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IGF-1 is commonly known to help build muscle or something to avoid when dealing with cancer. However, IGF-1 is also crucial in healing and tends to be low in those with chronic inflammation. There are some surprising things that you didn’t know about IGF-1 here.

IGF-1 is not what your doctor would usually test. Even though it can tell you a lot about your health. However, you can request it from your doctor and plug in your test results into Lab Test Analyzer, and you will find all the information you need about your IGF-1 values, such as if your levels are optimal. And if they are not, it will tell you how to get there, using evidence-based lifestyle, diet, and supplement tips.

IGF-1 is a very important marker to monitor, especially if you haven’t been leading the best lifestyle or you have known chronic health issues. 

What is Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1?

Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone that is similar in structure to insulin and works with Growth Hormone to reproduce and regenerate cells.

Growth Hormone, made by the pituitary gland, stimulates the liver to produce IGF-1 and IGF-1 subsequently stimulates growth in cells throughout the body, leading to growth and development (as in the womb and through adolescence), strengthening of tissues (improving bone density, building muscle), and healing (skin, bones, gut lining, etc.), depending on what the body needs [R].

IGF-1 is so crucial to development that if it is not present in adequate amounts during the time when a child is developing, a short stature may result.

IGF-1, Overall Health, and Longevity

In several organisms such as fruit flies, worms, and rats, IGF-I is involved in the control of lifespan.

In most studies in mice, inhibiting Growth Hormone/IGF-I results in an increase in lifespan (up to 55%). However, in humans, the association between IGF-I levels and life expectancy doesn’t hold up [R].

Unlike lab animals, humans are exposed to various infections, stress, and other environmental factors that IGF-1 might help.

Several population-based studies describing a relationship between IGF-I and risk of dying were published with conflicting results. Two studies showed a higher risk with higher IGF-I levels, while three showed higher risk with lower IGF-I levels. And in six studies there was no clear association at all [R].

Overall, however, having either low or high IGF-1 increases the risk of dying from all causes [R].

In a meta-analysis of twelve studies done in 2011 with 14,906 participants, the risk of dying from all causes was increased in subjects with low as well as high IGF-1 levels [R].

People with low IGF-1 were at a 1.27X increased risk of dying from all causes, while those with higher levels were at a 1.18X increased risk.

I would say that when you look at all of the evidence, low IGF-1 levels are more likely to be a concern than high IGF-1 levels, but you still want to strike a balance [R].

The activity of IGF-I is influenced by at least six binding proteins (IGFBP). The most abundant is IGFBP-3, which binds more than 90% of IGF-1 in the circulation. Although IGF-I and IGFBP-3 are typically well correlated, there is speculative evidence that IGF-1 has an independent impact on disease risk, for example, on cancer [R].

When it comes to cancer, it’s probably better to err on having IGF-1 lower than higher (but not low).

When it comes to autoimmunity or chronic inflammation, it’s probably better to err on having IGF-1 higher than lower (but not high).

The Good

1) IGF-1 May Be Anti-aging

The length of telomeres in the DNA have shown to be important predictors of longevity. IGF-1 has been shown to correlate with greater telomere length in healthy subjects of all ages [R] and in elderly men, in another study [R].

In the famous Framingham Heart Study of 525 people between the ages of 72 and 92, greater levels of IGF-1 were associated with a decreased risk of dying in the next 2 years [R].

IGF-1 helps prevent age-related cognitive decline by promoting new cell growth in the brain (in rats) [R].

Aging [R], and its associated frailties, such as lowered muscle strength, slower walking, and less mobility are associated with lower levels of IGF-1 in older women [R].

Critically ill patients tended to have lower IGF-1 levels [R].

2) IGF-1 Increases Antioxidants

IGF-1 increases glutathione peroxidase, an important antioxidant enzyme [R].

It protects cells exposed to radiation, by preventing cell death and increasing the antioxidant status [R].

