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Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is a naturally occurring protein with a molecular structure similar to insulin. It is produced inside the body primarily by the liver as an endocrine hormone, and it functions as a mediator of the effects of growth hormone.

When growth hormone is released into the bloodstream from the pituitary gland, it stimulates the liver to produce IGF-1, which in turn stimulates growth in a broad range of cells: skeletal, muscle, cartilage, bone, nerve, skin and multiple organs.

Currently, IGF-1 (mecasermin [rDNA origin]) is FDA approved for the treatment of growth failure in children with severe primary IGF-1 deficiency, or with growth hormone (GH) gene deletion who have developed neutralizing antibodies to GH. A number of peer reviewed, independent investigational studies are currently evaluating the clinical application of IGF-1 in relation to additional conditions.

The Difference between IGF-1 and Growth Hormone

Low levels of hormones, or body messengers, cause some short stature disorders. There are a number of critical hormones that are responsible for growth in children. Two of the most important are growth hormone and IGF-1. The first, growth hormone, is produced in the pituitary gland, which is a pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. Growth hormone travels throughout the body. When it reaches the liver, it binds to receptors on liver cells, stimulating the liver to make a second hormone, insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1.

The binding of IGF-1 to its receptors is responsible for the following changes in the body:

  • Increased protein synthesis
  • Cell growth
  • Increased cartilage formation and growth
  • Skeletal growth

GH is produced in the anterior pituitary and released into blood stream then stimulating the liver to produce IGF-1, which is then used as a glucose disposal agent as needed. About 98% of IGF-1 is bound to 1 of 6 binding proteins (IGF-BP) with the binding protein number 3 accounting for 80% of the binding. The LR3 component was designed to mimic the effects a natural peptide and is added to increase the half-life of the IGF-1.

  • IGF-1 is very similar in structure and size to insulin.
  • Transports glucose and Amino Acids (protein) into cells including muscles
  • Decreases protein degradation
  • IGF-1 is found to be very anabolic and actually is anti-catabolic. It delivers the anabolic effect from taking GH
  • IGF-1 promotes nitrogen retention and protein synthesis, which promotes the growth of muscle and new muscle fibers.
  • Has growth development promoting effects including nerve cells.
  • Cannot be absorbed orally as it is broken down in the GI tract.
  • Unlike insulin IGF-1 shifts from burning carbs to fat for fuel in muscle cells
  • Decreases LDL by uptake into macrophages and potentially can reduce HDL

Factors that influence IGF-1 levels:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Nutrition
  • smoking
  • Body fat
  • Race
  • Total health (chronic diseases)
  • Medications


Insulin-like growth factor-1:   3 mg Vial


For more information about the benefits and uses of peptide therapy protocols prescribed by TeleWellnessMD™ providers, download our free guide: TeleWellnessMD™ Peptide Therapy Guide.

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