Contrary to what the mainstream fitness industry may want you to believe regarding eating 6 small meals throughout the day to retain muscles mass. It has been well researched and documented that fasting actually aids in the protection and building of muscles mass because of the release of human growth hormone which is shown to increase during fasting.
Welcome to InfoCentral and in this article we are going to discuss some fascinating research that proves that intermittent fasting increases human growth hormone which aids in muscle growth. Please feel free to watch the video above and subscribe to the youtube channel.
Before diving into the research, lets establish the fact that your body uses carbohydrates, fats and then muscle for energy in that order. This is fundamental to the human biology. The body's firs source of energy is carbohydrates, when that is depleted after several hours of fasting, it begins to burn fat for energy and then under extreme cases, when there is absolutely no more fat left to bun it will break down proteins from muscles. But as long as there is fat present in the body, body will use the fat first.
In 1982 a study was published of a single patient who underwent a 40 day fast for religious purpose. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6758355. The researchers measured numerous metabolic markers over the 40 days and found a slight decrease in blood pressure, a notable decrease in blood glucose from 96 all the way down to 56. A significant drop in insulin from 13.5 to 2.91 which is almost 80 percent, but most interestingly a 1250 percent increase in human growth hormone from 0.73 initially to a peak of 9.86. Interestingly even with a shorter 5 days fast human growth hormone has been recorded o increase up to 300 percent.
Another study done in 1988 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3127426 showed similar results. In this graph below you can see that meals marked with M effectively suppressed human growth hormone as expected. During feeding there is an increase in glucose which directly suppresses human growth hormone. The data is very clear that fasting is a great stimulus for the secretion of human growth hormone, and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1548337 this research shows a 5 fold increase in human growth hormone in response to a 2 day fast.
Human growth hormone is very crucial in maintenance of lean mass in both muscles and bones. The idea that fasting decreases muscle mass is simply not true, and there is good research to prove the complete opposite is in fact true.
I always make a case for intermittent fasting through an evolutionary lens and in the case of increase in human growth hormone we can do the same. Image living in the paleolithic times when in the summer time there is plenty of food available so we eats lots of food and store an abundance of excess energy as fat, now when it's winter and there isn't much food available, why would your body burn precious muscle when we have this abundance of stored body fat. That would be the most idiotic evolutionary design.
An analogy for this used by Doctor Jason Fung, where he says imagine you pack away firewood for a wood burning woven, but when it's time to start up the woven you chop up your sofa and throw that into the oven instead of using all these firewood you stored away. Nature simply isn't that stupid, and the next time someone tries to make an argument that fasting burns muscle mass, hit them with some firewood analogy and refer them to this article
The idea of eating six small meals a day to build muscle was birthed in the body building world where these unnatural 200 plus pound men are hopped up on steroids who are constantly eating to keep their weight up. This simply doesn't apply to the natural men or women who are trying to get in shape and build lean muscle mass.
So for the natural person, fasting actually works as a double whammy where your body is using excess body fat for energy and increasing the secretion of human growth hormone to preserve and build lean muscle mass. It is important to note that human growth hormone has anti aging properties as well. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Rudman found hat older men who were given human growth hormone saw improved muscle mass, decrease body fat and better bone density. Something that you can naturally access by being in a fasted state.
In a study conducted in 1989, 220 subjects received growth hormone and 227 control subjects who did not. Two thirds of the subjects were men with an average age of 69. The typical volunteer was overweight but not obese. The dosage varied considerably and the duration of the therapy ranged from 2 to 52 weeks.
This study found that compared to the subjects who did not get the growth hormone, individuals that were given the growth hormone gained an average of 4.6 pounds of lean body mass while shedding a similar amount of body fat and there were no significant changes in LDL or HDL cholesterol.This study was done just to test the affect of growth hormone on the body, so now imagine using intermittent fasting as a tool to naturally increase growth hormone, which allows you to get all these benefits discussed here along with the various other benefits discussed in this series of video on intermittent fasting.
So by this point I hope it's clear all the great benefits of having an increase in growth hormone and how fasting can be used as a tool to naturally produce it in the body. As always, do your own research, by using the links in the article to the research papers.
And Until Next Time, Stay Informed My Friends!