Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor) is an endocrine hormone that is produced in the liver. The production of IGF-1 is increased in the presence of growth hormone. There are many different types of cells in the body that are equipped with a receptor to accept IGF-1. This makes IGF-1 a good protagonist at targeting tissues to spur cell to cell communication (growth) or in a more autocrine cell signaling process that facilitates cell division.
Why is this IGF-1 important for a bodybuilder or athlete? Let’s take a look at the list:
Helps regulate fat for use as energy, resulting in fat loss.
Contributes to anti aging. As we get older, IGF-1 production slows down and this results in cell reduction. Low levels of IGF-1 are linked to heart failure, lower brain cell regulation and neuron function. Not to mention muscle tissue breakdown.
Helps to increase nutrient shuttling (protein synthesis).
Increases regenerative functions of nerve tissues.
Boosts the ability to cause hyperplasia in muscle cells resulting in fuller muscle tissue.
Why use IGF-1?
To put it simply, the gains from IGF-1 (all variants) are not due to water weight, so the gains you will achieve will be long term muscle growth. This is compared to steroids, which are renowned for putting on water weight and giving you nasty side effects. You are not going to gain 10lbs from using IGF-1, but you will see solid 1-2lbs gains every 1-2 weeks.
The most important factor to consider is IGF-1’s ability to achieve hyperplasia. When you use steroids, they will help the body through hypertrophy, which means you are increasing the size of the existing muscle cells. On the other hand, IGF-1 will cause hyperplasia, which means you are actually increasing the number of cells in the muscle tissue. These new cells can be utilized through further training, and use of steroids, to make bigger muscles. Essentially, you will have the ability to achieve more muscle density and size at the genetic level by using IGF-1.
Why IGF-1 and not GH?
Growth hormone actually is a precursor to IGF-1. Growth hormone does not directly cause muscle growth, but indirectly causes muscle growth by signaling the release of IGF-1. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) can be very expensive, and to see muscle growth it needs to be paired with insulin or other anabolic steroids. This makes IGF-1 variants like LR3 and DES, which can be used as a standalone drug, a much more viable option for bodybuilder looking to see solid recovery of damaged tissue and muscle growth.
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