IGF-1 or Insulin like Growth Factor 1 is named as such that it looks similar to insulin. It is made of 70 bonded amino acids that further makes it a protein peptide hormone that is similar to growth hormone which when broken down during digestion may be declared as useless. IGF-1 is further responsible for a number of cellular uses and is needed for health maintenance and normal growth. These uses include apoptosis suppression, cellular differentiation and transformation.
It also helps to transfer the glucose through cell membranes and helps in supplying raw material that the cells require for repair and growth. Further, it is used to regulate the cell growth by moving cells from their resting place to active phase and also increases the ability of the cells to complete the DNA synthesis.
Growth factors regulate the growth of cells and control metabolic process. They even enable the cells in immune, hormonal and nervous system to coordinate and communicate the growth, regeneration, death as well as functioning. Production of cells slows down with advancing age. Unless they are prompted by growth factors, they go in the resting phase.
What stimulates production of IGF-1?
There are a lot of factors that are linked with production of IGF-1 in the body like less calories, protein deficiency etc. Too many calories can also lead to increase of IGF-1. One of the studies reported that the women with normal weight who take too many calories faced 19% increase in IGF-1 after 2 weeks of high food consumption. Worse was it that they saw 46% of total weight gain allocated to lean mass and 54% attributed to body fat. The testosterone level in women increased dramatically while the fasting insulin was increased to double. But it was not clear as to what contributed to lean mass gain. It could be because of IGF-1, testosterone, insulin or all three of them. Over eating is not the best way of increasing muscle mass. Most weight that woman have gained was found in the body fat. Thos helps to rationalize methods that bodybuilders have used in the past to gain mass.
Functions and uses of IGF-1
IGF-1 is found to have a lot of potential like rejuvenating and healing the overall nervous system. Another study shows improvement with nerve tissue, seizure, brain injury, neurodegenerative diseases like muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, sclerosis etc.
A lot of researchers believe that IGF-1 can stop the programmed cell death and it can reduce the damage which occurs after a stroke. IGF-1 can give us a tool against death at cellular level. The most important function of IGF-1 is not transporting the glucose in cells as the case with insulin. IGF-1 supports cellular growth and division. It can even play a part in cell repair in heart, muscles and brain. This is why it is one of the best things that people look for when it comes to building muscles.
People who have low level of IGF-1 may have more chance to face heart attack. Well, this is possible due to IGF-1 preventing death of the heart cells and cellular safety for high stressed cells that can take place during heart attack. Clinical studies have shown that IGF-1 may be used to repair the peripheral nerve tissue which has been damaged. In case a nerve is torn in leg or arm, it means that the connection to muscles may be impaired and due to this, there is loss of movement as well as muscle atrophies. While the peripheral nerves can regenerate to some tears of a few millimeters may lead to permanent injury. IGF-1 has reconnected and repaired serous nerve endings of about a distance of 6 millimeters.
Low level of IGF-1 and low HGH levels are linked with excessive body fat. A study researched the factors of lifestyle that affect IGF-1 in the college women. They found a relation with selenium and soy protein. The women taking alcohol faced blunting of effects of IGF-1. There are basically two kinds of IGF-1 that is produced in the muscles. It is called as the mechano growth factor. This growth factor provides major benefits to the muscle gain. It also triggers the functioning of various proteins involved in muscle protein synthesis. They even push the working of muscle stem cells. The stem cells are even called as satellite cells and that repair the damaged muscles.
Exercise and training can do considerable damage to the muscles. Intense training for building muscles can further stimulate the release of IGF-1 in the muscle. Bodybuilders and athletes have been using IGF-1 products to supplement their overall workout routine, build muscles and for recovery. Also, protein myostatin may prevent growth of muscles through creating problems against satellite cell proliferation.
So, this is all about IGF-1 and its uses and functions. Stay tuned with us for more information on IGF-1 in our other posts.
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