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By : Mike A.
IGF-1, otherwise known as Insulin-like Growth Factor, is a peptide displaying structural and functional similarities to insulin. It is produced in liver via growth hormone and demonstrates both direct & indirect anabolic activity through several distinct mechanisms, as well as anti-catabolic effects. In addition, IGF-1 is what's known as a cell differentiator. Differentiation is the process of signaling an immature stem cell to become a specialized cell type and in the case of IGF-1, the cell type being created is that of muscle. These newly formed muscle cells will remain muscle cells permanently and retain the ability to hypertrophy to the same degree as previously existing muscle cells.
The process of turning a stem cell into a muscle cell is known as hyperplasia. Hyperplasia varies from muscle cell hypertrophy, in that hypertrophy is simply the growth of previously existing muscle cells, while hyperplasia leads to an actual increase in the number of muscle cells present. IGF-1 works hand in hand with MGF, in order to carry out the process of hyperplasia. MGF initiates this process through cell proliferation, which is the formation of new stem cells. Once these new stem cells have been manufactured, IGF-1 can then perform its function of differentiation, completing the process of hyperplasia
Due to IGF-1's functional similarities to insulin, IGF-1 increases the rate and degree of nutrient transport into muscle cells, resulting in an increase in protein synthesis and a subsequent increase in muscle fullness. IGF-1 also acts as an inhibitor of muscle cell apoptosis and is involved in the growth of multiple cell lines in the body. Higher levels of IGF-1 are correlated with increased amounts of lean muscle tissue and decreased fat mass, which is well documented in both human and animal study subjects.
Today, IGF-1 is produced in multiple forms, such as standard IGF-1, IGF-1 LR3, and DES IGF-1. The LR3 version mentioned in this article is the longest acting form of IGF-1 and is over twice as anabolic, per mcg, than regular IGF-1. IGF-1 LR3 stays active in the body for roughly 24 hours, allowing for once daily dosing. Of all the IGF-1's available in the marketplace today, the LR3 version is generally preferred by those looking for a whole-body "recomp" and as such, has become one of the most popular forms of IGF-1 in the BB'ing community.
Common benefits of IGF-1 LR3 include:
* Increased muscle growth
* Decreased body fat
* Increased nutrient shuttling capacity
* Increased muscle pumps
* Increased muscle fullness
* The ability to cause muscle cell hyperplasia
* Regeneration of nerve tissue
Common side effects of IGF-1 include:
* Potential hypoglycemia at higher dosages (not typically a concern at normal dosages)
* There have not yet been any studies examining the long-term effects of IGF-1 in humans, as is the case with most performance enhancing drugs. In terms of real-world experience, the IGF-1 class of drugs appear to maintain a rather mild disposition, having demonstrated a low side effect profile in users. Aside from possible hypoglycemia at higher dosages (which is due to the positive nutrient shuttling effects of the drug and easily rectified through the consumption of any nutrient able to elevate blood glucose), IGF-1 LR3 has been largely absent of any outward negative side effects. At this juncture, it is not unreasonable to assume that the IGF-1 category of drugs is significantly more benign in nature than AAS.
Recommendations for use:
* IGF-1 LR3 is most commonly injected once per day, 7 days per week.
* The effective dosing range is typically between 50-150 mcg per day, although a small percentage of users will elect to exceed this dosage. We do not yet know the dosing limit at which LR3 ceases to exert additional effects.
* Desensitization seems to occur after about 4 weeks of chronic usage, at which point the individual has the option of either discontinuing the peptide for a 2-4 week period (after which the individual can resume use), or the individual can elect to increase the dosage further, in order to over-ride the desensitization and continue experiencing its benefits. However, the process of desensitization will continue to occur at each ascending dosage.
