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Articles Written by Rehan Jalali


Supplementation Articles


Natural Myostatin Inhibitors


Anyone who follows the supplement and bodybuilding industry closely has heard of Myostatin.  In 1997, researchers at Johns Hopkins University discovered the Myostatin gene, which when inhibited caused mice and cattle to significantly increase lean muscle mass both through hypertrophy (increasing muscle size) and hyperplasia (increased muscle fiber number).  Sounds great to most bodybuilders and also leads to some hysteria type hype! Myostatin is a member of a family of related molecules called transforming growth factors beta (TGF-B) and is also referred to as growth and differentiation factor-8 (GDF-8).  It seems to inhibit skeletal muscle growth significantly in animals and possibly in humans.  Remember those fantastic tales of mighty mice and super cattle that emerged as a result of this discovery? Well, supplement companies marketing a natural myostatin inhibitor was inevitable.  But does this really work? Can a marine algae derivative suppress a powerful gene in humans even though researchers used strong drug like protein myostatin blockers such as follastatin and myostatin propeptide?  The product in question is a derivative from cystoseira canariensis which contains special “sulfo-polysacharides” and phlorotannins.  This ingredient is currently marketed as a myostatin inhibitor.  First of all, there is NO published research showing this ingredient blocks the myostatin gene and causes muscle growth in humans (it intrigues me how some of these supplement marketers determined the recommended dose on this product without clinical research).  It is all a nice theory.  Next, marketers of this product claim you have to take it for 60 days to really see effect (anything that takes this long to see effect, you have to be cautious about).  Finally, it is imperative that research demonstrates that the loss of myostatin activity in human adults can cause muscle tissue growth. Likewise, research must also prove that overexpression or administration of myostatin causes loss of muscle mass. This is all a big fat unknown right now.  We do not fully understand the roles of myostatin in exercise-induced muscle hypertrophy. Until we do, it may be premature to blame the lack of hypertrophy in weightlifters on overexpression of myostatin. The research simply does not advocate blaming genetic myostatin variations as a source of significant differences in human muscle building.  This is not a cheap product either—it is very pricey.  Anything that is so unproven needs further research before you should spend your hard earned money on a hunch or a theory.  I think one of the side effects of these natural myostatin inhibiting products is amnesia because you forget how much you actually paid for this stuff!  Maybe one day, research will validate the use of natural mysotatin inhibitors or blockers but until further research is done, it’s better to hold off on something so unproven and lacking REAL scientific basis!  


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