The negative to this is that if you have cancer and take chemotherapy, it may potentially protect cancer cells from dying as well.

3) IGF-1 Decreases Inflammation and Autoimmunity

When IGF-1 levels are low, inflammation tends to be high [R, R].

In mouse models of autoimmunity and brain inflammation, administration of IGF-1 delayed disease onset; however, giving IGF-1 after the disease had developed led to an enhanced worsening of the disease [R].

Allergic contact dermatitis, Multiple Sclerosis and type 1 diabetes is reduced in mice when they’re given IGF-1 [R].

Low IGF-1 levels have been documented in patients with HIV [R] and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus tend to have lower levels of circulating IGF-1 [R].

IGF-1 helps combat autoimmunity by increasing T Regulatory Cells. IGF-1 also decreases MHCI gene expression [R].

In animals studies, high histamine levels in the body are associated with low IGF-1 in the blood (reduced via a histamine H1 receptor-mediated pathway) [R].

4) IGF-1 is Good for the Brain

IGF-1 improves learning and memory in animal models [R].

It works as an anti-anxiety and anti-depressant in mouse studies [R].

Lower levels of IGF-1 are associated with depression in aged mice [R].

It speeds up mental processing in a study of 25 older men [R].

IGF-1 prevents the accumulation of amyloid plaque in the brain, in a rat model of Alzheimer’s disease [R].

In people, Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia are associated with lower IGF-1 levels [R], and IGF-1 resistance accompanies insulin resistance in the brain in Alzheimer’s Disease [R].

It increases BDNF in the brain, mimicking the effects of exercise [R].

It helps motor neuron diseases like ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) [R, R]. ALS is associated with lower IGF-1 

5) IGF-1 Creates Bigger Muscles and Reduces Muscle Wasting

IGF-1 is important for building muscle [R], and for reducing muscle loss in aging and disease.

6) IGF-1 Improves Blood Sugar Balance

Lower IGF-1 is associated with Metabolic syndrome [R].

IGF-1 infusions helped lower blood sugar, improve insulin sensitivity, and lower triglycerides in a study of Diabetes Type 2 patients [R].

People who are obese are more likely to have lower free IGF-1 [R].

In hepatitis C, people have lower IGF-1 and they are more likely to be insulin resistant, and it’s thought that these might be connected [R].

7) IGF-1 Protects against Heart Disease

IGF-1 has shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects on blood vesselsstabilizing existing plaque and reducing additional plaque accumulation [R].

Cardiovascular disease (coronary artery disease, fatal ischemic heart disease, ischemic stroke, congestive heart failure, as well as slower recovery after a heart attack) is associated with reduced IGF-1.

Lower IGF-1 levels were associated with a higher risk of stroke in a study of a Chinese population [R].

8) IGF-1 Promotes Growth/Height

Growth Hormone’s (GH) activity in the body is dependent on IGF-1. So, IGF-1 deficiency causes insensitivity to GH and its effects on growth and repair.

IGF-1 helps restore height in children with IGF-deficiency [R].

Poor growth of an infant in the womb can be due to lowered IGF-1 [R].

Laron Syndrome (a type of dwarfism) is associated with lower IGF-1 in children [R].

9) IGF-1 Helps Bone Density

Higher IGF-1 levels are associated with greater bone mineral density in older women.

We know that IGF-1 is a direct promoter of bone growth [R].

However, IGF-1’s muscle-building (anabolic) effect may also promote bone density, since increasing muscle mass, in turn, requires greater bone strength [R].

10) IGF-1 Helps Your Gut

In animal models of colitis, burns and jaundice, treatment with IGF-1 improved gut health. It stimulated mucosal DNA and protein content and drastically reduced the incidence of bacterial translocation [R, R, R].

In animal models of small bowel transplantation, IGF-I improved the mucosal structure and absorptive function and reduced bacterial translocation [R].

Infants with gut permeability showed faster healing times when given IGF-1 [R].

