The Key to Muscle Growth Hides in a Healthy Gut
The life I lead is built upon repeating habits which contribute towards better health and faster results. Paying great attention to gut health has enabled me to continue building muscle consistently every year for almost two decades.
There are several rituals I deploy to underpin gut health. Let me discuss what I do first, and then I will answer how this supports faster muscle growth later in the article.
Morning Gut Health Concoction
The potent natural morning concoction I begin each day with is widely documented.
Improved gut health is the biggest beneficiary of consuming this cocktail of goodness which contains organic lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, fermented glutamine, magnesium, fiber, Manuka honey and organic greens powder. To help you appreciate the application of these ingredients I have listed the benefits of each one specifically for gut health.
Organic Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals in the gut. It is a great addition to any gut cleansing drink.
It also contains a specific type of fiber called pectin that is known to help moderate bad bacteria and encourage the growth of food bacteria.
Apple Cider Vinegar
“ACV” is great at promoting better gut health because it is able to encourage healthy microbiome and immune balance. It achieves this with its anti-fungal, anti-yeast and anti-viral properties.
Research also points to the fact that apple cider vinegar can reduce the number of gram-negative bacteria. Usually, this type of bacteria comes with a higher endotoxin content that is linked to issues including gut inflammation.
There are fewer natural anti-inflammatory ingredients which carry as many benefits as turmeric.
As well as helping reduce gut inflammation, turmeric also stimulates the secretion of bile leading to more efficient digestion. Turmeric also contains properties which can manage gas and reduce bloating, again promoting healthier digestion of food.
Fermented glutamine derived from natural vegetable sources can contribute towards improved gut health. Amongst other things fermented glutamine can help the gut health.
I also like to supplement with Kaged Muscle Fermented Glutamine to maintain a healthy immune system.
As well as improving immune health, Manuka honey has anti-bacterial properties for the gut as well as being enriched with antioxidants. It helps reduce inflammation alongside several of the other ingredients in my morning concoction.
Organic Greens Powder
Organic greens powders are great for gut health because they contribute a variety of phytonutrients and fiber for sustained gut performance. So many diets aren’t rich enough in either which can disrupt gut health.
Together, all of these ingredients help elevate the health of my gut so I’m able to assimilate food better to build muscle quicker.
The next habit I try to stick to for improved gut health is to consume organic food, pasture raised and grass-fed wherever possible. Not only is this usually more ethical but it protects my gut from unwanted chemicals which can induce excessive inflammation.
The pesticides and antibiotics used in commercialized farming often mean that the foods on grocery store shelves are riddled with harmful chemicals all in an attempt to increase production. Organic food is also often richer in micronutrients because they've not been farmed so intensely to meet commercially driven quotas.
Cortisol has a big part to play in gut health mainly because as stress hormones increase, the gut falls under a great deal of stress. Due to the “flight or fight” response, blood is sent away from the gut to more highly prioritized parts of the body, leaving it much harder to process food properly.
Managing cortisol effectively helps the gut work much more efficiently. In fact, doctors are finding more correlation between chronic stress and gastric health disorders than ever before.
This is why I take great effort in improving my sleep and reducing stress from my life where possible through mediation.
Why Does This Matter?
The question was, how does improved gut health support faster muscle growth? Bodybuilders spend a great deal of time buying groceries, preparing meals and eating every three hours in order to grow.
The attention to detail is so specific that macros are weighed out for each meal all in an attempt to gain an extra percent or two. If all of this effort is done without taking care of gut health it can all be in vain.
All of these meals are eaten and then processed by the gut. It is at this point the nutrients are assimilated and distributed accordingly based on the needs of the body, the quality of the nutrients and quantities ingested. If the gut isn't working properly then this process breaks down.
Nutrient assimilation happens at a slower rate or becomes compromised permanently which means recovery cannot occur as fast as it should. When recovery becomes undermined by poor gut performance everything else also suffers.
Even immune function becomes an issue because approximately three-quarters of the immune system is housed in the gut. This is why lots of autoimmune diseases are linked with gut issues; they're often more closely linked than you might believe.
The message is clear, take care of your gut through smarter choices and in doing so your immune system will often be healthier and this usually correlates with faster muscle growth. The explanation as to why is simple, the efficiency of the gut and immune system is prioritized.
The temptation is to always focus on things like macros, shiny labeled supplements, and workout plans, which promise miracles rather than more monotonous topics such as gut health. Ironically, the real long-term results lie firmly within taking care of the gut and doing everything possible to protect it.