Congenital IGF-1 deficiency can lead to Laron Syndrome (a type of dwarfism), but with such low growth hormone levels those with the condition have dramatically lower cancer rates. This raises the question of whether one can achieve the best of both worlds by ensuring adequate IGF-1 levels during childhood while then suppressing excess growth promotion in adulthood.
You may have seen this recent New York Times story, about a rare genetic defect that leads to a type of dwarfism—that’s IGF-1 deficiency. Their growth factor levels are so low they only grow this tall, but they almost never get cancer. Here's the IGF-1 levels in their nonaffected relatives compared to those with the condition. Now let's look at their respective cancer rates. About 20% of their relatives died of cancer, which is pretty standard. And the percentage of those with IGF-1 deficiency dying of cancer? Zero. Not a single person in the study.
Here’s what nonaffected family members die of—the usual, heart disease, cancer, stroke. The folks with IGF-1 deficiency may die of a lot of things—they actually get hit by cars more, were recorded tripping down stairs, so 20% death from accidents, but they never died of cancer.
So, scientists began thinking, why not have the best of both worlds. Have all the growth factor you need as a kid, to grow to a normal height, but then, as soon as you attain a normal adult stature, keep your IGF-1 levels low. Keep your cell life and death balance sheets balanced. And we can do that, through dietary manipulation [which I will cover tomorrow]
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.
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For background on the cancer promoting effects on IGF-1 make sure to check out yesterday's video-of-the-day IGF-1 as One-Stop Cancer Shop. Tomorrow I unveil The Answer to the Pritikin Puzzle, for those who missed the spoiler alert in Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. What puzzle? See Developing an Ex Vivo Cancer Proliferation Bioassay and Prostate Versus a Plant-Based Diet.
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