IGF-1: The Holy Grail for Muscle Growth?

IGF-1, as the name implies, is an extremely anabolic hormone that has insulin-like actions (i.e. it shuttles nutrients, specifically amino acids and glucose, into the muscle cells where they can then be synthesized into new muscle tissue). When bodybuilders take growth hormone injections, they are not injecting a pure growth stimulus-- they are taking a stimulating or "releasing" factor. It is for this very reason that high dosing of GH is not necessarily going to result in more growth since growth is limited by the amount of IGF-1 that the liver can produce in response to any given dosage of GH. Therefore, it becomes much easier to just administer IGF-1 directly!

IGF1 PDB 1bqt-600x600IGF-250x250In pursuit of this goal, scientists have found was that IGF-1 circulates in the bloodstream (99%) bound to specific binding proteins. It is the remaining unbound or FREE (1%) of the IGF-1 that actually causes the anticipated muscle cell hyperplasia (the bound 99% is essentially wasted). In order to combat this phenomenon of the binding proteins "stealing" our precious IGF-1, scientists have chemically altered the original IGF-1 molecule and have added chemically bound side chains thus creating a new hormone known as LONG R3 IGF-1 (the LONG R3 refers to the 3 long side chains that have been added to the original molecule). These large, space occupying, side chains are attached to the IGF-1 molecule to prevent these blood-borne binding proteins (BPs) from "snatching" up and inactivating the IGF-1.

For the last several years, most bodybuilders that were privy enough to get their hands on synthetically produced IGF-1 have been using the Long R3 IGF-1 variety thinking that it will last longer in the body (12 hours as opposed to 20 minutes) and that more of it will available (unbound) to help build and repair muscle. The theory is essentially correct; however, what bodybuilders started noticing after extended usage of Long R3 IGF-1 was that it stopped working as effectively after about 4 weeks. I began to keep notes and I worked out a system by which bodybuilders would inject Long R3 IGF-1 [about 10-20mcg (micrograms)] within 15 minutes following a workout so that the IGF-1 could circulate and locate these newly produced IGF-1 receptors on the damaged muscle cell membranes (These new receptors appear as a direct result of damage induced by intense weight training and muscular trauma). It is at these damaged cells that the body increases the number of IGF-1 receptors so that it can "signal" where the muscle repairs must be performed (this is why muscle cells GROW, preferentially, and not bone tissue or internal organs as rumored). However, as the dosage of IGF-1 increases above the suggested 10-20mcg per day, the IGF-1 muscle cell receptors become saturated and now all this excess IGF-1 goes straight to the highest naturally occurring concentration of IGF-1 receptors-- the extremities (i.e. Feet, hands, and facial bones).

Additionally, high Long R3 IGF-1 dosing will lead to decreases in muscle cell IGF-1 receptors thus diminishing the results seen with Long R3 IGF-1 usage over time. Therefore, 10-20mcg per day of Long R3 IGF-1 will cause significant muscle cell hyperplasia and it will continue to do so extremely effectively for approximately 30 days. Even with conservative amounts of Long R3 IGF-1, the hormone still stops functioning after a period of time; therefore, I usually suggest that bodybuilders take a 2 week "holiday" off the Long R3 IGF-1 after every 30 day course of administration. Another reason that Long R3 IGF-1 may stop working is that the Long R3 IGF-1 is not an exact match for that found in nature (it has the added side chain), therefore, a person's immune system may launch an immune response (producing neutralizing antibodies) against what it perceives as a foreign human hormone. To combat this phenomenon, some scientists suggest that, instead of using Long R3 IGF-1, you should inject pure, unadulterated, IGF-1 in small amounts (10-20mcg) all day long (perhaps 2-3 times). The need for low dose, frequent injections, is because pure IGF-1 only lasts 20-60minutes in the body and too high of an IGF-1 dose can result in receptor downgrade. On the positive side, when using pure IGF-1, no neutralizing (inactivating) antibodies are produced by the immune system.

Many people ask me "how and what" to mix the powdered IGF-1 with? Should I add human serum albumin? What about adding dilute acid water? Should I keep my IGF-1 in the freezer? First off, human serum albumin (HSA) is only added to IGF-1 mixtures that will be used in a "serum free environment". Cell culture is a serum free environment. Human blood vessels contain albumin; therefore, it is NOT a serum free environment, as thus you do NOT need to add human serum albumin to your IGF-1 mixture. Secondly, the addition of 0.6% acetic acid (vinegar) to the IGF-1 vial is suggested so that the IGF-1 molecules will not stick to the glass of the vial. Do I suggest using it? No. The amount of IGF-1 that is lost in the crevices of the glass vial is negligent compared to the disaster that can occur if you add too much acetic acid to your IGF-1 solution (it will destroy the entire IGF-1 mixture). Thirdly, IGF-1, unlike growth hormone, CAN be frozen (freezing does not harm the IGF-1 molecule like it does to the complex GH molecule). Why am I telling you this? When you mix up a bottle of powdered IGF-1, instead of just storing it in the refrigerator until its used up (which can be up to 100 days with the 1mg bottles), you should freeze most of it so that it will not degrade as fast. My suggestion is to freeze anything over a thirty-day supply of IGF-1.

With the wide ranging legal availability of IGF-1 on innumerable peptide websites all over the internet, procuring IGF-1 is no longer the same concern as it was years ago. The question now becomes, who should you purchase it from? My suggestion is to stick with "made in the USA" peptides and purchase them only from reputable websites. Osta-gain.com makes all their peptide domestically (in the United States) and feedback on their quality and customer service has been repeatedly top rated.


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