Muscle Memory: What You Should Know

A good chiropractor (in my case, Dr. Joe Givan) is a genuine gift! In this blog post, I’m happy to share my understanding of Dr. Givan’s viewpoints (and some in-depth research of my own) about the phenomena of muscle memory. Regaining muscle strength and health was just one of the many important facets of my recovery from a serious back injury that caused me untold pain, sciatica, and suffering as I aged, until most of my symptoms were resolved under Dr. Joe’s care.

 Because of this experience, I wanted to share with my readers that muscles do have memory, and it’s important to know the facts. A truly fascinating study!

The Start of a New Day

During one of my biweekly visits, Dr. Givan casually mentioned that part of healing my back would be to concentrate on muscle memory. He then went on to do some tests in the area of kinesiology, in which he has a great deal of expertise. Without paying too much attention and anxious to get home, I was soon leaving his office with a bottle of Standard Process Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) and Myotrophin PMG. However, I’d no sooner arrived home when his recommendation came forcibly to my mind. I recalled his words about muscle memory, and that got me started on some serious research.

What those studies led too, along with what I learned later in an interview with Dr. Givan, was simply a breath of fresh air. I hope it will also be helpful to all my readers. Many of you may be experiencing back problems, fatigue, and other serious symptoms associated with weak, unhealthy muscles, which I’ll discuss further down.

Defining Muscle Memory

After searching many different sources for a simple, nonmedical explanation of muscle memory related to arm, leg, and back muscles, it turns out that it’s a relatively straightforward phenomenon in its definition but very complex in its operation.

I learned that when we faithfully practice some type of resistance training, our muscle fibers begin to add nuclei cells. In turn, these special cells force the muscle to grow and become strong. In my studies I discovered that walking, although very good for the heart muscle, is not as beneficial for the leg, arm, and back muscles as resistance training, which involves free weights, weight machines, resistance bands, and your own body weight.

What Nuclei Cells Actually Do

Unlike other cells that may die off when they’re not being used, nuclei cells remain our steady and loyal friends within the muscle. They carry the blueprint for muscle growth and strength, but these special cells must be encouraged to grow. We can do that by engaging in some form of resistance training and getting the foundational nourishment we need from the recipes and recommendations that I make below. Otherwise, expect the consequences of weakened, unhealthy muscles.

Nuclei cells even remain for those long periods of time when we stop giving them the one thing they need: consistent resistance training and/or resistance tasks like lifting and pushing.

The cells do this via the cortical part of the brain. Without those muscle memory nuclei cells, our muscles couldn’t remember how to grow larger and stronger once we stopped training them or if we’d never done anything to grow and strengthen our muscles as we grew up. To me dear readers, this is truly unfathomable and part of the natural law that we may someday come to understand. The moral of this story is to immediately start resistance exercises or home and work tasks that provide muscle resistance so they can form these nuclei cells! It’s too important a part of good health to ignore.

The bad news is that seniors and others who avoid resistance exercises or tasks, especially if they also have mineral and vitamin deficiencies, are especially vulnerable to rapid aging, problems with falling, and other skeletal disorders. Yes, due to inactivity, they have less of these precious cells available to quick start muscle growth as well as strength, should it be needed. I invite all seniors and other sedentary readers to please visit Peak Fitness for an easy, fun resistance exercise routine.  A wonderful place to visit and find in depth information on nucleus cells is Earth’s Lab.

Symptoms of Weak and Unhealthy Muscle Tone
The most prevalent symptom of weak and unhealthy muscles is fatigue and a sense of weakness throughout the body. There are, however, genuine muscle disorders that often go untreated, and these do require medical intervention.

Should You Use Protein Powders to Build Muscle?

 Here is a powerful message from the Weston A. Price Foundation:

“These powders are promoted on the premise that bodybuilders, serious athletes, fitness enthusiasts and even ordinary people need more protein than they can get from an ordinary diet. If you surf the Internet, you will read on countless websites that these powders can confer health benefits on everyone and pose no dangers whatsoever. Sometimes you get a hint that they may cause indigestion and gas, or that overuse may leave you with kidney stones and gout. But overall, numerous fitness gurus promote them shamelessly as a way to build optimal endurance, build muscle mass and achieve good health.

“Adequate protein is important for everyone, but especially for those who exercise rigorously. Protein is used for building and repairing muscles and tissues, red blood cells, hair and fingernails and for synthesizing hormones. Protein is necessary for reducing the risk of iron deficiency anemia and to support healing.

“The question is, should athletes and others imbibe these protein products in beverages, shakes and bars? Perhaps the habits of traditional healthy peoples can give us a clue.”
—“The Problem with Protein Powders,” Weston A. Price Foundation

 Essential Protein Requirements

“Protein requirements vary with age, gender, weight and the level of physical activity. In round numbers, protein requirements for men vary from about 50 to 100 grams per day; for women from about 50 to 75 grams per day. A man of one hundred eighty pounds engaged in vigorous physical training may need as much as 160 grams per day. A good way to gauge our protein intake is to think of protein foods as providing blocks of about 25 grams of protein. In round numbers, the following foods provide about 25 grams of protein:

  • 1 serving of meat, liver, poultry or fish (about 100 grams or 3.5 ounces)
    • 1 serving of cheese (about 80 grams or 3 ounces)
    • 4 eggs
    • 3 cups raw milk

“A woman’s protein requirements are met with two to three such units. Thus one serving of meat, one serving of cheese, two eggs and one pint of raw milk will provide about 75 grams of protein.

