IGF-1 Peptides: Benefits, Uses, Dosage

IGF-1, also known as Insulin-like growth factor 1 is well-known for its pronounced effects on muscle growth, strengthening bones and ligaments, and also reducing the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Because of its similar structure to insulin, researchers suggest that it can potentially treat diabetes. Let's find out more about IGF-1!

Compound Summary

Class of Compound


Mechanism of Action

IGF-1, an anabolic peptide hormone, is released due to stimulation by growth hormone, which in turn inhibits growth hormone release by somatostatin, thus following a negative feedback mechanism. It exhibits tyrosine kinase activity similar to insulin, thereby increasing the peripheral glucose uptake. Activating Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase and PI3K signaling pathways detects the availability of nutrients and promotes cell growth. Not only this, but it also delays apoptosis or cell death.

Street Names

Somatomedin C


Increases lean muscle mass, strengthens cartilage and ligaments, fat loss, bone growth, anti-aging

Side Effects and Dangers

Cancer, hypoglycemia, muscle and joint pain

Chemical Structure

Perhaps every one of you must be knowing the importance of growth hormone (GH) in the body.

Growth hormone (GH) has widespread effects on your body, be it increasing your muscle mass, promoting human longevity, and even ensuring bone growth.

Deficiency of growth hormone can result in a medical condition such as dwarfism while abnormal production of growth hormone (GH) can result in acromegaly.

Not only this, an imbalance in the normal growth hormone production can indirectly affect several parameters of your body, such as the increased risk of cardiovascular disease, hepatic conditions, and importantly musculoskeletal disorders.

Now the question is how a single growth hormone (GH) indirectly influences so many areas of your body. Now the answer to this is pretty simple.

Growth hormone (GH) stimulates the production of several other hormones and factors.

One such essential factor is known as Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is released from the liver.

To put it in simple terms at the moment, IGF-1 works in coordination with the growth hormone (GH).

Any disturbance in the coordination pathway can inhibit normal growth and increase the risk of developing other medical conditions.

Let’s talk about Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) in this article and know more about its role in the body, the potential benefits that it offers, and what can be the symptoms owing to its deficiency.

What is IGF-1?

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), also known as somatomedin C constitutes 70 Amino acids in its structure (1). This polypeptide hormone is structurally homologous to proinsulin and another factor called IGF-2. The polypeptide chains of IGF-1 are held together by disulfide bonds.

Produced primarily in the liver (2), its synthesis is upregulated by the growth hormone (GH). It is important to note that it is also produced locally in body tissues.

Most of the IGF-1 binds to the Insulin growth factor binding protein (IGF-BP). The subsequent binding significantly increases the half-life of IGF-1 in blood circulation.

Insulin-like growth factor 1 is produced throughout life but peaks at the time of puberty.

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How Does IGF-1 Work?

Okay so let’s first understand the pathway that triggers the release of IGF-1 from the liver.

The growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) stimulates the production of growth hormone (GH) in the body. The growth hormone (GH) then travels via the bloodstream to the liver where it upregulates the synthesis of Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). As mentioned earlier, some 0f the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is also produced in peripheral body tissues.

Higher levels of Insulin-like growth factor 1 also inhibit the further release of growth hormone (GH) by stimulating the release of somatostatin from the pituitary gland, thus following a negative feedback system (3).

Research suggests that insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) essentially moderates the activity of the growth hormone (GH).

Because of the homologous structure of IGF-1 to insulin, IGF-1 binds to two different cell surface receptor tyrosine kinases which are either IGF-1R or Insulin receptors (4).

By essentially activating Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase and PI3K signaling pathways (5), it detects the availability of the optimal nutrients, thus signaling nearly all the cells of the body to undergo cell growth. One can now understand that IGF-1 causes anabolic effects in the body. Not only this, but IGF-1 also delays the process of apoptosis or cell death.

Because IGF-1 primarily works in coordination with growth hormone (GH), its metabolic role becomes pretty obvious as it triggers the production of cellular proteins, promotes glucose metabolism, and increases fat utilization.

It is important for you to know that IGF-1 is also used as a diagnostic test for the growth hormone (GH). Higher levels of IGF-1 suggest that the release of growth hormone (GH) is optimal.



Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), also known as somatomedin C constitutes 70 Amino acids in its structure (1). This polypeptide hormone is structurally homologous to proinsulin and another factor called IGF-2. The polypeptide chains of IGF-1 are held together by disulfide bonds.

