Muscle Building Genetics

These days, researchers are always talking about the components of genetics that contribute to our risk of disease, personality, and ability to gain or lose fat. Why is it so many bodybuilders I see, act like muscle building genetics is not a factor in bodybuilding? If everyone had the same muscle building genetics, there would be no pro-bodybuilders because everyone could be one if they took enough steroids and be strict on their diet. Unfortunately, not everyone will have equal muscle building or fat loss genetics.

Some bodybuilders will follow a strict diet and not drink alcohol and see their buddies drink and not be too strict on their diet and still gain muscle easier than them. It can be frustrating, but we have to face the fact that some of us will struggle building muscles more than others.

Muscle building Genetic Factors:

There are various components of the human physiology that play big roles in why have better muscle building genetics than others. The most obvious is your natural testosterone levels. There is a wide range of levels that men have that are considered in the normal range. Some men may even be naturally borderline low testosterone levels. Fortunately, there are ways to help increase testosterone levels naturally.

Another major component is your muscle type fiber makeup. Each person has a different percentage of type 1 vs type 2 that varies between muscles and persons. Type 1 and type 2 have very different functions. Type 2 hypertrophies (gets larger) much easier than Type 1 and also fatigue faster. Type 1 fibers are quicker and do better at endurance, but they don't have that much potential for long term hypertrophy. Heavy weight training has been shown to induce fiber changes in sub types to act more like type 1. However, the changes are small and since all of us weight train, it's not going to make up differences between others who lift weights.

Myostatin is another factor, rarely talked about because its a relatively new discovery. Rats were genetically modified a few years ago with lower amounts of myostatin. They turned into very muscular rats. Myostatin seems to put the brakes on muscle building and may be the biggest reason why everyone can only gain muscles to a certain point. Unfortunately, you can't do anything about lowering myostatin levels in the body. The levels in your body is purely genetics. Supplement makers have tried to claim their myostatin products builds muscles through blocking myostatin, but they are all scams. Genetically modifying humans through myostatin, might be something of the future though. I hope I never see that because it would take the fun out of bodybuilding, if others are able to change their genetics by paying a doctor a visit.

What is The Best Creatine Form?

There are so many different Creatine forms out today. Every supplement company that came out with a new form of Creatine, claimed that there was better than previous other Creatine forms. One reason why new forms of Creatine came out after the original Creatine monohydrate was because some people appear to be non-responders. It was believed that this was caused due to a absorption issue, therefore a lot of it was being excreted in the urine and not absorbed into the muscle tissue.

Creatine loading was invented to increase the absorption of Creatine. During the loading phase, you may have digestion problems such as diarrhea or stomach upset. That was where you took it in higher doses with glucose/dextrose in order to increase it's absorption into the body. This is because not all of the Creatine is digested and the creatine molecule loves to "suck in" a lot of water with it, as it travels through your digestion tract. This is the same reason why creatine works to bloat up your muscles.

Despite creatine loading, many still don't respond well with creatine monohydrate. New Creatine forms came out that claimed to have a higher absorption rate. Then newer forms of Creatine even claimed other benefits due to the extra compound in the molecule bonded with the creatine molecule. I will review every form of creatine on the market today and which is the best creatine form.

Creatine Forms:

Creatine Monohydrate :

This is the very first creatine product. It is a tasteless white powder. Creatine monohydrate is the cheapest form of creatine so is still widely used, but it also appears to have the highest amount of creatine "non-responders" too. The absorption rate is approximately 1% and it's advised to be loading phase. Creatine monohydrate is very unstable in water, so make sure when you put it in water you immediately drink it. Creatine Monohydrate in it's pure form made in Germany, is labeled with the Creapure logo on the tub.

(CEE) Creatine Ethyl Ester :

For years this was the hot new creatine form. Many recommended CEE as the superior form of Creatine, even though there were no substantial valid studies to really back up claims. CEE could be taken in pill form with no loading phase required. In 07, the first real study came out on CEE by Department of Life Sciences, Kingston University, Penrhyn Rd, Kingston-upon-Thames, United Kingdom. 2University of Northumbria, Sport Sciences, Northumbria University, Northumberland Building, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. The study showed that over 60% degraded to inactive creatinine within 30 minutes sitting in an acidic water solution that mimicked the stomach. This proved CEE was not as good as once claimed.

