Many athletes use a substance called IGF-1 or Insulin like Growth Factor in order to improve endurance and athletic performance. It is also known as the “Anti-Ageing Supplement” or “Fountain of Youth” helping to protect the body from the ravages of age like wrinkles, sagging skin, Grey Hair, Weight Gain, etc. I decided to do a little research on this substance to see if it was something I might consider taking. Here is what I found:
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is the natural hormone that promotes growth during childhood but our bodies produce 80% less human growth hormone by the time we reach the age of 60. Human Growth Hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and enters our blood stream during deep sleep and when exercising on an empty stomach. It is then converted into IGF-1 by the liver. Human Growth Hormone plays a very important role in our metabolism. Blood levels of Growth Hormone can be effected by exercise, sleep, emotional stress, and diet.
IGF-1 has a chemical structure that resembles insulin and, in excessive amounts, can in fact produce the same symptoms as Type I diabetes.
1) HGH is responsible for cellular rejuvenation. Low levels of HGH lead to aging.
2) Deficiencies can lead to wrinkled or sagging skin, thinning bones, loss of muscle strength, accumulation of body fat, decreased heart function, lowered immunity, thinning hair, decreased stamina and vigor, depression, anxiety, and fatigue
3) HGH helps with weight control and loss of belly fat.
4) HGH can reverse the signs of aging by 5-15 percent a year.
5) IGF-1 has been shown to increase the rate and extent of muscle repair after injury and increase the rate of muscle growth from training.
1) The risk of cancer is higher among people with raised concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I
2) If you drink milk treated with rBGH then you might already be getting elevated levels of IGF
3) High levels can inhibit the death of cells which have come to the end of their natural life cycle and can inhibit the apoptosis (death) of cancer cells.
4) Enhances tumor invasion and metastasis i.e. speeds tumor spread and growth
Experts recommend that you begin supplementing with HGH around the age of 30. True HGH is available by prescription only and can cost around $300 a month so many people opt for IGF-1 supplementation. IGF-1 is found as a self titled supplement or can be found in Colostrum which also boosts the immune system. A similar hormone called Chlorella Growth factor (CGF) can be found in Chlorella which is also high in chlorophyll, helps to detox the body and raises blood levels of albumin which helps to guard against cancer.
All information that I found on IGF-1 talked about “High” or “Raised” levels of IGF-1 in the blood but never reported what these high levels actually were or the upper limits on safety. They never talked about the “normal” concentrations so that we could know what “raised” actually means.
I discovered from WebMD.com that “Normal” levels are considered to be the following:
Men : Less than 5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) (less than 220 picomoles per liter [pmol/L])
Women : Less than 10 ng/mL (less than 440 pmol/L)
Children : Less than 20 ng/mL (less than 880 pmol/L)
Newborn s: 15–40 ng/mL (660–1760 pmol/L)
But I still wonder what “raised” or “high” levels in the studies actually were. Is it possible that a man or a woman who has the levels of a child (20ng/mL) is considered at a higher risk for cancer and accelerated tumor growth? Or were the levels higher than that of a child even? Is there a valid reason why our bodies produce less HGH as we age or do external factors like how we take care of ourselves actually cause us to produce less of it and therefore age more quickly?
My conclusion from all this would be that supplementation may be beneficial after the age of 30 as long as you don’t take it in excess. Many body builders have this stuff injected straight into their muscles and I would never consider going to this extreme.
I have seen Lozenges, sprays and capsules of either HGH, IGF-1, or Colostrum that offer varying amounts of the hormone. These products may be safe to take without risk of elevating your blood levels of IGF-1 too high while still providing some anti-ageing and performance benefits but I can’t be sure since I don’t really know the safe upper limits. When you read through product websites, they all say that their product is “safe when taken as directed” but everyone’s body is different so make sure to listen to your own body if you decide to supplement with IGF-1. In addition, I would probably advise being cautious of your dietary intake of IGF-1 from meats and rBGH treated milk sources before choosing to supplement with IGF-1.
Depending on the bio-availability of CGF compared to IGF it might actually be more beneficial to supplement with chlorella as it has MANY other health benefits and is considered one of the “Super Foods.” I will be doing a blog shortly on the benefits of chlorella so I hope you will return once that has been posted.
– For Educational Purposes Only
– Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
– These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far
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