Important Hormones For Building Muscle And Tips On How To Improve Them

Hans

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For those of you who seem to struggle with gaining muscle and just get fat instead, or if you're one of those people who just struggle to gain any weight at all, I trust that this post can be of some help to you.

First and foremost I'll be discussing the thyroid as your thyroid is extremely important for muscle growth...


Thyroid
Thyroid hormones increase and activate satellite cells in the muscles, increase myogenic (muscle growth) factors, lower myostatin (a negative regulator of muscle growth), convert slow twitch muscle fibers to fast twitch muscle fibers, increase steroidogenesis, increase cortisol excretion from the body, increase follistatin (positive regulator of muscle growth), increase IGF-1 levels and IGF-1 availability, and also increase the metabolic rate.

So as you can tell, thyroid function and thyroid hormones are crucial for anabolism.

Things that inhibit thyroid function are nutritional deficiencies, inflammation, gut-irritating foods (increase inflammation, endotoxins, prolactin, estrogen and serotonin which are all thyroid antagonists), serotonin, cortisol, insufficient calories and carbs, polyunsaturated fat, overtraining, chronic stress, etc.

Easy ways to boost thyroid function is to lower stress by taking a break from stressful situations (e.g. going for a walk, taking time to relax etc.), boosting dopamine and GABA, avoiding gut-irritating foods, getting lots of sunlight, consuming all your vitamins and minerals.

A few diet tips for promoting thyroid function is to eat easily digestible foods, consume calcium-rich foods, consume gelatin via bone broth or supplement (glycine is highly anti-inflammatory and lowers cortisol), eat more carbs than protein, keep PUFA intake as low as possible and try to avoid empty calories (as they use up the body's nutrients to be processed but don't provide the body with any nutrients of their own).


Cortisol
Cortisol is a significant negative regulator of muscle growth. It decreases thyroid function and thyroid hormone conversion, lowers IGF-1, increases myostatin and proteolysis (muscle breakdown), induces insulin resistance, inhibits steroidogenesis, increases the aromatase and inhibits muscle protein synthesis.

Cortisol is elevated when thyroid hormones are reduced as well as during inflammation, stress, etc.

Trenbolone, which is one of the most potent anabolic steroids, is a very potent inhibitor of the cortisol receptor. Actually, cortisol receptors are several fold higher in the muscle compared to androgen receptors, thus blocking the cortisol receptor or lowering cortisol levels have a very anabolic effect on the muscle.

Things that increase cortisol is low blood sugar, overexertion, training past fatigue and failure, long distance running, too much HIIT, low carb diet, inflammation, polyunsaturated fat, etc.

Things you can do to keep cortisol in check is to eat a low polyunsaturated diet (PUFAs cause inflammation and I personally found my DOMS are significantly less and my cortisol is much lower when my PUFA intake is low), eat lots of carbs, avoid long workouts, use supplements that lower cortisol, such as glycine, taurine, ornithine, PS, vit D, magnesium, etc.

Follistatin & Myostatin
As mentioned above, myostatin reduces anabolism and increases fat mass, whereas follistatin reduces myostatin, boosts muscle growth and lowers fat mass. Fertilized eggs are a great source of follistatin; that's one reason Vince Gironda advised to eat 2 dozen raw eggs daily.

A few things that decrease myostatin and increase follistatin are creatine, caffeine, Epichatechin (found in cocoa), testosterone, vitamin D, vit A, vit E, glycine, taurine, thyroid, etc.

Endotoxins, inflammation, cortisol, etc, increase myostatin and lowers follistatin.

So the point I'm trying to make is that anything that slows the metabolism, inhibits thyroid function and increases cortisol will negatively affect muscle growth.


IGF-1
Growth hormone actually increases myostatin gene expression, but IGF-1 overrides myostatin. So you don't want elevated GH, but elevated IGF-1. However, boosting GH to increase IGF-1 isn't a good idea, in my opinion, and IGF-1 won't necessarily increase due to higher levels of GH.

IGF-1 significantly increases muscle growth as it stimulates satellite cells, increases glucose and amino transport into the muscles, lowers inflammation, etc.

IGF binding protein 3 (IGFBP-3) prolongs the circulation and biological action of IGF-1, which stimulates muscle hypertrophy. IGFBP-3 and IGF-1 are significantly elevated post workout and are observed to stimulate protein synthesis and subsequently muscle hypertrophy. In fact, IGFBP-3 has been shown to have a significant and direct effect on muscle cell growth, even without the presence of IGF-1.