DES [1-3] IGF-1:
DES IGF-1 is an IGF-1 variant, and like IGF-1 LR3 mentioned above, it displays all the same characteristics as its cousin, such as the ability to cause muscle cell differentiation, the inhibition of muscle cell apoptosis, increased nutrient shuttling capacity, as well as anabolic & anti-catabolic effects. Structurally, DES differentiates itself from standard IGF-1, in that has been molecularly modified by cleaving 3 molecules from the IGF-1 chain. This results in a truncated form of IGF-1, which is almost 5X more potent than IGF-1 LR3 and a full 10X more potent than standard IGF-1.
That is not all. DES also has a very low affinity for binding proteins at only 1%, making DES an extremely usable form of IGF-1, while as much as 98% of standard IGF-1 will become bound to binding proteins and remain inactive, unavailable for use by skeletal muscle tissue. DES also has the ability to attach to lactic acid deformed receptor sites (during training, lactic acid build-up in muscle tissue can temporarily deform IGF-1 receptor sites, preventing IGF-1 from attaching to them during this period), allowing it to turn-on our muscle-building machinery during training.
The down-side to DES is that it possesses a relatively short half-life of about 20 minutes in length, compared to IGF-1 LR3, which will stay active for about a day. Because of the differences between the LR3 and DES versions of IGF-1, they are often used in different ways and for different purposes. One use for which DES has proven effective is in the area of site enhancement. Due to DES's short active-life, the hormone will only circulate systematically for a relatively short period of time before becoming inactive. This means that the majority of DES's active life will be spent at the injection site, affecting the target muscle to a greater degree in comparison to the rest of the body. Through DES's impressive ability to stimulate muscle cell hyperplasia and combined with its potent anabolic activity, many users have reported significant and long-term changes in the size & shape of the treated muscle with regular use.
Common benefits of DES IGF-1 include:
* Increased muscle growth
* Decreased body fat
* Increased nutrient shuttling capacity
* Increased muscle pumps during training
* Increased muscle fullness
* The ability to cause muscle cell hyperplasia
* Regeneration of nerve tissue
* Site enhancement
Common side effects of DES IGF-1 include:
* Potential hypoglycemia at higher dosages (although unlikely at normal dosages).
* There have not yet been any studies examining the long-term effects of DES IGF-1 in humans, as is the case with most performance enhancing drugs. In terms of real-world experience, the IGF-1 class of drugs appears to maintain a rather mild disposition, having demonstrated a low side effect profile in users. Aside from possible hypoglycemia at higher dosages (which is due to the positive nutrient shuttling effects of the drug and easily rectified through the consumption of any nutrient able to elevate blood glucose), DES IGF-1 has been largely absent of any outward negative side effects. At this juncture, it is not unreasonable to assume that the IGF-1 category of drugs is significantly more benign in nature than AAS.
Recommendations for use:
* Dosing frequency is typically 1-2X per day, although DES can be administered as often as every 20 minutes if desired, although this is far from practical, not to mention costly. Today, there are multiple methods of administration, which an individual can choose from. One method of use includes administering DES IGF-1 about 5-10 minutes prior to training, as this results in improved nutrient shuttling during training (which directly increases protein synthesis), greater pumps, mild strength increases, and the ability to attach to IGF-1 receptor sites during training, which have been deformed by lactic acid. A second method of administration involves using PEG-MGF & DES IGF-1 in conjunction, with the goal of optimizing the process of hyperplasia in the target muscle. With this method, PEG-MGF is administered alone for 1-4 weeks, followed by the administration of DES IGF-1 for an equal number of weeks. It should be noted that we are still learning how to optimally use this drug(s), so adjustments to these protocols will likely be made as time goes by.
* The average dosing range is between 50-150 mcg per inject (dosage split bi-laterally).
* Unlike IGF-1 LR3, DES can be run for longer periods of time before incurring desensitization. This is due to DES's much shorter active life. Because DES is active for such a short period of time and circulates throughout the body only briefly, desensitization is less likely to occur with even multiple daily injections, compared to a single injection of LR3. In order to experience desensitization at a rate equal to LR3, one would likely have to inject DES many times per day. Since few adhere to such a frequent injection schedule, rapid desensitization is extremely unlikely. When using DES once per day (taking 1-2 days off per week), most can use DES permanently without noticing any significant decrease in effectiveness.
