Until recently, muscle was considered in purely mechanical terms. We now know that when skeletal muscles contract, they produce hormone-like chemical messengers or myokines, generating exponentially more in relation to the size of the muscle mass being contracted and the intensity of the contraction.

Myokines provide a molecular explanation for the extensive communication between muscle and other tissues in our body. The receptors of myokines are found in muscle, fat, liver, pancreas, bone, heart, immune and brain cells. Myokines are responsible for tissue regeneration and repair, maintenance of healthy bodily functioning, and cell signaling.

Intensely contracted muscles are one of the most active endocrine (hormone-producing) organs in our body. For this reason, a brief, intense New Element Training session can deliver more health benefits than hours of conventional exercise.

recent research identifies some of the health benefits offered by myokines, and hence strength training in ­general:

  • Muscle Tissue Mass: increases hypertrophy (skeletal muscle tissue development). For example, it downregulates Myostatin, a gene responsible for negatively regulating our muscle mass. It also upregulates Decorin, a myokine associated with ­pro-hypertrophic gene expression.
  • Fat: decreases visceral (organ), intramuscular (within muscle) and subcutaneous (under the skin) fat.
  • Energy: increases resting energy expenditure.
  • Bones: prevents bone mineral density loss.
  • Insulin: increases cellular glucose uptake and hence improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Chronic inflammation: decreases chronic, systemic inflammation. For example, exercise-induced Interleukin -6 (IL-6) myokine increases circulating levels of potent anti-inflammatory ­hormones such as, IL-1ra and IL-10.
  • Cancer: inhibits mammary cancer cell growth. For example, the anti-tumorigenic effect of SPARC and OCM myokines.
  • Organs: improves pancreas, liver and gut function.
  • Brain: aids learning and memory, e.g., it upregulates expression of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) myokine, which has been identified as a key factor in control of the body mass and energy homeostasis. It also influences learning and memory.

To learn more about myokines, read this review of the latest scientific research: Skeletal muscle as an endocrine organ: PGC-1a, myokines and exercise.