Key Nutrients That Make Your Muscles Grow

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Whether you want to build or tone your muscles, you need a muscle-building diet to achieve the type of body you desire. Let's talk about that today!

In this article:

  1. An Introduction to Muscle-Building Diet
  2. The Myth of Needing Protein to Build Muscles
  3. Your Body Needs More Nutrients to Build Muscles, Not More Protein
  4. The Relationship of Fat Storing Hormone Resistance to Muscle Building
  5. Stress Affects Muscle Growth
  6. How to Avoid Loss of Muscle Mass

Muscle-Building Diet: Which Nutrients You Need


An Introduction to Muscle-Building Diet

We are going to talk about the muscle-building nutrients that make your muscles grow and the other things that slow down the breakdown of muscles. If you're aging in the face or If you're going into menopause, getting older, your muscles are weaker, you are losing collagen in your face and underneath your arms, or you just want to build muscle mass, then this article is for you.


The Myth of Needing Protein to Build Muscles

There is this myth that you just need to eat more protein, a macronutrient to build up your muscles. When you eat protein from animal food sources, you are basically eating animal muscles. You also might have eggs or fish. You digest these foods, and your liver, stomach, and enzymes start breaking the protein down from these foods into these small particles—amino acids. These acids are protein's foundational building, so it takes certain enzymes to break down the nutrient.

The whole conversion of breaking down the protein and then building it back up requires vitamins and minerals though. The purpose of vitamins and minerals is to function as "coenzymes" or "cofactors" that help convert the raw material, essential amino acids, into body tissues or fatty acids into healthy tissues. We also need these vitamins and minerals to support the enzymes, which are the magical workers that pull this process off.


Your Body Needs More Nutrients to Build Muscles, Not More Protein

Choosing between sport supplements and healthy food | Key Nutrients That Make Your Muscles Grow | Muscle Building Diet

You don't need more protein to build muscles and increase weight. You need more nutrients in your muscle-building diet. The top two body nutrients mostly missing from your daily number of calories are potassium and trace minerals. For potassium, you need 47,000 mg a day, and there are only a few people who are consuming 7-10 cups of vegetables a day. Trace minerals are missing in our soils, so if you don't have much of these, it's hard to activate the enzymes.

You also need an intake of fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K, B Vitamins, and Vitamin C from your muscle-building diet. These are all necessary for the conversion of protein into actual muscle tissues. If you exercise, you are going to break down tissues and start building them back up, and that's a necessary thing. But, I want to go through some common issues that people have, which may not necessarily relate to nutrition, in general. It relates to the amount of sugar and refined carbs.


The Relationship of Fat Storing Hormone Resistance to Muscle Building

Fat Storing Hormone resistance is a condition where your cells no longer allow Fat Storing Hormone into them as much as they should. That's because there is too much sugar in the diet, and the body shuts down Fat Storing Hormone because too much sugar is toxic. The body does not allow the cells to let sugar in. But because Fat Storing Hormone is involved in the absorption of protein and amino acids, you have this dual effect of not getting fuel and amino acids in the cells. This is the reason why diabetics have a lot of weakness in the muscle, loss of collagen, and loss of muscle strength. (Watch the animation of how protein works in the body in my video above.)


Stress Affects Muscle Growth

Stress is also another concern. Those people with an adrenal body type and stressed out activate a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is catabolic, which is destructive for the muscles. Catabolic means breaking down, while anabolic means building back up. So, when you have the muscles breaking down its particles because of the high levels of cortisol, they basically convert into sugar. Protein is then converted into sugar. This process is called glyconeogenesis (glyco means sugar, neo means new, and genesis means the generation of or the formation of). It's the formation of new sugar from the muscles.

You may develop diabetes because the blood sugar goes up as the muscle protein turns into sugar. The protein is taken from your quadriceps, thighs, and butt muscles. This case turns adrenal body types with diabetes over time with lesser butt bump and leg circumference. So, excessive stress causes a loss of protein. You can have a lack of nutrients for muscles or high levels of Fat Storing Hormone because the Fat Storing Hormone is not working.


How to Avoid Loss of Muscle Mass

Athletic Female in a Gym Exercises with Battle Ropes | Key Nutrients That Make Your Muscles Grow | Muscle Building Diet

Increase Growth Hormone

What you can do to avoid the loss of muscle mass is to follow intermittent fasting, which triggers growth hormone. This hormone helps increase preservation, retention, and building of muscles. You can do two to three meals a day. The four to six small meals a day concept is not good as it spikes Fat Storing Hormone and keeps your protein from going in the body.

You can also perform high-intensity interval training as the workout plan can spike growth hormone as well and preserve your muscles. This involves short bursts of full-body high-intensity exercises. Sleep is also necessary to increase growth hormone, and stress is not good.

Avoid Snacking

Snacking also spikes Fat Storing Hormone and causes protein problems. Having protein snacks between meals does not help your muscles. A whey protein shake also spikes Fat Storing Hormone. You can have fatty protein instead. The more fat you have, the less Fat Storing Hormone spike there is. It's also important to consume moderate amounts of protein (3-6 oz). Don't go with massive amounts because it overloads the liver. If you're 18 years old, you can handle it, but it eventually starts slowing down.

A muscle-building diet plan needs more of the essential vitamins and nutrients to effectively build up muscles healthily. It's also important to know the things that hinder muscle growth, so you know what to avoid and what best practices to follow to promote healthy muscles.

What type of muscle-building diet are you following? How is your experience with your meal plan? Tell us in the comments section below.

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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

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