Hormones: Keys To Muscular Success and Longevity

Let us begin at “Control Central”: The Hypothalamus. This all-controlling organ is located in the brain. It depends on feedback loops and sends messages to various target organs to create proper hormonal balance throughout the body. Hormonal balance is one of the keys to longevity and muscle hypertrophy.

The Hypothalamus is a very complex organ, for it is tied into every system of the body. (These systems are, in part, the Endocrine; Paracrine; and Autocrine Hormonal Systems); and, it is also interactive with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems; blood and heart, as well as every other organ and cell in the human body. The feedback loops are fed information from the central nervous system, and through the blood. Feedback loops are often like a backup battery when the lights go out, for they are often times the only way that the body may send a signal requesting a highly needed hormone, via the directorial intervention and/or, the ebb and flow of this marvelous control-central zone. The hypothalamus makes decisions based on all of these, and many other inputs.

For instance, if the cells in a body are becoming resistant to insulin; then the Hypothalamus senses this because blood sugar is knocking on the door of the Ventromedial Cortex. This is extremely dangerous and thus the Hypothalamus will send a message to the pancreas to produce more insulin. If this fails, the feedback loops will tell the hypothalamus and it will send the adrenal glands (one is on each kidney) to send out cortisol, in order to smash blood-sugar levels down by brute force (before brain damage occurs). This is one of the many reasons why, when someone knows they have Type II Diabetes, they must keep their blood-glucose levels down. Not only is there potential heart and circulatory problems, but a person with this condition can actually injure this vital part of the brain.

Let us look closer at the Androgenic Pathway and the role of the Hypothalamus in it.

At night and during exercise, the hypothalamus literally asks the pituitary gland to release various hormonal stimulating agents (actually called “stimulating hormones”). These are directed towards specific organs in order to make Growth Hormone and our other friend to muscle hypertrophy: testosterone.

For each hormone that is released, there are precursors, such as GNRH (Gronadtropine Releasing Hormone) that is sent to the pituitary to produce and release GH (Growth Hormone). While this is occurring, another hormone known as LH or Luteinizing hormone, is sent into the blood stream and with the help of a “second messenger” known as Cyclic AMP; in concert they find the target organ and the stimulating hormone is allowed into: the testicles. When Cyclic AMP, (this “second messenger”), brings the right “code” to the target organ, it then opens the door for the next stage. (In women, this is different in as much the pituitary produces Follicle Stimulating Hormone, which ends up in the ovaries).

Once the testicles have been given the right releasing hormone (LH) and Cyclic AMP has been encoded and then decoded by the target organ, the testicles then call for Cholesterol Ester as a type of important “gluing” agent to enable a chain of actions beginning with the production of DHEA, Androstendione, and all the specific biological actions work properly, if all goes well and there is not too much blood-glucose, nor any other heightened problem, testosterone is born and released into the blood stream. You are on the way to making new muscle fiber; provided you have worked out hard enough to have caused slight micro-tares in the target muscles which you worked with resistance training.

Testosterone goes right to work and begins to bind to protein and circulates in blood plasma, repairing micro-tares, which are a product of (only) anaerobic (caused by only resistance training that uses ATP as fuel). Testosterone’s half-life, the scientific term for when any hormone or hormonal compound can be detected in blood serum, is 12 hours. However, the task has really just begun because the next stop is the many cells of the body that require testosterone. Muscles aren’t the only ones. Testosterone feeds many cells and organs and tells the hypothalamus when the testosterone has done all of its work with feed back loops through the nervous system.

The amazing accuracy that all these various organs, messengers and hormones must operate on is a very tight schedule—one hormone missing, one messenger forgetting its’ code, one cell not unlocking; we have a real problem. This is why eating to balance glucagon (secreted by the pancreas when protein is eaten); and eating Low Glycemic carbohydrates; which, when eaten, the pancreas secretes insulin. This “balance of hormones” is ultra important in health and muscle building. Micro-tares are not repaired if the body is using testosterone to help increase white blood cells if you have acquired a virus.  Train like a champion, but eat and rest like a scientist.