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IGF-1 Benefits

Because it stimulates cell division, IGF-1 has systemic effects on the body and causes bone growth, increases lean muscle mass, and strengthens your cartilages as well as your ligaments.

One of the noticeable effects of IGF-1 is that it causes hyperplasia in muscle cells.

Evidence suggests that IGF-1 enhances athletic performance, builds extra endurance, and also takes care of your post-workout recovery by ensuring cellular recovery. Also, if you are a bodybuilder or an athlete, the good news is that IGF-1 minimizes the time of recovery after an injury.

Because IGF-1 boosts the body’s metabolism, IGF-1 stimulates the fat breakdown for releasing energy, thus minimizing fat storage and leading to fat loss.

Research also suggests that IGF-1 also enhances the functioning of the nervous system and improves cognitive performance in individuals.

Now let’s review some of the effects of IGF-1 on major body systems in the body.

IGF-1 in Anti-Aging

Evidence suggests that IGF-1 promotes anti-aging effects and helps in extending the lifespan of individuals (6,7). Although the precise pharmacokinetics is not known, based on the clinical trials involving mutant mice, the downregulation of the growth hormone/IGF-1/Insulin signaling axis significantly delays the onset of aging and has anti-oxidant effects on the body.

IGF-1 in Cancer development

Because IGF-1 stimulates mitogenesis or cell proliferation and inhibits apoptosis by binding to IGF-1R, researchers have found a positive correlation between higher IGF-1 levels and primary cancer development.

According to the data, higher IGF-1 levels have been found in patients diagnosed with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer (8).

Therefore, you may get the idea that having higher levels of IGF-1 in the body puts you at an increased risk of developing several primary cancers.

IGF-1 in Metabolic Syndrome

Before talking about the role of IGF-1 in metabolic syndrome, let’s define what metabolic syndrome is.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, etc. Because all of these comorbidities are interlinked with each other, most patients suffer from all of these conditions in their lifespans.

As IGF-1 is structurally similar to insulin, it binds to IGF-1R with a greater affinity, and thus can be used to treat diabetes and can possibly decrease insulin resistance in individuals.

There is some evidence that suggests that IGF-1 can also possibly mitigate the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (9). Thus, it keeps your heart healthy and improves your cardiovascular parameters.

Moreover, as IGF-1 stimulates fat breakdown, the risk of being obese significantly decreases as fat storage is minimized.

IGF-1 Side Effects

While we have already talked about one of the major side effects of IGF-1 which is developing of various types of cancer including breast, colorectal, and prostate. But in order to truly know whether IGF-1 causes cancer or not, more research is required.

Muscle and joint pain are some of the most common occurrences due to higher levels of IGF-1.

Perhaps hypoglycemia is also common in individuals because IGF-1 can manage glucose homeostasis and cause too much uptake of glucose by the cells.

Who Should Use IGF-1?

Anyone aiming for an increased lean muscle mass, strong bones and joints, and healthy ligaments can try IGF-1 as per the dosage requirements.

People diagnosed with metabolic syndrome can also use IGF-1 to lessen the intensity of the disorders.

Because evidence suggests that IGF-1 promotes longevity, IGF-1 can be used to live a longer and healthier life.

Perhaps if you are into the game of bodybuilding and fitness, IGF-1 is for you!

IGF-1 Dosage

The recommended dosage guidelines for IGF-1 are 20 to 100mcg per day.

You can use it all 7 days of the week without the fear of developing desensitization since it has a very shorter half-life.

Best Time To Take IGF-1

Most people consume their dose of IGF-1 after intense workout sessions.

IGF-1 Legal?


IGF-1 is legal and safe to use according to the guidelines issued by FDA but is generally sold under research purposes.

However, make sure to not overdose as it may cause other clinical disorders, such as acromegaly.

Alternatives to IGF-1

Because of the shorter half-life of IGF-1, scientists felt the necessity to develop other variants of IGF-1 which had a longer half-life as well as more potency.

Let’s know more about IGF-1 derivatives and see if they are a perfect fit for your goals.

IGF-1 vs IGF-1 LR3

IGF-1 LR3 constitutes an extra 13 amino acids in its structure than the regular IGF-1, thus giving it a longer half-life of approximately 20-30 hours.

Because of its long half-life, it can remain in the blood circulation for longer hours and can bind with the cell surface receptors known as IGF-1 more efficiently, and can activate cell growth more promptly.

