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IGF

IGF (insulin growth factor)

What is IGF?

Insulin-like growth factor is a synthetic biologic substance that acts on cells and stimulates growth. Due to the fact that it has high similarity to insulin it also has the ability to decrease blood glucose levels. Its name itself reflects the fact that insulin acts in some tissues for the purpose of stimulating growth, rather than decreasing blood glucose levels. Despite the fact that insulin is the most popular drug for keeping the blood glucose levels even, it may be used for other purposes as well. Even though the insulin-like growth factor is used primarily to stimulate growth, in some measure it also contributes to decreasing blood glucose levels. Just because insulin-like growth factor has well described endocrine actions it differs from other growth factors such as nerve growth factor, epidermal growth factor and platelet derived growth factor. There are two insulin-like growth factors, IGF-1 and IGF-2. The difference between them shall be discussed further. Before starting to use IGF make sure you are well informed about its possible side effects, recommended doses and other important information. Take all measures of precaution and follow exactly all the indications of use.

Mechanism of action of insulin-like growth factor

Deriving from its action on cells growth and tissues to stimulate growth, the main purposes of insulin-like growth factor are to regulate sugar and fat metabolism, body composition, muscle and bone growth as well as body fluids. Considering the mechanism of action of insulin-like growth factor, adults, adolescents and even athletes can use it.

General facts about insulin-like growth factor

As already mentioned, there are two insulin-like growth factors, IGF-1 and IGF-2. Even though these two derivatives of the growth factor are very similar, these may be distinguished in terms of specific actions on tissues due to the fact that they activate and bind to different receptors. IGF-1 mediates the actions of pituitary growth hormone that stimulates many tissues, particularly the liver. As the growth hormone secretion decreases progressively in time, so do the IGF-1 concentrations. One of the differences between the named two factors is that the production of IGF-2 does not depend on the secretion of growth hormone and is much less important in stimulating growth. This is the reason the literature focuses mostly on IGF-1 as the main growth factor.

Another important thing to note about insulin-like growth factor is that it is produced by the liver and by many other tissues that have receptors for them and contribute to further growth and development. The synthetic substance is indicated when the body does not produce enough concentration of it. The IGF-1 deficiency is also called growth hormone insensitivity syndrome. The causes of IGF-1 may be due to a block of growth hormone action at the level of the receptor, liver disease or malnutrition.

The use of IGF by athletes

As insulin-like growth factors regulates the muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism as well as body fluids it is a great choice for athletes in creating the so called "quality muscle” aspect. Therefore it may be used during anabolic steroids cycle but in limited doses. It is considered that during a strong anabolic cycle the IGF intensifies the anabolic action and may cause side effects. If used by athletes in creating of a "strong” physical appearance it is necessary to control the doses and limit it in order to benefit most from its use and avoid any side effects.

How to use IGF?

The synthetic IGF is identical to that of the human IGF produced in the body. Generally it is indicated in form of injectable solution in order to ensure a quick release of the growth factor in the blood. It is administered by injecting the IGF using a sterile syringe and needle, in the subcutaneous tissue. The doses are set individually considering the severity of IGF deficiency. It is recommended to administer IGF two times per day, particularly at the time of food intake. In order to avoid any infections at the site of injection, it is indicated to change it after each administration. As IGF has the ability to decrease the blood glucose level it is recommended to take all measures of precaution and follow the indications of administration properly. Before injecting the solution make sure there are not detected any invisible particles. The length of therapy with IGF depends on the efficiency on the overall body composition. In some cases it may last several years. However, if the therapy with it provides visible results, it has to be used for a determined period of time.

Possible side effects with insulin-like growth factor

Like any other synthetic substance, IGF may also cause side effects. One major concern about therapy with IGF is that due to the insulin-like properties it may cause low blood glucose level. In order to avoid such reactions, follow the indications of use properly and take all measures of precaution to avoid them. Another possible side effect is lipohypertrophy, which is the thickening of the fat tissue under the skin. Such adverse reaction may occur when the injections are not properly dispersed. As such side effect may be avoided, it does not present a great concern.

More rare but possible side effects with insulin-like growth therapy are the following:

·Intracranial hypertension that may lead to nausea and vomiting.

·Lymphoid tissue hypertrophy that in some cases may lead to increased frequency of middle ear infections and snoring.

Overall, insulin-like growth factor is quite safe and the side effects are dose-dependent and may be controlled by following exactly the indications of use.

How to store IGF?

It is indicated to store the ampules of IGF in a safe place out of the reach of children. Keep the drug away from the direct sunlight exposure. Safely discard the unused or expired ampules. For more information, ask a pharmacist or a physician.

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IGF