IGF 1 Supplements: Do They Make Us Stronger, Faster, Leaner and Full of Vitality?
Do IGF 1 supplements work? While science supports that this growth hormone can assist with improving recovery times for cartilage and tissue, IGF 1 supplement side effects must be weighed against the benefits.
People looking for ways to reach the next level by “hacking” the body's natural mechanisms to enhance performance, growth and natural healing often find themselves looking at supplements.
However, warnings regarding the inefficacies or side effects of supplements cause some people to shy away. Currently, there's a lot of interest in IGF 1 products for weight loss, muscle gain, and recovery.
Is this really the secret to a stronger, leaner body in less time? It's time to investigate the reality of IGF 1 supplement benefits.
- IGF 1 Supplements: Do They Make Us Stronger, Faster, Leaner and Full of Vitality?
- Here's What We Know About IGF 1: The Newest Fitness Fad That Happens to Be an Ancient Medicine
- Final Thoughts on IGF 1: Where Does the Research Leave Us?
Here's What We Know About IGF 1: The Newest Fitness Fad That Happens to Be an Ancient Medicine
You probably haven't been in a fitness forum or chat group lately without hearing someone mention IGF 1. However, one person's testimony of a total body transformation may not be enough to get you to order a batch of your own. What makes IGF 1 particularly interesting is that this is a hormone that our bodies already naturally produce and regulate.
In fact, people who develop unregulated, ultra-high levels of IGF can suffer from gigantism. Those with extremely low levels during the early stages of development can develop a condition called Laron Syndrome that causes extremely short stature.
For the rest of us, our bodies have produced just the right balance of this hormone throughout all of our stages of growth and development. Of course, that doesn't mean that our levels will stay at peak for our entire lives.
Beyond the Fitness-Forum Hype: Does IGF 1 Really Work?
First, you already have IGF 1 coursing through your body at this very moment. Nearly every cell in your body is capable of producing it! IGF 1 is an insulin-like growth factor that plays a role in regulating your body's hormone levels.
In fact, this regulating hormone actually works with the insulin produced in your body to help your cells replicate. While IGF 1 can be made in nearly all of our cells, we mostly produce it in our livers whenever our bodies detect an increase in hormone levels in the blood. Here's the skinny on what IGF 1 does in our bodies:
- Promotes cell growth.
- Shields cells from damage.
- Promotes brain function.
- Promotes kidney function.
- Supports the immune system.
- Supports the central nervous system.
How long does it take for IGF 1 to work? Generally, levels in the body reach a peak two weeks after supplementation begins. While our bodies produce IGF 1 for our entire lives, researchers know that levels tend to drop off as adulthood progresses.
Adults on both sides of the spectrum of either having too much or too little IGF 1 on a chronic basis are at increased risk for death. This brings us to the topic of supplementation. Is it a good idea to take IGF 1 products?
What Are the Benefits of IGF 1?
While IGF 1 has really exploded on the wellness scene recently, it's actually something that has been used by bodybuilders for years. It also been a staple of traditional Chinese medicine for generations. The most common form of IGF 1 is deer antler velvet.
As the name suggests, this is antler matter removed from a stag's antlers during a specific phase of development that happens to be composed of insulin-like growth factor 1. IGF 1 is what allows deer antlers to grow so rapidly. It is commonly sold in pill or spray form.
The core IGF 1 supplement benefits are found in the way that this hormone helps the body to repair itself through a process of building up the base protein needed for cells to grow. Ultimately, it helps to ramp up cell production that can help to heal injured and tired tissue faster.
This is why it is often used by people looking for recovery aids that will allow them to bounce back to return to training faster.
In an MIT study conducted with rats, researchers found that IGF 1 could play a role in helping to treat cartilage breakdown. However, other published research cited by the National Council on Strength and Fitness Training shows no positive benefits for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, sexual function or sport-performance enhancement resulting from IGF 1 supplementation.
There is actually very little research-backed evidence linking IGF 1 supplementation with enhanced performance of any kind.
The Link Between IGF 1 Supplements and Weight Loss
Recently, there has been a lot of interest regarding IGF 1 supplements and weight loss. Do claims regarding IGF 1 supplement benefits and weight loss check out? The bare truth is that IGF 1 can't cause you to lose weight on its own. However, weight loss is a potential byproduct of how this hormone impacts your body.
The easiest way to look at it is that IGF 1 enables the body to create more lean muscle mass. As a result, that muscle is burning more calories than fat would burn. What's more, increased energy and faster muscle recovery allow you to have longer, more intense workouts that burn more calories.
Really putting the time and effort into cultivating your diet and workout for optimal calorie-burning will ultimately supercharge the impact of IGF 1 products. However, people who aren't participating in muscle-building lifestyle choices are unlikely to see weight-loss benefits. IGF 1 should be seen as a vehicle for weight loss instead of a weight-loss “trick.”
What Are the Side Effects of IGF 1?
Is there really such thing as a “free lunch” in nature when you alter hormone levels using something like IGF 1 supplementation? There are some reported IGF 1 supplement side effects that are important to know about before committing to this supplement. Like all hormones, IGF 1 can have a profound impact on multiple bodily systems. Here's a look at some of the possible side effects associated with IGF 1:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Increased risk for certain hormone-sensitive cancers. Interestingly, people who develop Lancet Disease due to a lack of growth hormone are thought to be essentially immune to cancer.
- Low blood sugar/hypoglycemia.
- Enlarged heart.
- Swollen extremities.
- Hormonal imbalance.
- Joint pain.
It should be noted that most of the findings regarding IGF 1 and side effects are focused on IGF 1 abuse. This often means that researchers are looking at results from athletes who have taken or injected very high concentrations of IGF. In many cases, they have also abused IGF 1 in conjunction with anabolic steroids and insulin.
Getting Results Without the Use of Hormones: What Are Some IGF 1 Supplement Alternatives?
For people who are left feeling unsure about IGF 1 supplement side effects, there are questions about safer, less dramatic IGF 1 alternative supplements. There are actually several alternatives to IGF 1 that can generate similar responses in the body.
In one study, researchers found that zinc supplementation leads to a significant increase in IGF 1 in humans. The maximum benefit appears to be produced when dosages of up to 10 milligrams per day were taken consistently for eight weeks.
There's actually a way to increase IGF 1 levels in the body without taking any sort of supplement at all. Strength training has been proven to naturally boost IGF 1 levels in humans! These aren't small results we're looking at.
In one study, researchers concluded that 13 weeks of resistance training caused IGF 1 circulation in the body to increase by approximately 20 percent. There's also evidence to suggest that supplementing with magnesium and vitamin D could boost IGF 1 naturally.
Final Thoughts on IGF 1: Where Does the Research Leave Us?
IGF1 1 supplementation isn't something to be taken lightly. This is not like popping a multivitamin! IGF 1 has the capacity to alter your body on a physiological level. For people seeking faster recovery with a view toward building muscles and losing weight, IGF 1 offers promise. However, IGF 1 does pose some potential health concerns for people who are tempted to find a shortcut by taking extreme doses.
Where does seeing the research leave you on the idea of taking IGF 1? We want to hear about any questions you have about velvet deer antler!
In the end, IGF 1 is a growth hormone that we all produce. As production declines with age, the idea of ramping up our cellular production to get it back to where it was in our youth is tempting. For many people, the answer to getting that more resilient, leaner body that allows them to put in intense workouts is IGF 1. Also check out our article on the Metabolic Factor program. It’s focus is based on IGF1 principles and is a great program to follow to lose weight and keep it off.