12) IGF-1 Might Help Clear Bacterial Infections

In animal models, IGF-1 helps clear bacterial infections and improves survival in sepsis [R].

In animal models of cystic fibrosis, IGF-1 was able to help clear bacteria from the lungs [R].

13) IGF-1 Boosts The Immune System

IGF-1 can help increase natural killer cell activity [R].

IGF-I drives B-cells to multiply [R].

14) IGF-1 Helps With Electrolyte Balance

IGF-1 has been shown to help restore fluid balance in the rats [R, R] and in humans [R].

15) IGF-1 is Good For Skin

Reviving stagnant collagen synthesis can help protect skin against aging [R].

Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is the most potent stimulator of collagen biosynthesis and may help prevent skin aging [R].


IGF-1 and growth hormone inhibit urea synthesis [R], which may cause lower blood urea nitrogen.  Growth Hormone-deficient children given human growth hormone results in lower urea nitrogen and this is due to decreased urea synthesis [R].

Advanced liver cirrhosis correlates with low IGF-1, in adults [R].

The Bad

Because IGF-1 stimulates growth, it can have negative effects on someone who is prone to cancer.

IGF-1 exerts powerful effects on each of the key stages of cancer development.

It increases cellular proliferation, angiogenesis, and metastasis and reduces cell death (apoptosis). It also can lead to resistance to chemotherapeutic agents.

When it comes to cancer, not only is IGF-1 important but so is IGF-1 binding protein (IGFBP), which blocks the effects of IGF-1.

So it’s the ‘free’ levels of IGF-1 that are most important.

1) IGF-1 May Contribute to Cancer Development

IGF-1 creates an environment conducive to breast cancer and resists anti-cancer drugs [R].

IGF-1 was shown to increase the invasiveness of breast cancer [R].

A review of 17 studies found that IGF-1 is positively associated with breast cancer risk, taking levels of IGF binding protein (IGFBP3) into account, due to its effects on estrogen-sensitive tumors [R].

High IGF-1 is associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer [R].

Blood IGF-1 levels are higher in those with lung cancer than controls [R] (or maybe not [R])

Higher IGF-1 levels in the blood are associated with colorectal cancer [R].

However, another study found that both low and high IGF-1 increased the chance of dying from cancer [R].

NOTE: Studies are unclear. Some take into account IGF-binding protein 3, and some do not. IGF-binding protein 3 (IGFBP3) is supposed to keep IGF-1 levels in the body in balance. When IGF binding protein (IGFBP) levels are low, free IGF-1 is unchecked and can cause growth that is out of control. That’s where cancer may come in. In most cases, elevated IGF-1 is associated with a reduced cancer risk more than an elevated risk [R].

2) IGF-1 Contributes to Acne

Increased IGF-1 may influence acne in adult men and women. While IGF-1 appears to have a stronger effect on acne in women, testosterone/androgens may play a greater role in acne for men [R].

Ways to Modify IGF-1 Levels

Everyone is different, and our bodies can be complex. If you want to increase/decrease your IGF-1 levels, it’s best to analyze them with Lab Test Analyzer. This tool will compute, based on this and your other results, the best steps you can take that will bring you back to optimal.

Ways to Increase IGF-1

If you have low IGF-1 levels, you might want to focus a bit more on things that increase IGF-1, especially if you’re genetically predisposed to autoimmunity.

Ways to Inhibit IGF-1

If you have high IGF-1 levels, you might want to focus a bit more on things that inhibit IGF-1, especially if you’re genetically predisposed to cancer.

