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Follistatin and Muscle Growth
Follistatin works by binding to and inhibiting transforming growth factor- (TGF-) peptides such as myostatin which is responsible for regulating and limiting muscle growth. It's also worth pointing out that myostatin may have a regulatory role in skeletal muscle fibrosis; too much myostatin can impair tissue function and cause chronic disease in vital organs, tissues, and bone marrow.
In additional to suppressing the degenerative properties of myostatin, follistatin also suppresses the pituitary gland synthesis and secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). High FSH levels in men may indicate that testicles are not functioning correctly; this condition limits muscle growth, recovery, and normal hormonal function.
However, FSH levels that are too low can also negatively impact health and reproductive capabilities.
Whereas some myostatin inhibitors like Trichostatin A (TSA) require daily administration, increased levels of FS344 were observed up to 15 months after initial injection. The lack of need for daily administration makes follistatin an attractive alternative for suppressing myostatin.
The recent increase in attention in the science community on follistatin and other myostatin inhibitors is primarily due to the desire to find an alternative means to treat muscle disorders; the most popular current option is androgen steroids which pose a number of side-effects and long-term health risks. At this point you might be wondering why follistatin use isn't more widespread in bodybuilders and other athletes. In the next section we will examine the current research on follistatin and whether it builds muscle mass.