If you’ve been working hard to improve your physique, you really should spend some time learning about AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Specifically, it would be advantageous to discover its many roles in the body, especially in regulating one of the most important transporters – GLUT4. Why bother with these exactly? Simply put, they could very well hold the key to finally achieving a leaner, slimmer figure.
The Basics of an Enzyme
AMPK is actually an enzyme that isn’t just produced by humans – even plants and yeasts have it. What’s even more fascinating is that it doesn’t merely exist in a particular kind of tissue. In humans, it’s found in brain, muscle, and liver tissues. This abundance and availability is most likely due to the encompassing role of AMPK in maintaining energy balance, particularly at the cellular level.
When the enzyme is activated, it induces a cascade of biochemical processes. Among these is fatty acid oxidation. As you probably know already, that term simply translates to fat burn. So, whenever you manage to activate the protein kinase, it would be safe to say that you get closer to your dream figure. Interestingly, whenever the enzyme is activated, fat synthesis is in turn inhibited.
Discovering a Transporter
Now that you’ve learned a bit about AMPK, it’s only appropriate to start discussing GLUT4. In the simplest sense, GLUT4 is a glucose transporter. Whenever you eat something that ends up in your bloodstream as glucose, the transporter initiates two processes – the conversion of glucose into glycogen (which is stored in the muscles), and energy production through the use of glucose as fuel.
So, the question now is, “how does the body know when to synthesize and activate GLUT4?” One answer to that lies in the transporter’s dependence on insulin. Whenever there’s an abundance of glucose in the bloodstream, the body secretes insulin from the beta cells. GLUT4 sees this as a signal to begin transporting glucose into the skeletal muscles, acting as some sort of gatekeeper.
How to Benefit from Them
Surely, AMPK and GLUT4 are capable of providing you with several important perks – and that means you’ll have to find ways to stimulate their production or induce their respective reactions. Fortunately, you don’t really have to carry out techniques or strategies for each of the two, given that AMPK also drives the activation of GLUT4 (particularly their binding with the plasma membrane to allow for glucose translocation).
This sequence of reactions is made possible by AMPK’s phosphorylating action, targeting the TBC1D1 protein – this is the one that directly acts on GLUT4, making it interact with the cells involved in glycogenesis. One of the known ways of inducing the aforesaid phosphorylating action is by getting resveratrol in your diet. Simply add grapes or wine, peanuts, or dark chocolate to your meal plans and you’ll be good to go.
Note that resveratrol is under a class of compounds called polyphenols, and there are others of its kind that hold the potential to boost AMPK activation. Genistein for example, which is typically sourced from soy-based food, also shows promise in activating the aforesaid enzyme. Quercetin, apigenin, and curcumin are other good examples of these AMPK-activating polyphenols. Note that most of these also come in supplement form.
True Potential of Exercise
If you’re currently aiming for a better physique, you’re probably spending more time at the gym. That’s a good thing because exercise is among the most potent when it comes to stimulating AMPK. Remember that the enzyme facilitates the production of additional energy, and consider the fact that exercise is practically a strenuous endeavor that burns your available energy at an accelerated and continuous pace.
So, the longer you exercise, the more AMPK gets activated. You’ll also be glad to know that AMPK has the capacity to facilitate the formation of new mitochondria. While that might seem unimpressive, you have to consider the fact that mitochondria production translates to enhanced muscle performance. That’s why some synthetic AMPK activators have been banned by anti-doping agencies.
What Are You Going to Do?
Now that you know about the AMPK-GLUT4 connection, what are you going to do? If you’re serious about attaining a better physique, the answer should be obvious. As long as you stick to the natural ways of stimulating the enzyme, and by extension the transporter, you shouldn’t run into any risks. Nonetheless, whatever changes you’re planning to make to your dietary or exercise routine, it’s best to first consult with a physician or nutritionist.