IGF-1, the cross road of the nutritional, inflammatory and hormonal pathways to frailty

Nutrients. 2013 Oct 21;5(10):4184-205. doi: 10.3390/nu5104184.


The decline in functional capacity is a heterogeneous phenomenon in the elderly. An accelerated ageing determines a frail status. It results in an increased vulnerability to stressors for decreased physiological reserves. The early identification of a frail status is essential for preventing loss of functional capacity, and its clinical consequences. Frailty and mobility limitation result from an interplay of different pathways including multiple anabolic deficiency, inflammation, oxidative stress, and a poor nutritional status. However, the age-related decline in insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) bioactivity deserves special attention as it could represent the ideal crossroad of endocrine, inflammatory, and nutritional pathways to frailty. Several minerals, namely magnesium, selenium, and zinc, appear to be important determinants of IGF-1 bioactivity. This review aims to provide an overview of the potential usefulness of nutrients modulating IGF-1 as potential therapeutic targets in the prevention of mobility limitation occurring in frail older subjects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Dietary Proteins / blood
  • Energy Intake
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism*
  • Magnesium / blood
  • Micronutrients / blood
  • Nutritional Status
  • Selenium / blood
  • Zinc / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Micronutrients
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc