What Is IGF-1?

What is IGF-1

IGF-1 stands for insulin like growth factor 1. It is a hormone in both males and females that helps with the healthy growth and development of normal cells, tissues and bones. The hormone is responsible for regulating the effects of growth hormone (GH) in the body. IGF-1 is usually tested through a blood test along with a growth hormone blood test because as other hormones fluctuate in how much is in the body throughout the day, IGF-1 stays constant within the bloodstream.

  • What is a IGF- 1 blood test?

An IGF-1 blood test is the taking of blood from a vein in the arm. There is no special preparation that needs to be done to get this test taken.

The IGF-1 test is done to help doctors determine whether or not a person is dealing with a growth hormone (GH) deficiency or not. Alone, this test cannot determine if a person has low GH, but it is sometimes used as an adjunct to the GH blood test to give a doctor further information about the patient’s condition. Again, the test is done  because the IGF-1 hormone remains constant throughout the day.

  • What is IGF-1 test for and why is it done?

The IGF-1 test is for determining if a person might have too much or too little growth hormone in their system. There can be many problems caused by too much GH in the body and it can be taken care of if discovered early. This is why an IGF-1 test is done.

There are many symptoms that can occur when too little GH is in the system such as lethargy, fatigue, low sexual desire, low bone mineral density, depression, irritability, erectile dysfunction, a weakened immune system, weak skin elasticity and more.

When a person has too much GH in their system, other issues can occur.  Acromegaly is one of those problems. Acromegaly is the overproduction of growth hormone which results in the over growth of facial bones, hands and feet in adults.  

  • What is a normal IGF-1 level?

As you view this chart, it is important to remember that these ranges come from one single source. Other sources may have slightly different ranges for what are considered to be “normal” levels of IGF-1 in adults. Many times, people have shared being tested several times by different sources, to get all different numbers.

This is why getting tested by a trusted clinic is imperative. They can give you test results and help you get healthy based upon prescribing the correct medication with medical supervision to make sure treatment goes well.

What is IGF-1 level that is considered to be “normal?” Here is one source’s information:


Normal IGF-1 Level (nanograms per milliliter – ng/mL)

Ages 16 to 24 182 to 780 ng/mL
Ages 25 to 39 114 to 492 ng/mL
Ages 40 to 54 90 to 360 ng/mL
Age 55 and older 71 to 290 ng/mL

What is considered to be a normal range of IGF-1 for one adult may not be the same for another adult. In fact, a person can actually have a “normal” level of insulin like growth factor 1 in their blood, but still have a growth hormone deficiency. However, most times, when IGF-1 is low, so is GH. This will most often be an age related problem. In other words, as a person grows older, their growth hormone and IGF-1 levels decrease.

  • What is IGF-1 deficiency?

An IGF-1 deficiency means that the body is not producing enough of the hormone IGF-1. When this deficiency gets severe, it is called Laron syndrome and treatment is available to help. When growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland, this signals the liver to produce insulin like growth factor 1. If there is not enough GH in the body to stimulate the liver, an IGF-1 deficiency may ensue.

  • What are the benefits of a healthy IGF-1 level?

A healthy level of IGF-1 in the body can help it to stay more youthful, strong and healthy overall. It can slow down a decline in one’s cognitive abilities (memory and learning) by helping new cells to grow in the brain. Cells and tissues are always dying off. It is the responsibility of the hormones to keep them growing back healthy and strong.

A healthy level of IGF-1 in the body can also strengthen muscles and decrease depression, anxiety, muscle wasting (lean muscle loss) and it can increase the size of existing muscles. It has been proven to slow down Alzheimer’s disease, according to some reputable sources and research studies.

Healthy IGF-1 levels can also:

  • lower blood sugar
  • improve insulin sensitivity
  • lower triglycerides levels
  • lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  • protect against heart related diseases (heart attacks and stroke)
  • lowering the risk for atherosclerosis
  • improve bone mineral density
  • minimize the risk of breaking or fracturing bones
  • help minimize the risk of developing osteoporosis
  • help with weight loss
  • help with infections and sickness
  • help with healing
  • boost the immune system
  • improve skin
  • strengthen skin elasticity and lessen the appearance of wrinkles
  • help hair to grow in thicker
  • stop balding
  • improve sexual drive and libido
  • help eliminate erectile dysfunction
  • help with hot flashes and night sweats
  • help to minimize vaginal dryness
  • help with better sleeping with less sleep disturbances
  • assist with more acute vision
  • help organs to grow

Contact our clinic to find out more information about what is IGF-1 and to learn how hormone replacement therapy may be able to help you. We have an online CONTACT FORM on this page for you to fill out or you can call us directly during business hours. A new healthier you is waiting!