IGF-1- What It Is; The Good And The Bad

(Last Updated On: April 23, 2018)

IGF-1 or Insulin Like Growth Factor 1 is the hormone that is same in structure as insulin and works with HGH to regenerate and reproduce cells. It is further made up of 70 amino acids that are bonded and this in turn makes it a protein peptide hormone. As it is somewhat like growth hormone, so when it gets broken down in digestion, it may be rendered as useless. IGF-1 is so important to growth that if it is not there in sufficient amounts during a child’s development stage, it may lead to short stature. So lets Know What is IGF-1 First to start.

The good about IGF-1

IGF-1 also helps to prevent the age related cognitive problems through promotion of new cells in the brain. Aging and associated issues like less mobility, low muscle strength etc are linked with low levels of IGF-1 in older people. The critically ill patients generally have low levels of IGF-1 in their bodies and so when it level is low, there tends to be high inflammation.

IGF-1 helps to fight autoimmunity through increasing the T Regulatory cells. It even decreases the MHCI gene expression and enhances memory and learning. More so, it works as a great anti depressant and anti anxiety in case of some animals like mouse as reported in some studies.

It also prevents accumulation of amyloid plaque present in the brain. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are linked with low levels of IGF-1 and it has also been seen that IGF-1 resistance accompanies insulin resistance in brain in case of Alzheimer’s disease.


What is IGF-1

Relation to insulin

Another benefit of Insulin like Growth Factor 1 is that it improves the blood sugar level in the body. Lower level of IGF-1 is related to metabolic syndrome. Thus IGF-1 infusions help to lower down the blood sugar levels, lower triglycerides in Diabetes Type 2 patients and enhance overall insulin sensitivity.

Growth and development

It has further been studied that the activity of growth hormone is dependent upon IGF-1 and so when there is IGF-1 deficiency, it causes GH insensitivity and affects repair and growth. It even restores height in the children who have IGF deficiency.

Bone density

You must have heard that IGF-1 is the direct promoter of growth development and high levels of IGF-1 are linked with better bone mineral density in case of older women. But at the same time, muscle building function of IGF-1 may further promote bone density as increasing muscle mass requires high bone strength.

Anti Aging

Furthermore, insulin like growth factor 1 is the potent stimulator of collagen biosynthesis and can help to prevent skin aging. Also, reviving stagnant collagen synthesis may contribute in protecting the skin against aging.

The bad

Till now we have just shared what is good about IGF-1 and how it helps the body in different ways. It is also good if you have a look at the darker side of the hormone as well.

As IGF-1 stimulates development and growth, it may have side effects on someone that is prone to cancer. The hormone exerts powerful effect on all stages of cancer growth. Increased level of IGF-1 may even influence acne in adults. While the hormone appears to have great effect on acne in case of females, androgens/testosterone may play a role in acne for males as well.

How to increase IGF-1 level?

When you have low levels of IGF-1, you may want to focus on things that increase this level and that too when you are genetically predisposed to autoimmunity. So, let’s find out the popular ways to increase the level of insulin like growth factor 1:

  • Watch your caloric intake
  • Calcium or dairy intake
  • Intake of dietary protein
  • Increase the consumption of casein
  • Increase the intake of blueberries
  • There is also a correlation between IGF-1 and taking Vitamin C
  • Magnesium levels are independently and strongly linked with IGF-1
  • Resveratrol increases the level of IGF-1 in memory center of brain
  • Low level of zinc is linked with low IGF-1 even when there is proper caloric intake. Some studies show that zinc potentiates IGF-1 functioning.


So, this is some general information that you should be aware about IGF-1. Hope this post has helped you to know what actually IGF-1 is and how it can help your body. We will be sharing more about this hormone in other posts so stay connected.