Growth Hormone and Bone Formation
Human growth hormone is more commonly known as HGH and plays a vital role in proper bone and muscle formation. If you are a fitness fanatic, you may associate HGH with contraband activities such as cheating in competitions and the use of steroids. Although synthetic growth hormone is available, HGH is a naturally-produced hormone in the human body and provides many important benefits. HGH is produced in the pituitary gland and remains available in the bloodstream long enough for the liver to convert it into other factors that help with bone and muscle growth. The most important of these growth factors is the one similar to insulin called IGF-1.
There is a wide array of growth factors responsible for the regulation of mineral metabolism and bone formation. Human growth hormone is important in the healing process of fractured or broken bones and is a key component in the final healing process.
Physicians may prescribe growth hormone to stimulate the healing process in patients whose natural response is slow. Local injections are shown to have a stronger effect on the healing process than a general systemic injection. HGH is also important for repairing daily wear and tear on bones and joints. The IGF-1 factor of HGH is crucial in regulating bone growth, especially during puberty. Human growth hormone production is decreased with age and may be the reason why older persons are unable to form new bone or replace bone structure rapidly.
Interstitial Fluid and Bone
Interstitial fluid, or ISF, is the fluid that surrounds the tissue cells in the bodies of humans and other mammals. It is the main component of extracellular fluid, which also contains plasma, lymph and transcellular fluid. Interstitial fluid is made up of amino acids, fatty acids, salts, sugars, neurotransmitters, cell waste products, coenzymes and hormones. The fluid has different compositions based on where it is located in the body. It is responsible for cell nutrient-delivery and intercellular communication.
Interstitial fluid is found in the spaces between the cells (the interstices). Most people have about 2.5 U.S. gallons of ISF, which is about 14 percent of the total body weight of a young man. ISF is important for providing cellular nutrition and a conduit for the removal of metabolic waste. Plasma and interstitial fluid are very close in composition. Water, ions and nutrients in solution are interchanged between plasma and ISF through capillary walls. The build-up of proteins within the capillaries forces the fluid on the outside of the cells to flow to the inside of the vessels through the process of osmosis.
Because the blood within the capillaries is constantly on the move, a state of equilibrium is never achieved. This results in a constant movement between the capillary walls. The lymphatic system is important in the transportation of tissue fluid. Because the fluid can pass into the lymph vessels, it will eventually reenter the bloodstream. If the removal of tissue fluid does not happen correctly, swelling around the feed and ankles can result. This swelling is known as edema.
There are three minerals present in the large quantities in bone that are transported by interstitial fluid. These are calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. They are responsible for giving the bones their strength and shape. They also have an important role to play in other parts of the body.
Calcium is important for proper metabolic functions and is responsible for intercellular regulations. It also is one of the first “messengers” in signaling between cells. Magnesium is necessary for protein syntheses and energy transfer. Phosphorus is found throughout the body and is the major component for blood buffering. It is found in DNA, proteins, and RNA.
Interstitial fluid is also found in bone tissue and is important in providing nutrition for your bones. Bones are not simply sticks of mineral deposits that give shape to your body and protection for delicate organs. They are living and receive nourishment from your blood and your ISF. Your bone tissue would not live without the movement of fluid within it. After all, it is within your bones that your blood is formed.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
Vascular endothelial growth factor is one of the most important factors in the development of the vascular system and the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Chemical signals within the body stimulate their formation. Angiogenesis inhibitors, on the other hand, prevent the formation of new blood vessels. These chemicals work together to ensure that the body only creates new blood vessels when they are needed. It is this principle that scientists are attempting to replicate in an effort to stop cancer tumors from receiving the blood flow they need to grow. Vascular endothelial growth factor is also responsible for proper skeletal development and bone repair.
Blood Flow Restriction Training and Bone Healing
Blood flow restriction training is one of the newest training techniques for injury recovery. The training technique has even been used by the United States military as a tool for rehabilitating injured veterans.
Blood flow restriction training, or BFR, involves the use of a tourniquet to modulate the blood flow to the targeted muscles. The user will then perform exercises with light weight and high volume to encourage rapid and dramatic muscle growth, or hypertrophy.
In order to build muscle strength and increased muscle size with traditional exercise methods, loads as high as 80 percent of one-rep maximums (or more) are typically needed. With BFR, however, loads as low as 15-20 percent of the one-rep maximum can produce similar results in a shorter period of time. Rehabilitating patients can build strength and muscle size faster with BFR than they would otherwise. The technique also permits them to exercise without putting undue strain on the healing bone or muscle.
Placing stress on bones forces them to lay down increased layers to compensate for the additional stress. This is the reason exercise is important for bone strength. For weakened or injured bones, BFR can provide the needed stimulation to encourage new bone growth, resulting in a faster, more effective recovery.
To your gains,
Kusha Karvandi, PES, CES, CSCS