  • Fasting [R], especially prolonged fasting [R].
  • Carbs – A Higher dietary proportion of carbohydrates is associated with lower IGF-1 [R].
  • Protein restriction [R].
  • Calorie restriction [R].
  • Intense walking [R].
  • Legumes [R]
  • Royal jelly [R]
  • Glucosamine [R]
  • Bilberry [R]
  • Luteolin [R]
  • Curcumin [R]
  • Resveratrol (Grapes -especially the skin, mulberries, peanuts) [R]. Inhibits IGF-1 in intestinal cells, reducing collagen formation that might otherwise lead to scarring and narrowing of the intestinal passageway. (Resveratrol increases IGF-1 in the brain –see below).
  • Apigenin [R, R] –in a study of human prostate cancer.
  • Lycopene (Tomatoes, guava, rosehip, watermelon, papaya, apricot, pink grapefruit) [R].
  • EGCG (Green tea) [R]
  • Boron (fruits & vegetables, raisins, nuts, legumes) – reduces free IGF  [R].
  • Genistein (Soybeans and soy products, red clover, and Sicilian pistachio) [R].
  • Inflammation: Histamine [R], TNF-a [R], IL-6 [R], IL-1-alpha [R]….the negative effect of IL-6 on muscle function may be caused by lower IGF-1 [R].
  • Tamoxifen [R].

Genetic Influences/IGF-1 SNPs

IGF-1 is heavily influenced by your genes. If you’ve gotten your genes sequenced, SelfDecode can help you determine if your levels are high or low as a result of your genes, and then pinpoint what you can do about it.

IGF-1 Ranges and Diseases:

Breast cancer:

  • Studies showed an IGF-1 range of 170-190 in women aged 45-60 with breast cancer [R].
  • In another study, premenopausal women with IGF-1 levels over 207 were at an increased risk of breast cancer [R].

Prostate cancer:

  • Studies showed an IGF-1 range of 160-170 for men with prostate cancer around age 60 [R].
  • In another study of men with prostate cancer averaging at age 65, IGF-1 levels were around 150-170 [R].
  • In the Physicians’ Health Study, an IGF-1 over 185 raised the risk for prostate cancer [R].

Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer:

  • Higher IGF-1 (approximately 190) is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular events and deaths from cancer in elderly men (average age 75) [R].

Higher Overall Risk of Disease or Mortality:

  • IGF-1 levels are about 70-80 or lower are associated with an overall increased risk of disease or death [R].

Irregular IGF-1 Levels?

People don’t realize that their blood test results contain a gold mine of information that’s waiting to be unearthed. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or the inclination to sift through dozens of research papers.

If you ever felt like you should be getting more out of your lab results, now you finally can. Using Lab Test Analyzer, you can get up-to-date scientific information about your lab results. In addition, you will get both lifestyle tips and natural solutions to help you optimize your health. You can also rely on our science-based Optimal Ranges to prevent potential health issues and maximize your overall wellbeing.

If you got your blood test results and you’re not sure what to make of them, you need to check out this cutting-edge tool. This tool does all the heavy lifting for you. No need to do thousands of hours of research on what to make of your blood tests.

It’s super-simple so that even if you don’t have any background in science, you will understand what your results mean, and what you can do to get them in the optimal range.

All the content is backed by science and researched by a team of PhDs, professors, and scientists.

By using Lab Test Analyzer, you will learn how to optimize your health, tailored to your unique biology.

We’re all unique, so we deserve solutions that treat us that way.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


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  • Bridgette

    My gif-1 was 50. I’ve had thyroid cancer and the radioactive iodine treatment followed. Is this the reason for the low level. My doctor does’t seem alarmed and states everything is stable….but I feel like crap!

  • nadia

    Hi, can I ask please – my son has IGF-1r amplification of the gene + other 4 amplifications (MDM2, MDm4, FRS2, PIM1 and Pax3/foxo1 fusion).
    my question is – because he has IGF-1 receptor amplified – does it mean we should increase or decrease IGF?
    Thanks, Nadia

  • resolutionary

    Excellent article.

    It seems “velvet antler” should read “antler velvet” — as in deer antler velvet, elk antler velvet — a source of IGF-1 Chinese Taoists have been using for 3000+ years.

