Unlocking the Mystery of Anabolic Resistance: What is it, Why  it matters and How to fix it

Unlocking the Mystery of Anabolic Resistance: What is it, Why it matters and How to fix it

Anabolic resistance hinders the body's ability to effectively build muscle.  I love to keep things simple, so using the analogy of your muscle as a light switch, this blog post will explain the concept of anabolic resistance, will shed light on the factors influencing muscle growth and how to combat the challenges posed by anabolic resistance as we age.

Imagine your muscle as a light switch that, when turned on, initiates the process of muscle protein synthesis—the creation of new muscle tissue. This switch is crucial for building and maintaining muscle mass, supporting overall strength and functionality.

What is Anabolic Resistance?

Anabolic resistance occurs when the muscle "light switch" becomes less responsive to the signals that typically trigger muscle protein synthesis. In simpler terms, it's as if the switch is stuck or only partially turning on, making it challenging for the body to efficiently build new muscle tissue.

There are 3 main factors that influence Anabolic Resistance:

  1. Age: As we age, the body's responsiveness to muscle-building signals tends to decline, contributing to anabolic resistance. Ie - the light switch becomes less effective at turning ‘on’.  This is one reason why older individuals may find it harder to gain and maintain muscle mass.
  2. Inactivity: Moving less can contribute to anabolic resistance. Regular physical activity, particularly strength training, helps keep the muscle "light switch" responsive and primed for muscle growth.
  3. Nutrient Deficiency: Inadequate intake of protein and essential amino acids can hinder the body's ability to build muscle. These nutrients serve as the building blocks for muscle protein synthesis and without them, your body is going to be unable to build muscle

How do we combat Anabolic Resistance:

  1. Strength Training: Think of strength training as the workout routine that jiggles the "light switch" to prevent it from getting stuck. Engaging in regular resistance exercises, such as weightlifting, promotes muscle protein synthesis, counteracting the effects of anabolic resistance.
  2. Amino Acid Supplementation: Providing your body with the right raw materials is essential. Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are crucial for muscle synthesis. Supplementing with essential amino acids can ensure that your body has an adequate supply for optimal muscle growth, especially in the presence of anabolic resistance.

As we age, anabolic resistance can pose challenges to maintaining our muscle, but they are not insurmountable. Picture your muscle as that light switch—resilient and responsive when given the right signals. Incorporating strength training and ensuring a sufficient supply of amino acids through food and supplementation are powerful strategies to keep that muscle "light switch" functioning optimally, and preventing the loss of valuable muscle mass. 

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