Micronized Creatine :

This is creatine monohydrate that underwent a new process called micronization. It allows the molecule to have more surface area making it a higher absorption rate. Micronized Creatine still requires a loading phase and only slightly better absorption.

Effervescent Creatine :

This is also just a fancy name for Creatine Monohydrate. The only thing different here is they add add some sugar and salt.

Tri and Di Creatine Malate :

Tri and Di Creatine Malate are made from Malic acid and Creatine. If you remember biology, malic acid is involved in the Kreb's cycle of the cell. This is how all energy in the cell is created at it's basic core. You can see in the diagram below of this cycle how the malate molecule plays a catylst to get the NADH to donate two hydrogens to the malate to convert the NAD to NADH+ and the malate to oxoloacetate.

Kreb cycle malate creatine

This Creatine form was created to give more muscular endurance and energy. Users report that it helps do that. Creatine Malate has a higher absorption rate than Creatine monohydrate and doesn't require a loading phase.

Liquid serum creatine :

This is absolute scam that has been widely debunked years ago. Creatine is unstable and degrades in liquid.

Creatine Orate:

The orate molecule is a pre-cursor to nucleic acids like ATP, used as a basic energy currency at the cellular level. This requires no loading phase. Unfortunately, Creatine Orate is quite expensive and there are no studies on the safety of this form of creatine.

Creatine Kre-Alkalyn:

This is a much higher absorption rate than creatine and doesn't require a loading phase. No studies have been done on the safety of Creatine Kre-alkalyn yet.

Which form is the best creatine?

Considering all the factors together of price, studies, benefits, and side effects I would say the best creatine forms are Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Kre-alkalyn, and Creatine Malate. All are good choices and each has their own pros and cons. You can't beat the price of Creatine Monohydrate and for many it works fine with little side effects. If you are a creatine monohydrate non-responder or have a lot of side effects with monohydrate, than Kre-alkalyn is a good creatine form to try instead. If you want a possible extra energy benefit during your workout, you should try Creatine Malate.

Steroid Facts

I’m writing this article to help separate steroid facts from the government propoganda and exaggerations. As a former user of steroids and spent years researching opinions of steroid experts and research studies on steroids, I will try to give the unbiased facts on their use to the best of my knowledge. My purpose in this article is not to be pro or against steroids, but to be unbiased looking at it from my own experience and what the research says on the issue. I will talk about the various symptoms of steroid use and whether it's actually a myth, fact, or possible. Possible means it is either happening in susceptible people or there is lack of scientific research to prove it as a fact. Also note this is article is for steroid users taking high doses of steroids and not those who are taking testosterone prescribed through doctor to maintain healthy testosterone levels for HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

- Steroids cause BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia)

Possible. BPH is enlargement of the prostate, that usually effects only older men. But, if you use steroids for years, then BPH will probably affect you. Getting BPH from steroids, would depend on how susceptible you are and how long you have used Steroids. Many users of steroids notice a enlarging of their prostate after a while on cycle, making it slighlty more difficult to urinate. There is controversy over what really causes BPH naturally in men, but DHT is thought to be just one possible component. DHT is converted from testosterone in the body and is 3.5 times more androgenic than testosterone. DHT is what gives men their masculinizing sex effects on the body. All androgenic steroids stimulate the same receptors on the prostate (to various degrees called the androgenic to anabolic ratio) in the same way DHT does.

Another mechanism by which BPH might be caused from steroid use, is due to low testosterone levels post cycle. Low testosterone levels and high estrogen, like as seen with post cycle and hypo gonadal men, can actually cause BPH. Many men have had a reduction in BPH when they were treated clinically with testosterone replacement therapy for low testosterone. The prostate usually shrinks back eventually after a steroid cycle, once your testosteron levels get back to normal, but over time I would think this may lead to a more permanent enlargement effect.

