A Little Physiology: The Value of Muscular Work
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The maintenance of skeletal muscle depends on a complex balance between anabolic (a constructive metabolism) and catabolic factors (the metabolic process of breaking down). This balance gradually deteriorates as we age, leading to a decline in muscle quality and quantity. Muscular work has a tremendous value slowing our natural loss of tissue.
It is known that skeletal muscle is the target of numerous hormones. Diminished testosterone and growth hormone lead to muscle atrophy, which is a decrease in the associated muscle mass. Providing an outside stressor in the form of progressive resistance can induce growth hormone and testosterone release, regardless of age and preserve tissue. But only in recent years have studies shown another invaluable role of skeletal muscle and its function as a secretory organ.
Endocrine organs secrete directly into the blood to affect tissues at a distance from the site of secretion. Endocrine organ secrete hormones, growth factors and cytokines. In 1998 skeletal muscle was identified as an endocrine organ, which also secreted cytokines (small proteins that are important in cell signaling). The type of small protein cytokines released by muscle are known as myokines. This important finding that muscles produce and release myokines provides a biological explanation to the observation that exercise influences metabolism.
In January of this year the Journal of Cellular Metabolism researches identified one such myokine, as the molecule BAIBA (beta-aminoisobutyric acid ). BAIBA participates in tissue crosstalk that results in browning of white adipose tissue.
The term “brown fat”, which is actually brown in color is used to describe heat-generating, metabolically-active fat cells. White fat or white adipose tissue is used as a store of energy. The release of BAIBA from training the musculature induces energy-storing white fat cells to become more like brown fat cells that burn calories. A great reason to Get Strong.
Researchers have actually fed mice water laced with BAIBA and they lost weight and showed other metabolic benefits. Researchers also reviewed the famous Framingham Heart Studies (long term, ongoing cardiovascular studies beginning in 1948) and found those who had high risk factors of heart disease and diabetes also had low BAIBA. Remembering the molecule is released from muscular work the Farmington Heart Studies help to confirm once again, it is a great benefit to Get Strong.