mTOR isn’t an easy function to explain. Scientifically, mTOR forms two functional protein complexes known as C1 and C2. The C1 complex is a lot more significant than the C2 complex when it comes to health and disease.
What Is mTOR C1 & C2 Complex?
The mTOR C1 complex is responsible for activating the translation of protein. The C1 complex responds to signals from nutrients, growth factors, and cellular energy and determines the right amount of cell development and production.
In plain old English, whenever we have access to high amounts of nutrients, mainly protein, and extra calories, mTOR essentially tells our body that it’s time to grow and multiply our cells. We become capable of higher energy output and doing more energy requiring jobs.
Our cells are able to take on higher workloads and increase in working capacity. As a result, ATP production is increase and this means we have a more energy to work with. The division rate of our cells increases and we become ready for growth and repair. mTOR is able to recognize this change and answers by “stepping on the gas.”
Here is the kicker, mTOR is able to both increase performance and decrease it whenever necessary. If you think about it, constant muscle growth and cell division isn’t a good thing.
Yes, at the right time it’s a befit for our body, but if this growth was maintained at all times then our body would wear out very quickly and become susceptible to a plethora of diseases. We need rest time to recover from the accelerated growth we experience.
The other side effect of mTOR increased energy production is that our body produces a lot more junk when we go through this process. Generally, autophagy is the process of removing all this extra junk from our system, but it isn’t usually active when mTOR is increased.
So in order for us to successfully detox our body from all the unnecessary stuff we created during increased mTOR energy production, we have to decrease mTOR. It’s kind of like turning off your car and it only cooling down after you have stopped driving, it can’t run cold and fast at the same time.
The takeaway here is that we need a delicate balance between growth and rest moments. We produce a lot of junk during growth and all that junk is only cleaned up when we rest.
How Can mTOR Be Dangerous?
The problem is that increased mTOR activation can lead to some serious issues. Cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetus, neural degeneration, and depression can all be direct effects of mTOR over activation.
Studies have shown that mTOR can increase angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels. This process can also help cancer growth.
Another problem is that mTOR promotes Th1 (helper cells that work to eliminate invaders) and Th17 (cells that play a role in adaptive immunity protecting the body against pathogens) immunity which can lead to increased intestinal inflammation.
Essentially, increased mTOR allows the T cells of our immune system to rapidly expand by changing how they get energy. Breaking down glucose is what the cells start doing to get the energy they need and when this process is prevented, T cells realize they can’t get the energy they need to keep expanding and fight pathogens.
In the end, the T cells turn into Treg cells, resulting in a suppressed immune system. This suppressed immune system leads to other problems.
What Are the Benefits of mTor?
Simply put, mTOR gives you the ability to put on extra muscle extremely quickly. The same can be said for various hormones and fat. If you are over muscular then chances are mTOR over activation is to blame.
The function of mTOR makes perfect sense. When we have high supplies of food and energy, growing muscles and increasing our supply of fat is a good idea since there is no reason to dial down this high energy consuming process. Increased mTOR makes us less hungry, while inhibited levels of mTOR do the opposite and make us want to eat.
mTOR increases ATP production and is able to create new mitochondria. In short, this means you are able to produce more energy and have it at your disposal for muscle growth needs.
What Can I Do to Increase mTOR?
Simply put, whenever you are fully fed AND have plenty of calories at your disposal, mTOR is turned on. Protein synthesis is enhanced and you are able to build muscles more effectively. But this isn’t the only thing you have to do.
You also have to stimulate your muscles to activate mTOR. High muscles tress is most effective when it comes to turning on mTOR, so lifting weights or any intense workout will do this. However, you have to be careful because if your body senses that you are running out of energy, mTOR will become inhibited and deactivate, which will reduce your muscle growth rapidly.
Insulin can also activate mTOR. This makes perfect sense since insulin production is increased when you are fully fed and your glucose levels are high. This is why it is absolutely vital for you to eat high amounts of carbs and calories after your workout to activate mTOR, which will stimulate protein synthesis resulting in your muscles growing bigger.
The biggest mistake people make is trying to grow muscles while reducing their calorie intake. This does not work because your body is able to sense that you have restricted your calories and doesn’t turn on mTOR because you won’t have enough energy to go through the synthesis process.
There are other activators that can help you turn mTOR on. Branched chain amino acids, valine, isoleucine, and leucine all have the ability to turn mTOR on and keep it working for a long amount of time. Out of all of these, it seems that leucine is the most powerful.
Branched chain amino acids are also a good idea because of other benefits that they bring to the table when you are working out. Researchers have shown that branched chain amino acids can reduce fatigue during intense workout.
Besides boosting protein synthesis, branched chain amino acids can also reduce cortisol, which effectively puts a hindrance on protein breakdown. This is a big plus when trying to increase muscle growth.
The idea is to keep everything balanced and only tip the scale for a short amount of time. If you run out of energy during your workouts or after your workouts, then your cortisol levels will elevate resulting in muscle breakdown and protein degeneration. You want the opposite effect when trying to maximize muscle building.
At the same time, whenever you do increase your calorie intake you have to make sure to spend that extra energy quickly, otherwise it will be stored as fat rather than muscle.
Leucine is also very helpful when it comes to increasing muscle growth. It is the strongest amino acid mTOR activator. Supplementing with leucine in combination with carbohydrates and protein produces far better synthesis results than with just carbohydrates and protein alone. Leucine can also boost metabolism and reduce your appetite, which makes it ideal for after workout use.
Final Words on mTOR
mTOR activation during the right time can produce fantastic results. However, you have to know exactly what to do and how long to do it for. One of the most important aspects is having the right amount of energy for the duration of your workouts and after your workouts are over, so you will need to add more energy into your body to synthesize the protein into more muscles.
At the same time, you need to be careful not to over activate mTOR. This can lead to serious health conditions and problems as well as promote cancer growth. Observing a delicate balance and using up the energy you give your body as quicky as possible is vital for optimal muscle growth.
If you are trying to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, then high intensity short bursts of cardio work outs are your best bet. This will activate mTOR effectively and use up the energy you have stored up prior to the workout, resulting in bigger muscle mass.
If you notice that your BMI levels are increasing, restrict the calories slightly but do not hinder your mTOR activation during and after workouts.
As always, we strongly suggest that you talk to a medical professional when attempting to change your diet or partake in any type of supplementation. They will have the most amount of information needed to make an accurate decision regarding your workout regime and diet.
Lastly, remember that each body is different in its own right. For some people, activating mTOR might be far easier than for others. There are many factors that come into play that can alter how effective your diet and workout regimen can be for your body. Simply activating mTOR might not be enough for you to produce the muscles that you desire.
It is completely possible that you might need additional help from other supplements or nutrients that your body is lacking. Because of these variables and factors, we again urge you to talk to your doctor. They will be able to determine the best course of action.