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