- Steroids increase risk of prostate cancer

Myth. For years doctors thought testosterone (steroids) caused prostate cancer itself by "awakening" a slow hidden growing cancer. This is why men who went on HRT (hormone replacement therapy), would get a PSA test to assess their risk for prostate cancer. As time goes on more and more studies are showing prostate cancer is not due to testosterone levels at all and therefore steroid use wouldn't have any correlation with prostate cancer. This makes logocial sense to me, since younger men would be getting prostate cancer due to the high testosterone levels. It's also worth to note, that the prostate holds up to 600 times the level of carcinogens as the rest of the body. I believe the risk of Prostate cancer is mainly caused bytoxins and other genetic factors. This is why it was shown in recent studies, that men who ejaculated more frequently in the 20's, had less likely chance of prostate cancer later in life. Ejaculation helps the flushing of the prostate from cancer from these toxins. Some research studies are also showing increased risk of prostate cancer based on genetics, race, diets, and environmental factors.

- Steroids cause Roid Rage

Myth This is an absolute myth. Roid rage is seen as a condition 360 degree change in personality causing an uncontrollable psychotic anger state. Most studies have disproven the idea of what people consider roid rage. Now there are studies that show a slight more aggression or confidence, but its not going to turn a calm person into an angry psychotic person where they lose all rationale for no reason.

- Steroids shrink your Penis

Myth. Absolutely false. This myth is spread probably from confusion in the fact that your testicles shrink on cycle, due to your testosterone production shutting down temporarily.

- Steroids cause excessive hair growth and very deep voice

Possible. This will depend on how naturally hairy and deep your voice is before your steroid cycle. You may notice more and faster hair growth rate while on cycle. Your voice may get deeper from steroid use long term. It all depends on your genetics, as many steroid users have a higher pitched voice and still lack of natural body hair, even despite frequent steroid use.

- Steroids increase hair loss

Possible. Once again this will depend on your genetics before your cycle. If you have thick hair and aren't destined to go bald in your life, then you will lose very little hair during cycle.

- Steroids cause hallucinations and delusions

Myth. Steroids are not a mind altering drug and do not cause roid rage or any other kind of psychotic behaviour, like hallucinations.

- Steroids cause high blood pressure

Possible. Steroids due to increased water retention and stimulation on the heart, cause increase in blood pressure. If you have borderline blood pressure it may become high blood pressure during cycle.

- Steroids cause diabetes

Possible. Steroids are known to cause high glucose levels and reduced insulin sensitivity. Using that logic, long term use of steroids possibly could increase risk of diabetes, especially in those who are genetically susceptible to the diabetic gene.

- Steroids cause cataracts

Possible. I think this claim from the fact that diabetics get higher chance of cataracts and steroids increase glucose levels. I don't think there is any scientific evidence to know what role steroids play in causing cataracts.

- Steroids cause impotence

Possible. This is very common side effect and may happen during or after a cycle. If you are using testosterone, then impotence will probably only happen post cycle, as your body tries to recuperate it's natural testosterone levels. If you are using a steroid other than testosterone, you may experience it during and after your steroid cycle since your body won't have testosterone in it because it's shutting down it's testosterone production. Even though your replacing one androgenic steroid (dht and testosterone) for a different artificial one, it won't have the same sexual and libido effects as DHT and testosterone does.

- Steroids cause depression

Possible. It would depend on the type of steroids, what your mental condition was before steroid use, and if you are on or just getting off a steroid cycle. Many users might experience depression post cycle, due to the low testosterone levels.

- Steroids are addictive

Possible. When a person gets off steroids they may be depressed and feel weaker and less energetic than while they were on. This leads to you often wanting to start another steroid cycle and when that is done do another and then another. Most people do not just do one steroid cycle and quit forever.

- Steroids increase risk of liver cancer

Fact. Oral methlyated steroids are certainly proven to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) to the liver. They are methylated so they can bypass the liver the first time. However, many steroid users don't use oral steroids, but inject them. Injecting them is much safer for the liver.

- Steroids increase stress on your kidneys

Fact. Steroids cause you to retain more sodium and water and increase blood pressure. This results in more stress on the kidneys, especially if you let your blood pressure get too high or don't drink enough water.

