Many people believe that building healthy, sustainable muscle mass is just a matter of taking sufficient quantities of protein – but the truth is rather more complicated.
While proteins play an inarguably important part in providing your body with the resources it needs to facilitate the proper growth and repair of muscular tissue, it is important to remember that the amino acids they provide are not enough to maintain the health of your muscles on their own.
Read on to learn about another key factor you've probably been overlooking.
Nutrition 101: Muscles Need Nutrients
Like every other organ in your body, your muscles need an incredibly diverse array of nutrients in order to flourish.
Magnesium, for example, is vital to the growth of healthy muscles, both because it catalyses the enzymatic reactions needed to break proteins down into their constituent parts, and because it provides the energy needed to transfer the resultant amino acids across cell membranes and into developing tissues – thereby facilitating the repair and replacement of damaged muscle cells and encouraging the growth of new muscle.
Potassium is also integral to the development of healthy muscles, partly because it is responsible for regulating the electrolyte balance of your muscle cells, and partly because it helps to maintain homeostasis within your tissues.
This process helps ensure that developing muscles receive all of the energy and oxygen they need to flourish.
Vitamin C, too, plays a very important role in facilitating the maintenance of muscular health – both in encouraging the growth of collagen and in boosting production of elastin, which lends developing muscle tissues the flexibility and tensile strength they need to function correctly.
Water: The Single Most Important Nutrient for Muscular Health
Most important of all, though, is water. Without this particularly vital nutrient, your body simply could not transport important micronutrient compounds to developing muscle cells, or maintain the correct levels of extracellular fluid needed to ease the transference of metabolic wastes back into your bloodstream and excretory organs – leading to a build up of toxins that can stunt tissue growth and encourage the breakdown of muscle cells.
Water also plays an undeniably important role in maintaining muscle health by providing cells with hydroelectric energy, which is needed to fuel the complex biochemical reactions that enable tissue growth and enable the proper metabolism of the essential amino acids needed to lend structure to developing muscle cells.
According to Dr F. Batmangedlidj, author of Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, water can also nourish healthy muscles by promoting the expression of certain growth-inducing hormones like motilin, which can increase nutrient uptake in the digestive tract, and help to supply growing muscles with the dense array of vital micronutrients needed to encourage lasting vitality.
Without Water, Muscles Quickly Deteriorate
Unfortunately, the inverse is also true: According to recent research published by the Biochemical Journal, failure to supply your muscle tissues with sufficient amounts of water will quickly starve them of all the vital nutrients they need to maintain vitality, and inhibit their ability to properly metabolise proteins.
It will limit their access to potassium and magnesium, which they need to balance electrolyte levels on a cellular level, and prevent them from properly repairing the damage caused by everyday wear and tear.
Dehydration will also halt the essential electrochemical reactions needed to move amino acids across cell membranes.
Over time, insufficient water levels can shrink your muscles far faster than any level of protein deficiency – leaving you feeling fatigued and significantly impairing your quality of life, particularly if you enjoy a range of physical activities or are struggling with a health condition.
It is for this reason that we must take every care to properly hydrate our muscles, particularly if we want to maintain our strength and vitality.
How Do I Properly Hydrate My Muscles?
Fortunately, properly hydrating muscles is remarkably easy – all you need to do is drink plentiful amounts of healthy water and ensure you are providing the body with adequate amounts of sodium and potassium, which are both needed to ensure that water can be properly absorbed by your cells.
If you’re worried about the amount of potassium and sodium that your diet provides, it may be worth your while looking at something like Biocera’s alkaline water jug, which uses natural bioceramics to turn tap or bottled water into mineral-rich, alkaline water rich in a broad range of trace electrolytes including potassium, calcium and sodium.
The jug also produces water that’s particularly rich in magnesium which is, as mentioned above, a very important mineral needed for the proper maintenance of muscles; both in providing them with the energy needed to repair damage, and in facilitating complicated electrochemical reactions needed to break proteins down into amino acids.
If you prefer a more compact and easily transportable solution, you might also consider something like the AHA Water Bottle which is a portable, stainless steel flask that also uses natural bioceramics to make mineral-rich alkaline water that can nourish your muscles and properly hydrate your cells.
We would also recommend that anybody with a keen interest in maintaining the health and integrity of muscles look at a vegetable-based protein powder such as Maximum Vibrance.
Because they are made from highly-nutritious superfood extracts, these protein supplements can provide your body with trace amounts of the important micronutrients needed to nourish developing tissues, as well as providing the bioavailable proteins your body needs to properly repair damaged cells and stabilise freshly-formed ones.
Combining healthy alkaline water with a nutrient-dense protein supplement will help to ensure that you are taking in an array of essential nutrients needed to properly nourish muscles, as well as actively improving your ability to assimilate and break down the proteins needed to build healthy and sustainable tissue.
Discover More About Properly Hydrating Your Muscles
If you’d like to learn more about properly hydrating your muscles, remember that we are more than happy to provide information or chat about health related issues; just give us a call on +44 (0) 1764 662111, or drop us an email using the contact form.
You might also find Dr Batmangedlidj’s book Your Body’s Many Cries for Water of interest, particularly if you want to learn more about the important role that water plays in the proper uptake of micronutrients.
Hopefully the information in this article has been of value to you. It is surprising how many people overlook hydration when it comes to muscular health.
Whether you’re looking to pack on some muscle, improve gym performance or simply maintain the integrity of muscles as you age, paying attention to your hydration status is a must.
Get your hydration and nutrition right, and your muscles will be strong and supple enough to cope with whatever you throw at them.
Vitamin C encourages the growth of collagen and boosts production of elastin, which lends developing muscle tissues flexibility and tensile strength.