Staying Strong Forever, Research-Backed Protein Intake Recommendations, The Best Supplements For Muscle Gain & More With Dr. Gabrielle Lyon.

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Optimizing skeletal muscle health for longevity
Body, Diet & Nutrition, Fitness, Health & Wellness, Performance, Podcast, Podcast-new, Self-Development, Supplements

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Having trouble mustering the motivation for a muscle-building gym session?

Prepare to feel a fire lit under your ass after listening to today's episode featuring Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, who emphasizes the importance of muscle-centric medicine (especially after you hit thirty and beyond). Neglecting this component of your health could trigger a chain reaction of issues, from obesity and heart disease to muscle loss and cognitive decline.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, a board-certified family physician, is at the forefront of a revolution in modern medicine. Her approach targets the body's largest organ — skeletal muscle — to enhance longevity and combat the dangers of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

With a background that includes a combined research and clinical fellowship in geriatrics and nutritional sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and undergraduate training in nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois, she is a subject-matter expert and educator in the practical application of protein types and levels for health, performance, aging, and disease prevention. Dr. Lyon's book, Forever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging Well, outlines her whole-body, whole-person protocol for muscle health optimization.

Through her private practice, popular YouTube channel, influential podcast, and new book, she asks a fundamental question: How can you build strength, not just in the weight room, but in your daily life? Dr. Lyon's mission is to help you uncover the secrets to building consistent dietary and lifestyle habits, so you can show up for yourself and your loved ones, making the world a stronger place, one step at a time.

Join Dr. Gabrielle Lyon and me as we delve into the science behind building and maintaining skeletal muscle mass, the benefits of resistance training for brain health, the optimal daily protein intake for muscle synthesis, and much more!

During this discussion, you'll discover:  

-Who is Dr. Gabrielle Lyon?…00:55

-What is the concept of muscle-centric medicine?…03:33

  • The skeletal muscle is the largest organ system in the body
    • People always talk about the skin
  • It doesn't have its own form of medicine, like what medications negatively impact skeletal muscle
  • The reason Gabrielle created the concept of muscle-centric medicine

-How did Gabrielle become a weightlifter?…05:04

-What is Gabrielle’s strength training routine?…08:09

  • Three days a week of something explosive
  • Working with a coach
  • Trains at Sigma Training
  • Always incorporate some functional training
  • Pick a target and work on that target for 12 weeks or more
  • Hamstring injury while training for a 50-hour event
  • Ripped hamstring off the bone — a little over 80% avulsion
  • Married to a Navy SEAL

-What is the importance of skeletal muscle mass?…09:56

  • Studied muscle in mostly athletes and the elderly
  • Uses dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) to measure body composition
    • There is minimal correlation between body muscle mass and strength
    • Requires a 10% change in muscle mass before you have a detectable change
  • People believe that it’s all about strength, not mass
    • Studies done with untrained people may be the reason
    • They would get strength more quickly than they get mass
  • Another reason is that people haven't been measuring skeletal muscle mass directly
  • The incremental changes that can be detected from DEXA are not enough
  • D3-creatine dilutiona new validated way to look at body composition, specifically muscle mass
    • Assessment of skeletal muscle mass
    • 90% of your total body creatine pool exists in skeletal muscle
    • Dilution method that uses the assumption of a 24-hour creatine excretion
    • Directly measuring skeletal muscle mass to see a correlation between strength and mass
  • It is the loss of skeletal muscle mass rather than the gain of body fat that is much more detrimental to overall health and longevity
  • William Evans
  • The Streetlight Effect — looking for something only where there is light, colors your perspective on:
    • The importance of hypertrophy training
    • The importance of the amount of mass
  • You cannot be healthy without a robust amount of healthy skeletal muscle

-What is the role of skeletal muscle mass?…17:30

  • The Goldilocks Zone of muscle mass
  • We do not know anyone's optimal skeletal muscle mass
  • The most recent study on all-cause mortality related to fat — a body fat percentage greater than 30% is a problem
  • Gabrielle created an appendicular lean mass chart for measuring skeletal muscle mass in her book Forever Strong: A New, Science-Based Strategy for Aging Well
  • Healthy skeletal muscle is the primary site for glucose disposal
  • The metabolic sink; carbohydrates must be disposed of somewhere
  • A primary site for fatty acid oxidation
  • Skeletal muscle is not a very metabolically active tissue compared to other organs
    • Amino acid reservoir

