“Every man desires to live long,” wrote Jonathan Swift, “but no man would be old.”
What exactly does this mean?
It means that one potent and innate human desire is to live a long time. And I don't know about you, but I don't just want to live a long and full life – I also want to feel really dang good doing it, especially when I'm old. I don't want to be cold, hungry, feeble, frail and fragile. I'd rather be like the impressive, muscular, vibrant seniors I talk about in my article “5 Anti-Aging Secrets From Five Of The Fittest Old People On The Face Of The Planet”.
Yeah, I want to be the ripped ninety year old sprinting down the golf course, loaded down with clubs, basking in the sunshine with a huge smile on my face…
…and hurrying to finish my game so I can get home to pump iron and make love to my wife.
There, I said it.
This is why, a few weeks ago, I published the article “Should You Use This Controversial Hormone Marketed As A Natural “Fountain Of Youth”?” in which I explained how natural compounds such as colostrum, whey protein and the milk of mammals such as cows and goats and camels can be safe and efficacious way to get all the anti-aging, anabolic, recovery, sleep-enhancing, muscle repair and fat loss benefits of elevated growth hormone and elevated insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels. Or, you could be like the world's oldest woman at 116 years old and just eat eggs and cookies every day.
But since publishing that Fountain Of Youth post last week, I've received many, many inquiries from athletes, anti-aging enthusiasts and biohackers who, despite being aware of these”natural” methods such as colostrum, whey and milk, are still extremely interested in the concept of biohacking growth hormone levels and the subsequent anti-aging effect via “better-living-through-science” methods such as injections, stacks and supplements.
And so, in today's article, I'm going to give you everything you need to know about how to use what is probably the most potent of these methods: IGF injections. I'll also fill you in on two types of compounds that should accompany any IGF injections – Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide (GHRP) and Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH).
I am not a doctor and this is not to be taken, interpreted or construed as medical advice. Please talk with a licensed medical professional about this. These are just my own personal thoughts and not a prescription or a diagnosis or any form of health care whatsoever. In addition, most of this stuff is banned by the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), US Anti-Doping Association (USADA) and other international governing bodies of sport, so you should not use any of these compounds if you are competing in any sanctioned sport.
Cool? Alright, let's do this.
Why Take Growth Hormone?
In my previous article on growth hormones and IGF, I delved into the nitty-gritty of what exactly growth hormone and IGF are, and why you'd want to elevate them (in moderation) in the first place. The fact is, the amount of growth hormone that your body produces naturally declines as you age and the amount of growth hormone that you need increases based on your level of activity and how much recovery you need and how much you are beating your body up on a day-to-day basis.
Inadequate growth hormone – especially when combined with aging and physical activity – results in muscle loss, decreased elasticity, joint pain, fat gain, decreased stamina and all the other annoying variables we often associate growing old. This is probably why, as people are living longer, wanting to get bigger, stronger, sexier and faster with age, and wanting to stay active and robust much later in life, there is a growing interest in using “better living through science”, including supplementation and injections, to maximize growth hormone levels.
Bodybuilders are a perfect example of a population that – through self-experimentation and guinea-pigging, exchanging practical experiences in threads upon threads of deep “broscience” conversation in forums, and displaying an extreme willingness to push the limits – have learned how to tweak, how to pulse and how to increase growth hormone levels. This is partially because they have to maximize every last drop of training and recovery, day in and day out, and also because they are complete, geeked-out devotees of topics like how to build muscle, lose fat, and shape a physique that (whether or not you think a bodybuilder's body is an “attractive” physique) speaks volumes to their ability to be able to mold the human machine beyond what most folks are able to achieve, and more specifically to be able to intelligently use synthetic hormones and derivatives that help increase muscle recovery, repair joint damage, rejuvenate collagen production, and aid in cellular repair.
Three specific growth hormones that the bodybuilding world was one of the first to tap into, and that are now being explored by the anti-aging, athlete and biohacking communities, are the peptide compounds IGF-LR3, GHRP, and GHRH. Let's delve into what exactly these peptides are and how they can work together to push you past that plateau and into peak shape. If you need a review of what a peptide is, then I'd highly recommend you read my previous articles “How To Use BPC-157” and “How To Use TB-500“.
What is IGF-LR3?
