Q: Hi Gary and Richie, I’ve only done a minor amount of research on myostatin. I am still unsure as to what exactly it is or why people get involved with myostatin inhibitors. Can you explain whether they are useful/efficient and which are the best myostatin inhibitors if I need them?
Welcome to another edition of Weekend Questions. If you are unaware, the general format is that we take a question from our email (submit yours here) and answer them as well as we can. Whether that be a short answer or a really long and comprehensive one, we are here to share our knowledge.
This week’s question involves myostatin in humans. I will be highlighting some beginner’s knowledge on it, as it is not a very common topic. Not many people know about myostatin inhibitors or their benefits or weaknesses either. This post may be long, so please use the given subheaders to navigate how you see fit.
What is myostatin?
If you’re really curious as to how myostatin and inhibitor proteins work in combination with weight lifting
Myostatin, in as simple a way as I can put it, is a type of protein that your body produces and releases. These little proteins, called myokines, are released by your muscle cells in order to regulate muscle growth. They are only released when your myocytes (muscle cells) contract and muscle fibers break: basically when you are lifting weights and trying to get stronger.
So what is a myostatin deficiency then?
You might be thinking, “myostatin is good; it helps me build muscle“. It does not help you build muscle when you lift weights. In fact, it regulates your muscle growth so you don’t become inhumanely huge and unable to perform regular human tasks.
You will find later on in this article that people actually try to lower their myostatin levels in hopes of further increasing muscle mass and strength. I will do some explaining on the benefits of myostatin deficiencies as well.
Myostatin deficiencies are also the reason why people try myostatin inhibition. These are products, such as Myo-X, that claim to reduce myostatin. Some even claim to be myostatin blockers, so your myocytes produce less of them. We will discuss the effectiveness of these products. I will include some potentially useful scientific citations for you to look at too.
If you’re searching for how to reduce your myostatin levels, here you have your answer: myostatin inhibition products. Here I will provide some of my own research and list out some of the best myostatin inhibitors available for purchase if you are willing to try it.
— Click to see the current price of Myo X —
Do note that myostatin inhibition may be marked in some anti-doping policies. If you’re submitting yourself to any weightlifting competition, I would avoid these products. However, if you’re willing to try it, found my sources helpful, and did your own research (important!) by all means give it a go. Just be cautious and again, do your own research on top of everything we’ve published.
Natural myostatin levels increase with age. This means that the older you get, the less muscle you are able to potentially build
Does myostatin inhibition even work?
There are numerous research papers already published that claim they do, in fact, work. Amanda M. Haidet et al. from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a work titled “Long-Term Enhancement of Skeletal Muscle Mass and Strength by Single Gene Administration of Myostatin Inhibitors”.
This study involves the testing of grown mice and the effect of myostatin inhibitor products on them. They found that myostatin suppression does indeed work, as the animals displayed increased muscle size and strength. While this was a study on mice and not on myostatin deficiency in humans, Haidet and the other scientists did find valuable information that could translate to people. For instance, they concluded that sites for muscle mass increase were where the mice were most active: their hindlimb and tricep muscles. They also found that there was no interference with heart mass nor in the reproductive system, alluding to a conclusion that myostatin inhibition is selective to only skeletal muscle tissue (Haidet et al., 2008).
I’ve included another study in my References section below. This was done by Darryn S. Willoughby in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. The study was conducted on actual human males to evaluate the effects of a specific myostatin inhibitor product while they performed a 12-week resistance training program.
The key take away from this is that they did notice minor increases in muscle strength, but those were insignificant. However, they did note that the study only lasted 12-weeks, which is not long enough a period to see significant changes (Willoughby, 2004). I recommend reading the study, or at least the discussion, to find the rest of their conclusions.
Here is one last study (easy access link), performed by Matthew Sharp and fellow researchers. Titled “The effects of a myostatin inhibitor on lean body mass, strength, and power in resistance trained males” from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, the study also focuses on myostatin inhibitors when combined with resistance training. Unlike the study above, this one found the supplementation as “efficacious in increasing muscle mass in recreationally trained males” (Sharp et al., 2014).
