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J Appl Physiol (1985). 2007 Nov;103(5):1613-21. Epub 2007 Aug 16.

Energy flux, more so than energy balance, protein intake, or fitness level, influences insulin-like growth factor-I system responses during 7 days of increased physical activity.

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Military Performance Division, U. S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA 01760, USA.


The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of dietary factors and exercise-associated factors on the response of IGF-I and its binding proteins (IGFBPs) during a period of increased physical activity. Twenty-nine men completed a 4-day (days 1-4) baseline period of a controlled energy balanced diet while maintaining their normal physical activity level followed by 7 days (days 5-11) of a 1,000 kcal/day increase in physical activity above their normal activity levels. Two subject groups, one sedentary (Sed, mean Vo(2peak): 39 mlxkg(-1)xmin(-1), n = 7) and one fit (FIT1, mean Vo(2peak): 56, n = 8) increased energy intake to maintain energy balance throughout the 7-day intervention. In two other fit subject groups (FIT2, n = 7 and FIT3, n = 7), energy intake remained at baseline resulting in a 1,000 kcal/day exercise-induced energy deficit. Of these, FIT2 received an adequate protein diet (0.9 g/kg), and FIT3 received a high-protein diet (1.8 g/kg). For all four groups, IGF-I, IGFBP-3, and the acid labile subunit (ALS) were significantly decreased by day 11 (27 +/- 4%, 10 +/- 2%, and 19 +/- 4%, respectively) and IGFBP-2 significantly increased by 49 +/- 21% following day 3. IGFBP-1 significantly increased only in the two negative energy balance groups, FIT2 (38 +/- 6%) and FIT3 (46 +/- 8%). Differences in initial fitness level and dietary protein intake did not alter the IGF-I system response to an acute increase in physical activity. Decreases in IGF-I were observed during a moderate increase in physical activity despite maintaining energy balance, suggesting that currently unexplained exercise-associated mechanisms, such as increased energy flux, regulate IGF-I independent of energy deficit.

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