The use of peptides by bodybuilders is still relatively new... so in an attempt to find out more about their applications and benefits I interviewed one of the premier research scientists at a lab responsible for their production.
In the weeks ahead I will examine many of these substances, but I thought I would start off with one of the most popular products on the market, the peptide known as Long R3 IGF-1 ...
For those not familiar with this compound can you tell us a little about it?
"IGF-1 is basically a polypeptide hormone that has the same some of the same molecular properties as insulin. In fact, IGF actually stands for insulin-like growth factor. IGF-1 is primarily responsible for long bone growth in children and it also affects muscle growth and repair of adults. Long R3 IGF-1 is a more potent version of IGF-1. It's chemically altered to prevent deactivation by IGF-1 binding proteins in the bloodstream. This results in a longer half-life of 20-30 hours instead of 20 min.
What benefits can it offer the bodybuilder?
IGF-1 greatly boosts muscle mass by inducing a state of muscle hyperplasia (increase in number of new muscle cells) in the body,.
How does its effects compare to that of Growth Hormone?
"Long R3 IGF-1 can directly stimulate muscle growth when compared to growth hormone (GH). This is because GH indirectly results in growth and repair by first inducing IGF-1 release in the liver.If you don't have to worry about IGF-1 release in the liver (because your directly injecting the IGF-1), new growth will be optimized."
Is there a benefit to using both of these substances together?
"Many research studies have shown that GH and IGF-1 act synergistically to augment the effect of either hormone taken individually. So, the greatest results will take place when effective dosages of both hormones are injected. Usually 10-20mcg of IGF-1 (post workout) and 2-4IU GH (with breakfast) is the ideal stack for optimal reults and minimal side effects.
Certain steroids such as NPP and Trenbolone (to name just two) actually increase IGF-1 production. Could someone still benefit from adding it if they were using one of these substances?
"The IGF-1 that's produced from the use of fast acting Nandrolone or Trenbolone is nothing signficant when you compare to the amount that's contained in a single 10mcg Long R3 injection. Having said that, it's safe to inject exogenous IGF-1 while taking either one of these compounds.
Is IGF-1 of greater or lesser value when it comes to healing injured tissue?
"Tissue build up is one of the main features of IGF-1, so I'd say it's of greater value. IGF-1 can genetically change muscular and cellular counts within the body; it can also enhance the body's ability to regenerate damaged tissue. In fact, IGF-1 is now under intensive research for its potential to repair tissue in burn patients, and for its regenerative effects on AIDS patients suffering from muscular wasting. Immediate effects are, of course, impossible to observe since it takes a respectable amount of time to see any visible changes in muscular repair."
Due to its effects on insulin should diabetics exercise caution when using it?
"Not really; aside from the fact that "more is not better", there's no known lethal risk of administering IGF-1 to diabetic patients. In fact, IGF-1 can reduce the body's need for insulin, and according to one short study, it can reduce insulin dependence of the body by as high as 45%. This may bring very promising results if we are allowed to study this matter further. If anyone experiences any uncomfortable side effects, stop it's usage and see if the side effect disappear."
What is the difference between LONG R-3 IGF-1 and the standard IGF-1?
"Just as it was mentioned earlier, Long R3 IGF-1 is a chemically altered version of IGF-1. It has added amino acid chains that prevent it from being deactivated by IGF-1 binding proteins in the bloodstream. This gives Long R3 IGF-1 a much longer half-life. It's the 83 amino acid equivalent of IGF-1 that consists of the complete human IGF-1 sequence substituting the Glu (E) to the Arg(R) at position three. The structure also has an added 13 amino acid extension peptide by the N terminus. Overall it's a more biologically active version of the original IGF-1."
How is IGF-1 best mixed and stored?
"Assuming that we use the lyophilized form (dry powder) of Long R3 IGF-1, equivalent to a 1000 mcg vial, it is best prepared by using 1ml or 2ml of acetic acid. Let the acetic acid seep into the vile after removing the vacuum from the container. Then, let the mixture in the vial sit for a while. Put it in the fridge where the IGF-1 mixture can dissolve without accidentally knocking the vial or shaking its contents. Then afterwards, it's all about diluting your Long R3 IGF-1 in NaCl or bacteriostatic water before intra-muscular or subcutaneous entry."
What is the best way to use it in your opinion?
"The best way to use it is to use it in regulated dosages. Ususal dosages of Long R3 IGF-1 are 10mcg to around 50mcg per day. IGF is usually available by the milligram (1000mcg), which is equivalent to using 20mcg a day for 50 days. But for the most part, the actual dosage depends upon how much the person is able to spend on Long R3 IGF-1, although most are usually satisfied with the 20mcg per day dosage. Additionally, IGF is also best taken either IM or subcutaneously, having more direct effects on the body when injected. It's also recommended to be taken during the morning or after weight training sessions."
Is there a benefit to using it bi-laterally in trained muscles after workouts?
"Well, if one feels like getting both sides to grow equally for a shorter time, then I guess yes, there are certain benefits. There are some bodybuilders who practice this method because they feel like one part of their muscle group grows faster than others. And some just like the idea of being able to develop multiple muscle groups simultaneously. The truth is that once injected, the IGF-1 enters the bloodstream and doesn't stay, locally, in the particular muscle it was injected into. By that token, IGF-1 might as well be injected into a single injection site."
What is the best dosage and length of cycle?
"The regular dosage of most users of Long R3 IGF-1 is 20mcg a day. The 20mcg value is acquired from the total amount that you have to take within 50 days. It's usually already effective at this rate, as it is enough to be fully absorbed by the body to achieve the desired effect. Most users and even bodybuilders alike are also satisfied with the said dosage, although they may take the dosage at different times during the day than others. Too much IGF-1 will result in downregulation of IGF-1 receptors on the surface of muscle cells. This will essentially hault any gains from the injected IGF-1 since very little receptors means very little response!"
Are effects more immediate than with GH use?
"Yes, based on the facts mentioned earlier, effects are more immediate. IGF-1 is the compound that directly reacts with the proteins in the body, and consequently also directly effects muscle and tissue growth. GH on the other hand, is only the one who signals the other compounds to react (IGF-1 being one of those compounds), making the process quite slower. Therefore, effects are definitely quicker and faster when you use IGF-1 instead of ordinary GH."
Finally, are any side effects attached to its use?
"IGF-1 is commonly known to cause feelings of fatigue. Some people feel very tired quickly when using this compound. It can, however, be looked at in a more positive light since more sleep means better growth. Other side effects include muscular stiffness, headaches, occasional nausea, and some also claim that it's sometimes responsible for hypoglycemia or low blood sugar."