  • Mims

    I noticed an inconsistency for your curcumin reference
    IT is listed as decreasing IGF-1, yet the linked PMID article says
    ” In addition, curcumin treated rats showed significant increase in gene expression of IGF-1, Bcl2, SOD and GST compare to non diabetic and diabetic untreated rats”

  • ben

    Regarding IGF and aging, shouldn’t that also be in ‘the Bad’ section? For example, if you’re healthy enough to avoid infections and can live with little muscle and possibly dementia, then doesn’t the research show that longer lifespans are associated with *LOW* IGF?

    Also, it seems IGF and MTOR signaling go hand-in-hand.. so if increase in IGF in the brain can ward off Alzheimer’s, how is it possible that suppressing MTOR does the same?

  • Sonam

    Prunes boost IGF-1 levels in humans, not inhibit them (as your article states, by way of ‘Boron’)

    1. Helen

      Hi Sonam, thanks for the information! We’ve corrected the post.

  • Anne

    Hi Greg ,
    May I suggest you join the Acromegaly support group on FB . I think you will find it very helpful indeed . I wish you all the best .

  • Al eng

    It reads you are also very allergic to things. I would look down that path for allergies. I just started shots but that seems you are to far away. I would move closer to medical facilities. You could also have nasal polyps that need to be removed. But allergies are really bothering you it seems. I am no doctor but I am also suffering from allergies. Lately with shots, sinus rinse and Fluticasone it’s under control. Good Luck.

  • krish


    Does anyone know whether air-conditioning has any impact on IGF-1. I have got acromegaly and I feel that all of this was started after I got into air-conditioned environment for my work. This also caused me lot of acne on my face. Any suggestions please?

  • Greg Klette

    Oh and i forgot to mention,i have had a blocked nose /sinuses since i was a teen ager ,
    i have a bad sinus head ache and sinus pressure most days
    take wellbutrin 150 mg for depression
    take lancap for acid reflux/gerd
    very moody/grumpy and agitated in evenings

  • Greg Klette

    Hi there ,i m not sure if im on the right forum but ,i have acromegaly, from pituitary adenoma. Growth hormone count was 985 .Had surgery but they could not remove the whole tumor.I am taking hydrocortisone,10 mg morning,5 at lunch and 5 mg afternoon. 2 months after surgery growth hormone count 497 .Unfortunately i am in south africa,and live 900 kilometers away from medical facilities.they are suggesting i undergo radiation for 6 weeks to zap the remainder of tumor.
    Could someone maybe advise on the correct and precise post follow up tests and treatment and options i can persue. i am not feeling well at all.
    I also have the following problems Very severe sleep apnea, huge extremely large tongue,enlarged soft tissue in throat area. protruding and widened undershot bottom jaw,gout ,arthritis ,carpell tunnel ,knee cartilage damaged,enlarged hands and finger joint growth.loss of muscle tone ,overweight and always hungry.daytime sleepiness.nodd off anywhere and everywhere. Please help

  • Carole

    Did dr look at Agromegaly?
    6 weekly slow release injections to regulate all you mention.
    Much Hormonal fluctuation & regular blood tests to monitor growth hormones and prolactin.
    Hope this helps.

  • Christina Rasmussen

    I hope someone here has insight. Igf-1 levels low (63- consistently) prolactin high (27.54). Random cortisol at noon was 29.9. Cushings test with the pill was positive then the 24 hour urine was negative. WBC is always on the high of normal spectrum. T4free and acth both normal. I’ve had plenty other labs but I think these are the important/ relevant numbers. I had an MRI done to check for pituitary tumor which came back normal but I have yet to speak to the dr or her office. I was prepared for the tumor not prepared for more questions. Any similar stories or thoughts please!

  • Sheila

    You have answered this yourself. Your igf isnt binding- try to find out why.

  • Sheila

    Why should what primarily relates to your growth, directly have an effect on what relates to your sugars?

