O.K. Excuse me if I seem a little slow with the nutrition thing. But I need a little clarification and guidance on this topic. I just pulled out my Principles of Biochemistry textbook and flipped through some pages I had highlighted. I am obssed with getting my clients lean naturally.
First, I was reading that fatty acid breakdown and mobilization into the bloodstream is stimulated by the hormones glucagon (pancreas) and epinepherine (the medulla of the adrenal glands). [/quote]
Correct. But you can also add growth hormone and even cortisol as fat mobilizers. In fact cortisol is often referred to as a low-grade adrenalin (epinephrine).
People in the strength training field are kinda scared of cortisol because it can be catabolic (breakdown muscle tissue). But one must understand WHY it breaks down muscle tissue and what are its other roles in the body.
Cortisol is a stress hormone, that alone give it a bad name. But epinephrine and nor-epinephrine are also stress hormones.
Being a stress hormone is not a bad thing! It simply refers to an hormone released under stressful situations with the purpose of making the body capable of overcoming that situation.
Cortisol and epinephrine’s main roles are to mobilize energy sources (glucose and free fatty acids) and to prime the nervous system.
Glucose can be produced from the breakdown of muscle (or hepatic) glycogen. But it can also breakdown muscle tissue into amino acids and these amino acids (some of them) can be turned into glucose by the liver.
So really muscle breakdown is NOT the function of cortisol… we don’t have an hormone which has the responsability of decreasing muscle mass. Rather muscle breakdown is a POSSIBLE end result of the main function of cortisol, which is to free up energy substrates.
Cortisol is thus not a bad thing! In fact we need it for optimal exercise performance and to have energy in the morning.
Chronically elevated cortisol is a problem though. Cortisol should be low at night. If its not proper sleep and recovery are compromised.
My question is to stimulate glucagon I need to make sure my clients eat every 3-4 hours, eat a meal with protein and a low glycemic carbohydrate, add to the meal or supplement with flaxseeds to increase EFA and Omega-3 intake, and drink water mixed with a little of lemon or pure cranberry juice to keep the liver clean and fuctioning properly? [/quote]
The best way to spike glucagon is to fast! When you are not eating for a relatively long period of time glucagon is released. The role of glucagon is to free-up energy substrates when the body needs them. At rest (when not working out) glucagon is released mostly when blood sugar goes down too low (hypoglycemia) . Under that circumstance glucagon is spiked, breakdown muscle or liver glycogen into glucose to bring blood glucose levels to normal.
Note that if glycogen stores are too low (e.g. on a super low carbs diet) glucagon, like cortisol, can breakdown muscle tissue into aminos to produce glucose and return blood glucose levels to normal.
Eating carbs frequently actually prevents glucagon release, even if they are low-glycemic carbs. In fact low glycemic carbs are probably even better to prevent glucagon production because they help maintain a normal blood glucose level for a longer period of time because glucose enters the bloodstream more gradually, not causing an insulin spike…
But the question is, do we really want high levels of glucagon throughout the day? The answer is: probably not if your goal is to have muscle on ya!
Glucagon is a mobilizing hormone thus it is also anti-anabolic. Anabolism requires storing nutrients, not mobilizing them. When glucagon is elevated, anabolism is all but stopped dead in its track. Glucagon is the antagonist (opposite) hormone to insulin. Insulin is often (rightfully or not) as the body’s most anabolic hormone… what does that tell us about glucagon?!
For epinephrine stimulation I will need to wake up my sympathetic nervous system with a mild stimulant like ephedra, guarana, or caffiene either just before I workout or once a day preferably between morning and mid-afternoon? Does this sound like I am on the right page with you guys or did I totaly screw this all up? Help me out, please. Thanx [/quote]
I don’t like stimulants. They do indeed artificially increase epinephrine stimulation; but this is really not a good thing.
Your adrenal glands can only produce so much epinephrine and nor-epinephrine. When you constantly force them to produce more and more epinephrine you risk desensitizing them (they wont be able to produce epinephrine by themselves, and at some point they wont even produce it when stimulated by ephedra and the likes). When that happens your client will have an extra hard time mobilizing fat. So a short term “solution” actually lead to long term problems.
In fact you could even cause adrenal burnout. This means that your adrenal glands can’t even produce epinephrine.
The body then have to compensate by producing more cortisol, which means that cortisol stays chronically elevated; thus you don’t recover, you lose muscle… because you lose muscle your metabolic rate goes down and it becomes all but impossible to lose fat.