MGF & PEG MGF:
MGF & PEG MGF, also known as Mechano Growth Factor (or IGF-1 1Ec), is a locally expressed (within muscle tissue) splice variant of IGF-1. It is produced in response to muscular trauma/damage (training) and initiates the growth & recovery process. The 1st iso-form to be produced in response to training is known as IGF-1Ec (MGF) and it is easily the more potent of the two. This variant will continue to be produced for about 2 hours post-workout. After production of the 1st variant has ceased, production of the 2nd will begin. This 2nd iso-form will continue to be produced for roughly 24 hours, completing this initial step of the recovery-growth process.
MGF plays a significant role in muscle hyperplasia. More specifically, MGF acts as a cell proliferator, ordering the production of new stem cells in muscle tissue. These stems cells, after being exposed to the actions of IGF-1 (differentiation), will become muscle cells. However, standard MGF has a very brief active life within muscle tissue, necessitating a frequent injection schedule if one wishes to maintain active levels of the compound for even minimal periods of time. This dilemma led to the creation of a much longer lasting form of MGF called PEG MGF, or Pegylated Mechano Growth Factor. PEG MGF is a form of MGF that has been molecularly altered in order to substantially increase the compound's active life within muscle tissue. This pegylation process does not change the effects of the MGF molecule itself, but only extends the life of the compound.
MGF's short lifespan is also problematic in that the molecule will become inactive prior to entering circulation. In other words, MGF is completely absent of systematic benefits, affecting only the injected muscle. With PEG-MGF, not only does it directly affect the injected muscle to a much greater degree than standard MGF, but it's extremely long active life will allow the molecule to enter circulation and positively affect one's entire musculature.
Common benefits of MGF & PEG MGF:
* Site Enhancement; Increased muscle growth of the treated area (with added systematic effects when using the PEG version)
* Increased muscle fullness and expedited recovery of the treated area (with added systematic effects when using the PEG version)
* The ability to cause muscle cell hyperplasia of the treated area (with added systematic effects when using the PEG version)
* Causes immature muscle cell nuclei to turn into fully functioning muscle fibers at the treated area (with added systematic effects when using the PEG version)
Common side effects of MGF & PEG MGF:
* There have not yet been any studies examining the long-term effects of exogenous MGF/PEG MGF use in humans, as is the case with most performance enhancing drugs. In terms of real-world experience, the MGF variants appear to be absent of any outwardly perceived side effects. At this juncture, it is not unreasonable to assume that the MGF's are a relatively safe category of compounds, being endogenous to the human body and produced on a regular basis in response to training
Recommendations for use:
* Since MGF is used primarily as a proliferator, it makes sense to apply this hormone in a manner which allows it to properly perform its function. If PEG-MGF is used alone, it can be administered 2-3 days per week, at a dosage of between 200-1,000 mcg per day.
* If PEG-MGF is used in conjunction with IGF-1 (which produces the best results), then the following method of administration has proven to be highly effective. Keep in mind that in order to obtain one's best results with the following program, a large number of weekly injects will be required. This protocol will demand the utmost in terms of dedication and commitment. For those who desire to follow this program, but are unwilling to endure the suggested number of weekly injects, these individuals could reduce their total injection volume by about 50-75% and still experience significant results.
The following short article not only explains how to properly implement this protocol into your BB'ing program, but it also delves into the reasoning behind the program set-up. Some of this information may be repetitive (being previously stated above), although I felt that a fluid and comprehensive explanation, as it relates solely to this program, would be particularly beneficial for potential users.
