If you’ve ever spent any time in the free weights section of a gym, you’ve probably heard all kinds of acronyms being thrown around. Today we’re going to dive into the world of IGF 1, one of the most common combos of capital letters being talked about.
In bodybuilding circles, IGF 1 is one of the most common topics that comes up time and time again. IGF 1 stands for insulin like growth factor 1, an anabolic hormone that stimulates the growth of bone, muscle, and important body tissue.
So, what’s all the fuss about when it comes to IGF 1? Well, boosting muscle volume and muscle mass is no easy feat, and IGF 1 supports this process, becoming crucial in building muscle and sculpting your body fat composition.
In addition, insulin like growth factor 1 influences the biological aging of cells, as well as your insulin sensitivity. So, how is it produced? And why can’t bodybuilders stop talking about it? Let’s dive in. But first, let’s talk about peptides.
What are peptides?
Commonly used in the bodybuilding community, peptides are used to support muscle growth and enhance performance, in particular, growth hormone secretagogues (GHS). Often seen as a natural alternative to the typical anabolic steroids, many users will rave about their ability to enhance muscle growth, boost fat loss and maximize their training sessions.
Simply, peptides are short chains of amino acids, which are what form the building blocks of proteins. These amino acids chains already exist in your body, and they often come from the food you eat, such as:
- Whole grains
As these short chains of amino acids are already involved in a variety of your body’s processes, including hormone production, they are very useful for muscle growth. Usually, you’ll find peptide supplements are sold as a powder to be mixed with liquid, or to be injected into the body.
There are also specific peptides that may help boost the release of hormones that are known to encourage fat loss, improve workout performance & recovery, and boost muscle growth.
Can you see why peptides would be so popular in the bodybuilding community? But let’s find out more.
Human growth hormone
It all comes down to human growth hormone (HGH). So, going back to peptides for a minute, you need to pay attention to growth hormone secretagogues (GHS), as these stimulate the production and release of human growth hormone. Growth hormone works by enhancing muscle growth and promoting fat loss.
Most bodybuilders won’t necessarily have a HGH deficiency, however, a boost of growth hormone can encourage the liver to release insulin like growth factor 1. From here, IGF 1 triggers muscle protein production, encouraging muscle growth.
Back in the 80s, human growth hormone was widely used in professional sports to enhance performance in athletes and bodybuilders. But in 1989, the International Olympic Committee banned any off-label use of human growth hormone.
Why use GHSs instead?
It’s believed that growth hormone secretagogues (GHS) offer many of the benefits of human growth hormone (HGH) without as many side effects.
Peptide types for bodybuilding
So, we’ve talked about bodybuilders being interested in growth hormone secretagogues (GHS). The most popular GHS are:
- Growth hormone releasing hormones, such as: sermorelin, tesamorelin, CJC-1293, and CJC-1295
- Ghrelin and compounds mimicking its effects, including: lenomorelin, anamorelin, ipamorelin, macimorelin, and tabimorelin
- Growth hormone releasing peptides (GHRPs), for example: alexamorelin, GHRP-1, GHRP-2, GHRP-3, GHRP-4, GHRP-5, GHRP-6, and hexarelin
Each of these peptides work by stimulating the production and release of growth hormone. However, they do this in different ways. Simply, GHS peptides encourage and stimulate the release of growth hormones, which then encourage solid muscle gain.
Before you rush out and shop for GHSs, you should know that currently there are no clinical studies on their impact and potential side effects.
Is IGF 1 a peptide?
A small peptide, IGF 1 is made up of around 70 amino acids. Insulin like growth factor 1 or IGF 1 is primarily known as being the hormone that works as a mediator of growth hormone. This is because when insulin like growth factors and growth hormones come together, they support the growth of bones and tissues.
Are GHSs safe?
Honestly? We just don’t know. There’s not a lot of research available on the safety of GHSs, both long and short term. So, there’s plenty of room for research in this area.
What we do know, based on user findings is that some of the common side effects of GHS may include:
- Increased appetite
- Heightened blood sugar levels
- Fluid retention
In addition, GHSs may also lower the body’s sensitivity to insulin, which would make it harder to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
How is IGF 1 produced?
Most insulin like growth factor 1 is produced by the liver, as much as 75%. IGF 1 is created in response to the release of growth hormone, which is stimulated by food, sleep, and exercise.
Once released by your liver, IGF 1 then enters and circulates your blood stream, often referred to as circulating IGF 1 or cIGF 1.
In addition, other tissue in your body including muscle tissue, also secretes IGF 1. However, unlike the circulating cIGF 1, the type secreted by tissue targets other nearby tissue.
IGF 1 and building muscle
For hypertrophy to occur, the speed that your muscles build protein, aka muscle protein synthesis, needs to be greater than the speed in which your muscles break down protein.
Insulin like growth factor is popular in bodybuilding because IGF 1 hormone binds to IGF 1 receptors in tissue, causing two things to happen:
- stimulates molecules that switch on the production of proteins (such as mTOR)
- inhibits molecules that are responsible for the breakdown of proteins (such as FoxO-1).
In other words, IGF 1 has a positive impact on both ends of protein synthesis which leads to hypertrophy and muscle growth. In addition, insulin like growth factor also benefits muscle growth because it activates specialized muscle cells, known as satellite cells. So, those with higher levels of insulin like growth factor 1 will most likely find it easier to build muscle.
What about IGF 1 and aging?
We spoke earlier about insulin like growth factors and the body’s cells. There are some animal studies which have suggested that boosted levels of IGF 1 could benefit muscle protein synthesis and in addition, accelerate cell division and death – these are crucial elements of the aging process. Combined with fasting and calorie restriction (which have also been shown to delay cell aging and increase our lifespan), may have the ability to reduce cIGF 1.
