Follistatin is a compound made of protein and sugar molecules – a glycoprotein. As shown by studies in rats and mice, follistatin is primarily produced in the liver, although it can also be found in almost all body tissues. Follistatin increases in muscle tissue in response to muscle damage and plays a role in promoting cell growth throughout the body. However, there are many different forms of follistatin, which play different roles in different parts of the body:
Follistatin 344 (FS-344): The most basic form of follistatin. It is primarily used in gene therapy, where the gene that helps create more follistatin is injected into the body using specially-designed viruses. Different parts of the body can then convert this “general” form of follistatin into more specific types in order to target different parts of the body.
Follistatin 344 has gained a lot of attention in the past few years among many in the fitness community. So, continue reading for our explanation about what Follistatin 344 is and how to use Follistatins effectively.
So, what is Follistatin 344? The simple answer is that it’s a protein that can deliver major fitness results. The chemical compounds that make Follistatin 344 what it is are also what make it a powerhouse when included in fitness supplements. High in the non-essential amino acid cysteine, it binds to myostatins in the blood and inhibits them from being active.
For those who don’t know what myostatins are, their primary purposes is to block quick muscle growth. Essentially, Follistatin 344 blocks the muscle growth blockers in your system.
1) Muscle Growth
Follistatin has gained attention in the bodybuilding community due to claims that it can significantly boost muscle mass, although there are relatively few scientific studies that directly back this up in healthy human subjects. A study found that supplementation with egg yolk-derived follistatin (MYO-X) led to increased muscle mass in 37 college males when taken at 10 to 30 grams per day together with resistance training for 8 weeks. One way that follistatin may accelerate muscle growth is by inhibiting myostatin, a protein that limits muscle development. For example, a monkey study found that increasing the production of follistatin led to a corresponding decrease in myostatin activity and a significant increase in muscle growth. In mice, follistatin stimulated the development of muscle cells, leading to enhanced muscle growth and repair. However, follistatin increased muscle growth even in mice that were genetically modified to lack myostatin, showing that follistatin affects muscle growth in other ways that are not directly related to myostatin. Although this is the most common use of follistatin, the evidence to support it is insufficient. More clinical trials on larger populations are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.
2) Preventing Muscle Loss
In a study of 6 male patients with Becker muscular dystrophy (a muscular disorder that specifically affects the legs and pelvis), follistatin injections increased muscle strength, leading to improvements in the patients’ symptoms without any adverse side effects. Boosting follistatin levels has also been tested as a treatment for sarcopenia, an age-related muscle-wasting disease. In old mice, daily injections of epicatechin (a natural compound that increases follistatin levels) led to increased overall muscle strength. The same treatment in 6 human subjects increased their hand grip strength after seven days. Follistatin also increased life expectancy in mice with spinal muscular atrophy, a genetic disease that involves muscle wasting. This suggests that follistatin could be used as a therapy technique due to its positive effects on muscle maintenance and growth. Taken together, the evidence is insufficient to claim that follistatin helps prevent muscle loss until further clinical research is conducted.
A small trial on 26 men with male-pattern baldness found that a single injection of follistatin with other growth factors increased the number of hairs on the head as well as their thickness (follicle density and hair shaft thickness). These beneficial effects lasted for up to a year with only a single treatment without needing repeated administrations. A single clinical trial, despite its promising results, cannot be considered sufficient evidence that follistatin helps with male-pattern baldness. Larger, more robust clinical trials are needed.
4) Role in Reproductive Health
A number of findings indicate that follistatin seems to have some role in reproductive health, although its precise role is not yet entirely clear. In men, seminal fluid is rich in follistatin, although the levels of follistatin don’t seem to be directly related to sperm count. For women, follistatin promotes folliculogenesis, the process that prepares eggs to be released from the ovaries during ovulation.
Follistatin levels are reduced during menopause but can be elevated using hormone replacement therapy. A study of 7 women found that increased follistatin levels during the third trimester of pregnancy were associated with healthy labor and child delivery. Follistatin also inhibits the activity of activins, which play a role in many aspects of reproductive health. For example, activins are involved in the development of reproductive organs (testes and ovaries), and problems in normal activin function are related to tumors in those organs. An increase in activin levels in women is correlated with reproductive aging. Abnormalities in follistatin and activin activity have also been linked to polycystic ovary syndrome and problems during pregnancy. Further clinical research is required to clearly establish the role of follistatin in reproductive health and determine if it can be therapeutically used for reproductive issues.
How to use
Once they find out how amazing the effects can be, most people wonder how to use follistatin effectively. Typically, this supplement comes in powdered or liquid form and is diluted into a mixture. Follistatin can be stored in the refrigerator and used within seven days of mixing. For those who prefer to go the injection route, the typical dose is about 100 micrograms (mcg) per day for 10 to 30 days. It’s best to start on the low end as far as dosages go and then work up from there. Everyone’s dosage level is slightly different based on a mixture of factors including body weight and height as well as genetic disposition. Some people have had success “stacking” other peptides with Follistatin 344, to boost the effectiveness even more. The peptides that can be stacked include: IGF-1 LR3, Ostarine, Hexarelin, GHRP-6. As always, make sure to do your research before combining any peptides.
Follistatin 344 has been proven to weaken joints and ligaments, but one way to avoid this is to cycle use of this supplement. Rather than taking it for an extended period of time, use it only for a few weeks and then move to another supplement in your fitness regimen. You can come back to myostatin inhibitors after you’ve given your system a little rest. Others have noted that Follistatin 344 increased their appetite, with caloric intake ballooning from 4000 to 6000+ calories. This however is not definitively proven to happen all the time. In addition to the side effects already mentioned, one major drawback to this treatment is the cost. Many companies offer Follistatin 344 for upwards of $1000 for 1 mg. Fortunately, Paradigm Peptides offers a Follistatin 344 product for just $99. It’s a price that’s hard to beat.
Understanding what Follistatin 344 is means understanding the risks associated with this particular peptide too. Safety is an important issue you should consider before using any supplements to enhance physical performance. The fact of the matter is that there is not a whole lot of definitive evidence one way or the other regarding the safety of Follistatin 344. As previously mentioned, during the period when people are taking myostatin inhibitors, there can be a weakening of the tendons and ligaments which can in turn cause excess stress for the heart. Once myostatin returns to normal levels in the body, however, these effects wear off. Another point to remember is that people rarely take myostatin inhibitors for any extended length of time.
Dosage and administration
Human-grade follistatin is extremely expensive; costing more than $4,500 for just 1 milligram. Even the websites selling bulk follistatin insist it only be used for research and not used in humans. However, this doesn’t stop bodybuilders from experimenting with this product; amateur logs online typically dose FS344 at one injection of 100 micrograms (mcg) per day for anywhere from 10 to 30 days.
Some users even experimented with 200+ mcg but the effects didn’t become more pronounced. In fact, most users found the product did nothing at all. A handful of users claimed injections of FS344 to have miraculous effects on mass gain but if you examine their logs, FS344 appears to increase their appetite; some users increasing their caloric intake from 4000 to more than 6000 calories.
Any time you dramatically increase your caloric intake above your daily caloric requirement, you’re going to gain weight. The users logging FS344 while undergoing a fat loss phase found that it didn’t help to maximize fat loss or preserve muscle mass any more effectively than without using FS344. it’s also worth noting that all of these FS344 logs were on pro-anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) with nearly every user running FS344 alongside numerous other pro-hormones and AAS’s.
In conclusion, follistatin is a protein that can play a powerful role in reversing muscle loss and building new muscle mass, but given the cost and lack of research in human subjects, it’s not recommended for the average or even the advanced athlete.