Protein Synthesis – How it Helps Build Muscle
In this article, I will explain what protein synthesis is and why it’s important for gaining muscle. The reason I am covering this topic is that it relates to bodybuilding and increasing muscle.
Men and women who want to gain muscle usually consider taking anabolic steroids, one of the benefits of anabolic steroids is their ability to increase muscle mass due to the effect on protein synthesis. Legal steroids which are natural substances also have nutrients in them that can help increase protein synthesis.
Protein is important because it is responsible for so many tasks in the body.
Protein synthesis happens in several stages, it occurs in cellular structures called ribosomes. These are found outside the cell nucleus. This transfer process from the nucleus to the ribosome is called transcription.
This process happens in three stages:
1. The first process is called initiation this is when the ribosomal subunits bind to m RNA
2. The second process is called elongation, this process moves along the m RNA molecule which links amino acids and forms the polypeptide chain.
3. The third process is the termination which reaches a stop codon, this terminates protein synthesis and releases the ribosome.
In simple terms muscle protein synthesis is a biochemical path that your muscles use to grow, get stronger and recover from workouts. Your muscles are a collection of organized cells made of special proteins.
These specialized proteins include:
- Sarcoplasmic – Gel within the muscle cell
- Myofibrillar – Contractile proteins
- Mitochondrial – These are the cells responsible for making energy for the muscle
Your muscle proteins are constantly changing and going through chemical changes that involve the break down of protein (MPB) and muscle protein synthesis (MPS).
Not all but many men and women lift weights in order to increase strength and improve muscle tone and definition. Having a body with muscle gives you strength and improves your overall health.
As you get older the breakdown of muscle happens much faster.
Your skeletal muscles are always going through a breakdown process during training when the muscle is damaged or when recovering when the muscle is healing.
When you workout and stimulate the body’s muscles they will grow, this is when protein synthesis is at a higher rate, sedentary people or those who are not active will have less muscle mass.
People who have lost the use of their limbs due to paralysis or stroke may suffer from total muscle atrophy.
How exercise affects protein synthesis
Ever wonder how athletes get big and strong muscles, its because muscles adapt quickly to any stress you put on them. People who never exercise and then one day they decide to go out and do a little yard work are usually sore the next day, this is the muscles response to you using certain muscles that you never use.
Gymnasts usually have strong legs, forearms, and glutes, that’s because they do repetitive movements and their muscles adapt.
How the muscles respond to protein synthesis depends on how much stress you put on the muscle, for example, endurance training (running or aerobics) causes mitochondrial protein synthesis within the muscle, that is because they are responsible for providing energy. Resistance training (lifting weights) increases myofibrillar protein synthesis which is responsible for positive muscle gains.
The magnitude of protein synthesis all depends on the intensity or workload that you place on the muscle.
Nutrition for protein synthesis
Some companies that sell legal steroids claim that the main benefit they offer is that they can increase protein synthesis, and there is some truth to this.
The primary reason skeletal muscle proteostasis (pathways within the cells) exists is due to physical activity and the nutrients available to the muscles. Proper nutrition is responsible for the anabolic effects that are driven by the transfer of amino acids that are captured from protein sources.
You can learn more about this process in detail here.
How supplements promote protein synthesis?
Since we know that protein synthesis is a process in which your body uses amino acids found in protein to build muscle, feeding your muscles the right nutrients can speed up the process.
Throughout the day protein synthesis will fluctuate between the breakdown of building muscle “catabolism” and the building of muscle “anabolism”.
Taking legal steroids or any other sports supplement ensures that more amino acid is available in your bloodstream. This process is called hyperaminoacidemia, it is responsible for creating increased protein synthesis in your muscles.
High-intensity training puts your body in a catabolic state because it tears your muscles down, however, after you train, your body becomes anabolic and starts healing and repairing damaged muscles. Replenishing your body with a high protein meal with quality carbs or a protein shake helps speed up the process.
Maximize your muscle gains
If you train hard and want to ensure protein synthesis you will want to ensure you are getting at least 3 grams of leucine per serving. If you are eating 30-40 grams of protein in each meal you are probably getting close to that amount.
BCAA’s Branched-chain amino acids are also essential for proper protein synthesis so adding any kind of sports supplement that contains these nutrients will help ensure your muscles are getting plenty of nutrients for efficient protein synthesis.
Without protein synthesis your muscles can’t grow properly, it is an essential process that is important for anyone who works out and wants to gain strength and gain new muscle tissue. The best way to ensure you get the best results is to ensure you are eating enough nutrient-rich foods that are high in protein and healthy carbs.
If you feel you cant get them with a normal diet you may want to consider supplementation as a last resort.