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Myokines, or the dark matter of High Intensity Strength Training

Myokines, or the dark matter of High Intensity Strength Training

This article has been automatically translated from German. While our little team is working hard to provide you the best quality and resources, our multilingual capacity is still limited. Don't judge us by the Google translation please and head over to the original version in German instead.   

For a long time it was assumed that muscles were only there to enable us to exercise, maintain good posture and look good, but their most important function was hidden from us for a long time. It has been known since the 2000s that muscles are also one of our largest endocrine organs [1]. When they are moved, they emit healing messenger substances that have a positive effect on our entire body.

In other words, in the case of contraction, chemical messengers are secreted which act either directly in the muscle cell (autocrine), between the muscle cells (paracrine) or in other organs (endocrine). These hormone-like messenger substances can be summarized under the term cytokines. They are responsible for the modulation of cell growth, immune defense and inflammatory processes. [2,3] Muscle tissue therefore sends constantly powerful signals to other tissues in our body, which determine well-being and health. In this way they sustainably promote fat burning, improve liver function and make our blood vessels more efficient and stretchy. At the same time, they can prevent diseases such as diabetes, dementia and osteoporosis.

Good versus evil

But here comes the crux, not only muscles release these cytokines, but also adipose tissue. The cytokines released by excess fatty tissue can lead to the build-up of even more fatty tissue.

Our decisions in the area of ​​sports, nutrition and sleep therefore have exponential consequences and can clearly swing the needle towards muscle or fat. So the choice is simply made of what you want more and what less.

In this blog, we want to focus on one of the most interesting of these cytokines, interleukin 6:

Interleukin 6 - wonder weapon

This is released by the muscle during contraction. The distribution increases exponentially the higher the intensity of the contraction that is performed. (hrm hrm AURUM training;)). This is due to an amplification cascade. That is, when it is ejected trigger 2 molecules 4 and 4 trigger 8 and so on. This is of course a wonderful effect, because the high intensity training with us also exponentially increases the amount of anti-inflammatory substance in the body. Less inflammation in the body is always to be welcomed!

But it also has super nice bio-chemical effects:

  • Aggressively up-regulating the uptake of glucose into the muscle cell and the use and mobilization of glucose by the same. This is also called higher insulin sensitivity. An overview study from the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, in which researchers evaluated the data from 32,000 men from 1990 to 2008, showed that a single training session per week with squats, bench presses and similar exercises was enough to reduce the risk of diabetes Lower subjects by 34 percent. Squats, bench presses and similar exercises? … .Hmmmm AURUM training starts with a variation of the squat, why only? 😊
  • Starting up fat burning: This is how stored fatty acids, the bad guys that make up the love handles, are mobilized to be metabolized in the mitochondria
  • Nitric oxide release into the blood vessels, which leads to an expansion of the same, which promotes blood flow to the skeletal muscles, but at the same time has the long-term side effect of optimal blood pressure levels
  • Systemic regulation of inflammatory reactions in the body as mentioned above - less chronic inflammation is always a good thing. Most of the so-called civilization diseases can be attributed to chronic inflammation.

And now it's getting really cool:

  • The current state of science is that interleukin 6 even has an epigenetic function. In this way, certain genes are "switched on", which means that there is a permanent increased energy requirement, which in turn makes it easier to lose weight.
  • Last but not least, Interleukin 6 boosts bone metabolism. Farewell to osteoporosis! You can also clap!

During strength training, Interleukin 6 can increase more than a hundred times. This serves as an explanation of why high intensity strength training brings so much more than the sum of the individual parts (strength and interval training) suggests. Just like the dark matter explains the composition of our universe, the myokines explain the many positive side effects of high intensity strength training.

[1] Delezie, Julien; Handschin, Christoph (2018).
"Endocrine Crosstalk Between Skeletal Muscle and the Brain"
Frontiers in Neurology. 9. doi:10.3389/fneur.2018.00698. ISSN 1664-2295. PMC 6117390.

[2] Tilg H, Diehl AM. Cytokines in alcoholic and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. N Engl J Med. 2000 Nov 16;343(20):1467-76. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11078773/

[3]↑ Hochspringen nach:abTilg H, Moschen AR. Adipocytokines: mediators linking adipose tissue, inflammation and immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2006 Oct;6(10):772-83. Epub 2006 Sep 22. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/
6795131_Adipocytokines_Mediators_linking
_adipose_tissue_inflammation_and_immunity

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