sleep quality. The result of this is geared towards muscle growth. L-Ornithine helps increase amino acid levels in the body and increases hormonal levels that increase muscle size. It also helps to increase speed, strength and power in weightlifters.

Dosage

Adults should use 1 gram twice per day for 7 days for athletic performance, then 3 grams with breakfast and lunch before exercise or athletic event. You should also speak to your doctor for further directions.

L-tyrosine

L-tyrosine is a type of amino acid that serves as a protein-building block. The body produces L-tyrosine from another amino acid called phenylalanine, and this amino acid can also be consumed in the diet. Sources of L-tyrosine include dairy products, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, oats, and wheat. It is used for treating phenylketonuria (PKU), alcohol use disorder, cocaine dependence, and memory and thinking skills. It also helps to improve mental alertness and increase athletic performance.

Dosing

Adults should use L-tyrosine in doses of 100-300 mg/kg by mouth daily. You should also consult your healthcare provider to know the best dose for your condition.

Yohimbe

Yohimbe, also called Pausinystalia Yohimbe, is a plant tree grown in Africa. Yohimbe helps to increase blood flow and nerve impulses to the sexual reproductive organ in both males and females. They help to treat depression, and sexual problems, boost mood, improve athletic performance, etc.

Dosing

There isn’t enough reliable information to know the appropriate dose of Yohimbe. Therefore, you should consult your doctor before using it.

muscle growth supplements

Effects of muscle growth supplements on bodybuilding

After considering the different types of supplements that can help with muscle growth, it is important to link the effect of these supplements on bodybuilding. As discussed earlier, muscle growth occurs when the muscle is stressed and tense. Hence, these supplements help you meet the demand for bodybuilding by reducing pain, improving sore healing and giving you the strength needed for bodybuilding activities. These supplements help sustain your endurance limit, reduce fatigue during exercises, and relieve post-workout pain. Muscle growth supplements help you stay consistent with your exercise routine and achieve your bodybuilding goals.

What next?

Muscle growth supplements help to keep you consistent in your muscle growth journey. However, these supplements do not displace the aspects of workouts, exercise and bodybuilding activities. In other words, these two work hand-in-hand to make a successful muscle growth journey. You should also visit your doctor to know how best to use these supplements for better results.

References

How do muscles grow? The science of muscle growth

9 killer ways to gain muscle naturally

L-tyrosine- uses, side effects and more

Folic acid- uses, side effects and more