The Truth About MK-677 Ibutamoren Nutrobal
Umbrella Labs wants to dive into MK 677, otherwise known as Ibutamoren, which is probably the most famous growth hormone inducer.
Ibutamoren is an orally-bioavailable, non-steroidal “hormone mimetic”, which means that it mimics the action of a hormone. In this case, a hormone called ghrelin, which is naturally produced in the stomach and brain, and it works to increase appetite and exert growth-hormone secreting effects.
As we age, there is a gradual decrease in human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor I (or IGF-I), so one exciting approach for the prevention of age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength involves the use of a ghrelin “mimetic” such as Ibutamoren. But even if you’re not interested in exercise physiology, you may still be interested in the science of longevity and anti-aging, and in that realm, hGH is the king of hormones.
Excitingly, clinical trials have shown that Ibutamoren can restore serum levels of hGH and IGF-I in middle-aged individuals similar to those of young healthy adults.
The main research findings for Ibutamoren thus far can be broken down into 6 categories:
- it enhances hGH secretion and increases fat-free mass in healthy adults,
- it protects against somatopause, which is the age-associated decline in hGH production by the body,
- it can improve bone mineral density,
- it increases IGF-1 growth factor levels,
- it inhibits neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration in preclinical models, and last but not least,
- it improves sleep quality by increasing REM sleep in both young and old adults.
So if the goal of Ibutamoren is to increase hGH levels, why not just skip the intermediate and utilize hGH directly? Well there’s a few reasons why hGH supplementation is problematic. The main hurdle is dosing frequency and the need for repeated injections over the course of a day to mimic natural fluctuations. But there are also well-known side effects to long term use of hGH, including insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, swelling in the arms and legs, and joint pain. But the most feared side effect of long term hGH use is something called acromegaly, a disorder of the pituitary gland that causes unwanted growth in the bones of your hands, feet and face. As a result, researchers now turn to intermediates like Ibutamoren to increase your body’s own hGH levels, because so far they’ve demonstrated fewer side effects, better tolerance and patient compliance, and less toxicity.
Ibutamoren itself has a unique characteristic when compared to other inducers of hGH, since it doesn’t appear to change the frequency of hGH peaks over the course of 24 hours, but rather it increases the size of those peaks.
Fortunately, there’s a lot of great research on Ibutamoren, and I encourage you all to delve into it, but for today we’re just going to focus mainly on two landmark clinical trials.
Back in 1998 researchers in Sweden published a phase 3 clinical trial evaluating Ibutamoren in healthy males at 25 milligrams per day for 8 weeks. The study showed that changes in body composition and energy expenditure were anabolic in nature, with a sustained increase in lean mass and a transient increase in basal metabolic rate. They also noted that further studies were needed to evaluate whether a more prolonged treatment could promote a reduction in body fat while maintaining muscle mass.
Then, in 2008, researchers at the University of Virginia tested whether Ibutamoren could enhance hGH secretion into the young adult range, prevent the decline of lean mass, and decrease abdominal fat in healthy older adults. It was a two year study with 65 individuals taking 25 mg per day or placebo, and the results were very encouraging. Ibutamoren significantly increased hGH and IGF-I levels to those of healthy young adults without serious adverse effects, and the most frequent side effects were an increase in appetite that subsided within a few months. Overall, the researchers concluded that Ibutamoren enhanced pulsatile hGH secretion and increased lean mass over 12 months and was very well tolerated.
Lastly, let’s take a brief look at how Ibutamoren affects sleep. Restful sleep is considered essential for muscle growth and recovery, mainly due to its effect on hormone secretion. In clinical studies, Ibutamoren has shown profound effects on sleep quality judging by two key metrics. First, it decreases sleep latency, which means research participants fall asleep sooner after lying down. And secondly, it increases the duration of REM sleep by up to 50% depending on age. During REM sleep your muscles actually relax, which is essential for muscle tissue repair, especially after anerobic exercise with heavy-lifting.
So what is the future of Ibutamoren? Well, the most recent clinical trial concluded in 2018, again at the University of Virginia, and it showed that Ibutamoren had a positive effect on IGF-1 levels in hemodialysis patients. People who receive frequent dialysis often tend to have difficulty maintaining a healthy bodyweight, so this study was very reassuring. Also, just like in the previous studies, this study showed no serious adverse effects, so the future of Ibutamoren remains as bright as ever.
However, please remember that Ibutamoren is not FDA approved yet, and it is not a dietary supplement. As such it remains a research chemical only. As always, it is essential to note that all clinical research must be done with oversight from the relevant Institutional Review Board, and all preclinical research must be done with oversight from your Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, following the guidelines of the Animal Welfare Act.