For those that are new to the term Somatomedin, it was coined by Daughtery and Salmon in reference to a serum factor that mediated the somatotropin effects for growth promotion in humans (LeRoith et al, 2001). Somatomedins are primarily a protein group that contributes to promoting cell division and growth as a response to the growth hormone or GH (also called STH or somatotropin) stimulation. Predominantly, these hormones are produced by the liver on action of the GH on the targeted tissue. These hormones are categorized under three forms, namely, Somatomedin A (or IGF-2), B and C (IGF-1).
However, it is Somatomedin C or insulin-like growth factor-1 or LGF-1 that has gained much attention lately because of its functions and effects in enabling growth in humans, mostly bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. The lines below throw light on this hormone and its workings.
How The IGF-1 Works in Human Body
The IGF-1 protein hormone is made up of 70 amino acids in a string. Naturally occurring IGF-1 is no different from the synthetically produced ones. With regard to its functioning, this hormone supports effective growth in humans by enhancing amino acids, fatty acids and glucose level in the body. Since it is closely related to insulin, the IGF-1 or Somatomedin C hormone can also have an effect on the level of blood sugar in humans. Using IGF-1 has shown to potentially lower the level of blood sugar in the human body, leading to hypoglycemic state. As fatty acids in the body are enhanced, the promotion of body fat is highly enabled, which acts a downside of using this hormone. But with proper diet-plan and physically active lifestyle, one can make the most of this protein hormone.
This IGF-1 is also responsible for increasing the cell numbers in skeletal muscle of humans, something that leads to improving growth of lean tissue. This happens when the AKT- phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase or PI3K pathway is activated. This action mode not only results in promoting muscle growth, but it also helps with bone growth as well as internal organ growth (to a certain extent).
Another hormone that is closely related to the IGF-1 is the GH, and this hormone too is anabolic like IGF-1. The anabolic actions of GH are greatly enabled by the IGF-1 and include 2 basic traits commonly associated with protein synthesis anabolism and nitrogen retention anabolism. Nitrogen retention is crucial because all human lean tissue is made up of 16% nitrogen (approx.) and the lack of nitrogen in the body can lead to muscle wasting or catabolic state in humans. On the contrary, more retention of nitrogen can help humans remain more anabolic and this in turn, helps build as well as support more amount of lean tissue.
With regard to protein synthesis anabolism, this trait represents the protein building rate by cells, and proteins are the basic building blocks of life and lean muscle tissue in humans. It is no rocket science to understand how enhancing protein synthesis might benefit humans. The close-sharing relationship of GH and IGF-1 is also responsible for muscle cells increase and promoting the growth of newly formed muscle fiber. IGF-1 therefore, results in more muscle fibers or mitogenesis and muscle cells or hyperplasia.
Significance In Body Building:
From the above information it is clear that such muscle enhancement and growth of lean muscles can prove profitable for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. The amount of protein supplied through exogenous IGF-1 or Somatomedin C supplementation is hugely responsible for promoting anabolic processes of nitrogen retention and protein synthesis in bodybuilders.
Some other traits of IGF-1 that attract aspiring fitness enthusiasts and professional bodybuilders include improved recovery and healing properties offered by this hormone. This trait of IGF-1 is highly apparent when considering that this hormone plays a significant role in connective tissue production. Subsequently, the IGF-1 also enhances the function of collagen, which is available in all the connective tissue of the human body. Improved collagen function leads to stronger bones and muscle strength that result in proper movement, all of which are highly required by professionals who engage in strenuous physical exercises every day. Moreover, IGF-1 also positively affects cartilage, blood vessels and skin by rejuvenating and repairing damaged cells, and improves the bone density.
One final trait of this protein hormone is that it is sometimes referred to as neuropromotor and neuroprotector as it potentially improves mental function. Such a factor might possibly help dementia patients but this area is still under study for further confirmation and factual support.
When it comes to the effects of Somatomedin C or IGF-1, this protein hormone is best suited to promote muscle mass and physical recovery required mostly by athletes and bodybuilders. However, not all fitness enthusiasts or professionals opt for this hormone during the cutting cycle because of its adverse effects on the metabolic rate of human body. It is foolish to add weight by taking the IGF-1 hormone exogenously when trying to lose body fat. There are exceptions where bodybuilders use the IGF-1 hormone to prepare for contests while staying lean and maintaining their body’s lean mass. This takes a lot experience and detailed understanding of the effects of hormones on the human body.
If an individual is aiming to get a raw size, IGF-1 offers a few substantial options that may prove beneficial. While many opt for this hormone during anabolic steroids course that only improves their lean tissue building rate and amount, there are others (advanced bodybuilders) who use this protein hormone at the time of “bridge period”. Bridge period refers to the time period between full blown or anabolic steroid cycles. At such a time, the individual must continue using testosterone maintenance dose while adding in the protein hormone. Regardless of the time in which one uses this hormone, during the bridge period or the cycle, it is recommended that GH should be used along with IGF-1 so that the anabolic rate in enhanced and so is the promotion of storing excess fat. At the time of bulking during off-season, it is tough to maintain proper level of body fat on one’s own and with IGF-1 use it becomes more complicated. But, by incorporating GH for boosting metabolic rate, the body fat can be kept under effective control. Moreover, these hormones show great synergy that makes this combination remarkable.
