Cytokine Therapy: IGF-1

What does IGF-1 do?

IGF-1 or Insulin like Growth Factor 1, is a protein encoded by the IGF-1 gene and it is similar to the molecular structure of insulin. It contains seventy amino acid polypeptides that are produced by the liver and endocrine hormone. IGF-1 has many effects on the body. When in balance, it does a body good! But when out of balance it can cause many repercussions to the body.

IGF-1 supports cellular division and growth to the muscles and organs. IGF-1 automatically begins being produced at birth. This is one of the major factors in height and muscle growth throughout childhood and puberty. Some people, however, are born without the correct amount of IGF-1 production and that can lead to dwarfism, or in some cases have synthetic IGF-1 therapy.

IGF-1 helps in repairing nerve damage, which can aid in many different areas of the brain, cardiovascular, circulatory systems and my favorite anti-aging. It helps to reduce body fat because it halts insulin from moving glucose through the body, resulting in the body using fat as a source of energy instead of glucose.

IGF-1 also plays a role in cell repair to the brain, heart and of course muscles. New developments have shown that IGF-1 helps in the development of new muscles by igniting human stem cells. It also plays a role in muscle regeneration, due to cell repair. It also, increases the number and size of cells in the body. It helps to reduce the amount of muscle loss, and in turn aids in muscle growth, as mentioned before.

So, in a nutshell, IGF-1 is a great hormone that your body produces naturally. It is an amazing compound that helps with cellular growth and repair throughout the body. It helps our bodies grow to their natural state as well as aids in the building and repairing of muscles. IGF works well when paired with IL-10, both available from the GUNA line of cytokines.

Inflammatory Skin Conditions

Inflammatory skin conditions are chronic skin ailments that can cause dry, itchy patches. These patches are generally uncomfortable and itchy, and may cause both physical and mental discomfort to the patient. The scratching that results may cause skin infections and abnormal thickening of the skin. Atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) is the most common inflammatory skin disease in childhood, affecting 10-15% of children. Psoriasis vulgaris is another common skin problem, affecting 1-2% of the US population.

Skin is the primary interface between the body and the environment and is exposed to chemicals, microbes, extreme temperatures and other insults on a daily basis. The cutaneous exposures to antigens cause an expansion of a selective group of memory T Cells that circulate to the skin. The T cells contain a marker called cutaneous lymphocyte antigen (CLA) which may be involved in the pathogenesis of many inflammatory skin conditions, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. CLA-positive T cells secrete higher amounts of inflammatory interleukins in response to common skin antigens such as Staphylococcal infections, initiating a generalized inflammatory reaction in the skin.

Natural remedies have helped in the management of inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, It was estimated that 35-69% of patients with dermatological disease used complementary or alternative medicine to treat the skin condition. Natural remedies have been researched over the years for inflammatory skin conditions showing statistically significant improvements.

Honey is a traditional medicine dating back 1400 years and has been used in Middle Eastern cultures for many different health conditions including inflammatory skin conditions. It has been shown in a number of studies to reduce the release of pro-inflammatory interleukins, while also inhibiting the activation of inflammatory genes. This has borne out clinically as well. One example is a patient-blinded, partially controlled clinical trial published inComplementary Therapies in Medicine that investigated the use of a topical application of natural honey, beeswax and olive oil for people with dermatitis and psoriasis.1 Twenty-one patients with dermatitis and eighteen patients with psoriasis were included in the study. In the honey mixture group, 8 out of 10 patients with atopic dermatitis showed significant improvement after two weeks. In psoriasis, 5 out of 8 patients showed significant response to honey mixture. This study indicates that honey may be a useful consideration in the management of inflammatory skin conditions. There are many natural therapies that can be used internally and externally to reduce excessive inflammation in the skin, offering the promise of relief from these painful and challenging conditions.

Adapted from article by Christine Toomasi, N.D.
1 Al-Waili NS. Topical application of natural honey, beeswax and olive oil mixture for atopic dermatitis or psoriasis; partially controlled, single-blinded study. Complete Ther Med. 2003 Dec; 11(4):226-34