-How do you lose and build skeletal muscle mass?…23:09

  • Mortality that occurs with age is typically due to frailty, induced by injuries or illness that keep you bedridden for certain periods and cause you to lose muscle gradually
    • Study 
    • An older individual will lose skeletal muscle mass three times faster
  • The Catabolic Crisis Model developed by Dr. Douglas Paddon-Jones
  • Up until age 40 or 50, our ability to recover from a skeletal muscle mass perspective is more robust
  • As an individual ages
    • They never get up to baseline functioning
    • They lose skeletal muscle mass quickly
  • That causes a lot of metabolic problems
    • Increase in blood glucose and insulin
    • Insulin resistance state leads to inflammation
  • A sedentary lifestyle — 50% of individuals are not working out
    • Diseases of aging like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and Alzheimer's disease — these diseases don't begin later on in life, they begin in our 30s
  • The changes in skeletal muscle mass also begin in our 30s
  • The latest study — at 85 plus, you can build muscle
  • Ben encourages young people to start strength training early

-How often should you do resistance training?…28:09

  • The idea that you shouldn't do resistance training more than 60 minutes a week
  • Dr. Mercola — if you lift more than three times a week, you see an increased all-cause risk of mortality
  • According to Ben, that may be true only for extreme weightlifters
  • Podcast with Dr. Joe Mercola:
  • Skeletal muscle mass increases survivability
  • Many protocols that show improvements in biomarkers related to metabolic dysfunction, strength, and mobility are all longer than 60 minutes
  • 50% of Americans are not training
  • Hard work requires discipline
  • Bente Pedersen — studied exercise immunology and coined the term “myokines” — cytokines or signaling molecules that are produced and released by muscle cells (myocytes) in response to muscular contractions.
    • The myokine response in resistance training
  • Do not take high doses of vitamins C and E or cold soak after a workout

-What effect does building muscle have on the brain?…32:24

-How many grams of protein should you take per day?…37:53

  • The minimum to prevent deficiencies would be 0.8g per kg (0.47g per lb)
  • The evidence supports at least 1.2 to 1.6g per kg
  • Double the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) would be a more optimal range
  • Recognize that the RDA was based on animal-based foods
  • Distribution of protein during the day does not matter in younger people
  • Dr. Donald Layman
  • Leucine, one of the essential amino acids, is required to stimulate muscle protein synthesis
  • If you do not hit a particular leucine threshold
    • The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is not stimulated — a protein kinase that plays a crucial role in regulating cell growth, proliferation, and metabolism
    • You do not stimulate this muscle protein synthetic response
  • 30g of dietary protein three times a day as a way to manage body composition
    • Did the world a disservice — there's actually no evidence to support this
  • The amount of protein per meal is really for the health of skeletal muscle
  • Circadian entrainment with food
  • The first meal of the day is very important for your anabolic response — the physiological process in which the body builds and repairs tissues, such as muscle tissue, by synthesizing new proteins and increasing cell size

-What is the anabolic upper limit?…47:24

  • There's no anabolic upper limit to anabolic response to protein paper
  • 100g protein ingestion study
    • There were a lot of challenges with that paper
    • Researchers chose 25g of casein — a type of protein found in milk and dairy products
  • The absorption of casein is four times slower
  • There would be no difference in anabolic response from 45g to 100g
  • One meal a day is not sufficient for the elderly or people in a bad state

-What are the best muscle-building supplements or additions?…50:16

  • Kion Aminos
  • Protein is 20 different amino acids
  • Amino acids are not interchangeable
  • Understanding the limiting amino acids
  • Three key limiting amino acids
    • Leucine for muscle protein synthesis
    • Methionine creates an integrative stress response (if restricted)
    • Lysine is important for fatty acid oxidation and growth  
  • Urolithin A (use code BEN to save 10%)
    • Some people make it, some people don't
    • Pomegranate or walnut
    • Impact on mitochondrial health, function, strength, and endurance
  • Creatine is also hugely impactful
    • For cognition and brain function
    • For sleep deprivation — quadruple the dose recommended
    • 2.5-gram portions of creatine throughout the day
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Some evidence to support that it might affect women differently
  • Vitamin D
  • Colostrum
  • Gut health and gut muscle access are going to be the next frontier
    • Urolithin A is a postbiotic that directly affects mitochondrial function

-And much more…

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

– Dr. Gabrielle Lyon:

– Podcasts:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Gabrielle Lyon or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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2 thoughts on “Staying Strong Forever, Research-Backed Protein Intake Recommendations, The Best Supplements For Muscle Gain & More With Dr. Gabrielle Lyon.

  1. Taylor says:

    Now trying to get up to 30-50 grams of protein for my first meal. I mostly workout in the morning fasted, just taking some aminos pre workout, but wondering if I should wait till post workout to get all 30-50 grams at once?

  2. good2know says:

    thanks for sharing your conversation.

    I wonder why Beta Alanin is never mentioned in a talk, where skeletal muscle is in the forefront. Combined with L-Histidin the body can create Carnosine, which has huge effects in supporting skeletal muscle health through its buffering capacity, antioxidant activity, prevention of protein crosslinking, anti-inflammatory effects, intracellular signaling modulation, and improved calcium sensitivity

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