TRAIN TO GAIN

Snooze or Lose

Jerry Brainum

Sleep deprivation can crush anabolic hormones

While exercise is the primary catalyst for muscular growth, all such growth occurs when youíre at rest. Thatís why adequate recovery is so vital for making muscular gains. Studies show that if you donít get enough sleep, your testosterone levels may plummet as much as 40 percent. The body secretes maximum levels of growth hormone during sleep.

A new study using lab rats as subjects tested the hormonal effects of sleep deprivation.1 In previous studies animals deprived of sleep showed lower levels of thyroid hormones and a blunted immune response. Since the low level of thyroid output occurred in the hypothalamus, the researchers wanted to see how other hormones secreted in the same area of the brain were affected by sleep.

The experimenters found that sleep deprivation in the rats resulted in a suppression of other hormones, including growth hormone, insulinlike growth hormone 1 (IGF-1), prolactin and leptin. Corticosterone, the rodent version of cortisol, was unaffected by lack of sleep. That hormonal milieu favors a depression in anabolic reactions in the body, with an upgrading of catabolic effects, including possible muscle loss. Donít take sleep for granted if any type of muscular progress is your goal.


1 Everson, C.A., et al. (2004). Reductions in circulating anabolic hormones induced by sustained sleep deprivation in rats. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 286:E1060-E1070.


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Breakout Foods

Jerry Brainum

Breakout Foods

In the past those prone to acne, particularly teenagers, were advised to avoid high-fat foods and chocolate because they were thought to cause acne lesions. Subsequent research, however, proved those ideas to be incorrect. Acne is caused by increased bacterial activity in the skin coupled with increased secretion of sebum, which comes from the skinís sebaceous glands. Excess sebum blocks the sebaceous glands, and the bacteria that feed on it produce substances that lead to skin inflammation.

Fat-to-Muscle Insulin Shuffle

Jerry Brainum

Fat-to-Muscle Insulin Shuffle

In the July í03 IRONMAN (Eat to Grow, ďHormone From HellĒ) I discussed a study in which rats specially bred to lack insulin receptors on their fat cells had 70 percent less bodyfat than their normal littermates but ate just as much food. The insulin-knockout rats also lived an average of 18 percent longer, which was attributed to their leaner physiques. Obesity and longevity arenít compatible in most animal species. Observant readers may look at that finding and note that since itís an animal study, the results may not apply to human beings. Thatís true of many animal studies.

Leptin

Par Deus

Leptin

You probably havenít yet heard of leptin, and even if you have, you likely have no idea how important it is to your efforts in body-composition manipulationóbut you soon will. The prediction is that within a year leptinóand whatís called the fed stateówill be everywhere in the bodybuilding world, and within two it will be the topic of infomercials. It will be bigger than the Atkins, or ketogenic, diets and bigger than The Zone. Itís the reason that prolonged dieting causes you to stop losing fat and the main reason overfeeding helps you gain muscle. When it comes to body composition, leptin is as close as it gets to a master hormone in the human body.

Drink On More Muscle

Jerry Brainum

Drink On More Muscle

One frequent lament of over-35 bodybuilders is that it seems harder to build muscle as you age. Various physiological mechanisms have been offered to explain that, such as changes in anabolic hormone levels and a decreased communication between muscles and the central nervous system. An overlooked factor that likely plays a major role is cortisol control.

Supplemental Intake

Greg Zulak

Q: Iíve decided I want to look my all-time best this summer. Can you tell me which supplements I should buy and how much to take for best results?

A: You didnít tell me your height and weight, so I can only guess how much is appropriate for you, but I can definitely recommend some supplements that are best suited to gaining mass and losing fat (two goals for nearly every bodybuilder). You should also know, however, that when you use a supplement is just as important as what you take. You want to take supplements when your body can best use themóthere are times when it needs key nutrients more than others.