We want both IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 elevated (balanced) because a low IGF-I:IGFBP-3 ratio is associated with increased waist-to-hip ratio, but a high IGF-1:IGFBP-3 ratio is associated with baldness, cancer and other diseases.

Things that increase IGF-1 are DHEA are vitamin D, vit A, protein, milk, calcium, magnesium, zinc, exercise, egg yolks, potassium, taurine, etc.

Things that increase IGFBP-3 is magnesium, vitamin A, vit B6, zinc, copper, HIIT, etc.

Things that decrease IGF-1 is inflammation, cortisol, intermittent fasting, etc.

Things that decrease IGFBP-3 is estrogen, inflammation, overtraining (increase cortisol to testosterone ratio), endotoxins, etc.


Conclusion
So to take it all together. Thyroid function is really crucial for muscle growth. To further potentiate hypertrophy and strength gains lowering cortisol and boosting follistatin and IGF-1 would be most important. Androgens are also very important, but increasing the number of androgen receptors as well as their sensitivity is more important.

For those that don't have an appetite or struggle to eat enough, your histamine might be too high, hence reduced appetite.
 

Vinero

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What is the minimum amount of calcium that is needed daily to have good thyroid function? Ray recommends drinking at least 2 quarts of milk which gives 2000 mg of calcium. I have difficulty in drinking too much liquids so only drink 0.5 to 1 quart of milk daily.
 

Vinero

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Also, do you think that getting a "pump" or lactic acid buildup is stressful or anti-thyroid?
 

Hans

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What is the minimum amount of calcium that is needed daily to have good thyroid function? Ray recommends drinking at least 2 quarts of milk which gives 2000 mg of calcium. I have difficulty in drinking too much liquids so only drink 0.5 to 1 quart of milk daily.
Enough to suppress PTH as well as balance out phosphate. So everyones requirements would be different.
Vit D suppress UCP if there isn't enough calcium in the diet.
I'd say 1g minimum while having good vit D levels for optimal absorption. One can always have his PTH tested to see if he needs more calcium or other cofactors. But about 2g daily is probably best and will increase as protein increases in the diet.
If lots of milk isn't tolerated, the next best thing would be egg shell calcium or bone meal supplement imo.
Also, do you think that getting a "pump" or lactic acid buildup is stressful or anti-thyroid?
I don't like pump workouts just because they are used to pump the muscle and that is the only goal. Low reps, below 5, wouldn't give as good muscle development as a bit higher reps. I think a short powerful workout is much less harmful to the thyroid than a long workout, regardless if it promotes lactic acid or not.
So I personally use both heavy and lighter weights to sculpt my physique, but I prefer to keep the workouts short and not deplete my glycogen sources or over exert myself.
 

Cirion

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Enough to suppress PTH as well as balance out phosphate. So everyones requirements would be different.
Vit D suppress UCP if there isn't enough calcium in the diet.
I'd say 1g minimum while having good vit D levels for optimal absorption. One can always have his PTH tested to see if he needs more calcium or other cofactors. But about 2g daily is probably best and will increase as protein increases in the diet.
If lots of milk isn't tolerated, the next best thing would be egg shell calcium or bone meal supplement imo.

I don't like pump workouts just because they are used to pump the muscle and that is the only goal. Low reps, below 5, wouldn't give as good muscle development as a bit higher reps. I think a short powerful workout is much less harmful to the thyroid than a long workout, regardless if it promotes lactic acid or not.
So I personally use both heavy and lighter weights to sculpt my physique, but I prefer to keep the workouts short and not deplete my glycogen sources or over exert myself.

Nate has a huge emphasis on calcium, and I'm giving a +1 to calcium carbonate as I use that a lot lately per his suggestion.

Also, he talks about the muscle "pump" and its not actually healthy. What you're doing is swelling the muscle with water, which while in a way can promote growth, does so in a stressful manner. The body tends to swell up with water when its stressed out according to him (stomach bloating is another example of this). And yeah, lactic acid is to be avoided at all cost (so you do NOT want to "feel the burn"). There is literally nothing positive to say about lactic acid and there is never a reason to purposefully get it raised. And some foods like yogurt inherently cause lactic acid build up and should be avoided at all costs. Water retention is actually a sign of elevated estrogen, not something you actually want when building muscle.

Given that a healthy hormonal body can build muscle with zero exercise, we don't need to kill ourselves to build muscle, and doing so just causes more problems in the long run so a +1 to the short workouts that aren't too crazy.
 
