Hair cells from balding scalps have been shown to secrete significantly lower IGF-1 levels compared with non-balding scalps.
You can actually buy IGF-1 on websites like Alibaba, but it’s very expensive. Instead, you can achieve similar results at a fraction of the cost using the following ingredients:
Red Velvet Deer Antler
Deer antler was applied to the wounded skin of rats at varying levels to test its effects. A clear and significant correlation was observed, demonstrating that deer antler applied to wounded skin caused an increase in IGF-1.
This is of course very exciting for hair loss sufferers because deer antler can be used to improve wound-induced hair follicle neogenesis. If you’re not familiar with that term, what it means is we can generate completely new hair follicles in the scalp tissue. You can learn more about it here.
The synthetic perfume chemical was recently discovered to increase hair growth. It binds to olfactory receptors in the scalp, which causes the growth phase of hair follicles to increase, resulting in less hair loss and more hair growth. It also seems to cause increased IGF-1 secretion — which may be the reason for its positive effect on the anagen phase.
Sanadalore has had a lot of attention recently for its hair growth-promoting effects: particularly because it’s an approach to hair growth science that has not previously been studied much.
Vitamin D3 has been shown to increase blood levels of IGF-1. Although that doesn’t necessarily mean it will increase IGF-1 when applied to the scalp, since I have seen strong evidence that topical vitamin D reduces hair loss, an increase in scalp IGF-1 might be at least partly the reason for the increased hair growth. It seems likely that if increased blood vitamin D levels are strongly linked with higher IGF-1, the same might be true of application to the scalp.
Chamaecyparis obtusa (Hinoki Cypress) Oil
The below abstract is from a study conducted on Chamaecyparis obtusa essential oil (I must admit I’d previously never heard of the plant). In the below quote Minoxidil (MXD) and Chamaecyparis obtusa (CO) were tested to see how they affect IGF-1 and VEGF levels. Interestingly CO increased showed a 426% increase in IGF-1 expression at week 4! What’s more exciting is the CO group also experienced an increase in VEGF expression of 96%. Surprisingly CO outperformed MXD in both cases!. However there is one downside: the study also noted CO caused a decrease in Epidermal Growth Factor. This is a shame but the increase in IGF-1 and VEGF warrant further investigation into its effect on hair count — which I shall be doing shortly and will publish the findings here in a separate post about Chamaecyparis obtusa.
For insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) mRNA expression in the skin tissue, at week 4, the MXD and CO groups showed a significantly higher expression by 204% and 426% respectively, as compared to the SA group. At week 4, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression in the MXD and CO groups showed a significantly higher expression by 74% and 96%
Also worth noting:
If you’re here because you want to know how to increase growth factors in your scalp in order to increase hair growth (a very good idea by the way!), I recommend you read How to Increase Scalp VEGF.
Conclusions and what to do next
IGF-1 seems to play an important role in scalp hair growth. Increasing scalp IGF-1 is clearly an important treatment for increasing hair growth — particularly in combination with wound-induced hair follicle neogenesis.
Read nextWhats the best shampoo for hair loss?
If you want to increase your scalp IGF-1 (as well as increasing VEGF and PGE2) try using my incredibly powerful new hair loss serum, Ultra Strong Hair Growth Treatment, which contains a combination of ingredients designed to increase scalp growth factors.
This treatment is not available for purchase and is for research purposes only. However, if you’d like to learn how I increase scalp growth factors and induce hair follicle neogenesis, contact me here, post a comment below or sign-up to my email newsletter.
How does IGF-1 Cause Hair Growth?
A team conducting a study at the Division of Molecular Neurobiology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine discovered that the use of topical ‘IGF-1’ triggers hair regrowth in the scalp.
The scientists in Cincinnati have made a significant breakthrough in the history of hair loss, which I believe is going end hair loss completely in the next five years — for people who use the treatment.
IGF-1 binds in the scalp activating receptors that trigger new hair cell growth (cell division) – effectively causing the growth of NEW hair. Additionally, the anti-apoptotic function of IGF-1 seems to prevent cell death, which may be important for preventing hairs from entering the resting phase – therefore prolonging hair growth and effectively reducing hair loss.
The growth factor is also produced in the hair follicle and promotes hair growth by proliferating keratinocytes, thereby improving alopecia. IGF-1 is decreased due to any reasons such as stress and aging, which induces hair loss. Therefore, promotion of IGF-I production by the safe method is critical for maintenance of normal hair growth and also for restoration of hair growing power in patients with alopecia. Dr. Okajima, Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.
Insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, is a hormone that has a similar biochemical structure to insulin. It exerts its anabolic effects on many organs in the body, especially during childhood.
The production of IGF-1 is stimulated by Growth Hormone (GH), which is secreted by the pituitary gland. Once IGF-1 is in the bloodstream, it will promote the growth of every cell in the body, including muscle, bone, liver, kidney, nerve, skin, and pulmonary cells.
IGF-1 is strictly regulated by the body, as any disturbances could lead to dire consequences, such as dwarfism and acromegaly (gigantism).
Because of the wide range of action of IGF-1, scientists took an interest in the relationship between IGF-1 and hair growth. The main mechanism suspected to promote hair growth is by stimulating keratinocyte proliferation.
Research and results
In a 2012 study, researchers analyzed the effects of IGF-1 on hair growth. The degree of hair growth was measured using an organ culture model of human hair follicles and compared with a control group that did not receive IGF-1.
After 12 days of the experiment, researchers stated that “Grossly, the IGF-1 treated group showed more remarkable hair growth (approximately 0.10 mm/day) compared with the control group (approximately 0.08 mm/day).”
Adding that “On each experimental day, the IGF-1 group showed more significant hair growth than control. This tendency was most prominent during the second day of the experiment, with the results showing notable numerical differences between the two groups”
Here is a graph that depicts the difference between hair elongation among the two groups:
However, the results are not concrete enough to come up with any conclusions. This concern was expressed by a 2018 study, which stated:
Whether GH and IGF-1 have any role in the treatment of alopecia – either systemically or topically, and either with respect to or irrespective of the measured serum levels – yet remains to be elucidated in studies addressing their efficacy, safety, and cost-benefit ratio.
While the exact mechanism of action that IGF-1 uses to promote hair growth is still only vaguely understood, scientists noted that IGF-1 use significantly increases the levels of Platelet-derived Growth Factor (PDGF) A and B, which are well-known to induce and maintain the anagen phase of hair follicles.
Additionally, IGF-1 is believed to have an anti-apoptotic effect on keratinocytes.