  • Sheila

    Test somatomedin c and somatostatin for a full picture.

  • Sheila

    Why not check your mthfr genes ?

  • Sheila

    Cortisol injections and checking antibodies and suppressing them has good results.

  • Traci

    Is this a typo? “IGF-1 levels are about 70-80 or lower are associated with an overall increased risk of disease or death (R).”

    I just had this test and mine was 75. I’m 49 years old. I generally eat a lot of protein so I assumed mine would be high and I wanted it outside of the parameters mentioned for breast cancer and lower overall after reading Valter Longo’s studies on middle age, high IGF-1 and cancer but now I’m concerned it might be too low. I’m slightly overweight with minimal belly fat but I do lack energy often. Not sure what to think about this number? Waiting on the results of my chem panel, CBC, hormone and lipid testing.

  • Carole

    You may have an adenoma.
    If your tongue & hand, feet & facial features are enlarged, have hints of thyroid issues, sleep apnoea issues, deteriorating sight, you are producing milk, have stopped menstruating…..
    at 53, all these things were happening to me over 5 years before it was found by my dr after a skin check when he noticed my chunky fingers.
    You should have the growth hormone checked too and then see a neurosurgeon who will send you for an cerebral mri to confirm it.

  • Carole

    Sounds like you have agromegaly. We are 1 in 1000 here in Oz.
    It is not Mentioned above but if high igf1 and growth hormone that is a clear indicator that an mri should be done to check if there is an adenoma (pituatry tumor) present.

  • David Salda

    I had same problem like you, the symptoms are exactly similiar. I can’t tolerate almost anything including ascorbic (which would increase my tolerance to other things). I found out that ascorbic acid bounded to fat like liposomal vitamin C (I use seeking health brand) or ascorbyl palmitate has drastically lowered my histamine levels within a month of a use. It was definitely game changer for me.

  • Tiffany

    Please ask for cortisol testings in the form of blood, urine and saliva. Research cushings and cyclic cushings. Also could have adrenal issues.

  • Naba

    Did you checked your Prolactin? mine was high then I found I had a mass in the pituitary gland

  • Simon

    Please read EAT TO LIVE by JOEL FUHRMAN, M.D. I’m sure you’ll see what you need to do!

  • Valdoria

    I would suggest a food sensitivity and intolerance panel on each of you. Apparently something you are around or consuming is likely inflaming you chronically which can of course lower IGF-1 levels.

  • Lindsey

    Hi, this is a old thread but hopefully someone can offer some insight. My IGF-1 has been tested 3 times and everytime it has been 250-270? My DHEAS is also double the normal. Fits PCOS but I don’t have that and what causes PCOS? Toxins? Why does my IGF-1 stay elevated? Could that mean pituitary tumor or is it not high enough? My blood sugar is also always over 100 yet I’m super skinny and eat very clean? Something has thrown everything off. I pray someone has some answers.

    1. Nattha Wannissorn, PhD

      Inflammation and PPAR-gamma?

  • Laura

    I received tests results back yesterday for my IGF-1. The NP at the endocrinologist office said my level was high(266) and suggested I may have a pituitary gland tumor. The “normal” range for IGF-1 seems to be different everywhere I look. I don’t know what to believe.

  • Sandra Baker

    My mother died at age 68. Before she died the dr told her that she was a 68 yr old woman with a 100 yr old body. She was way underweight 79pds. She looked way older than she was. I have 6 sisters and all 7 of us have osteoporosis, and arthritis. Some of us have autoimmune diseases. 5 of us have it so bad we are disabled. What does this tell you of our IGF-1
    Thank you

  • Sean

    So if im understanding this correctly if IGFBP3 levels are normal than high igf would not potentially increase cancer risk, correct?

  • Simen

    This post contains some good points regarding IGF-1!

