You sure do find the most interesting work for me to do I should
have perhaps paid a tiny bit more attention in chemistry and biology!
There has been much reading to do today, and it was quite
So. You want to know all about IGF-1 what it is, what is does, and
what effect it has on hair growth/loss. Lets start with what it is
and what it does.
IGF-1 (Somatomedin-C), or Insulin Like Growth Factor, is an anabolic
(that is, it increases construction metabolism) protein responsible
for healthy tissue growth, organ health, and healthy blood sugar
IGF-1 derives from HGH (human growth hormone). HGH is released from
the pituitary gland into the bloodstream. As it passes through the
liver, it is converted into growth factors, including IGF-1, which are
then released into the body. As we age, HGH production slows,
reducing the amount of IGF-1 available. Though the bodys production
of IGF-1 decreases after about the age of 30, we still require it to
maintain healthy skin, hair, organs, and muscles.
Currently, IGF-1 supplementation is used for various anti-aging
treatments to help slow down the effects of aging and help patients
maintain a more youthful vigor. There are indications that a
deficiency in IGF-1 can result in the development of the following
Deep and large wrinkles
Thinned hair, lips, jaw bones and skin
Pseudogynaecomastica (man breasts)
spare tire (a flabby tummy)
General muscle loss
These symptoms can also be accompanied by increased instances of
atherosclerosis, and vascular mortality (collapsed veins). IGF-1
supplementation is seen as an effective treatment for this syndrome,
and is also used to combat dwarfism, Turners Syndrome (a condition in
which a woman is lacking all or part of an X chromosome), and the
wasting that typically accompanies AIDS.
It is said that IGF-1 significantly affects skeletal, muscular,
nervous, circulatory, immune, respiratory, digestive and lymphatic
systems, as well as the aesthetic (visible) quality of skin and hair.
Additionally, IGF-1 is said to improve your sleep, cognitive
function, weight management, digestion, cardiovascular health,
metabolism and glandular functions, as well as cell replacement,
sexual function, and energy level. IGF-1 is a vasodilator, meaning
that it opens constricted veins and arteries, helping to increase
circulation. Evidence also points towards a boost to the immune
Though there have been some concerns about the correlation between
HGH, IGF-1 and prostate cancer, there have been no definitive studies
linking prostate cancer to use of IGF-1 supplementation. Evidence
seems to point instead towards higher levels of free testosterone.
IGF-1 (Insulin Like Growth Factor-1)
Educate yourself on HGH
Insulin-like growth factor inhibits vascular contraction to
5-hydroxytryptamine: involvement of tyrosine phosphatase. Melis A,
Watts SW, Florian J, Klarr S, Webb RC.
Department of Physiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann
Arbor, MI 48109-0622, USA
Growth hormone, somatomedin and prolactin--relationship to brain
Laron Z, Galatzer A. Brain Dev 1985;7(6):559-67
Somatomedin C (IGF-I) - Adult Human Growth Hormone Deficiency
IGF-1 and Prostate Cancer: An Insubstantial Link
Dr. Dorman and James Jamieson
It appears that researchers are looking into other ways to harness the
rejuvenating effects of IGF-1, including: repairing damaged heart
tissue, offsetting the effects of neonatal hypoxia during birth (in
which the child suffers a marked lack of oxygen during the birth,
which can cause serious brain damage), regenerating nerves, and in new
treatments for diabetes. Use of IGF-1 may also allow for more
aggressive chemotherapy treatments for cancer patients, increasing
their chances of survival and allowing physicians greater flexibility
in treatment. IGF-1 may also be used in treatments for osteoporosis
(which affects both men and women).
IGF-1 Information and Benefits
Osteoporosis and IGF-1
what about IGF-1 and hair growth/hair loss?
I called several doctors in town, and since I wasnt their patient,
they wouldnt discuss the issue even in hypothetical terms (poor
fellas have liability and malpractice issues to worry about, I really
cant blame them for being reluctant).
My next step was to call my own physician and ask for a few minutes.
I quizzed him briefly on the uses of IGF-1, and he basically confirmed
the functions noted above. When the discussion moved to hair
loss/hair growth, he said that there wasnt much research in that
area, and that he wasnt very familiar with the research that was out
there. Not much help, but understandable. Hes a GP, and doesnt
oversee hormone treatments he sends patients off to the
endocrinologists for that.
He suggested that you make an appointment with your own physician to
discuss your concerns, preferably the one overseeing your use of
IGF-1, because s/hell be more familiar with your situation and your
My next step was to try to gather general information on the subject.
Researcher kevinmd pointed me to the following excellent answer he
wrote for you as a starting point in my investigations:
In his answer, our Dr. Kevin notes that with respect to whether IGF-1
stimulates hair growth or promotes hair loss, there is no real
consensus. He cites the following two studies, one which points to
growth, one which points to loss:
Su HY, Hickford JG, Bickerstaffe R, Palmer BR. Insulin-like growth
factor 1 and hair growth. Dermatol Online J. 1999 Nov;5(2):1.
