Derek's IGF-1 level on 3 IU of pharma grade GH blood test result

My IGF-1 Level On 3 IU Of Pharma Grade GH

Many bodybuilders seeking hyperplasia and enhanced lipolysis use GH (HGH/human growth hormone).

Even individuals just seeking anti-aging benefits have started to incorporate GH into their hormone replacement therapy protocols.

Most of these individuals have no idea what their IGF-1 levels actually are as a result of the amount of GH they are using.

I've spent thousands of dollars on blood work, and I felt it would be insightful for many to see what a fairly typical IGF-1 level is on 3 IU of pharma grade GH.

What is IGF-1?

IGF-1 stands for “Insulin-like Growth Factor-1,” also known as Somatomedin C, is a hormone produced primarily in the liver, which shares a similar chemical structure to insulin.

IGF-1 production is stimulated by GH, hence why individuals seeking to increase their IGF-1 levels inject GH to facilitate its production in the liver.

IGF-1 Level Effect On Growth

GH is made in the anterior pituitary gland, and after being released into the blood stimulates the liver to produce IGF-1.

IGF-1 then stimulates systemic body growth, and is largely what facilitates the growth spurt children experience as they go through puberty.

Peak average serum IGF-1 levels during puberty are roughly around 380 ng/mL, and these levels sharply decline after puberty.

IGF-1 levels at various ages

A child who is deficient in Growth Hormone (and consequently IGF-1 in most cases), will experience hindered growth during puberty.

One of the most prominent examples of this was when Lionel Messi was diagnosed with a Growth Hormone deficiency as a child, and received treatment at age 13.

If he had not received treatment, he likely would have never grown to a normal height.

IGF-1 Level On 3 IU GH

Back when I was obsessed with bodybuilding, I used GH to try and induce hyperplasia and splice new muscle cells, as well as stay leaner while I bulked up in the off-season.

I had a blood test on 3 IU of high quality GH that revealed that my IGF-1 level was 489 ng/mL.

Derek's IGF-1 Level On 3 IU's Of Pharma Grade GH

The reference range is 98-282 ng/mL, so 3 IU had me almost double the high end of the therapeutic reference range.

This IGF-1 level is literally in acromegaly territory, and would certainly expose someone to some level of long-term consequences if this dosage were used year round, for many years on end [R].

The most notable of these potential complications would be insulin resistance and severe cardiovascular complications [R, R].

IGF-1 Level In Active Acromegaly Patients Vs The Self Imposed IGF-1 Level Of Bodybuilders

Below you can see for yourself what the IGF-1 level in a normal person vs someone with active Acromegaly is [R].

Remission Group Active Group
n = 61 n = 77 p-value
Age (yr) mean (range) 52.7 ± 10.7 46 ± 13.5 0.0007
Gender (F/M) 29/32 32/45 0.49
IGF-1 (ng/ml) 173 ± 49 595 ± 211
GH Fasting (µg/L) 0.92 ± 1.16 20 ± 37 <0.0001
GH Nadir OGTT (µg/L) 0.25 ± 0.25 14 ± 25 <0.0001

In the bodybuilding community, 3 IU is commonly seen as an anti-aging dose.

4 IU and above is seen as a “muscle building” dose.

As you can see, the active group with untreated Acromegaly had IGF-1 levels as low as 384 ng/mL, and as high as 806 ng/mL.

Think about how much systemic growth occurs during puberty, and then think about how the IGF-1 level required to yield that growth is only around the same amount of IGF-1 that the very low end of Acromegaly patients produce year round.

By using only 3 IU of high quality GH, I was quite literally imposing on myself the same potential complications that Acromegaly patients are vulnerable to.

It isn't uncommon for bodybuilders to use 4-8 IU per day, and even more in some cases, for years on end.

Accompanied by the excessive amounts of muscle and anabolic steroids they use, you can logically conclude how health complications can become a very real concern very quickly for many bodybuilders as young as their 30's and 40's, and sometimes as young as their 20's.


Keep in mind, my blood test result is just a reference at the end of the day.

Different individuals will produce significantly different amounts of IGF-1 with the same dose of GH just based on their own genetics, liver function, and several other factors.

But, there aren't many individuals publishing their blood test results, and as a rough point of reference this is more or less what can be expected with high quality GH.

Is this amount of GH sustainable in the short-term without encountering health debilitating side effects?

For most healthy individuals, probably.

Is walking around with an IGF-1 level in Acromegaly range sustainable year round, for years on end though without some sort of hindrance to your health?

For most individuals, I would assume the answer is no.

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7 thoughts on “My IGF-1 Level On 3 IU Of Pharma Grade GH”

  1. Hey Derek I appreciate you posting your bloods on what is considered an HRT dose of HGH, I have two questions.

    1. Whats your opinion on the quality and effects of 98%-99% purity generics compared to true Pharmaceutical HGH? Some say generics are trash, some say you need twice the dose to match pharma-grade, others suggest that as long as its a high purity they’re pretty much the same.

    2. Posters who frequent the GH15 forums believe that different brands of Pharmaceutical HGH (Saizen, Omnitrope, Norditropin, Humatrope) are better suited for some purposes compared to others, touting Saizen as the best. Do you think there’s any truth to this, or is it probably anecdotal experience and expectations?

    1. 1) Pharma is better of course. As far as needing twice the dose of a high quality generic, no that’s not the case at all. I’ve seen generics overdosed even higher than pharma.

      2) I think if it comes from a pharmacy and you picked it up yourself, then you know its real and it will probably produce identical outcomes. 1 iu of Somatropin = 1 iu of Somatropin. If something is not accurately dosed, it will produce different outcomes. Its not unheard of for pharma grade products to not be 100% accurately dosed. I would assume that there is some variability between brands, but very minor, and certainly less variable than between high quality generics.

  2. Dermitzakis Pantelis

    when is the ideal time to measure igf1 levels after hgh injection?should you be faster or is it ok if you inject 3 hrs away from a meal

  3. How much time it takes to see the IGF1 elevated?

    Should i inject hgh for a week or just inject it and do bloods?

    What’s the correct protocol to check igf1 on hgh?

  4. Hi Derek.

    On your blood test where you cruising/blasting, since I believe anabolics can have an effect on IGF-1?

    Also I have seen some sub 1 percentile teenagers having IGF-1 up to 1000 ng/ml – Are these people that develop very early during puberty and have fantastic response to training stimulus?


  5. Hi Derek.

    Many thanks for the informative article.

    Given that everyone is different, and that different doses of HGH will affect different people in different ways, do you have an opinion on what an individuals IGF-1 level might be considered ‘reasonable’ for a longer (3 or 6 month) cycle taken on a 5/2 protocol, where the individual is looking to get the best bang-for-buck results (anti-aging, fat loss, muscle building) versus dose?

    Would it be more beneficial for them to aim for the high-end of their suggested level on a current medical scale for their age, or more beneficial to aim around the high end on a medical level for say an adolescent in their late teens?

    Obviously many people pin and have no idea of what their levels actually are so I was wondering where it might be best to aim for level-wise taking into account the law of diminishing returns, longevity etc.

    Many thanks in advance.

  6. Hey Derek,

    How long before your blood work did you dose the 3iu’s of pharma GH? Was it the night before ? Morning of? I wonder how much that level would fluctuate in 24 hrs between GH administration.

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