Myostatin is a protein that inhibits some muscle growth in animals and humans, in part so that their size doesn’t get out of hand.
How bodybuilders must really love that biological control mechanism…not!! Well, if MHP have created the product they say they have, with a clinical trial in tow to back it up, then bodybuilders worldwide can start thinking ‘bigger’.
…but can it really be possible: inhibit the inhibitor? The idea is simultaneously wonderful, and completely scary.
Some people have conditions where this happens naturally, and they are just more muscle-bound than the average person. For cattle farmers, this is nothing new.
There are substances they can use to block Myostatin, thus bio-engineering huge animals. The only downside is that said animals are more expensive to feed and care for.
MHP are waving a clinical trial report around saying it’s possible to gain 8 lbs of lean muscle mass in 12 weeks with MYO-X, their ‘Myostatin Inhibitor’. Okay, so maybe the first thing to do is understand a little better what Myostatin is, and does.
Myostatin and Muscle Hypertrophy
There’s a rare condition called Myostatin-related muscle hypertrophy, where affected people naturally have increased muscle and less body fat. In some cases the subject can have up to twice the muscle mass in their bodies when compared with the average individual in their genetic or racial lineage.
What’s even more strange is that these people do not suffer from any negative medical issues, and they have the same intellectual potential and mental health as the average person. Sounds like a gift to a bodybuilder, right!
Exactly how common this condition is, is not known, probably because there are varying degrees of it. People may not necessarily come forward or be tested for something so unusual, especially if there is no discernible negative.
What About Strength?
Hypertrophy is one thing, but the size of the muscles don’t automatically indicate their strength.
The science is a bit sketchy at the moment but there is a theory that the muscle gained from having the Myostatin reduced condition is not actually stronger than regular muscle because it hasn’t been built the same way, i.e. through resistance training etc.
At one time, sports governing bodies were concerned that people using Myostatin inhibitors / blockers may have a performance-enhanced edge on the competition. As stated above, however, it looks to be mainly a hypertrophic effect and not particularly strength building. That said, there isn’t much human evidence to show that muscle built through myostatin inhibition could not be strengthened, and therefore become much more advantageous that way.
In animals, the story is slightly different. A study in 2007 showed a significant correlation between a genetic myostatic-deletion in whippets and positive performance in races. More muscular in appearance, they did seem to be less able runners overall. There was a trade-off in this circumstance, evident from the fact that these special whippets did not always win!
Myostatin Inhibition Study on MyoT12
A recent study involving MyoT12 – the active ingredient inside MHP’s MYO-X – was undertaken at the University of Tampa to determine its effectiveness on lean body mass, strength and power in resistance-trained men. The men were recreationally trained, which basically means that they haven’t reached their plateau strength.
The study was 12 weeks of periodized training and lean body mass, muscle thickness, and strength were measured. There were two MyoT12 groups (10 and 30g/day) and one placebo group.
The most average gains appeared to be from the 10g/day group. They built an average of 3.75 lbs (1.7 kg) lean mass and 0.2 cm of muscle thickness.
The company claims that their product MYO-X, the main ingredient of which is MyoT12, can help the user pack on up to 8 lbs of lean mass in 12 weeks. In truth, the key phrase there is “up to” because it is likely that ONLY the individual who gained the most muscle during the study put on 8 lbs. If they said “an average of 8 lbs” then it’s a different story.
Take Away Points
1. There is likely a correlation between MYO-X and muscle growth but potential consumers should not realistically expect an 8 pound increase in lean muscle mass over the course of 12 weeks.
2. In the study, placebo and test groups increased in strength equally. The scientists who wrote the report state that given the relatively novice level of the trial subjects, their strength gains should probably be attributed to their neural adaptations, which is something that very experienced athletes cannot achieve anymore, hence why men who have hit their plateau of strength are the most valued test subjects of all. The scientists go on to say that experienced men and women should be used in the next study.
3. An average increase of 3.75 lbs (1.7 kg) over 12 weeks is not much different to what a developing athlete can do with diet and a good training period. 8 lbs would be more significant but that sounds like the measurements of the outlier in the study. The placebo group added 1.3 lbs (0.6 kg) LBM as well, so the difference of 2.45 lbs (1.11 kg) can be attributed to MTO-X.
4. MYO-X is $99 for 30 days of use. You would need to have 3 times this amount to mimic the 12 week study.
Editor’s Conclusion and Recommendations
I think if we all had an endless supply of money, we may as well be trying every supplement going that’s got some half decent study to back it up. After all, unless there’s some sort of negative side effect that’s too much of a risk, what’s the worst that can happen? Unfortunately, money often plays the decisive role in determining what we pick up from the shelves and finally decide to take home and try out.
I’m a supplement fan. When you get the right one for you and it both works and motivates you to work, then it’s a good thing. Many people look to them as the shortcut, and are disappointed when they don’t look like the models in the magazines after a couple months of taking them. The most important factors to have at least a moderate level of control over are your diet, your exercise and your sleep.
Supplementation does work, depending on the type obviously, but only after those important aspects of life are looked after. Whether you want to pay for this product or that product is entirely up to you.
As for alternative recommendations, there is a selection of online based products that we believe are worth more than a look at.
You probably came to this article because you want to build muscle, so follow the link below and see what you think. Perhaps you didn’t know some of them even existed.
Sample Reference Sources
Matthew Sharp et al – The effects of a myostatin inhibitor on lean body mass, strength, and power in resistance trained males – 2014
Genetics Home Reference – Myostatin-related Muscle Hypertrophy