Muscle: Anabolic Insulin and Muscle Growth

Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pancreas which has anabolic properties. The function of insulin is to regulate the blood sugar levels, or put another way it helps the body make use of the energy you feed it with.When you eat a sweet food or drink a sugary beverage, this causes an insulin spike, meaning a large surge of insulin is released.This occurs to lower the high level of sugar now in the bloodstream.

Rather than have a lot sugar in our bloodstream, insulin is released and this causes the sugar to be stored in muscle cells and other organs for use as energy. The extra will be stored in fat cells. The reason why diabetics who lack insulin or are insulin resistant are often fatigued, and can suffer from health problems is because they have high blood sugar. The energy they take in from food isn’t being used by the body in the way it should, so they become tired, and their organs don’t function optimally, and they suffer from other high blood sugar side effects.

Insulin resistance occurs when the insulin receptors of the muscles become less and less receptive to the insulin, resulting in fewer nutrients (blood sugar) being stored in the muscles and other organs. Insulin resistance is essentially what type II diabetes is.

For muscle-building, the key is to keep the body in balance by avoiding simple carbs (sugars), and regulating intake of complex carbs. Complex carbs release their energy more slowly, so er don’t have the same insulin spike, but a slower release of the hormone.

Eating the majority of carbs after we train allows for the insulin to speed repair, as well as refuel the muscles. The reason we want there to be insulin present post training is that insulin also helps drive amino acids (proteins) in to the muscles, making insulin a very important hormone for growth.

That’s why it’s recommended we take in a good mix of carbs and protein an hour before a workout, and the same again immediately following. The reason to have some beforehand is because once we start training the muscles will have enough protein and glucose in our blood to prevent catabolism. Post training nutrient intake also prevents catabolism, and begin repairing the damaged muscle fibers immediately.

Insulin is a hormone that we definitely want to avoid when fat loss is the goal, however when building some new, solid muscle mass is the plan, then this anabolic hormone can be of great help.

Happy Lifting!

This article was researched and written by Follow @MattToronto1


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