Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements for Proper IGF- Levels

Many adults are interested in increasing their IGF-1 levels. IGF-1 is an important hormone that supports the normal growth of bones and tissues. It aids in muscle growth and maintenance, supports post-workout recovery, and prevents muscle loss and osteoporosis.

You can increase your IGF-1 level through dietary changes and with supplements. We will suggest how to increase IGF naturally.

What is IGF-1?

Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) is part of a family of proteins that have a structure similar to insulin, hence the name. IGF-1 is produced in the liver and in other tissues. It has many of the same effects as human growth hormone.

Another member of the IGF family is IGF-2. IGF-1 and IGF-2 bind to different cell receptors and stimulate the growth of different tissues. IGF-1 promotes increases in cell size (hypertrophy) and increases in cell number (hyperplasia) in both adults and children. IGF-2 is active mostly during fetal development and supports cell and tissue formation but is less active after birth.

What are the Benefits of IGF-1?

Some of the benefits of IGF-1 are:

  • Helps increase muscle mass and strength
  • Helps with muscle recovery and healing after injury
  • Builds bones and protects against bone loss
  • May protect brain function and prevent neurological diseases and age-related cognitive decline
  • Can help regulate blood sugar levels and lower the risk of diabetes
  • May support kidney function

Some animal studies suggest IGF-1 may help protect against Parkinson’s disease and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Diet and Lifestyle Can Increase IGF-1

Diet and lifestyle modifications can help increase IGF-1 levels naturally in adults. Some studies suggest that a diet moderately high in protein can increase IGF-1 levels. However, high dietary fat, especially saturated fat, can lower IGF-1.

A healthy, nutrient-rich diet of unprocessed foods that is low in sugar and carbohydrates tends to increase IGF-1 levels. Since IGF-1 works together with insulin, it is important to support insulin sensitivity by keeping carbohydrates and sugar intake low.

There are other activities that can increase IGF-1:

  • Vigorous physical exercise
  • Resistance training
  • Getting adequate quality sleep
  • Sauna sessions twice per day for one week
  • Dairy products

Nutritional Supplements to Increase IGF-1

Many nutritional supplements have been associated with higher levels of IGF-1. These include:



Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that occurs naturally in Asia and Africa and is used in traditional Indian medicine. A Korean study on middle-aged mice found Ashwagandha extract increased IGF-1 levels. The extract also preserved muscle strength and increased muscle tissue weight.


Ginseng is an herb whose root is used in cooking and traditional medicine in Asia and North America. A study of 62 men found taking three grams per day of red ginseng for four weeks increased IGF-1 levels as well as total testosterone. The red ginseng also significantly lowered diastolic blood pressure and serum cortisol.

Maca Root

Maca is a plant that grows in the Andes Mountains in Peru and has been used as a root vegetable and as a medicine for thousands of years. Maca extracts are available as tablets and powders.

In a study of 10 people with a median age of 62, Maca extracts were found to increase IGF-1 levels in human cartilage by more than 2.5 times. When the Maca extracts were combined with an extract made from cat’s claw, a vine that grows in the South American rain forests, the increase in IGF-1 was almost fourfold.


Vitamin D

An analysis of studies on European populations found a strong positive correlation between vitamin D and IGF-1 levels in the blood.

Vitamin C

A study of over 1,500 women found greater intake of dietary vitamin C, such as by eating citrus fruit, was associated with higher concentrations of IGF-1.

Vitamin A

Several animal studies have found a correlation between vitamin A deficiency and decreased IGF-1 levels.



Colostrum is the first breast milk produced by the mammary glands after giving birth. It is dense in nutrients, antioxidants, and antibodies to support a newborn baby’s growth and immune system. Bovine colostrum is available as a dietary supplement in powder form.

A study of nine male athletes with a median age of 25 years found that taking a colostrum supplement for eight days increased IGF-1 levels linearly over the eight days.


L-arginine is an amino acid that supports growth in infants and young children by stimulating the secretion of growth hormone. It is also available as a supplement in tablet and powder form. It is known to stimulate the secretion of IGF-1.

Deer Antler Velvet

IGF-1 is found in growing deer antlers; in fact, deer antler velvet is one of the few natural sources of IGF-1. However, a study found that taking deer antler velvet supplements did not significantly increase IGF-1 levels in the body.

High IGF-1 Is Not Necessarily Good

IGF-1 has important functions in the body and significant benefits, but problems can occur when IGF-1 levels become too high. IGF-1 promotes growth, which means it also promotes the growth of cancer cells. Older adults with lower IGF-1 levels also have a lower risk of breast, ovarian, prostate, lung, colorectal, and some other cancers.

Supplementing with IGF-1 can have dangerous side effects, including hypoglycemia, retinopathy, and muscle fatigue. That is why it is important to consult a qualified healthcare professional before starting IGF-1 or any other supplement to ensure it is safe and appropriate for your health needs.


IGF-1 promotes growth in the body and can have benefits such as increased strength and cognitive function and faster healing from injuries. However, excessive IGF-1 levels can be dangerous. A nutritious diet and a healthy lifestyle are natural ways to increase IGF-1.

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