MHP Myo X
With the research in hand and my trust that you will research more for yourself, let’s get to the actual products. Myo-X is perhaps the most popular myostatin suppression product available for purchase. The last study I mentioned above actually tested the males using Myo X supplementation. Their conclusion was that it was indeed effectiveness, hence the popularity of the product.
According to them, the product is clinically proven (via the University of Tampa study performed by Sharp and Lowery et al.) to enhance muscle growth when combined with strength training. This is done by suppressing myostatin in the body. According to the study, Myo X is also known to reduce numerous cytokines, which are produced by many different cells and cause inflammation.
The good thing about Myo X is that it isn’t in any banned controlled substances list. In a urine test, you should not pop and reveal for using a banned substance. However, as with all health supplements, I suggest looking through all the Myo X ingredients and checking if those are banned.
MHP Myo-X is one of the most expensive per tub but the results definitely show. As long as you keep up a consistent muscle-building routine, while consuming a serving of Myo X every day (even on rest days), you should begin to look leaner and have increases in muscle mass and strength.
Note: I take this as a man his 50s. Older males tend to produce more myostatin, and thus our bodies regulate muscle growth more. I would recommend taking myostatin inhibitors only for those above 35.
Epicat is another good product for suppressing myostatin. GSS uses epicatechin 90% extract to lower your myostatin (GDF-8). Epicatechin is a compound extract that uses natural sources like green tea and cacao.
Epicat, in one capsule, has 200mg of the extract. Whereas other myostatin supplements use scoops of powder, Gun Show Supplements’ product is an easy-absorb capsule for every day consumption. There is no funny taste and it goes down easy.
Again, it is very expensive, but over a long period of consistent lifting, the results speak for themselves. Right away, my workouts at the gym were more intense and I found my endurance to last longer than usual. DOMs (the delayed soreness you get after lifting) was also suppressed. If I hadn’t gone to the gym in a week and came back all of a sudden, I would feel muscle soreness for the next 5 or 6 days. Using something like Epicat reduced that soreness and got me ready for my next workout within the next day or two.
Natural Myostatin Inhibitors
Without a doubt, I can tell you that there is no such thing as a true “natural” myostatin inhibitor. The whole act of myostatin inhibition itself is unnatural for humans. The production of myostatin is completely normal for humans to regulate their muscle growth. Myostatin inhibitors reverse that and try to reduce the amount of myostatin our myocytes produce, thus breaking that barrier for maximum muscle gains.
The whole sense of the phrase natural myostatin inhibitor is not actually so because of how unnatural it is to the human system. But, there can be myostatin inhibition products made with 100% natural ingredients. Try your best to make that distinction clear when you purchase products. We like to keep it safe here on ActiveAuthorities.com and always advise you to be cautious when buying health supplements.
That said, Epicat is probably my choice for the #1 natural myostatin inhibitors. I’ve researched the individual ingredients pretty heavily and everything checks out just fine. It comes in an easy-consumption capsule as well.
Haidet, A., Rizo, L., Handy, C., Umapathi, P., Eagle, A., Shilling, C., . . . Kaspar, B. (2008). Long-Term Enhancement of Skeletal Muscle Mass and Strength by Single Gene Administration of Myostatin Inhibitors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(11), 4318-4322.
Sharp, M., Lowery, R. P., Shields, K., Ormes, J., Mccleary, S. A., Rauch, J., . . . Wilson, J. M. (2014). The effects of a myostatin inhibitor on lean body mass, strength, and power in resistance trained males. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(Suppl 1). doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-s1-p42.
Willoughby, D. S. (2004). Effects of an Alleged Myostatin-Binding Supplement and Heavy Resistance Training on Serum Myostatin, Muscle Strength and Mass, and Body Composition. International Journal Of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 14(4), 461-472.