Does the picture above look familiar? It should. It’s only been plastered in every bodybuilding magazine and website over the last 3 years. It’s also been hailed as the second coming of performance-enhancing drugs. It’s not surprising that the supplement industry is salivating over it. Inhibiting myostatin, a key regulator of muscle growth, looks to be the new frontier in physique-changing drugs.
MHP appears to be leading the supplement industry with its myostatin inhibitor Myo-X. If you take a brief look at MHP’s website, you’ll see quotes like:Backed by more than a decade of evolutionary bench work and published scientific research showing it can truly reduce human myostatin levels! Clinically tested and shown to suppress myostatin in 100% of the human test study subjects and reduce blood levels of myostatin by an average of 46% in only 12-18 hours!
Click on the science tab on Myo-X’s product page, and you’ll see a picture of myostatin deficient Belgian Blue Bull, a German baby, and a Bully Whippet oozing with muscle. Peruse the site a little more, and you’ll see several clinical studies cited as proof Myo-X can make your muscles explode with uninhibited growth. I know what you’re thinking. Is the hype true?
Myostatin’s Claim to Fame
Without question, inhibiting myostatin will lead to spectacular muscle growth. Study after study after study have confirmed it. It’s a key, if not THE key, regulator for muscle growth. Essentially it acts like a brake on your car, halting muscle growth in its tracks almost immediately via complex and not completely understood pathways. Why can’t we all be superhuman like Ronnie Coleman? Blame myostatin.
Surprisingly, researchers have been able to enhance the effectiveness of inhibiting myostation by focusing on increasing its arch nemesis follistatin. Not only does follistatin inhibit myostatin, but it’s also been shown to inhibit activin, another inhibitor of muscle growth. The results have been extremely impressive. Researchers concerned with various muscle-wasting diseases such as AIDS, cancer, and age-related sarcopenia have kept an extremely close eye on it as new research pops up almost weekly. So am I saying we should rush to the nearest supplement store and purchase as much Myo-X before the government outlaws it? Not just yet.
Myo-X’s Potential Flaws
- Millions and millions of dollars have been spent on researching myostatin and follistatin. A potential prescription pharmaceutical that either inhibits myostatin or increases follistatin is literally worth billions of dollars when you take into account its potential market. It can help treat patients suffering from muscle wasting from cancer and AIDS. It can help patients with muscular dystrophy. It can help improve the quality of life of elderly patients suffering from age-related sarcopenia. It can even improve the lives of patients with metabolic disorders such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome x. Are you telling me MHP, with a research budget 1/1,000,000 of the pharmaceutical companies, has found a solution, especially considering researchers have been studying myostatin for over 10 years?
- If you really look at the studies cited on MHP’s site, you’ll notice that all of the studies supporting the active ingredient (ignore the studies that look at myostatin) are done by a Dr. Colker. Intriguing to the say the least because usually when something shows potential, especially of this magnitude, hundreds of different researchers are racing to publish studies on it. Take into account Dr. Colker’s history, and there’s probably a good reason to be skeptical of the “science” supporting the active ingredient.
- If it really does inhibit myostatin or increase follistatin, is it safe? Once again, researchers testing it in mice can’t say for sure. Follistatin does more than just inhibit myostatin. In fact, depending on the type of follistatin it potentially increases, FSH release can be decreased. Infertility problems can quickly ensue. Going one step further, if myostatin is the key regulator for muscle growth, by impairing it, can we increase our risk for cancer? Balance is critical in the human body. By inhibiting a key regulator of anything, cells, even muscle cells, can grow uncontrollably.
- Is the 46% drop in myostatin from Myo-X in Dr. Colker’s study enough to cause significant muscle growth? I don’t know because all I can find about the study is the graph showing the drop in serum myostatin levels. Dr. Colker himself is even not 100% sure as he stated, “A reduction in serum myostatin levels is likely to result in clinically significant muscle gains.” Likely? Sorry doctor, didn’t you just perform a study on it? Why didn’t you measure changes in muscle mass?
So will I be rushing out to purchase Myo-X? No, I think I’ll save my $70 and just buy more protein. I’ll let the science catch up with Dr. Colker on this one.