IGF-LR3 is short for “Insulin-like Growth Factor – 1 Long Arg3”. IGF-LR3 is just a protein, and more specifically a polypeptide hormone that, since it contains some of the same molecular structure as insulin, closely mimics the anabolic effects of insulin. It contains a sequence of 83 amino acids, and the arg3 in the name refers to arginine being in the third position in this amino acid sequence. Should you be curious as to what the amino acid sequence is of IGF-LR3, it is: MFPAMPLSSL FVNGPRTLCG AELVDALQFV CGDRGFYFNK PTGYGSSSRR APQTGIVDEC CFRSCDLRRL EMYCAPLKPA KSA (I really don’t know why anyone would care about that, but nonetheless, there it is, in all it’s glory for you peptide freaks).
IGF-LR3 responds to signals from growth hormone (GH), and it is the most potent growth factors in the human body, which is probably why it is often referred to in the bodybuilding community as an “anabolic powerhouse”. In other words, this is the stuff that helps you to maintain lean tissue and helps your muscles grow by causing the splitting and forming of new muscle cells (hyperplasia).
While the most well-known property of IGF-LR3 is this muscle maintenance and building effect that helps many folks look better than their built-in genetics intended, there are several other benefits of IGF-LR3, including:
- Increased muscle retention
- Increased physical performance
- Faster recovery
- Increased drive
- Increased effectiveness of the anabolic cycle
- Rapid fat loss
- Decreased effects of aging
- Improved testicular health
- More rapid sleep onset and body recovery during sleep
Bodybuilders first started using this stuff when they found themselves spending hours in the gym each week, eating plain chicken piled on broccoli (with no salad dressing of course), only to find themselves unable to get that extra little bit of fat loss or muscle gain. In other words, IGF-LR3 was originally used as a way to break through a fat loss or muscle gain plateau, with the idea that one could spend weeks at the same weight and fitness level without the use of exogenous IGF-LR3 supplementation, but if a cycle of IGF-LR3 was added, the body suddenly gets sparked into anabolic action again.
From a muscle gain or fat loss standpoint, it's really only the top small percentage of seriously competitive bodybuilders and highly competitive athletes who would get any additional gains from adding IGF-LR3. So it’s probably not necessary for the weekend warriors, the overweight post-New Year’s gym enthusiasts, or the average athlete – unless they are looking for a fast shortcut.
In this case, IGF-LR3 is going to help you get past your physical limitations, but this synthetic protein can have some serious side effects when not used properly, including intestinal, heart, and spleen growth. Very advanced bodybuilders are meticulous and know what they are doing and are able to minimize or eliminate any negative effects by using the strategies you're going to discover in the rest of this article.
So what I’m saying to you is – while the potentially negative risks are minimal when you use the stuff properly and include the type of GHRP's and GHRH's you're about to discover – the risks of simply injecting IGF willy-nilly are very, very real and you don’t want to pretend they don’t exist or just inject random compounds without using proper stacking and combination methods with GHRP and GHRH.
What Are GHRP's?
As you've just learned, you can't just use IGF all by its lonesome self. To get the most benefit out of IGF, or any other Growth Hormone precursor, you must be familiar with GHRH's and GHRP's.
This is because when you combine these compounds with a peptide like IGF, they cause and amplify a natural pulse of Growth Hormone (GH) from your body. In a nutshell, GHRP's release a pulse of GH, and then the GHRH's release and amplify this pulse. Combining both GHRP and GHRH together, along with a peptide like IGF, can give more than double the effect of either alone. They pack a potent one-two punch when you take them together in a peptide stack. Using both together, and in a cycle with IGF-LR3, stimulates the most growth hormone production and maximizes muscles gains, fat loss, recovery and the other benefits of using peptides like this.
GHRP is short for “Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide”, and is a chemical class of growth hormones in the category of drugs known as GH Secretagogues that stimulate the body's natural release of the natural growth hormone (GH), primarily by stimulating the pituitary gland to produce more Growth Hormone. GHRP's are (as their name obviously implies) peptides, specifically synthetic oligopeptides. There are many peptides in the GHRP family but the four most common are GHRP-6, GHRP-2, Ipamorelin, and Hexarelin – and these are the only ones I'm going to mention in this article, so let’s get to it.
All four of these GHRP's share these common benefits:
- Decrease in body fat
- Increase in lean mass
- Increase in collagen production
- Increase in restorative sleep
- Increased in cellular repair
GHRP-6 is one of the first GHRP's synthesized, and is widely considered to be the most effective of the growth hormone releasing peptides. There's some controversy about that as some people prefer or report superior results with GHRP-2, which is often referred to as the “second generation” version of GHRP's, but the choice between GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 really depends on the outcome you are looking for. You’re going to see benefits from either one.
