Insulin growth-like factor (IGF-1) is an essential hormone that strongly resembles insulin.IGF-1 is synthesized in the liver and in muscle tissue. IGF-1 has many anabolic benefits and is responsible for the growth and development of the human body during childhood.
There are numerous benefits of IGF-1. IGF-1 is required to maintain the health of brain cells. Without a sufficient amount of IGF-1, brain cells undergo a cellular destructive process known as apoptosis. Low IGF-1 levels are also responsible for the breakdown of muscle and connective tissue.
The primary cause of low IGF-1 levels a hormone deficiency. This is because IGF-1 is directly related to several other hormones in the body. If these other hormones are not produced, the body fails to produce an adequate amount of IGF-1 for healthy development.
Unfortunately, not much is known why hormone deficiencies develop although some studies indicate that there are external factors during pregnancy that can affect IGF-1 levels. In adults, low IGF-1 levels are simply due to the natural aging process and IGF-1 levels can be increased through natural supplements.
In children, there are a few symptoms of low IGF-1 levels. The main symptom is a lack of growth and development of the body. Muscle development is slow and a noticeable lack of height is often seen. For most children, injections are needed to boost IGF-1 levels to hopefully stimulate growth and development.
In adults, there are also a few symptoms. Muscle wasting is a good indication that IGF-1 production is slowing down. Slow protein synthesis, weight gain, and joint pain are also three good indications that the body is not producing an adequate amount of IGF-1.
There are four main ways to treat low IGF-1 levels. They are:
Lifestyle Changes: Making simple lifestyle changes can cause small changes in IGF-1 levels. Brief, intense exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost IGF-1 production. Weight lifting also boosts metabolism IGF-1 production.
Diet Changes: A change in diet is also the next recommended treatment for low IGF-1. Supplements like whey protein and creatine are often added because they naturally increase IGF-1 production. Most people are told to go on a low-sugar, low carbohydrate diet, although this is not an option in some cases due to diabetes.
Injections & Medications: Injections are not a viable treatment option in most cases because of the high cost and high risk of complications. Medications like Aricept and Exeleon boost IGF-1 levels but both medications are only prescribed for adults with Alzheimer’s.
IGF-1 Boosters: Finally, the last way to increase IGF-1 levels is by taking an IGF-1 booster such as deer antler velvet. There are numerous studies regarding deer antler velvet and there is sufficient evidence to support deer antler velvet as a legitimate IGF-1 booster. This is largely due to the fact that deer antler velvet actually contains IGF-1. When taken as a supplement, users generally see in increase in IGF-1 levels.