Signorello LB, Wuu J, Hsieh C, Tzonou A, Trichopoulos D, Mantzoros CS.
Hormones and hair patterning in men: a role for insulin-like growth
factor 1? J Am Acad Dermatol. 1999 Feb;40(2 Pt 1):200-3.
My next step was to contact my friend Jeff, an MD/PhD student at the
University of Michigan Medical School. Jeffs main focus is cancer
research, so considering the attention growth hormones have been given
in conjunction with cancer, he seemed like the guy to ask.
In his response to me, Jeff noted:
To: Maggie <maggie_sedai@>
Subject: Re: Need Guidance!
On Wed, 12 Mar 2003, Maggie wrote:
> I have a customer who wants to know about IGF-1 and hair growth -
> specifically, if your IGF-1 level increases, do you grow more hair,
> and if it decreases, do you lose more? Or vice versa?
> Do you know any good articles I could read on the subject?
I've pulled two off of the U. Mich. library system and copied them to
my home directory, with the punchlines highlighted in red:
http://www.umich.edu [elided for Jeffs privacy ]
http://www.umich.edu [elided for Jeffs privacy ]
At first glance, answer seems to be there's not a whole lot of
research, but what there is suggests increased IGF-1 might possibly be
connected to vertex balding.
He went on to note that though research appeared sparse, there were
other avenues to try, and directed me to several other resources.
Though they were helpful in terms of confirming that research is
sparse and conflicting, Im afraid they didnt do much to
definitively answer that portion of your query.
Here are excerpts from the articles Jeff provided:
Occurrence of the male hair pattern is considered to be an
androgen-mediated process that depends on circulating testosterone and
dihydrotestosterone concentrations as well as on local conversion of
circulating testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in the skin (catalyzed
by the enzyme 5alpha-reductase). Our data confirm that there is a
stronger link between circulating testosterone and baldness, whereas
testosterone has a less obvious function in regulating the relatively
less androgen-dependent chest hair density. Androgen action stimulates
vellus hair to develop into coarse, pigmented hair on the body, but
prolonged exposure to androgen leads to regression to vellus hair and,
frequently, balding of the scalp. Little is known about the specific
function of SHBG or estradiol in male hair growth or hair loss, and
the results of our study, in this respect, must be replicated before a
credible conclusion can be reached. It is conceivable, however, that
high SHBG levels reduce the bioavailability of testosterone and thus
modulate its effect on hair patterning.
Our findings suggest that high levels of IGF-1 may be associated with
increased risk of vertex baldness. Substantial clinical evidence
appears to support this finding. The efficacy of testosterone
treatment on hair growth in children with hypopituitarism is enhanced
by GH, the effect of which is largely mediated through IGF-1. In
adults with hypogonadism, a combination of GH and gonadotropin
treatment improves testosterone secretion and reproductive function.
It has also been recently reported that GH treatment of GH-deficient
men increases hair scores in androgen-dependent areas. These effects
can be explained either by IGF-1 directly stimulating the androgen
receptor, or by IGF-1 increasing local 5alpha-reductase activity and
thus stimulating the local conversion of testosterone to
dihydrotestosterone. It has been postulated that IGF-1 modifies
post-receptor effectors of the androgen receptor, but this is not
In conclusion, we have found evidence that high levels of testosterone
and IGF-1 increase the likelihood of vertex baldness, whereas neither
of these hormones appears significantly or suggestively associated
with chest hair growth. SHBG is inversely associated with vertex
baldness as well as with chest hair growth, although the association
is significant only with respect to the latter. It appears that the
effect of SHBG, if genuine, could be explained by the involvement of
this compound in the modulation of bioavailability of testosterone.
Hormones and hair patterning in men: A role for insulin-like growth
Lisa B. Signorello, Joanne Wuub, Chung-cheng Hsiehb, Anastasia
Tzonouc, Dimitrios Trichopoulos, Christos S. Mantzoros
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
Volume 40 Number 2 February 1999
Copyright © 1999 American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.
We observed that middle-aged and elderly men who reported modest to
substantial vertex balding at age 45 have lower circulating levels of
IGFBP-3 and higher levels of IGF-1 when controlling for IGFBP-3 level.
Growth factors are beginning to emerge as contributors to hair growth
and loss. IGF-1 is an abundant endocrine, paracrine, and autocrine
growth control factor that promotes proliferative activity in
epithelial and mesenchymal cells in numerous organ systems, including
the hair organ.
