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Hyaluronic Acid: The True Muscle Generator
Perhaps you’ve heard of hyaluronic acid from your plastic surgeon. It’s been used for years as a lip filler for those who want it. It’s a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan found in epithelial, connective, and brain tissues.
Hyaluronic acid, as a glycosaminoglycan, is metabolized into small oligosaccharides or small sugars. These have angiogenic properties meaning they allow for the growth of new blood vessels to areas. New blood vessels means that more nutrients from the blood can be delivered to this area. If you’ve ever worked out as hard as you could, you know that lots of blood coming to an area is called a pump in broscience terms. Hyaluronic acid exogenously injected into a muscle = better pump plain and simple. Better pump + more nutrients over time = bigger muscles. It’s simple math, right?
So, I’ve established how and why hyaluronic acid might lead to bigger muscles over time. That formula above is reliant on a few specific things: adequate nutrients in the blood and a high effective circulating volume of blood.
Adequate nutrients in blood translates to having enough protein for active muscle protein synthesis and enough carbohydrates to fuel angiogenesis, new blood vessel creation. Enough protein for active muscle protein synthesis is classically 1-1.5g protein per pound bodyweight for those <12% body fat or per pound lean body mass if over 12% body fat. Enough carbohydrates depends on your level of metabolic health and adaptation. But, generally, I’d say equal to protein grams at the least and triple protein grams at the most. If you’re getting adequate nutrients in a caloric surplus, you can expect ~1% bodyweight gain per week with mostly lean body mass.
Effective circulating volume is essentially a product of how much fluid/water you drink and how much salt you intake. My brother in iron, Stan Efferding, talks about this a lot in his Vertical Diet, but boiled down: you want as much sodium as you can handle without increasing your blood pressure. This is a critical element. Physiologically, water follows salt. If you’re intaking a lot of water, but not enough salt, you’ll just pee out the extra water. However, if you’re intaking a lot of salt with enough water, the water will be absorbed intravascularly and you’ll increase your effective circulating volume. Again, this means that more nutrients can be effectively delivered to your muscles that need it also known as the muscles that you’ve exercised in the last 72 hours.
What can hyaluronic acid do for you? In summary, by applying exogenous hyaluronic acid directly to muscles that are exercised, you’re creating a localized inflammatory environment via microtears in the muscle and lactic acid from anaerobic breakdown of energy that is primed for muscular sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. With a good workout program designed for maximal muscular work using advanced techniques like supersets, drop sets, resistance badns, and hyaluronic acid, you’ll be creating new blood vessels supplying your muscles with supraphysiologic levels of nutrients via an increased effective circulating volume given a caloric surplus and a lot of salt and water.
Nick Trigili is a respected IFBB Pro bodybuilder and trainer. Check him out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for more informative content. Also make sure to visit his official personal training website – World Class Trainers.