“A man’s protein requirements call for up to four such units. Thus two servings of meat, one serving of cheese, four eggs or three cups milk will provide about 100 grams of protein.”
—“The Problem with Protein Powders,” Weston A. Price Foundation

How Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) Relates to Muscle Health

The more you learn about the phenomenal whole food supplement Ribonucleic Acid (RNA), the more you’ll want to take it and the more you’ll want to eat the many foods that contain it. RNA is primarily a messenger that’s involved in cell multiplication and development. Dr. Frank wrote a book on RNA and treated many people successfully for age-related muscle wasting. To read his story and get some recipes for the RNA-rich foods he recommends, read my blog post “The Warming Power of RNA.”

How Myotrophin PMG Relates to Muscle Health
Myotrophin PMG supports muscle rebuilding and repair.

Manganese B12: Its Importance in Repairing Weak Muscles
Manganese B12 is a muscle builder, bone hardener, and ligament strengthener. This is an essential nutrient. Learn more about the symptoms and deficiencies at Livestrong.

The Highest Quality Foods for Muscle Building, Strength, and Repair

One of the best of all books on this topic, Nourishing Broth, will open your eyes to possibly the most profound food for constantly (and deliciously) nourishing your muscles: bone broth. Below is just a sneak preview of the important subjects that are specifically dedicated to muscle health. Few people really understand how the following works to build, strengthen, and repair muscle. In my opinion, they’re just as crucial as resistance training. I hope you’ll agree after you read this best of the best books on muscle and bone health (recipes galore included)!

  • Alanine (pp. 38–39)
  • Gelatin (pp. 126–127)
  • Glutamine (pp. 37, 40–41)
  • Glycine (pp. 126–129)
  • He-Man Diet (pp. 128–129)
  • Recovery from Injury (pp. 130–131)

How about a great homemade bone broth recipe?

Piggy and Chicken Feet Basic Bone Broth
—A Traditional Cook original recipe. (This recipe may be used as is or adapted with permission by contacting Maria Atwood.)

 I can almost hear you saying eeew (smile), but don’t let the ingredients called for in this robust high-gelatin broth scare you off. I get my piggy and chicken feet from Ranch Foods Direct. They do ship in case you can’t find them in your local area.

Important note: Pork should be soaked in vinegar prior to eating, as explained in this nice article from the Weston A. Price Foundation. Also see my blog post “The 3 P’s: Preparing Pork Properly.”

Ingredients
1 pork foot (mine was approximately 10-inches long)
1 package (about 1 lb.) chicken feet, cleaned with skin left on
1 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Leftover veggies (except beets), if you have them

Instructions

  1. Place pig’s foot and chicken feet in a small oval pan.
  2. Add white or apple cider vinegar and fill pan with spring water.
  3. Carefully place pan in refrigerator and allow feet too soak through the night.
  4. Next morning, rinse well and place in a large oval slow cooker.
  5. Add onion and other leftover veggies (if using).
  6. Add spring water to fill to top. Cover and place on high heat for approximately 1 hour.
  7. Turn to low and simmer for approximately 12 hours. (I generally start mine at 5 to 6 in the morning, and it’s nicely cooked by 6 in the evening.)
  8. Allow broth to cool. Remove pig’s feet with a slotted spoon and save to eat. (It’s quite tasty with a bit of salt and pepper.)
  9. Remove chicken feet with the slotted spoon. (These can be cooked a second time until extremely soft, then crushed for use in your homemade dog or cat food.)
  10. Strain broth into a large glass bowl and place in refrigerator overnight.
  11. Next morning you will have a thick and healthy broth. I freeze mine in 1-pint BPA- free plastic containers for later use in my beans or other soups. Or I heat a cup, add finely minced garlic and some salt and pepper, and serve it with my meal.
Afterthoughts from the Traditional Cook

I can’t seem to wait
It’s sick I know
I’m so excited
To have the body that my mind
Wants to know.

I want to see bones
Not my rib cage
But more!
Oh joy,
The hip bones,
Collarbones,
And muscles galore!

I want to be strong
So nobody can tell me wrong
I want to be the best
To have a body that I seem to long.

This tale may sound weird
But at least I know what I want.
One day I’ll have a body
That won’t jiggle, but one that I can flaunt.
—“Body, bones, and Muscles galore!” (by R)

Note from Maria: I am a Certified Natural Health Professional, CNHP, not a medical doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe for, treat, or claim to prevent, mitigate, or cure any human diseases. Please see your medical doctor prior to following any recommendations I make in my blogs or on my website.

Images from iStock/XtockImages (main image), bowdenimages (man with weights), iLexx (cyborg), gpointstudio (woman and trainer).  

Maria Atwood, CNHP

Maria Atwood is a semi-retired Certified Natural Health Professional and Weston A. Price Chapter Leader in Colorado Springs, CO. Her website, Traditional Cook, offers the Wonder Mixer as well as the #1 rated grain mill, Wondermill. Maria’s “Cook Your Way to Wellness” DVD and booklet is available on demand at Vimeo.com and also sold as a full set on Selene River Press. Be sure to join the Selene River Press newsletter to follow Maria’s Tips from The Traditional Cook blog.

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