What are insulin like growth factor hormones?

Insulin-like growth factor 1 for your muscles

Written by: Jonine Möller, M.Sc. in Sport Science

Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) is a hormone that plays a vital role in the growth and development of the human body. It has a significant impact on athletic performance as it influences muscle growth and helps the body to recover from physical activity. In this blog post, we will explore how genes influence IGF-1 levels and how this affects athletic performance.

Genes play a crucial role in determining the levels of IGF-1 in the body. Multiple genetic variants have been found to have a significant impact on the levels of this hormone. These genes can cause either increased or decreased levels of the hormone, which can have a significant impact on athletic performance.

IGF-1 works in close partnership with the human growth hormone. These two hormones work together to increase and preserve muscle mass.  Growth hormone levels influence IGF-1 levels. IGF-1 supports the muscle-building functions of the growth hormone. Low and declining growth hormone levels and IGF-1 levels are strongly associated with muscle mass loss with age. 

Studies have shown that individuals with increased levels of IGF-1 are more likely to perform well in physical activities. They have an increased ability to build and maintain muscle mass, which enhances their physical performance. This is because IGF-1 helps to promote muscle growth and repair by stimulating the production of new muscle cells. Its role in muscle regeneration is crucial for healing from injuries. 

On the other hand, individuals with decreased levels of IGF-1 may experience decreased athletic performance. They may have more difficulty building and maintaining muscle mass, which can negatively impact their physical performance. This can make it more challenging for them to recover from physical activity (and injury) and perform at their best.

In conclusion, IGF-1 levels play a crucial role in athletic performance by promoting muscle regeneration, and genes play a significant role in determining these levels. Athletes who have the genetic variants that cause increased IGF-1 levels may have an advantage in athletic performance, while those with decreased levels may experience decreased performance. It is essential to understand the impact of genetics on athletic performance to help individuals reach their full potential and achieve their athletic goals.


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