The last but not least effect of the IGF-1 hormone is overall recovery. This protein hormone improves the overall recovery caused by strenuous activity and training, and there’s more. This protein hormone carries properties of direct healing and does not mask like any painkiller, thereby providing authentic therapeutic healing. Using IGF-1 can actually reduce the overall time period for recovering from joint injuries. It has also proven to effectively assist in recovery of the ligaments and tendons. Since these areas take the most beating in case of bodybuilders and athletes, this hormone gains much value for such professionals.
The Side Effects:
There are not many side effects of this Somatomedin C or IGF-1 hormone in comparison to other hormones. That does not mean that there aren’t any concerning side-effects of the IGF-1 hormone, but one can expect hope when taking this hormone as against no hope in case of other hormones. A common side effect of this hormone happens to be hypoglycemia. According to clinical data, over 40% of the recipients of IGF-1 based therapy have experienced hypoglycemia in different levels. There are also some who have gone through hypoglycemia seizure. But such a case occurs due to the irresponsibility on the recipient’s part. It is highly recommended that one should take simple sugar every time along with adequate food, mostly simple plus complex carbohydrates and protein prior to administering the IGF-1 hormone. This eating should take place 15-20 minutes (approx.) before one administers the IGF-1 hormone. If the symptoms of hypoglycemia still show after taking the hormone, one must immediately take in more simple sugar until the symptoms start fading away. Hypoglycemia symptoms include:
- Hunger (many times extreme)
- Abnormal Behavior
- Slurred speech
In case these symptoms start occurring one should consume carbohydrates with fast acting ability like sugar filled food items, candy bars, grape juice or any other carbohydrate drink immediately. Ignoring this can lead to a case of severe hypoglycemia that can potentially be fatal. Full blown cases of severe hypoglycemia may result in seizure, unconsciousness and dizziness. Using IGF-1 properly can help one avoid such a situation.
Other side effects associated with using IGF-1 include joint discomfort or pain despite the fact that IGF-1 positively impacts the joints. Some have also reported on tonsil growth that can contribute to excessive snoring. Pronounced growth of organs like spleen and kidney has also been reported as side effects. This is the reason why one should use this hormone responsibly as it can affect the cholesterol level in humans and increase this level if not taken carefully. Healthy lifestyle and diet are crucial in maintaining the cholesterol levels and diet should mostly include omega fatty acids. It is also advised that while taking IGF-1 one should opt for fish oil supplements on a daily basis. One must try and limit the consumption of simple sugar during this time along with saturated fat consumption. Incorporating cardiovascular activity in daily exercise regime is also recommended while taking IGF-1 hormone exogenously.
Thickening the soft tissue of face is also another side effect one may experience while taking this hormone therapy. High doses have reportedly caused growth in facial structure, mostly forehead and jaw regions along with growth in elbows, feet and hands.
The last side effect one may come across is bruised or sore injected region. This hormone is mostly administered subcutaneously which is why the area is left bruised. According to some data, that the adipose tissue around the injected region may also increase however, this effect’s strength is inconclusive making it important to rotate the injection sites regularly.
Note: The IGF-1 or Somatomedin C hormone should not be administered to those suffering from cancer as it potentially increases the structural strength and nature of all the cells in one’s body including the cancerous cells.
The specific protocols and doses of using this hormone are under much controversy in the worlds of performance enhancement and medicine. Therapeutically speaking, the dosage of IGF-1 falls normally under 40-80mcg range which may be administered 1-2 times in a day. However, this is a large dose, which is why hypoglycemia symptoms might surface while taking such a large dose. Majority of the physicians advise only 40mcg at the starting with close monitoring. The dosage might be raised by another 20mcg only if necessary and it should never cross the 120mcg mark as it will become difficult to control hypoglycemia resulting due to such high dosage.
When it comes to performance, 50-60mcg is recommended on a daily basis. Not a huge amount of IGF-1 is required for producing extraordinary results if one eats good food while taking anabolic steroids. Adding in the GH hormone with the Somatomedin C or IGF-1 hormone can produce remarkable results. One should begin with 15mcg 1 time every day and then increase this dose slightly if and when necessary.
In terms of total usage, in case of performance setting, the hormone should be used only for 2-4 weeks followed by no IGF-1 repeat for another 2-4 weeks. While many prefer to continue using IGF-1 even after their cycle of anabolic steroid and into the bridge period, with low testosterone as well as GH hormone maintained. But this kind of therapy is undertaken by experienced and hardcore user of hormone. Starters should opt out of taking IGF-1 when off the cycle. This helps them avoid the risk of putting on extra fat during the bridge period.
Somatomedin, mostly the IGF-1 form, is hormone that can offer fantastic results when it comes to growth in humans, but this protein is not meant for all, especially for those that are new to performance enhancement use. Subsequently, adverse effects like excessive weight may result on consuming this hormone which is why only fitness enthusiasts with advanced physique are recommended to opt for this hormone to obtain profitable results. The only other recommendation is for people suffering from deficiency of this hormone. Finally, one must consult with his doctor before taking this hormone in any form for body enhancement.