|In this article I’m going to cover most anabolic and catabolic hormones that naturally occur in our bodies and the effects they have on muscle gain/breakdown and fat loss and overall health.|
Its vital to understand this information to further you goals of building muscle and losing fat. The hormones I will cover are as below:
TESTOSTERONE plays many roles in our body. In men testosterone is secreted by the testes and adrenal glands and its functions are regulating sex drive, sperm production, developing characteristics such as dominance, physical and emotional strength, deep voice, body and facial hair, muscle growth, body shape and body odor. In women testosterone is secreted by the ovaries and adrenal glands and its functions are regulating sex drive and maintaining muscle and bone strength. Testosterone levels begin to decrease in both men and women around age 30. As testosterone levels decrease, men and women may experience fat gain, fatigue, loss of sexual interest, mood swings and a reduced muscle mass. Interestingly studies show a decrease in testosterone also increases the risk of heart and vascular disease.
GROWTH HORMONE (GH) is a protein hormone consisting of about 190 amino acids that is secreted by the pituitary gland. It is a major participant in the control of growth and metabolism. Indirect effects of GH are through its conversion to insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) read below. Direct effects of GH are the transfer of protein into tissues. This reflects increased amino acid uptake, increased protein synthesis (absorption) and decreased oxidation of proteins (you can utilize protein better). GH enhances the utilization of fat by stimulating triglyceride breakdown and oxidation in adipocytes, (breaks down fat and suppresses excess fat storage). GH is one of the hormones that help to maintain blood glucose within a normal range. GH has an anti-insulin activity (less ability to store fat, increased ability to release fat from cells)
IGF-1 is produced by the liver, stimulated from the GH being released in our blood stream. Its role is to stimulate systemic body growth, and has growth-promoting effects on almost every cell in the body, especially skeletal muscle, cartilage, bone, liver, kidney, nerves, skin, hematopoietic cell, and lungs. In addition to the insulin-like effects, IGF-1 also regulates cell growth and development, especially in nerve cells, as well as cellular DNA synthesis.
INSULIN is a hormone, produced by the pancreas, which regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose (carbohydrate) from the blood, storing it as glycogen inside these tissues.
Insulin stops the use of fat as an energy source by inhibiting the release of glucagon read below, with the exception of the metabolic disorder diabetes, insulin is released in the body in a constant proportion to remove excess glucose from the blood, which otherwise would be toxic. When blood glucose levels fall below a certain level, the body begins to use stored sugar as an energy source through glycogenesis, which breaks down the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles into glucose, which can then be utilized as an energy source (fat loss occurs). It is also used to uptake amino acid into body cells creating the anabolic effect (more muscle growth occurs).
GLUCAGON a peptide hormone secreted by the pancreas raises blood glucose levels. Its effect is opposite to that of insulin. Glucagon can be your friend and enemy. While insulin promotes muscle building and fat storage, glucagon promotes muscle breakdown and fat burning. If blood sugar levels are too low (if you have not eaten for more than 3-4 hours) it mobilizes stored glycogen from the liver and releases glucose for energy. It then begins to help release stored fat into the bloodstream also to be used for energy. However, for very low blood sugar levels such as when you have not eaten for 4-5 hours (during sleep) glucagon plays a role in the breakdown of hard gained muscle for fuel. During fat loss diets, elevated glucagon levels are important because it causes the burning of stored fat for fuel.
CORTISOL is the most catabolic hormone secreted by the adrenal glands in your body and is released at times of mental and physical stress. It is involved in the breakdown of muscle for energy and encourages the storage of fat. If glycogen levels are too low cortisol can convert amino acids to carbohydrates and prevents protein synthesis (muscle building). In fact Cortisol may be the very reason why your muscle building efforts have failed up until now (read my article on adrenal fatigue). However we do need some cortisol in our bodies as it includes roles in the regulation of blood pressure and cardiovascular function as well as regulation of the body’s use of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
I will go into more detail in further posts on how to increase or decrease these hormones effectively to promote muscle gain and fat loss. Correct nutrition, training and other factors plays a large role in regulating and making the best use of all these hormones in relation to muscle gain and fat loss.