IGF-1 and Sexual Health

IGF-1 levels, like testosterone, decline in an age-dependent manner. This progressive decline leads to various symptoms including erectile dysfunction (ED). Interestingly, IGF-1 is known to mediate endothelial nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is considered to be a principal mediator of penile erection by causing relaxation of vascular smooth muscle which leads to engorgement of the penis with blood, thereby developing an erection. [106] The relationship of IGF-1 and penile erection has been described in otherwise healthy male subjects, and recent in vitro studies suggest that IGF-1 increases nitric oxide and may help maintain erectile function. [107-112] In one study, Pastuszak et al. reported that IGF-1 levels correlate significantly with sexual function scores in 65 men who completed the Sexual Health Inventory for Men (SHIM) and Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite (EPIC) questionnaires. [113] Other studies even reported that restoring IGF-1 levels through IGF-1 supplementation may help treat erectile dysfunction and increase libido. [114]

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