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jacob

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For those that don't have an appetite or struggle to eat enough, your histamine might be too high, hence reduced appetite.

Thanks for the great post, Hans. There's a lot of great information there.

I'm confused by the final sentence (quoted above). The comment about histamine doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the post for me. Why did you include this final statement? Also, do you have any experience with histamine or lowering histamine? Thanks!
 

jamies33

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A big part of maximizing androgens is reducing stress response.

The most common stress response is hunger.

The worst is training in the morning, and being out all day after - a recipe for pizza and Mcdonalds.

What are some portable, satiating meals? Ideally ones that do not require much prep.
 

CLASH

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@jamies33
Ingredients for 1 days worth of eating prepared in 10 minutes max (doesnt include grocery shopping time):
-Get a 1lb package of grass fed meat, cook it in beef tallow and coconut oil.
-Peel 4 carrots.
-Get some organic non-pulp juice.
-Bring some supplemental calcium carbonate and magnesium. Take a little vit d3 and k2 in the morning.

Theres 4 solid meals here and greater than 85% of your daily recommended intake of all your nutrients. Everything should fit into one backpack and the only prep time is the carrots and beef. You can probably eat like this for an extened period of time if you donate blood a few times a year. Maybe add some eggs and organs on the weekends, and milk if you can tolerate it.
 
Last edited:

jamies33

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@jamies33
Ingredients for 1 days worth of eating prepared in 10 minutes max (doesnt include grocery shopping time):
-Get a 1lb package of grass fed meat, cook it in beef tallow and coconut oil.
-Peel 4 carrots.
-Get some organic non-pulp juice.
-Bring some supplemental calcium carbonate and magnesium. Take a little vit d3 and k2 in the morning.

Theres 4 solid meals here and greater than 85% of your daily recommended intake of all your nutrients. Everything should fit into one backpack and the only prep time is the carrots and beef. You can probably eat like this for an extened period of time if you donate blood a few times a year. Maybe add some eggs and organs on the weekends, and milk if you can tolerate it.
Beautiful, and I do tolerate milk well.

Any tips for transporting milk? Any jug/container that I use for milk ends up going "bad" (adds what must be a ton of bacteria) that seems impossible to clean away.

Also, 4 carrots per day seems relative high, no?
 

CLASH

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@jamies33

I dont drink milk currently but when I did a few things helped:

-put alot of honey in the milk (honey is antimicrobial and when sugar is in high enough concentrations bacteria cant grow)

-add coffe to the milk. Coffee has some antimicrobial components

-use raw goat milk. That was the only milk I could drink without getting significant health issues. The milk hardly went bad, even if I left it out all day. Worse thing that happened was that it went sour (after like 8-12 hours or so), but I drank it anyway (the key was that it was raw, dont drink sour pasteurized milk, we dont know whats living in there....)

——————————————————————

As for the carrots, i use yellow carrots to avoid all the beta carotene, sh*t turned me orange. My coworkers called me willy wonka for a little while... The yellow carrots are smaller than the orange and a little more expensive. I like to have one with each meal because I like having a BM after each meal, which I noticed occurs when I eat enough carrots. I’m still playing around with it but if I eat too much protein without enough fat and/or plant fiber I can get a little constipated. Its not like grain fiber or excess vegetable constipation tho. Your colon isnt full at all, it just feels stuck. Almost like its confused what to do. I’m going to keep playing around with fat contents and fiber contents. I’d like to get rid of the carrots to lower my expenses overall. Seems like people who do carnivore eventually adapt such that they dont need the fiber when they get thier fat high enough. Worst comes to worst carrots it is...
 

jamies33

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You know, I've been peating over a year and never once considered yellow carrots. Great idea, thanks!
 

Ron J

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@jamies33

I dont drink milk currently but when I did a few things helped:

-put alot of honey in the milk (honey is antimicrobial and when sugar is in high enough concentrations bacteria cant grow)

-add coffe to the milk. Coffee has some antimicrobial components

-use raw goat milk. That was the only milk I could drink without getting significant health issues. The milk hardly went bad, even if I left it out all day. Worse thing that happened was that it went sour (after like 8-12 hours or so), but I drank it anyway (the key was that it was raw, dont drink sour pasteurized milk, we dont know whats living in there....)