For example, compared to GHRP-2, GHRP-6 tends to cause a huge increase in hunger. So if you are trying to gain lean mass and muscle, stay very anabolic or are struggling to eat enough food to meet high calorie intake needs based on activity levels, then it make senses to go with GHRP-6. On the flipside, if caloric restriction and rapid fat loss are your goals, then GHRP-2 is going to be a superior choice compared to GHRP-6. GHRP-2 does indeed cause far less appetite stimulation, so it can be a more beneficial choice for someone trying to keep lean and keep their eating in check. If you tend to overeat and struggle with a little excess fat around your middle for example, go with the GHRP-2 instead of GHRP-6. GHRP-2 is often considered superior to GHRP-6 because it can be dosed in higher amounts with less desensitization. Both GHRP-2 and GHRP-6 tend to cause fluctuations in the body's natural production of prolactin and cortisol, which can also be concerning from a hormonal standpoint.
Ipamorelin (IPA) is also a synthetic peptide product that tends to be used solely for growth hormone (GH) release. It can be dosed higher than GHRP-6 or GHRP-2, it has no effect on appetite nor on prolactin or cortisol, and is, in my opinion, the safest of the GHRP's.
Finally, Hexarelin is the most potent of the GHRP's, and is used to significantly bump GH release when combined with IGF. While it's less desirable for long term use as it has a high rate of desensitization, resulting long-term in a need for higher and higher amounts, it can be paired in lower doses with the other GHRP's for more gains. If you’re doing a short cycle of peptides and GHRP's, you can give Hexarelin a try – but I'd stay away from long term use.
When used in excessive quantities or excessive frequencies, or stacked incorrectly with the other compounds you'll learn about in this article, all GHRP's also share a few common negative side effects: specifically water retention, excessive sleepiness, tightness or carpel tunnel-like symptoms in the wrist/hand, numbness and tingling in the extremities, and a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
This is why GHRP-6 should be administered on an empty stomach (no food should be consumed for 15-20 minutes post-injection if maximum GH release is desired. In addition when using GHRP-6 for GH release, the average dosing range is between 100-150 mcg per injection and dosing frequency is between 1-4X per day. In order to get maximal elevations in GH, GHRP-6 should be combined with a GHRH, which you'll learn more about shortly.
Ultimately, to maximize the effects of IGF, you should accompany any IGF use with a GHRP, and from what I've personally researched, the GHRP Ipamorelin appears to be the safest and most efficacious. Like the other GHRP's, its primary function is to stimulate your pituitary gland to produce more growth hormone, and also like the other GHRPs, it has a two-fold mechanism of action, meaning that it causes an increase in GH through amplifying the natural growth hormone releasing hormone signal pathway, and also by suppressing the actions of somatostatin, which can lower growth hormone as you sleep.
Compared to Ipamorelin, GHRP-6 is inferior in that it activates a wider array of potentially undesirable effects beyond GH release, such as intense hunger and gastric motility, as well as inducing a mild effect on cortisol and prolactin. GHRP-2 is slightly less “sloppy” with a more intense GH release, and with less gastric motility and less hunger effect. Hexarelin gives a higher GH pulse, but induces some gastric motility and produces almost zero issues with hunger, although it requires a lot of cycling to avoid desensitization to it's effects.
Ipamorelin is the best choice. Sure: it doesn't release as much GH as the others, but it causes virtually no hunger or gastric motility, does not effect cortisol or prolactin and seems to be the safest choice (although it is the most spendy of the options).
What Are GHRH's?
GHRH stands for “Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone”, which admittedly seems like a mouthful of double talk, and in a way, it is. It's literally a hormone (an amino acid peptide produced in the hypothalamus) that causes the release of another hormone. GHRH also stimulates any GHRP to increase the release of GH, and in addition, seems to have a significant positive effect on cognitive health.
The main form of synthetic GHRH that one would inject along with GH and GHRP is something called Mod GRF 1-29 (sometimes still referred to by its old name as “CJC1295 without DAC”). The other most common type of GHRH is called “CJC1295Dac”, which I really don't recommend because can only be used for four to five weeks at a time if you want to avoid permanent damage to your pituitary gland. In almost all instances, Mod GRF 1-29 should be used in favor over CJC1295Dac.
In a nutshell, the main reason to use this a GHRH in conjunction with GHRP and GH is to cause an even greater increase in GH than you'd get if you used GH by itself, and also to minimize the negative side effects of using GH by itself. Remember what you learned earlier: GHRP's release a pulse of GH, and then the GHRH's release and amplify this pulse.
How to Stack & Dose The Ultimate Growth Hormone Peptide Stack: IGF-LR3, GHRH & GHRP
OK, so now that you know all about GH, GHRP and GHRH, let's delve into exactly how you would “stack” these compounds. The best results from any peptides, especially those designed for growth hormone and taken to improve anabolism, fat loss, physique or overall health, are to combine specific combinations of peptides all at the same time. Sure, you would get some improvement by using one peptide at a time, but stacking these things is really where it’s at when it comes to experiencing significant gains in a short period of time.
One of the most popular and reportedly efficacious peptide stacks for improving overall body appearance, losing fat, and gaining muscle in away that does not harm the pituitary gland or shut down your own natural production of Growth Hormone is a combination of IGF-1 LR3 (the GH) ,Mod GRF 1-29 (the GHRH), and Ipamorelin (the GHRP).
Here's how it works:
Like any supplement, vitamin, or medication, each peptide has its own unique dosage instructions. Typically, you’ll purchase a month's worth or “cycle's” worth of the peptide in powdered form in a vial, “reconstitute” the peptide substance with the right amount of sterilized or bacteriostatic water, and then administer it via insulin syringe injection. If you have no clue how to reconstitute a powder with sterilized or bacteriostatic water, then simply click here to read my article on BCP-157, in which I spell it out in great detail, and include links to helpful calculators that tell you exactly how much water to use based on the size of the powder vial you have.
When the powdered form of your peptide is reconstituted, it will then be a liquid, and this liquid must be saved in a dark area, undisturbed except for when you are withdrawing some of the solution into the syringe for use, and preferably kept in the refrigerator or freezer in order to maintain the quality and effectiveness long term. Peptides are extremely fragile, and you have to take extra care of them or they just won’t perform the way they’re supposed to. So even if they're in the refrigerator, try to keep them on or near or wrapped in bubble wrap, and in a place where someone won't, say, knock them around while reaching for the milk.
IGF-1 LR3 can be taken every day of the week for about four weeks before your body becomes desensitized to the stuff and it loses its effectiveness. A good starting dose is 50mcg per day, but you can gradually increase this to 150mcg a day if you’re feel fine with none of the side effects listed earlier in this article (and if you do experience excessive tiredness, just do your injections prior to bed). IGF-1 LR3 gets injected directly into the muscle, or can be injected subcutaneously. And don’t be a baby – it only stings for a minute.
Do not take more than 150mcg of IGF-1 LR3 per day for four weeks, as high doses of IGF-1 have been shown to cause some pretty extreme hypoglycemia and blood sugar dysregulation. In some studies, IGF-1 increased tumor size in patients who already had cancer, but IGF-1 regulates the functioning of our heart, nervous system, and brain cells – so it does not seem to be the cause of cancer or contribue to something like tumor growth unless cancer already exists. So if you already have cancer, the results of these studies would lead me to stay away from IGF-1. Otherwise, I'm not concerned.
The next component of the stack is Ipamorelin. This one is most often injected by subcutaneous injection using an insulin syringe. The average dose of Ipamorelin is 200-300mcg, taken at two to three times per day. Most athletes and weightlifters take an Ipamorelin dose about forty minutes before a workout to get the best workout results, as it is going to kick in and help you power through a high-intensity workout such as weight training or high intensity cardio. Although you can also simply use Ipamorelin before bed along with IGF-LR3 and Mod-GRF, if you take it before workouts it will give you exactly what you need to do to push past those pesky plateaus and get the look you’re trying to achieve.
You can take Ipamorelin for twelve week cycles before it becomes ineffective or the risks for side effects increase. If you experience prolactin dysregulation or any signs of estrogen dominance when taking Ipamorelin, you can take aromatase inhibitors such as Aromasin or Letrozole along with an anti-prolactin aid like Cabergoline to reduce prolactin and symptoms from increases in estrogen. This should keep everything in balance so you can continue using Ipamorelin for the twelve week cycle, and will keep you from getting man boobs and excessively weepy during chick flicks. As you can imagine, this gets pretty complicated, this can get pretty complicated, so I recommend taking the lower doses of Ipamorelin and not ever taking it for more than twelve weeks. This is also important because high doses Ipamorelin taken for over twelve weeks can also cause an increase in cortisol.
But don't get too scared. As I mentioned earlier, out of of all of the GHRP options out there, Ipamorelin is the mildest peptide available for targeting growth hormone (GH) release. It’s safer than some of other GHRP options because it doesn’t significantly affect important natural hormone levels such as FSH, TSH, PRL, or LH blood serum plasma levels the way GHRP-2 or GHRP-6 will.
To complete your peptide stack, you'll need a GHRP, and the top peptide I recommend for this is Mod GRF 1-29. The use of a GHRP like this allows you to increase your body’s own production of growth hormone without taking excessive exogenous injected growth hormone. Mod GRF 1-29 is specifically known to help increase fat loss and increase muscle growth, improve the appearance of connective tissue and skin, and help you recover from injuries and workouts more quickly.
It's also important to know that don’t have to cycle your use of Mod GRF 1-29, which means you can match your usage to your cycles of IGF-1 LR3 and GHRH, or you can use Mod GRF 1-29 all on it's own whenever you need to slightly increase growth hormone levels in your body, such as during a mass gain phase or when you are injured. However, to maintain sensitization, if you are going to use Mod GRF 1-29 on an ongoing basis then make sure you are using the lower end of the recommended dose range, or taking the full-strength dosage just once per day right before you go to bed.
Mod GRF 1-29 is typically injected subcutaneously, intravenously, or intramuscularly, and it seems to be efficacious when administered in any of these ways. If you get a little nervous with needles or dislike experiencing too many injections per day or feel like a freaking pincushion, you can simply add multiple peptide solutions from your peptide stack to the same syringe to reduce the number of injections you need to do each day.
To get the maximum effect, you can inject a dose of 100 mcg of Mod GRF three times per day about thirty minutes before a meal (when insulin and blood sugar tends to be lowest), and incorporate it in a cycle along with the other peptides in this article for four to twelve weeks. If you’re simply going to use Mod GRF 1-29 on an ongoing, everyday basis, throughout the year in the absence of the other peptides in this article, then just take 100 mcg once per day, preferably right before you go to bed.
Summary: How to Naturally Increase Growth Hormone & Where to Buy Peptides
OK, OK, I get it: some people want to get the results without injecting themselves with peptides. Some people can't legally inject peptides. Needles and injections and synthetic hormones don’t sit well with everyone.
This is why, in the past, I’ve provided you with a number of articles about how to naturally increase growth hormone levels, including the most recent article I wrote about natural ways to increase IGF-1, whic includes tips such as including more quality sleep, decreasing alcohol consumption, increasing dairy consumption, using natural supplements such as colostrum and whey protein, sprinting and weight training.
Ultimately, you don't have to sit back and let father time slowly peck away at you. If it's legal, safe and efficacious, I'm a fan of better living through science, and the stack you've just discovered is one of the most potent ways to pull this off. ou'll reduce your risk of many chronic illnesses, enhance your vigor and enjoyment of life, slightly slow the tick of the aging clock and perhaps more importantly, be stronger, sexier and more vigorous as you age.
If you do want to try a peptide stack, then you may be wondering where you’re supposed to get these mysterious substances. You can't just waltz into your local Walgreen's or GNC and buy them, nor can you find them on Amazon. They’re only sold from US suppliers for research purposes. If you want to know if what you're getting is effective, just take a look at the bottom of the little glass bottle when it gets to you. The powder “puck” should be tight, packed and uniform, not clumped or broken. As you've learned, you still need to be quite careful when you reconstitute the powder, but this doesn't matter if what you're getting isn't synthesized properly or isn't handled carefully during shipping, so choose your source wisely.
Here's the skinny on pricing and quantity:
Ipamorelin: 5mg typically runs about $32. Depending on your frequency of cycling and dosage, that will last you about three to six weeks. So for a full twelve week cycle, get three to four bottles.
Mod GRF 1-29: 2mg runs about $17, and will last for a similar period of time. I'd recommend three to four bottles.
IGF-1 LR3: 1mg sells for about $66, and will last for a similar period of time. Same as above: three to four bottles.
Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback about growth hormones, growth hormone precursors, growth hormone injections or anything else from this article? Share what’s working for you and what isn’t. Leave your comments and feedback and questions below.