For fast reading, scan through the topic headings in BOLD BLACK, important conclusions in BOLD BLUE, and "Must Know" in BOLD RED. To jump to specific sections in this article, click on the respective LINKS in the Table of Contents.
Information presented here is for general educational purposes only. Each one of us is biochemically and metabolically different. If you have a specific health concern and wish my personalized nutritional recommendation, write to me by clicking here.
Growth factors (GF) are small protein chains, commonly known as polypeptides that bind to cell surface receptor sites and exert actions directly on the target cells. This is generally done through cellular proliferation and or differentiation.
Some GFs exert a generalized effect, while others are cell and action specific. There are many different classes of GFs. Some common ones are: Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) which is responsible for much of the Growth Hormone (GH) action in the body, Interleukins (IL), Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGF), Transforming Growth Factor (TGF), Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF), Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), Transforming Growth Factors-b (TGFs-b), and erythropoietin (EPO).
GFs come from a wide variety of sources. Epithelial Growth Factors (EGF) comes from sub maxillary gland, erythropoietin comes from the kidney, and FGF comes from a wide range of cells. A unique family of growth factors that are secreted primarily by leukocytes (white blood cells) are called cytokines. When such cytokines are secreted by lymphocytes, they are called lymphokines. Many of the lymphokines are also known as interleukins (ILs). Not only are interleukins secreted by leukocytes, but they also retain the ability to affect the cellular responses of leukocytes.
Different GFs have different jobs to do. Generally, all of them work at the cellular level to:
While hormones are generally more specific and sometimes work through other mediations elicited from their simulation of intermediate organs, GFs often act directly on the target tissue and have a wide range of effects. Its action is mostly stimulatory. It can also work synergistically with other GFs or hormones to elicit a biological effect. Growth hormones, for example, exert their effects in the body via Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1). In other words, it is the IGF-1 that actually carries out the function of the growth hormone and not growth hormone itself.
FGF is a group of GFs that act on the fibroblast within the body. Fibroblast are basic building blocks of fibrous tissue, including the brain, nervous system, eye, blood vessels, heart, stomach, skin, liver, kidney, muscle and bone. In fact, most cells within these organs possess receptors for FGF and therefore are susceptible to its biological effect.
There are at least 19 distinct members of the FGF family, which interact with at least 4 distinct types of cell-surface receptors. It is evident that the amount of FGF is essential for optimum body function, and disruption of FGF can lead to disease states, including achondroplasia and craniosynotosis syndromes.
FGF can be bound to inert, non-toxic polymers to form a conjugated molecule. This is usually done through a series of chemical reactions. Substances commonly used as polymers include polysaccharides or muco-adhesives.
FGF is a small protein that can be easily denatured when exposed to heat or acid. Ingesting FGF, for example, will expose FGF to gastric acid, which will quickly denature it. When the FGF is conjugated, the protein is more stable and protected from the digestive enzymes, for example. Conjugation can further program the FGF's release from its carrier in order to ensure that the desired action of the GF, on a specific site, is maintained.
The natural progression of the aging process is due to cellular degeneration. Oxidative stress and free radical pathology has been well studied, in this respect, as a causative factor. FGF helps maintain the target organs that contain fibrous tissue; including the eyes, heart, brain, skin, and the musculoskeletal system. It helps repair damaged tissue. For example, FGF can help restore normalcy in injured nerve tissue or damaged blood vessels in order to prevent further clotting or stokes. In the case of a duodenal ulcer, it can reduce healing time. The fortification and re-growth of the epidermis and its underlying circulation will lead to healthier skin and fewer wrinkles.
Non-damaged aging cells can also benefit from FGFs. Laboratory studies, for example, have shown that cells that are unable to replace themselves (such as eye tissue), can be stimulated to renew cell layers. An example of this is the pigmented layer in the eye.
Body parts that respond to biological stimulation of FGF include:
Message from Dr. Lam
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. If you have areas you don't understand,
or if you have a specific health concern, feel free to write to me by clicking here.
About The Author
Michael Lam, M.D., M.P.H., A.B.A.A.M., is a western trained physician specializing in nutritional and anti-aging medicine. Dr. Lam received his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University, and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in California. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Health. He is board certified by the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine where he has also served as a board examiner. Dr. Lam is a pioneer in using nontoxic, natural compounds to promote the healing of many age-related degenerative conditions. He utilizes optimum blends of nutritional supplementation that manipulate food, vitamins, natural hormones, herbs, enzymes, and minerals into specific protocols to rejuvenate cellular function.
Dr. Lam was first to coin the term, ovarian-adrenal-thyroid (OAT) hormone axis, and to describe its imbalances. He was first to scientifically tie in Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) as part of the overall neuroendocrine stress response continuum of the body. He systematized the clinical significance and coined the various phases of Adrenal Exhaustion. He has written five books: Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome - Reclaim Your Energy and Vitality with Clinically Proven Natural Programs, The Five Proven Secrets to Longevity, Beating Cancer with Natural Medicine (Free PDF version), How to Stay Young and Live Longer, and Estrogen Dominance. In 2001, Dr. Lam established www.DrLam.com as a free, educational website on evidence-based alternative medicine for the public and for health professionals. It featured the world’s most comprehensive library on AFS. Provided free as a public service, he has answered countless questions through the website on alternative health and AFS. His personal, telephone-based nutritional coaching services have enabled many around the world to regain control of their health using natural therapies.
For More Information
DrLam.com makes no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, as to the protocol or protocols sent to your personal library (the "Protocol").
You expressly agree that your decision to follow any part of the Protocol is at your sole risk and that DrLam.com will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from your use, application or interpretation of the Protocol, including, but not limited to direct, indirect, incidental, punitive, and consequential damages.
The ideas, doses, concepts and opinions expressed in the Protocol are intended to be used for educational purposes only and they are not intended to be specific medical advice specially tailored for your unique medical needs, nor is the Protocol intended to replace medical advice, nor to diagnose, prescribe or treat any disease, condition, illness or injury.
Before you decide to follow the Protocol you should check with your Physician, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have a known medical condition, are under a physician's care, taking prescription medications and/or over-the-counter medications or have any sensitivity or allergy to certain specific dietary ingredients.
It is important that you not use the supplements recommended by the Protocol as a medical prescription to treat your specific health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified health care provider or licensed physician ("Physician"). Also before you begin to follow any part of the Protocol, you need to receive full medical clearance from a Physician.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the contents of the Protocol.
Some of the supplement dosages and application methods contained in the Protocol may be different from those recommended by supplement manufacturers on their supplement bottles.
Nothing contained in Protocol is intended to create a physician-patient relationship with DrLam.com. You must stop immediately and NOT follow the Protocol if you feel if you feel very faint, dizzy, sick or unwell at any time.
Ownership and Use
This Web Site and all content and materials included on this Web Site, including without limitation all information, text, graphics, illustrations, photos, video, sound and software (collectively the "Content"), are copyrighted and protected under U.S. and international copyright laws, trademark and other intellectual property laws and treaties and are the exclusive property of Dr. Michael Lam. Dr. Michael Lam hereby retains all right, title, and interest in the Content.
All rights are reserved. You may not store, modify, create derivative works of, translate, distribute, publish, transmit, sell or participate in any sale of, or exploit in any way any Content in any form or by any means. You acknowledge that you do not acquire any ownership rights by downloading material from this Web Site. You are authorized to view this Web Site for informational purposes only. No part of this Web Site or Content can be redistributed, copied, adapted or reproduced without the prior written consent of Dr. Michael Lam.
© 2006 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.