    And some bad ones:

    1. Why do you state that thyroid hormones inhibit IGF-1? Thyroid hormones stimulate growth hormone secretion and is permissive for IGF-1 production from the liver. Thyroid hormones also increase the amount of growth hormone receptors. Low IGF-1 is a classical finding in hypothyroidism due to the facts stated above. Hypothyroidism lead to short stature in children if not treated with thyroid hormones during puberty. Your study reference even clearly support these scientific facts, so why do do you disagree with your own reference?

    2. The reference regarding cortisol and IGF-1 is on Leptin, not cortisol.

    3. A lot of the minerals you list as stimulators of IGF-1 production does this by improving thyroid function. Selenium, magnesium and Zink all stimulate the conversion from T4 to T3, thus increasing hepatic IGF-1 secretion. Se point 1 on thyroid and IGF-1.

    4. Deer Antler and Colstrum is close to useless, if not 100% useless to increase systemic IGF-1. The oral bioavailibility of peptide hormones like IGF-1 is poor, and the amount of IGF-1 in those products is low. 110% waste of money/scam.

    4. You should read most of the scientific literature that you reference to back up your claims. By doing this, you avoid misleading people that are looking for knowledge. And as a bonus get a broader and more complex view on endocrinology.

    1. Nattha Wannissorn

      Thanks for the feedback. We’ll fix this.

  • Juls

    How does IGF1 relate to testosterone?

    My 19 year old son was just tested and labs found:

    1. very low testosterone (total 149; should be 300-1200 / free 3.7; should be 5-21)
    2. very low IGF-1 (117) IGFBP3 and GH were not tested
    3. sub clinical hypothryroidism
    4. high DHEAs (469.9; should be 115.3-459.6)
    5. slightly elevated white blood count
    6. very low vit D (9.8; should be 32-80). We are now supplementing.

    Estradol, blood sugars, and cholesterol are all normal.

    We are trying to get in with an endocrinologist but it’s taking a while to get an appointment. He’s is really struggling to get school work done at college. He also sleeps a lot and has gained a lot of weight steadily for the past 5 years.

    Honestly I love the term “functionally illiterate” in the author’s description, it’s a good description of my son. Psych meds were tried when he was younger but never helped. He’s not been on any medication for the last three years. Now I’m thinking that his issues may have been endocrine related all along.

    Anyone have this combo of problems?

    1. LA Ponciroli

      I am not a medical doctor but my gut says to have an MRI of the brain to rule out pituitary tumor. If he’s had one, then try a CT scan. Good luck to you both!

      1. Sanjib Kumar Banerjee

        Good advice.But doubtful of the outcome. Why he is not advised for his Parathyroid hormone check ? Deficiency on the said gland may lead to Low IGF -1, Vit. D, and also low energy level too. I wish the little boy moves to a better life if his Parathyroid Hormone secretion is corrected. If it fails OR the MRI of brain as advised may be carried out simultaneously.

    2. Jeff

      Get an MRI for the pituitary. That would show things far better than a CT.

      What types of psych medications was your son on? Antipsychotics will interfere with the pituitary by blocking its D2 dopamine receptors. Tricyclic antidepressants might also, to a lesser extent.

      At age 17, I had low testosterone and LH, high GH and IGF-1, and high prolactin; and then had an MRI which discovered an anterior pituitary microadenoma. I was then diagnosed with acromegaly, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, and gynecomastia. Previously, they had tried psych medications which made my symptoms worse, but with proper treatment of the pituitary issues (currently HCG and cabergoline) I’ve done much better. Cabergoline was my “miracle drug” by improving my functionality and mood, while also eliminating my embarrassing gynecomastia and making my body look better overall.

      Your endocrinologist will likely do a full endocrine panel before anything else. This would include free and total testosterone, LH, FSH, HGH, IGF-1, TSH, T3, T4, ACTH, cortisol, prolactin, and blood glucose. The endocrinologist would go from there to determine what further tests are necessary, and confirm if a pituitary MRI would be warranted.

