Q: I read the recent M&F story on myostatin and would love it if there was a supplement that reduces it. But wouldn’t anything you ingest be destroyed by stomach acids before it reached the bloodstream?
—MIKE T., EL PASO, TX
A: First, myostatin is a very important regulatory protein that is highly conserved in all vertebrates. It is one of the molecules that has been carried forward in evolution to play an important signaling roll, and it is connected to what is called the TGF beta class of molecules. TGF beta is transforming growth-factor beta. That is a class of molecules that is responsible for controlling much of the biology of inflammation, repair, defense, etc. Myostatin plays an important role that has this additional effect of suppressing the recruitment of satellite stem cells from muscle, to divide and repopulate muscle.
As to your question about an oral myostatin blocker being destroyed in the gut: that is complete fiction. Many believe that all proteins are broken down and denatured during digestion. That is a fallacy because the vast majority of your immune system resides in the gut…in the walls of the intestines.
The fact is that the majority of proteins, especially proteins of certain configurations, survive digestion; they make it through. Some proteins survive even better than other nutrients. I’ve come up with what we call a proteolipid complex. It’s lipids and proteins— hundreds of them—that are found in egg yolks, and much of that material survives digestion in an active form, and gets absorbed.
If protein didn’t survive digestion, there would not be food allergies. When you have a food allergy, you’re allergic to large peptides. Moreover, if all proteins and all lipids were denatured, how would bacteria survive transit and take up residence in the lower intestines?
Anybody who says that these proteins can’t be absorbed is wrong. The pharma industry has played with absorption and bioavailability in a variety of ways. Just as a pharmaceutical company creates what’s called an enteric coating to help get a pill through the stomach, certain things, like egg yolks, have their own kind of intrinsic enteric coating, and it’s with this that the proteins make it all the way through. And just like a bacterial cell, it has a cell wall, and that cell wall allows it to survive digestion.
The ability to modulate myostatin activity using a convenient, orally active dietary supplement formulated into a variety of products provides a powerful tool for those seeking to maximize the health and performance of their skeletal muscle.
—ROBERT HARIRI, M.D., PH.D., is chairman of MYOS RENS. For more on his formulation, Rē Muscle Health, go to remusclehealth.com