Advanced PEG-MGF & IGF-1 LR3 Program Application:
Proliferation and Differentiation. What do these two words mean, how do these processes promote muscle growth, and how do we optimize them through the use of PEG-MGF and IGF-1? Please allow me to break this down into its most simple form. MGF is the hormone responsible for expanding our pool of stem cells. The expansion of these cells is what's known as proliferation. Proliferation is the 1st step in the process of forming new muscle cells. Once these stems cells have received the message to proliferate through the actions of MGF, what type of cells they become, whether muscle or otherwise, depends on the message they later receive from other hormones.
IGF-1 is what's known as a differentiator. Differentiation is the process responsible for turning immature stem cells into a defined cell type. When a stem cell is exposed to the actions of IGF-1, the cell type created is a muscle cell. However, it is very important to note that each of these processes must take place at the correct time. If one process is begun before the other has finished its work, either the entire process is short-circuited, or partial results are achieved. When a muscle(s) is exposed to stress (such as weight training), its first response is to produce localized MGF. MGF is produced only in the muscle, not in the liver like GH mediated IGF-1 production. After training, It is vital that MGF be allowed to fully perform its function of proliferation before IGF-1 is introduced into the system. Otherwise, the inhibitory actions IGF1 will immediately halt the proliferation process and reduce the total number of stem cells available for differentiation into muscle cells. In other words, introducing IGF-1 at the wrong time will limit our rate of muscle growth.
In the past, the typical manner of administering PEG MGF and IGF-1 would be to use 200-300 mg of PEG-MGF immediately post-workout 2X weekly, followed by an injection of IGF-1 the other 5 days per week. In principle this theory is sound, as the PEG-MGF will expand the number of available stem cells, which can then subsequently be differentiated by IGF-1 the following day. However, there are 3 significant problems with this method of use. For one, since PEG-MGF is typically injected only 2 X per week, the BB'r is usually going to choose to inject it after training the body parts he most wants to improve, but what happens if he also trains a body part on the days he administers IGF-1? Being that IGF-1 is typically administered on the days PEG-MGF isn't (which is usually 5 days per week), it is highly likely that the BB'r is going to be training on at least some of the days he administers IGF-1. That means that on those days, the growth process involving these growth factors will be short-circuited, due to the inhibitory actions of exogenous IGF-1, and the end result will be less than optimal muscle growth.
The second issue which arises due to the current pattern of use is that by using PEG-MGF on non-consecutive days 2X per week, the proliferation process will always be cut short due to the constant interloping of exogenous IGF-1. Because of this, the number of available stem cell will never grow very large and the potential for differentiation will remain limited. The 3rd issue is in regards to PEG-MGF dosing....it is too light. It is now proposed that using 2 mg per week is much closer to the ideal dosage than the commonly prescribed 400 mg per week. If we use prior research as a gauge for determining proper dosing, it would point to our current dosing guidelines as being inadequate. It is a certainty that higher dosages of PEG-MGF are necessary in order to maximize stem cell proliferation. Although user experiences in this dosing range are currently minimal, what has been witnessed does appear to confirm this. In addition, the proposal is scientifically sound.
Now that I have explained the logic for why the older methods of administration are believed to be flawed in their approach, I will go over how to implement the new method of administration. The PEG-MGF molecule is always used over standard MGF, as MGF has a very short active life, being only minutes in length, while PEG-MGF will stay active for days. This enables the PEG version to deliver a much more pronounced effect. It is also important to remember that the PEG attachment does not alter the effects of the MGF molecule. The PEG attachment acts purely to extend its duration of action. As for what form of IGF-1 should be chosen, I believe IGF-1 LR3 is the superior choice only because of its greatly extended active life, which is about 24 hours in length. DES IGF-1 is a very potent form of IGF-1, being about 4X as potent as IGF-1 LR3 on a mcg basis, but its active life is only about 20 minutes. So, unless one was willing and able to administer DES many times per day, LR3 remains the better option for whole-body growth. DES is superior for site enhancement and will also deliver systematic benefits, but when it comes to a single daily injection, DES cannot trump LR3 when it comes to its whole-body benefits.
