IGF-1 - the Health and Anti-Aging Potentials
Reversing the Effects of Aging
According to Vincent Giampapa, MD, director of clinical research at the Longevity Institute International in Montclair, New Jersey, one reason aging occurs is the fact that the telomere of the DNA shortens with every new cell division.
To reverse the aging of cells we need a way to lengthen the cell's telomere back to its youthful length. Dr. Giampapa believes this will be possible in the near future. Until then cells can be kept as healthy as possible with IGF-1.
The DNA of cells is constantly being attacked by free-radicals and other environmental factors. It is able to heal itself, but this ability to heal also decreases with age. Antioxidants have been the only way to help combat this process, up until human growth hormone and IGF-1 came on the scene.
Research shows that human growth hormone and IGF-1 can do much more than antioxidants. They can bring the cells the raw materials that are needed for repair. IGF-1 can deliver nucleic acids into the nucleus, and HGH can have amino acids brought into the cytoplasm of the cell.
The Healing Potentials of IGF-1
Research has also shown that IGF-1 may heal and regenerate damaged nerves, and may be of benefit in the treatment of ALS, MS, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) is being found to have numerous potential, including healing and rejuvenating the nervous system. Research is showing improvements with damaged nerve tissue, brain injury, seizure, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, spinal cord injury, and neuropathies.
Researchers believe that IGF-1 can also stop programmed cell death, if so it can drastically reduce the damage that occurs after a CVA (stroke) and myocardial infarction (heart attack).
For the first time IGF-1 may give us a weapon against death at the cellular level!
IGF-1 Regenerating Nerves
Clinical research has shown that IGF-1, the main growth factor of human growth hormone, may possibly be used to repair peripheral nerve tissue that has been damaged. If a nerve is torn in the arm or leg, it means that the connection to the muscle may be impaired, and as a result there is loss of movement and the muscle atrophies. While peripheral nerves can regenerate to some extent, severe tears of more than a few millimeters may result in permanent injury. Now IGF-1 has repaired and reconnected severed nerve endings of up to a distance of 6 millimeters, a feat previously unheard of.
Swedish scientist Hans-Arne Hansson of the Institute of Neurobiology at the University of Goteborg found that IGF-1 and other growth factors could stimulate even more dramatic regeneration. "IGF-1 by itself and in combination with other growth factors is likely to be of importance in promoting healing and repair processes in clinical practice within a few years," he writes. In studies of cells in culture and in animals, IGF-1 has been shown to have remarkable effects on the spinal cord motor neurons. It increased motor neuron activity in spinal cord cultures by 150 to 270 percent. And it significantly decreased programmed cell death in developing chick embryos.
In animal studies, it enhanced the sprouting of axons of the spinal cord motor neurons. And it increased intramuscular nerve sprouting a whopping ten fold when it was given to normal adult rats. In fact, according to a group of researchers at Cephalon, Inc., in West Chester, Pennsylvania, IGF-1 may be the "long-sought endogenous motor neuron sprouting factor."
The possibilities for IGF-1 seem to be endless at this time. If IGF-1 can regenerate spinal cord motor neurons, it may be useful in treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease that causes the loss of spinal cord and cortical motor neurons and results in complete paralysis and death. It may also be useful for other peripheral neuropathies.
Dr. Wittig of UCLA has been using IGF-1 to prevent AIDS wasting in HIV infected patients. IGF-1 may allow more aggressive chemotherapy of certain cancers, since drugs like vincristine and cisplatin can cause peripheral neuropathies at higher doses.
Lisa Wells, RN
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