      Good luck, and tell your son to hang in there! I was once in his shoes, and I know how frustrating and discouraging it can feel!

  • Scott Long

    I think there needs to be more thought/research. My GH is on the low side 1,5 however my igf1 is almost 500. What does that make you think about the whole belief that gh controls igf1 ?

    1. Claire Cullipher

      you have acromegaly..please say you have had an MRI to check for tumor in pituitary gland

  • Mark

    Fasting increases hgh which in turns increases igf-1 , also carbs effect insulin release which also has been proven to increase igf-1 signaling at the cellular level . Do more research on fasting an igf -1 an carbback loading an increase gh . Carbs do increase igf-1 its just all in timing .

  • steven fernandes

    Well written. Appreciate the citations.

  • Jess

    I have high insulin levels but have not grown for three years (I am 14) I have low levels of the igf binding proteins. Why haven’t I grown if I have high insulin and what can I take to grow
    I also have polycrystic ovaries

    1. Maddy

      Jess, colostrum is a natural source of IGF1, get an organic non-defatted 6 hour milking source.

      1. Sebastian

        Be careful with colostrum. Before orthomolecular therapy my IGF was very low, after 2 months it was sky high. I took colostrum,high amino acids and various vitamins. I freaked out and even the doc was a bit worried. Somehow my somatotropic hormone went through the roof, still worried about that.

    2. Carmelita

      PCOS, my daughter had that. We cut out all processed foods (everything was made from scratch) and started eating organic as much as possible. Many pesticides in our food create endocrine disruptors. Within 6 months the doctor said her blood levels are normal. Your endocrine system makes everything function. “The endocrine system is the collection of glands that produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, and mood, among other things.” I was looking on this site and saw your statement. I know it’s not the answer about the levels but I do remember talking with people and bring told that pcos also can effect insulin. I wish you the very best.

      1. Natcha M

        That’s great. Congratulations on overcoming the PCOS. ~Team SelfHacked

  • Robert Larabee

    I have Prostate cancer so it seems like I should work to lower my iGf-1 and increase IGF-3 – how would I increase the binding IgF-3

    Also- I have suffered with Fibro like illness for years – seems if I work to improve one condition I’ll likely make the other worse. My Dr. believes I have A sub clinical form of Sjogrens

  • Santino

    What about mast cell activation disorder and igf-1?

    With MCAD multiple mutations of mast cells cause a lot if problems in multiple organs. I am intolerant to almost everything on earth except rice, chicken and beta carotene/vitamin a free free oil.

    My mast cells react to many natural ocurring substances with an strong allergic reaction if I take them as a supplement (no fillers used). For example with creatine, glutamine, N-Acetylcysteine, Methylcobalamine, curcumin, methylfolate, quercetine and many more. I can have a very limited amount of ascorbic acid and even more limited beta carotene.

    My bodies main mimiting reaction is a stron flu like response. Often I also suffered from extreme brainfog but that is better.

    Would igf-1 help with mast cell disorders? Or would it even make them worse?

    1. Sam

      Logic would dictate that lowering IGF-1 would be beneficial in your case, as it upregulates autophagy of defective cells (which, as you point out, is a major problem for you.)

    2. Maddy

      I would follow the authors suggestion and get your level tested. Have you read the website mastattack, she is a scientist with MCAD, I would ask her. Also, have you tried butyrate? It is helping my daughter slowly who has chronic daily migraine which arrived with food allergies (true IgE reactions) and also now has a plethora of food intolerances like you describe gluten, dairy, eggs, almost anything including veg with high histamine, and at one point all animal protein. It was awful. I feel your pain. She was completely vegan less high histamine ones like avacado and spinach. Butyrate can help heal the lining of the gut, promotes mucin cells to make mucous, and promotes Tregs which are important in promoting immune tolerance. More foods being tolerated. Good write up on this site, read it. Tolerating more foods now. I am add colostrum next to see if this helps gut further. But it definately has IGF-1 in it.

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