Monthly Archives: June 2017

How Healthy Muscles Generate Force?

Whether in whispering a syllable or lifting a heavy weight, we require the coordinated use of muscles. The human body has numerous muscles for moving our various joints. We have various types of muscles in our body, some for involuntary contractions, such as cardiac muscles and some for voluntary contractions, such as skeletal muscles. Skeletal muscles can vary in sizes and shapes. Some of the most common and larger weight bearing muscles are those in our limbs- such as the biceps muscles in our arms or the quadriceps in our thighs – more commonly referred to as the quads.

Muscle are composed of muscle fibers that extend from tendon to tendon that connect to our bone. Fibers can vary in sizes depending on the size and type of muscle. The muscle fibers are grouped together into bundles that lie alongside in parallel or in series depending on the size of the muscle. The smallest unit of a muscle fiber is known as a sarcomere which is responsible for producing the muscular contraction – or the smallest unit of force from the muscle fibers.

Muscle fibers are innervated by the alpha motor neuron (MN) that resides within our spinal cord. Motor neurons will innervate several muscle fibers scattered throughout the muscle and not necessarily the fibers lying next to each other.  This type of distributed innervation ensures the MN’s electrical activity can stimulate the whole muscle globally. The alpha motor neuron and all the muscle fibers it innervates forms one motor unit (MU). When the alpha motor neuron receives neuronal excitation, it is activated and it will electrically stimulate each of the various muscle fibers it is connected to. Muscle fibers are physiologically compatible with their motor neurons and larger fibers are connected to larger neurons.

The total number of fibers that a neuron is connected to determines the innervation ratio. One important thing is that MN has a one to many mapping to its muscle fibers. This means that one MN is connected to many fibers throughout the muscle. This leads to distributed and smooth muscle control. On the other hand, each muscle fiber is typically innervated by just one motor neuron in a one on one mapping. However, one exception exists in the muscles of the tongue.

A motor unit will be activated when the alpha motor unit is electrically stimulated and reaches its action potential. The signal passing down to the fibers causes the muscle fibers to contract and cumulatively we have a motor unit twitch– it is the building block of the force produced by a muscle. When the MU is repeatedly activated, we have continuous bursts of MU twitches. When the MU is activated faster, the twitches will summate or tetanize to our muscle force.

This is the idea behind force. Each muscle is composed of hundreds of MUs depending on the size of the muscle. The brain sends the command or neural excitation to each motor unit. With increasing excitation, more and more and larger units are activated. Hence the force output increases and also smooth out as the twitches summate.

Want to Get to the Roots of Health?

We share the health benefits and medicinal properties of these five super root vegetables.

Turmeric: Curcumin is the rich compound found in turmeric that gives it the bright yellow color and has many other properties beneficial to health.

  • Delays the occurence and progression of diabetes
  • Helps to protect and fight against cancer
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties for management of joint pain and arthritis
  • Protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases such as stroke and Alzheimeres’

Ginger: The phenolic compounds found in ginger has many health benefits.

  • Helps to relieve gastrointestinal issues and promotes healthy digestion in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract
  • Reduces inflammation and can be used to treat inflammatory disease conditions
  • Decreases risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality
  • Improves hair growth and skin complexion
  • Increases overall energy and stamina

Beetroot: The phytonutrients that beets are packed with gives it the bright crimson red color and has numerous benefits for overall health.

  • Lowers blood pressure within hours of drinking beet juice
  • Boosts stamina and increases energy level
  • Beets have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Beets contain betaine, a nutrient that helps protect cells and enzymes from oxidative stress and help fight against inflammation
  • Has anti-cancer properties. The phytonutrients found in beets help fight against cancer

Sweet Potato: They are packed with carotenoids which give them their bright orange color and makes them one of the super root vegetables.

  • Sweet potatoes have natural sugars which are released into the bloodstream slowly and this prevents the occurrence of blood sugar spikes.
  • They contain the compound magnesium which has anti-stress and relaxing effects.
  • Sweet potatoes are high in carotenoids that have anti-oxidative properties and help to fight against cancer as well as delay the progression of aging.
  • They are a valuable source of iron which helps to support a healthy immune system.

Garlic: The health benefits of garlic have been well known for centuries. It is packed with the compound Allicin which gives it many medicinal properties.

  • Raw garlic consumption on a regular basis will lower bad cholesterol levels . It has been found to be a super food for centuries  in preventing the development of heart disease and in regulating blood pressure.
  • It also has anti-bacterial properties. Diluted garlic extract can be used to treat bacterial infections.
  • Daily consumption of garlic prevents against stomach and colorectal cancers. It helps to boost the resistance of cells against cancer.
  • Loss of collagen can lead to reduced elasticity in aging skin. The anti-oxidative properties of garlic protect skin against free radical damage and decelerate the loss of collagen.