——————————————————————

As for the carrots, i use yellow carrots to avoid all the beta carotene, sh*t turned me orange. My coworkers called me willy wonka for a little while... The yellow carrots are smaller than the orange and a little more expensive. I like to have one with each meal because I like having a BM after each meal, which I noticed occurs when I eat enough carrots. I’m still playing around with it but if I eat too much protein without enough fat and/or plant fiber I can get a little constipated. Its not like grain fiber or excess vegetable constipation tho. Your colon isnt full at all, it just feels stuck. Almost like its confused what to do. I’m going to keep playing around with fat contents and fiber contents. I’d like to get rid of the carrots to lower my expenses overall. Seems like people who do carnivore eventually adapt such that they dont need the fiber when they get thier fat high enough. Worst comes to worst carrots it is...
What about turning yellow from yellow carrots? I was excited until: "Yellow carrots contain high levels of the cartenoid lutein, a pigment similar to beta-carotene that is absorbed as Vitamin A in the body." But I found white carrots while searching, and this came up: "White carrots are pigment-free and they contain phytochemicals that work with nutrients and dietary fibre to protect against diseases like colon cancer. The phytochemicals in white carrots can also help reduce the risk of stroke. White carrots are good for carotene allergy sufferers. These varieties are very low in total carotenoid content and lack any pigmentation hence the presence of the white colour. They tend to have a smoother flavour than orange carrots."
 

Mossy

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What about turning yellow from yellow carrots? I was excited until: "Yellow carrots contain high levels of the cartenoid lutein, a pigment similar to beta-carotene that is absorbed as Vitamin A in the body." But I found white carrots while searching, and this came up: "White carrots are pigment-free and they contain phytochemicals that work with nutrients and dietary fibre to protect against diseases like colon cancer. The phytochemicals in white carrots can also help reduce the risk of stroke. White carrots are good for carotene allergy sufferers. These varieties are very low in total carotenoid content and lack any pigmentation hence the presence of the white colour. They tend to have a smoother flavour than orange carrots."
Intersting stuff—carrrots. I do rememeber eating the white, yellow, and purple(red?) for a while, and prefered the milder taste of the white. I would imagine the dominant vitamin is still A? Just a guess.
 

Hans

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Nate has a huge emphasis on calcium, and I'm giving a +1 to calcium carbonate as I use that a lot lately per his suggestion.

Also, he talks about the muscle "pump" and its not actually healthy. What you're doing is swelling the muscle with water, which while in a way can promote growth, does so in a stressful manner. The body tends to swell up with water when its stressed out according to him (stomach bloating is another example of this). And yeah, lactic acid is to be avoided at all cost (so you do NOT want to "feel the burn"). There is literally nothing positive to say about lactic acid and there is never a reason to purposefully get it raised. And some foods like yogurt inherently cause lactic acid build up and should be avoided at all costs. Water retention is actually a sign of elevated estrogen, not something you actually want when building muscle.

Given that a healthy hormonal body can build muscle with zero exercise, we don't need to kill ourselves to build muscle, and doing so just causes more problems in the long run so a +1 to the short workouts that aren't too crazy.
I surely don't chase the pump. I also feel that lactate is very harmful, however, you can progress to a point where your body has adapted to high intensity without producing much lactate. But, for some people, avoiding lactate production means that they have to rest very long and do only a few reps. And that will not be so great for hypertrophy. Also, such a workout gets too long too fast and glycogen starts to run out and all that.
For someone that is not very healthy, a short workout of 1 set per muscle group a few times a week would probably work best. And then the volume can be increased as that person's health improves and exercise tolerance increases. During my recovery, I've found that I can get close to the burn, as long as I didn't do too many sets, and kept the workout very short and that didn't negatively influence me.
 

Hans

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Thanks for the great post, Hans. There's a lot of great information there.

I'm confused by the final sentence (quoted above). The comment about histamine doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the post for me. Why did you include this final statement? Also, do you have any experience with histamine or lowering histamine? Thanks!
That last part was more of a side note. I thought I'd put it in there as some people struggle to eat enough food to do a good bulk (not a fat bulk). Histamine and cortisol are negative regulators of appetite and lowering them might improve appetite. Lowering cortisol will also improve digestion. My appetite is pretty high when I'm using tribulus terrestris. I'm eating around 3200-3500 on off days and around 4000 calories on training days and staying lean.
 

LeeLemonoil

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Many triterpenoids and saponins from fruits and vegetables are pro-androgenic or anti-aromatase.
 

jamies33

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Are parsnips "white carrots"? How is the fiber difference between carrots and parsnips?
 
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