In the hair organ, IGF-1 is produced by connective tissue
constituents,10 and IGF-1 gene expression is enhanced by androgens.11
In androgen-responsive tissue, IGF-1 may act locally to positively
mediate the induction of 5-reductase by dihydrotestosterone.12 This
action of IGF-1 may be consequential for the development of balding
because conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone in the scalp
by 5-reductase type 2 is essential for androgenetic alopecia.13
Indeed, oral 5-reductase type 2 inhibitors are now used to prevent
further hair loss and to induce hair regrowth in men with male pattern
balding.13 Experimental administration of the 5-reductase type 2
inhibitor finasteride results in diminished expression of IGF-1 and
its receptor and enhanced expression of IGFBP-3 in the rat prostate,
an androgen-dependent tissue.14 IGFBP-3 is the major carrier protein
that modulates the bioavailability of IGF-115 and thus may also be a
regulator of mediators of hair growth and cycle control. Our findings
are compatible with both the direct association of IGF-1 and the
modulating effect of IGFBP-3 on male pattern balding.
Misclassification of hair loss is possible because of self-assessment
of hair pattern up to 36 years in the past. However, there was little
correlation (r = 0.04) between age at blood draw (approximately 2
years after self-report on hair pattern) and balding at age 45,
suggesting that systematic underestimation or overestimation of the
extent of vertex balding by elderly compared with middle-aged
participants was not extensive.
The association between IGF-1 and vertex balding was only evident in
our study after adjusting for IGFBP-3, and the magnitude of the
association for IGF-1 adjusted for IGFBP-3 was not as great as shown
for IGF-1 by Signorello et al.2 Differences in the two studies that
might contribute to the disparity in the strength of the association
between IGF-1 and vertex balding include different IGF-1 assays, older
average age in the Greek study, interviewer-assessed balding in the
Greek study versus self-report in our study, and IGF-1 and balding
assessed concurrently in the Greek study versus 2 to 36 years apart in
our study. In the Greek study, adjustment for sex hormones and sex
hormone-binding globulin enhanced the risk of vertex balding
associated with IGF-1. Although not presented here because of possible
noncomparability of hormone data among the 3 samples that we included
in this analysis, adjustment for sex steroids and sex hormone-binding
globulin did not appear to alter our estimates for the relation of
vertex balding with IGF-1 or IGFBP-3. Despite these methodologic and
population differences between the two studies, both the study in
elderly Greek men2 and our study indicate that the IGF-1 axis may be
important in male pattern hair loss.
Vertex balding, plasma insulin-like growth factor 1, and insulin-like
growth factor binding protein 3
Elizabeth A. Platz, ScD , Michael N. Pollak, MD , Walter C. Willett,
MD, DrPH, Edward Giovannucci, MD, ScD
Boston, Massachusetts, and Montreal, Canada
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology
June 2000 Volume 42 Number 6
Copyright © 2000 by the American Academy of Dermatology, Inc.
The short of it? They dont really know yet. The matter is still
With that in mind, I searched for more articles discussing the
relationship between IGF-1 and hair growth/loss. I think you might
want to take them all with a grain of salt they all want to sell you
IGF-1 supplements, so theyre not apt to mention the non-fantastic
Improvements to Skin & Hair
showed a 71% improvement in skin texture
showed a 68% improvement in skin thickness
showed a 71% improvement in skin elasticity
showed a 51% improvement on wrinkle disappearance
showed a 38% improvement towards new hair growth
Anti aging Human Growth Hormone Effects
In many clinical studies, HGH has been shown to:
Reduce body fat and build lean muscle without exercise
Boost energy levels
Increase sexual functions in both women and men
Stimulate hair growth and restore color
Boost the immune system
Restore skin strength and elasticity
Smoothe out wrinkles and cellulite
Improve vision and memory
Increase muscle mass
Minimize risk of heart disease
Lower blood pressure
Improve blood cholesterol profiles
Promote oxygen intake
Aid in osteoporosis prevention
Turn back the body's biological time clock 10-20 years
Help you live longer and stronger"s a natural sleep aid
Skin, Hair and Nails
Antioxidants and even other hormone treatments can be a great help in
maintaining a youthful appearance, but only HGH can take a decade or
so off your face. The skin regains thickness, becomes more elastic and
hydrated and people start looking visibly younger, usually within a
few weeks. Not only do the fine lines vanish and deeper wrinkles
recede, the face can actually undergo a change of contour. HGH appears
to have a tonic effect on hair. In clinical tests 38% reported new
hair growth, coming in faster and thicker, and even in its natural
color. Nails are also strengthened and cellulite removed.
It all looks very nice, but as I said, take them with a grain of salt.
They want to sell the supplements, not necessarily explain both sides
of the equation. It's always best to approach that sort of
information with caution.
The fact is, there isnt much research on this subject yet, and what
there is, is conflicting. Some studies point to IGF-1 and hair
growth, others claim that elevated levels point to hair loss. Based
on the reading I did today, the best I can say is to discuss the
matter in depth with your physician and be certain that your IGF-1
levels are within the recommended target range. The literature I read
today suggests that hair loss doesnt become a big problem until you
go outside of that range (usually by going way over). IGF-1 is
necessary for healthy skin and hair, but like everything else,
probably wont help in large amounts.
I hope Ive been able to help you clear some of this up! If you need
further assistance, just ask. Im always glad to help you out.
Search terms: [ IGF-1 ], [ IGF-1 hair loss ], [ IGF-1 hair growth