Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone that is similar in structure to insulin and works with Growth Hormone to reproduce and regenerate cells.
Growth Hormone, made by the pituitary gland, stimulates the liver to produce IGF-1 and IGF-1 subsequently stimulates growth in cells throughout the body, leading to growth and development (as in the womb and through adolescence), strengthening of tissues (improving bone density, building muscle), and healing (skin, bones, gut lining, etc.), depending on what the body needs.
IGF-1 got its current name because it has certain insulin-like actions in the body (including lowering blood sugar), but it isn’t nearly as powerful as insulin when it comes to controlling blood glucose levels. Because it mediates many of the effects of human growth hormone, many people discuss these two hormones interchangeably.
Here are some of the positive things that IGF-1 does for us (more on these below):
– helps build muscle mass and increase strength;
– helps prevent muscle wasting;
– may enhance physical performance, support muscle recovery and help with healing from injuries;
– can help regulate levels of body fat (adipose tissue);
– builds strength in response to strength-training;
– helps build bones and protect against bone loss;
– can help regulate blood sugar levels and decrease diabetes risk factors;
– supports growth and development in children;
– supports vascular endothelial growth;
– may help prevent skin thinning .
Things That Increase IGF-1:
– intense/strenuous exercise & HIIT workouts : vigorous exercise helps release more growth hormone, especially when you just begin this type of exercise. Over time, though, as your body acclimates to intense exercise, you may start releasing less;
– resistance/strength-training : strength-training is one of the best ways to increase IGF-1 and retain muscle mass. It helps us to adapt to the “stress” our muscles are put under when we challenge them with heavy weights. The fact that we can build strength and lean muscle mass when we strength train can partially be attributed to growth hormone and IGF-1;
– eating high amounts of dairy and protein : there’s some evidence that high intakes of protein from dairy products can lead to higher blood levels of IGF-1;
– eating enough calories to support your activity level and needs;
– sleeping enough: sleep deprivation can mess with overall hormone health in many ways. Getting quality sleep is important for the production of growth hormone, recovery from exercise, neurological health, appetite control and more;
– sauna sessions: certain studies suggest that 60-minute sauna sessions twice daily for one week can significantly increase production of growth hormone, which is believed to also apply to IGF-1.
Looking forward to hearing from you and helping you to maintain optimal levels of IGF- 1 with great benefits over overall health.