IGF-1 stands for Insulin-like growth factor-1, and it is a polypeptide hormone belonging to the GH (growth hormone) class. Humans naturally produce it mostly from the liver, and in meager amounts from the peripheral tissues. However, some people are deficient in IGF-1 production, so they need to take a synthetic version of IGF-1. Interestingly, this hormone is extremely anabolic, and shares its name with insulin because it is similar in structure (specifically it carries the identical amount of amino acids), hence it popularity among athletes.
IGF-1 is used to treat those who are deficient in this hormone and/or those who do not respond well to HGH. Those individuals may have enough HGH in their system, but are not benefiting from it, so IGF-1 will be added to give an extra boost. The IGF-1 supplementation for this purpose is approved by FDA.
How it works
IGF-1 works by stimulating cell growth in both new, and existing tissue. As mentioned above, this hormone is released in the liver, and works by binding itself to the IGF receptors within cells in the body. This effect can be very beneficial to athletes because it will provide an anabolic environment, increase nitrogen retention, and increase protein synthesis. What’s more, there is evidence that IGF-1 will not only grow existing muscle cells bigger, but it will also promote the development of new muscle cells.
In addition to what we have discussed above, IGF-1 has some amazing properties that can be taken advantage of. For instance, it has been shown to help a person learn new skills, since it promotes growth of new motor neurons in the brain. Furthermore, it also can help repair cartilage, improve collagen formation, and even helps bones heal and grow. This means older athletes can benefit extremely well from its recovery properties, and prevent/heal injuries over the long term. Therefore, IGF-1 is the ultimate fountain of youth.
The most popular way to use IGF-1 is stacking it with an existing anabolic steroid cycle. This can result in explosive results in new muscle mass, and recovery that is even faster. Additionally, IGF-1 is widely used in bridges between cycles, as it will help hold muscle mass.
Stacking with HGH is another popular idea, as this can help increase lean body mass and reduce body fat. In fact, in one study, those who used IGF-1 combined with HGH gained 7 pounds of lean mass, and lost 5 pounds of fat.
However, before you run out and buy IGF-1, you need to understand that due to its negative implications on a person’s metabolic rate, IGF-1 may not give you the results you are aiming for. Hence, it is best to use IGF-1 in the offseason (or during a bulking phase), and is probably a poor choice for those cutting down for a contest, or who just want to lose weight.
IGF-1 can come with side effects, but generally it is much safer than other hormones. Obviously, since it has such anabolic and insulin like properties, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a concern. To avoid this, simply ingest some sugar, and take IGF-1 with food. Then, if symptoms still occur, have some more sugar to boost your blood sugar. Symptoms to look for are:
Anxiety, headache, sweating, hunger, dizziness, sleepiness, and abnormal behavior. If any of these symptoms occur you need to re-examine the dosage of IGF-1 you are taking and the timing, and how much sugar you are taking in with it, to balance things out.
There is also the possibility of non-hypo symptoms, such as joint issues, organ growth, and cholesterol issues.
IGF-1 works best stacked as outlined above, and can be used at dosages ranging anywhere from 15 micrograms (mcg) per day, up to 100mcg, depending on the individual. Usually, users will cycle it on and off for 4 week stretches.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Motor Neuron Diseases Fact Sheet”
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