Due to the structural differences, IGF-1 LR3 has a lower affinity to insulin growth factor binding proteins (IGF-BP) compared to its parent compound called IGF-1. This makes IGF-1 LR3 more potent and pharmacologically strong.

IGF-1 LR3 also ensures inhibits the entry of glucose into the cells which results in the utilization of fat by the body’s cells.

A daily dosage of 20-50 mcg of IGF-1 LR3 is suggested by the physicians for a cycle of 6 to 7 weeks as desensitization may follow after that.

IGF-1 vs IGF-1 DES

IGF-1 DES is rather a shorter derivative of IGF-1 but approximately 5 times more potent than the parent compound.

While the half-life of IGF-1 DES is much much lesser than IGF-1, IGF-1 DES is generally used locally and not for systemic body effects. It is mostly used for site injections so that a particular muscle and area is allowed to grow.

Although the exact mechanism of action is unclear, research suggests that IGF-1 DES binds more strongly to the cells that have been deformed by the excess lactic acid. This ensures the regeneration and regrowth of cells that have been damaged.

IGF-1 vs HGH

While human growth hormone (HGH) is absolutely necessary for growth and development, it is important to note that it doesnt cause direct muscle growth. It rather stimulates the release of IGF-1 from the liver which then acts upon cells that can proliferate and grow well.

HGH is not really prescribed by a physician unless you have growth hormone (GH) deficiency which is characterized by multiple disorders, such as dwarfism.

But it is easier to obtain IGF-1 polypeptide from a vendor. For that reasons, I would strongly recommend choosing IGF-1 over HGH.

Is IGF-1 Legit?

Okay so IGF-1 is definitely legit because it works in coordination with growth hormone (GH). The natural pathway that IGF-1 follows makes it a reality to work in the body. Using it to strengthen your musculoskeletal system will definitely help you achieve your purpose!

But on a side note, if increasing lean muscle mass and making your bones strong are your only goals, in my opinion, there are better options for that solely because of reasons that it has a shorter half-life plus side effects are a bit debatable as well.

But anyways, you will see results if you start using it!

Does IGF-1 make you bigger?

Based on the results, IGF-1 can cause muscle growth by binding to several receptors, such as IGF-1R.

What will IGF-1 do for me?

IGF-1 can potentially increase your lean muscle mass, and strengthen your bones, ligaments, and joints. Besides, IGF-1 can also treat your diabetes but more research is needed. Perhaps IGF-1 may decrease your risk of developing metabolic syndrome as well.

Does IGF-1 increase aging?

Downregulation of GH/IGF-1/Insulin in mutant mice has shown the positive role of IGF-1 in increasing your age and making you live longer.

Does IGF-1 cause weight gain?

Actually, it causes weight loss by ensuring that your body utilizes the stored body fat for generating energy.

Which is better HGH or IGF-1?

IGF-1 is a better option as compared to HGH because IGF-1 directly stimulates the growth of muscles and IGF-1 is also easier to buy.

Why do bodybuilders use IGF?

Most bodybuilders use IGF-1 for a variety of reasons. Number 1 is the fact that it stimulates muscle growth plus it makes it easier to recover after intense workout sessions.

Some evidence also suggests that IGF-1 also allows swift recovery after an injury.

How can I increase my IGF-1 naturally?

There are a couple of natural ingredients that one can consume to increase IGF-1 naturally.

High-quality protein intake is really necessary to increase IGF-1 naturally. Besides, consuming vitamin C and D can boost your IGF-1 levels naturally.

Minerals such as Zinc, Magnesium, and Selenium can also upregulate the synthesis of IGF-1 in the body.

Still Have Questions?

Drop us a comment down below and one of our expert coaches will respond to it, you can also email is at coaching@muscleandbrawn.com.

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1187088/
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22267103/
3. https://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-015-0762-z
4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2953025/
5. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fncel.2017.00014/full
6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12652183/#:~:text=Insulin%2Finsulin%2Dlike%20growth%20factor,mechanisms%20may%20operate%20in%20mammals.
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6367275/
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5119990/#:~:text=IGF%E2%80%901%20is%20known%20to,%2C%20colorectal%2C%20and%20prostate%20cancer.
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6708115/

Kartik Kumar Rathi

Kartik is a Doctor in training currently in his third year of medical school with the ultimate goal of becoming a successful cardiologist, he currently contributes to health blogs, research papers and also founded a social health startup to help educate others.
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