eli5: What causes muscle cells to die, and what happens to them after they die?



eli5: What causes muscle cells to die, and what happens to them after they die?

In: Biology

Our muscles die for a variety of reasons, though the most common reasons are age and lack of use. When not used, they are not supplied the necessary blood and nutrients and are simply consumed by the body, this however leaves a gap in the muscular structure which is in turn filled by its neighbors. So when you lose muscle youre effectively seeing the muscle proteins be consumed, and the remaining muscles spread to compensate for the loss, eventually getting to the point where there is a noticible visual difference. Vice versa when you gain muscles, the fibers develop and push other fibers out of the way or simply grow attop them

Imagine your body as a structure made of different coloured lego bricks. In areas not used anymore the bricks are taken down and used elsewhere. But in the bodies case the bricks are cell and proteins taken down and used for something else. The body is smart but not THAT smart. If you’re a body builder for example the body doesn’t understand its building muscle. Its just knows its being presented with a task every day(lifting heavy things) and it needs to move resources and strengthen certain areas to achieve these tasks. This is why you eat lots and take protein products to give the body something to use.

The body is a cold, somewhat clueless sometimes machine. All its geared to do is survive and complete the tasks before it the most efficient way possible. If you’re wheelchair bound for a period the body doesn’t think ” we’ll hold on to these muscles for when we’re out”. It thinks “we aren’t using these legs, what’s the point of supplying resources to these muscles”

Side note as a body builder. We have to change up workouts because doing the same thing over and over will end up in the body “cheating”. Coming up with the easiest efficient way to lift this weight this certain way. Which wont lead to growth. Because you body doesn’t understand the goal is to get ripped and stay ripped. Its just trying to manage resources versus requirements. BUT your cells can “remember” what they were before. This is why people who were musclely before can quickly grow again. And why some people who were overweight in the past can be prone to weight gain.