iGF1 is a hormone similar in molecular structure to Insulin. It’s main function is to promote growth in the cells of the body. Scientists have recently discovered that it’s links to protein and cell growth can result in increased risk of cancer and heart disease alongside faster deterioration of brain function and memory loss.
Tests on a group of genetically engineered mice created to have naturally lower levels of iGF1 in their bodies were proven to result in:
– Younger appearance
– Greater resistance to diseases
Tests on the diet of humans and the affects it had on iGF1 production have shown that Vegans with lower levels of animal-protein (dairy) consumption have been proven to have lower levels of iGF1 in their bodies. In a study of 8 year old boys supplied with 8 ounces of low fat meat or 1 and a half litres of skimmed milk, the milk created a 19% increase in iGF1 levels and the meat provided none.
Source: Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004;58:1211-6.
When a group of people were given 40 grams of soy or cow milk protein it resulted in:
– milk 36% increase in iGF1
– soya milk 69% increase in iGF1
Source: J Clin Endocrinal Metab. 2003, March,88(3):1048-54
This indicates that because milk exists as a means of increasing baby growth and bone/muscle cell growth in children, the levels of iGF1 are massively higher than any other food; meaning as you get older, you are endangering yourself by consuming unnecessary amounts of milk. Soya is a form of Isolated protein as are Casein and Whey based protein shakes. Tests seem to indicate that isolated protein forms are the worst for rapidly increasing your levels of iGF1 and thus result in increased risks of cancers; more specifically colon cancer, and breast and prostate cancer in women and men respectively.
The information below is an excellent example of how serious the risks of cancer in people with high levels of iGF1 really are.
Researchers announced that, in a six-year study of 32,826 nurses, those with the highest levels of IGF-1 had a twice the risk of colorectal cancer. High levels of IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) produced the opposite effect. Another group from the same laboratory reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that a study of 14,916 male physicians concluded that men run the same risk. In the case of those with the highest IGF-1 and lowest IGFBP-3, the relative risk of colorectal cancer rose fourfold, after accounting for differences in weight, height, alcohol intake, and other known risk factors.
Source: Harvard University Gazett
The BBC recently produced a documentary about fasting in which iGF1 and it’s affects on the body were covered in great detail. An excerpt from their online article is included below along with a link to the webpage.
The world record for extending life expectancy in a mammal is held by a new type of mouse which can expect to live an extra 40%, equivalent to a human living to 120 or even longer. It has been genetically engineered so its body produces very low levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, high levels of which seem to lead to accelerated ageing and age-related diseases, while low levels are protective and potentially regenerative.
A similar, but natural, genetic mutation has been found in humans with Laron syndrome, a rare condition that affects fewer than 350 people worldwide. The very low levels of IGF-1 their bodies produce means they are short, but this also seems to protect them against cancer and diabetes, two common age-related diseases. The IGF-1 hormone (insulin-like growth factor) is one of the drivers which keep our bodies in go-go mode, with cells driven to reproduce. This is fine when you are a growing child/young adult, but not so good later in life. There is now evidence suggesting that IGF-1 levels can be lowered by controlling what you eat. Studies on calorie restrictors suggest that eating less helps, but it is not enough.
As well as cutting calories you have to cut your protein intake. Not entirely – that would be a very bad idea. It’s about sticking to recommended guidelines, something most of us fail to do. The reason seems to be that when our bodies no longer have access to food they switch from “growth mode” to “repair mode”. As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California.
To summarise it would seem that reduction of iGF1 levels in your body is a massive benefit to your health for a number of reasons. The information gathered here is just a small amount of the information available online and in various scientific and medicinal journals. It is clear that this hormone is dangerous if levels are excessive and counter productive if levels are normal. By reducing your levels of iGF1 through fasting (more info on BBC link), changes in diet and reduced protein consumption, you CAN improve your health and you CAN make long lasting changes that will benefit you for the rest of your life.
Follow me on social media to see nutrition, boxing, fitness, motivation and training relevant content: