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Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)





IGF stands for insulin-like growth factor. It is a natural substance that is produced in the human body and is at its highest natural levels during puberty. During puberty IGF is the most responsible for the natural muscle growth that occurs during these few years. There are many different things that IGF does in the human body; I will only mention the points that would be important for physical enhancement. Among the effects the most positive are increased amino acid transport to cells, increased glucose transport, increased protein synthesis, decreased protein degradation, and increased RNA synthesis. 

When IGF is active it behaves differently in different types of tissues. In muscle cells proteins and associated cell components are stimulated. Protein synthesis is increased along with amino acid absorption. As a source of energy, IGF mobilizes fat for use as energy in adipose tissue. In lean tissue, 

IGF prevents insulin from transporting glucose across cell membranes. As a result the cells have to switch to burning off fat as a source of energy. 

IGF also mimic's insulin in the human body. It makes muscles more sensitive to insulin's effects, so if you are a person that currently uses insulin you can lower your dosage by a decent margin to achieve the same effects, and as mentioned IGF will keep the insulin from making you fat. 

Perhaps the most interesting and potent effect IGF has on the human body is its ability to cause hyperplasia, which is an actual splitting of cells. Hypertrophy is what occurs during weight training and steroid use, it is simply an increase in the size of muscle cells. See, after puberty you have a set number of muscle cells, and all you are able to do is increase the size of these muscle cells, you don't actually gain more. But, with IGF use you are able to cause this hyperplasia which actually increases the number of muscle cells present in the tissue, and through weight training and steroid usage you are able to mature these new cells, in other words make them grow and become stronger. So in a way IGF can actually change your genetic capabilities in terms of muscle tissue and cell count. IGF proliferates and differentiates the number of types of cells present. At a genetic level it has the potential to alter an individuals capacity to build superior muscle density and size. 

There is a lot of talk about the similarity between IGF and growth hormone. The most often asked question is simply which is more effective. GH doesn't directly cause your muscles to grow, it works very indirectly by increasing protein synthesis capabilities, increasing the amount of insulin a person can use effectively, and increasing the amount of anabolic steroids a person can use effectively. GH also indirectly causes muscle growth by stimulating the release of IGF when it (the GH) is destroyed in the human body. So one way you could look at it as GH being a precursor to IGF. So to put it simple IGF is more effective at directly causing muscle growth and density increases. IGF is also much more cost effective. 

IGF can also be effectively used by itself and gains will still be easily noticeable. With growth hormone you need to use high amounts of anabolics and often insulin to see any gains at all, this is not the case with IGF. IGF can be used by itself and is often used by bodybuilders who bridge between cycles, during this bridge is a good time to use IGF since it has no effect on natural testosterone production so it will therefore allow you to return to normal in terms of hormone levels. A stack of IGF, PGF2a, HCG, and clomid would be a good bridge stack and would allow your body to return to normal and still allow you to retain and make new gains. 

IGF is a research drug, it hasn't been approved by the FDA for use as a pharmaceutical and it is currently being researched for nerve tissue repair, possible burn victims, and also as a possible aid in muscle wasting for AIDS patients. There are many different analogs of IGF available, instead of mentioning them all, I will simply mention the two most common and the most effective. Regular recombinant IGF is one of the two, it is also the more expensive and the least effective. Regular IGF only has a half-life of about 10-20 minutes in the human body and is quickly destroyed, it can be combined with certain binding proteins to extend the half-life, but it is not a very simple procedure and there is a more effective and less expensive version available. The most effective form of IGF is Long R3 IGF-1, it has been chemically altered and has had amino acid changes which cause it to avoid binding to proteins in the human body and allow it to have a much longer half life, around 20-30 hours. "Long R3 IGF-1 is an 83 amino acid analog of IGF-1 comprising the complete human IGF-1 sequence with the substition of an Arg(R) for the Glu(E) at position three, hence R3, and a 13 amino acid extension peptide at the N terminus. This analog of IGF-1 has been produced with the purpose of increasing the biological activity of the IGF peptide." 

"Long R3 IGF-1 is signifacantly more potent than IGF-1. The enhanced potency is due to the decreased binding of Long R3 IGF-1 to all known IGF binding proteins. These binding proteins normally inhibit the biological actions of IGF's." 

It is also not as expensive since a media grade version is available which is sufficient for bodybuilding use. There is also a receptor grade available but it is VERY expensive and the only noticeable difference between the two would only be able to be noticed in a laboratory setting. The price on the black market for Long R3 IGF-1 can be seen anywhere from $300-$500 per milligram depending on the source, be wary of black market dealers of any IGF since it is a VERY difficult item to obtain. As mentioned IGF is a research product and is only available from a few laboratories in the world and is only available to research companies and biotechnology institutions. For the rest of this article when I say IGF I am now referring to Long R3 IGF-1 for simplicity sake. 


Any form of IGF is ONLY supplied in a lyophilized form, which means a dry powder state. NEVER PURCHASE PRE-DILUTED LIQUID IGF!!!! There is no such product made anywhere in the world and even if there were real IGF ever present in the vial it would all be dead by the time you receive it. IGF is a very delicate peptide and must be diluted by yourself, where you have access to a refrigerator and freezer. There has also been a lot of talk by certain sources claiming to have IGF made by the Eli Lilly company, to clear things up Lilly is a pharmaceutical company and as stated IGF is a research drug and has not yet been approved, Lilly does not and never has manufactured research drugs for retail sale.  

UPDATE: with the inception of IGF-1r3, it is possible to obtain a pre-diluted form

The diluents you will need for the IGF are a weak concentration of hydrochloric acid and a sterile buffer sterile water or bacteriostatic water) the procedure for diluting the IGF is not very difficult, the diluents can be obtained from most local chemical suppliers and a good source of IGF would also be able to supply the necessary diluents. 

The most effective length for a cycle of IGF is 50 days on and 20-40 days off. The most controversy surrounding Long R3 IGF-1 is the effective dosage. The most used dosages range between 20mcg/day to 120+mcg/day. IGF is only available by the milligram, one mg will give you a 50 day cycle at 20mcg/day, 2mg will give you a 50 day cycle at 40mcg/day, 3mg will give you a 50 day cycle at 60mcg/day, 4mg will give you a 50 day cycle at 80mcg/day and so on. The dosage issue mainly revolves around how much money you have to spend, plenty of people use the minimum dosage of 20mcg/day and are happy with the results, and in fact several top bodybuilders use the 20mcg/day dosage and are pleased with the results. IGF is most effective when administered subcutaneous and injected once or twice daily at your current dosage. The best time for injections is either in the morning and/or immediately after weight training. 

Another frequently asked question of IGF refers to the real world results, in terms of pure weight gain don't expect to gain 5 lbs. a week like you may off of anadrol or a similar steroid. The only weight you will gain from IGF use is pure lean muscle tissue, with steroids most of the weight gained is water weight. With an effective dosage you can expect to gain 1-2 lbs of new lean muscle tissue every 2-3 weeks and these effects can be increased with the use of testosterone, anabolic steroids, and insulin use. Increased vascularity is also very common, people report seeing veins appear where they never have before. And yet another effect reported is the ability to stay lean while bulking with heavy dosages of steroids and TONS of food while on an IGF cycle, this is perhaps the most pleasing effect. Increased pumps are also noticeable almost immediately, the pumps can almost become painful, pumps are even noticeable when doing cardio. 

Overall, IGF is a very exciting drug due to its ability to alter ones genetic capabilities. If you can find a trustworthy source and you use it correctly it can be a VERY useful tool in your bodybuilding drug arsenal.


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