IGF 1 and insulin sensitivity
IGF 1 can also increase tissue sensitivity to insulin, therefore leading to increased glucose uptake from the bloodstream. This occurs through insulin like growth factor binding to a hybrid receptor: IGF 1/hybrid insulin receptor.
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But, it’s complicated. The relationship between circulating IGF 1 and sensitivity to insulin is complex because IGF 1 also promotes growth hormone, which in turn boosts insulin function.
Overall, there is limited evidence but current research from clinical trials shows that both low and high IGF 1 levels could lead to poor insulin sensitivity.
IGF 1 benefits in bodybuilding
As IGF 1 is an anabolic hormone, it works to stimulate the growth of bone, muscle, and other tissue. It also plays a pivotal role in building muscle mass and users have reported solid muscle gain.
In addition, IGF 1 can help to shift body fat, helping to hold onto muscle mass whilst cutting the fat.
With everything we know about IGF 1, it’s no surprise that hormones with anabolic properties, like growth hormone (GH), insulin like growth factor 1 IGF 1, and insulin are used by professional athletes and bodybuilders who are looking to enhance their physical performance as well as their body fat composition.
As well as muscle and tissue growth, our skeletal muscle growth is critical for movement. If you’re looking to level up your skeletal muscle growth, it’s largely regulated by nutrition, exercise, hormones, genetics, and even your ethnicity.
Interested in some of the benefits of IGF 1? Well, they include:
- Protein synthesis
- Fat storage is channeled for energy production, resulting in fat loss
- Positive metabolic effects
- Increased lean body mass and lowered fat levels
- Improved cognitive function
- Boosts hyperplasia in muscle cells, leading to fuller muscle tissues
IGF 1 vs Human growth hormone
Human growth hormones don’t necessarily lead to muscle growth, however, they do enhance muscle growth by signaling for the release of IGF 1.
Can you be prescribed human growth hormone?
Yes, but not for bodybuilding. Human growth hormone (HGH), is prescribed for medical conditions such as Adult Growth Hormone Deficiency Syndrome. Just like many anabolic steroids, growth hormone deficiency is its real purpose, not bodybuilding.
Is there an IGF 1 growth hormone supplement?
As we talked about above, growth hormone treatment is kept aside for those with true growth hormone deficiency. Therefore, insulin like growth factor 1 isn’t prescribed without a diagnosis of a growth hormone deficiency or low GH levels. It’s not safe to be used recreationally.
IGF 1 growth hormone supplements can have some adverse effects and have been linked to some nasty side effects, such as:
- Joint pain
- Hormone dysfunction
- Increased risk of cancer
- Low blood glucose levels
- Swelling of the extremities
- Heart enlargement
IGF 1 and weight loss
As well as those looking to bulk up, increasing insulin like growth factor 1 levels can also be enticing to those looking to burn fat. However, due to the lack of evidence and clinical trials, plus the pretty serious side effects listed above, we don’t recommend IGF 1 supplements for weight loss.
IGF 1 and cancer research
Similar to how IGF 1 helps specific cells to reproduce and thrive, it also enhances the chances of survival and growth of unhealthy cells. As well as promoting cell growth, IGF 1 prevents apoptosis (scheduled cell death), which could make it easier for cancer to spread.
There have been studies to explore cancer treatments aimed at changing IGF 1 activity, however, more research is needed.
So, is IGF 1 safe?
We all need a healthy balance of insulin like growth factor (IGF 1) and growth hormone as this is crucial for our development and human growth. Abnormal levels of IGF 1 can lead to medical conditions such as:
- A rare condition known as acromegaly (gigantism)
- Very low levels can cause a condition called Laron Syndrome (dwarfism), typically diagnosed in childhood
- Both chronically low and high levels of IGF 1 can increase risk of death in adults
A little more on insulin like growth factor 1…
IGF 1 is produced throughout your life, however, it typically peaks during puberty. It’s critical for body growth and other bodily functions that we have normal levels of IGF 1. Many try to boost their insulin like growth factor 1 after discovering its potential to boost muscle growth, however, there are issues with having levels that are too high and too low.
How can you test IGF 1 levels?
We test IGF 1 levels through a simple blood test. For many, a growth hormone deficiency is commonly diagnosed during childhood, as it’s recognisable in children who seem to be growing more slowly.
IGF-1 is measured in nanograms (ng) per milliliter (mL). Normal values vary based on age and sex:
- Ages 0-10: 14-495 ng/mL
- Ages 11-17: 17-633 ng/mL
- Ages 18-55: 37-245 ng/mL
- Ages 55+: 25-232 ng/mL
Typically, a doctor will check for growth hormone deficiency when they suspect growth abnormalities, pituitary dysfunction or malnutrition.
Can you boost human growth hormone levels, naturally?
Absolutely. You don’t need to take risks with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, such as peptides and insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF 1). And if you believe you have a growth hormone deficiency, there are ways to boost this crucial hormone. Especially if you’re focused on muscle growth and fat loss.
Why risk it?
Although you might be intrigued by the benefits of IGF 1, ask yourself, is it worth the risk? Many bodybuilders want to increase their human growth hormone and take advantage of the benefits of boosted gains, but we’re not so sure that the potential side effects are worth it… are you?
We have carefully developed a safe and natural alternative to IGF 1: MUSCLE UPP by Juiced UPP which supports your goals of muscle mass gains, enhanced strength and reduced recovery time. Why would you want to build muscle any other way?
Just like anything else, if you want to see results and boost your muscle strength, you need to be mentally ready for the transformation, focus on your nutrition, and get into a workout routine. And if you really want to go all out and demolish that wall, go for the ultimate BULKING STACK. No poisons, no false promises. Just an insanely powerful natural alternative that will get you into beast mode!