In contrast to most other injectable drugs, PEG-MGF cannot be administered with a singular inject. Several micro-injects must be used because even though PEG-MGF is systematic in its effects, the injected muscle will still receive a greater amount of benefit. Why? While both steroid esters and the PEG attachment serve primarily to extend the active life of the steroid, there are critical differences between the two. With esterfied AAS, the ester must first be cleaved from the steroid before it is able to attach to the AR and cause muscle growth. This is why esterfied steroids do not cause site growth (although some users think they do due to the inflammation and subsequent swelling which occurs), as the steroid will already have entered circulation and become systematic prior to the ester being cleaved from the steroid molecule. However, unlike AAS, the PEG portion of the drug does not need to be cleaved off before it is able to attach to its receptor site and deliver its message. Also unlike AAS, the MGF molecule (whether it is MGF or PEG-MGF) communicates through cell to cell interaction. Once the PEG-MGF comes in contact with a muscle cell (such as during an injection), the affected muscle cell will relay the same signal to the adjoining muscle cells. More so, this signal will eventually stop being passed along to adjoining cells, making a single inject unsuitable for treating the entire muscle.
Another characteristic of PEG-MGF, which plays a role in the way it is administered, is the fact that it causes a disproportionate degree of muscle growth in the injected muscle, compared to the rest of the body. However, with PEG-MGF being systematic in nature, one might ask why this happens, being that the compound will eventually spread around to the entire body anyway. This is a question I would have to research, so I cannot answer it right now. Still, I speculate that there may be 3 reasons for this. For one, the injected muscle is directly exposed to the entire amount of the drug on a first come basis. Two, the compound will immediately begin attaching to receptor sites as soon as it is injected, likely using up a substantial portion of the drug before it has a chance to become systematic. Three, due to the micro-injection technique, which is explained below, the entire muscle is exposed to the actions of the drug in large quantities.
Below I will lay out the micro-injection technique. It is a pain in the ass to be sure, but due to the use of 30-31gauge insulin needles, this process is made much more tolerable. The micro-injection process involves injecting a small portion of the drug into multiple locations within the same muscle. In the case of smaller body parts, this can be as many as 14-16 injections, split bi-laterally. In larger body parts, 20 injections split bilaterally is more appropriate. Remember, MGF communicates its actions cell to cell, so this micro-injection technique must be incorporated into one's protocol if optimal results are desired. Using a small amount of injections will drastically limit the amount of muscle cells which are exposed to the actions of the MGF...and a single injection will severely limit the drug's ability to turn on stem cell proliferation. Now, before anyone is turned away by the sheer volume of injections, it should be noted that this only needs to be performed twice weekly. In addition, the use of a 30-31gauge 1/2 inch insulin pin reduces scar tissue build-up to less than what would be experienced with just a couple injections using a 22 g. needle. The pain factor is almost a non-issue, as it should be near painless. Lastly, this only needs to be performed for 4 weeks, after which point MGF injections cease and are then followed by a single sub-q IGF-1 LR3 injection per day for the next 4 weeks. It is up to the individual if they want to repeat the program after its completion.
Here is an example of how one might target their chest with this program:
Day #1 (post-workout): Inject 1 mg of PEG-MGF into the pecs. Split this 1 mg up into twenty 50 mcg injections and place 10 injects on the right side of the chest, followed by 10 injects in the left side of the chest. Make sure each injection is placed fairly evenly apart. Use a 30-31gauge 1/2 inch syringe.
Day #2 (about 3-4 days after day 1): Same as above.
Days 1-28: IGF-1 LR3 @ 100 mcg once daily.
*** It is important to note that this is a very advanced protocol and at the time of this writing, it is still very new, as well. One does not need to use these drugs in this fashion in order to experience their benefits and observe results. More traditional programs will yield benefits, while requiring a greatly reduced injection frequency.