How do you build muscle? What happens to your muscle tissue if you can’t or aren’t allowed to move? What is the effect of diet on this mechanism? To find an answer to these questions, researchers followed the smallest building blocks of muscle tissue: amino acids, and this provides fascinating insights.
Our muscle tissues are made up of proteins and these proteins in turn are made up of amino acids. If you study those little bits of muscle, you’ll see pretty cool things. For example, that our muscle tissue is constantly forming and breaking down. After a few months, the muscles fully recover. Therefore, the biceps before the summer holidays are not the same as after the summer. Even if nothing has changed in terms of shape and size.
amino acid method
Well, we don’t just get amino acids from food. Our bodies also recycle it. This molecule could be in the buttock muscle today, but in a few months it could be in the liver, hair, or brain. To trace the path of these molecules, researcher Luc van Loon of Maastricht University used, among other things. It was injected into cows, passed through tissues into milk, and then ingested by the test subjects, and after a few hours they were already part of the muscles of those people. So you really are what you eat.
He also discovered that our brains are refreshed, too. Even faster than muscle. Which leads us to a nice philosophical question: If our brains are completely fresh every now and then, how do you stay normal?
Nice bowl of mealworms
Aside from this complex question, these types of studies also provide important knowledge about the mechanism behind muscle building. This again makes it possible to help people where this does not happen automatically. Recently, much attention has also been paid to the difference between animal and plant proteins. Are you also building muscle mass with both? And what about insect proteins, for example?
For example, Van Loon once looked at mealworms. The creatures were fed the labeled amino acids, then processed into their own tissues, and when humans ate them, the exact same amino acids were used in the body to build muscle. After the run, you’re also in the right place with a delicious bowl of mealworms.
In this sound you can hear Researcher Luc van Loon from Maastricht University.
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