- Steroids lower sperm count

Fact Anytime you take in extra endogenous (outside body) steroids, your natural testosterone and sperm production shut down. Once you get off your steroid cycle, your testicles should awaken and start making sperm and testosterone again. This has made testosterone a viable birth control option and has even been considered in the medical community as male birth control.

- Steroids cause permanent damage to natural testosterone production

Possible. Recovery of your testosterone depends on your personal genetics. Some individuals have problems recovering their testosterone levels, even after their first short cycle. Some have to go months using clomid ( a common post cycle ancilliary) or even inject HCG to jumpstart the testicles. On the other hand, many can do multiple cycles in a row and recover fully their natural testosterone production between each cycle. THe more cycles you do, the more likely you may lead to some long term damage on your natural testosterone production.

- Steroids shorten your life

Possible. There is some research in rats, showing those injected with testosterone didn't live as long. Testosterone may also be why men don't live as long as women. Steroids certainly won't increase your lifespan, but there isn't evidence that a few steroid cycles will significantly shorten a person's life either. If one were to abuse it for many years, than I imagine it probably will shorten your lifespan at least a little.

- Steroids lower your HDG (good cholesterol)

Fact. Most steroid users will notice a drop in HDL cholesterol. They also may notice a lowering of LDL and total cholesterol because the liver is under more strain and tends to produce less cholesterol.

- Steroids enlarge your heart

Possible. There is some research that shows that steroid users may have more risk for enlarged or thickening of the walls in the heart. There is controversy over those studies and there isn't much evidence either way.

- Steroids cause sleep apnea

Possible. Some people may experience sleep apnea while on cycle. This may be caused due to the weight gain and higher blood pressure, while on Steroids.

- Steroids make it harder to gain muscle naturally

Possible. It would depend on how much you used steroids and other factors. If you gained 20 lbs of muscle off a recent steroid cycle and kept it, yes it will be harder to gain muscle naturally on top of that new muscle. On the other hand, if you damaged your testosterone levels from steroid abuse long term, yes it will be harder to gain muscle naturally in the future. If you lose your muscle gains, it may be easier to gain that muscle back naturally because you will have stretched your fascia tissue. Many bodybuilders believe muscle memory is mainly caused by the stretching of fascia tissue in the muscles. Therefore former steroid users may have a easier time reaching more muscle mass, even if they lost their steroid gains because of the muscle memory factor.

- Steroids damage tendons

Fact. There is some research that indicates steroids are damaging to the tendons. To make matters worse, the large increases in strength and weight gain on cycle can cause greater risk of injury on tendons. Usually are tendons don't have enough time to adjust to the these gains.

- Steroids cause bone loss

Myth. This is confusing anabolic steroids with another form of steroids called Glucocorticoids, which is used for other medical conditions and has very different effects on the body. Anabolic steroids actually have been prescribed in the past for bone marrow stimulation and treating osteoporosis.

- Steroids cause gynecomastia ("Man boobs")

Possible. Many boys get gynecomastia during puberty. Usually it is lumps of breast tissue underneath the tissue. Steroids can possibly cause or aggrivate it either during a high dose Testosterone cycle, when estrogen levels get too high. It can also happen possibly with Trenebolone, which aggravates gyno through another mechanism in the body, prolactin. Another common way it can happen is post cycle, when your testosterone levels are low but your estrogen levels may be high. This imbalance creates a big risk for gyno to develop. That is one reason why it is important for fast recovery post cycle using anti-estrogen ancillaries like clomid to boost testosterone production and lower estrogen levels.

- Steroids increase acne

Possible. This will depend on how susceptible you are to acne before your cycle. Many show more cystic acne in the face and on their back and chest during cycle. If you are already susceptible to acne, it may increase to extreme levels causing painful acne cysts on the back, chest, or face.

- Steroids cause heart attacks or stroke

Possible. I see absolutely no evidence that in the short term, it would cause this in healthy individuals. However, long term use for decades may increase risk of stroke and heart attack due to the negative effects steroids have on your HDLs, blood pressure, and other possible negative effects of your heart health.

Conclusions:

This should help clear up the myths about steroids. We will learn more about its effect on performance and health effects as time goes on and more studies are done.