The relationship between serum IGF-1, handgrip strength, physical performance and falls in elderly men and women

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OBJECTIVE: Human aging is accompanied by a decrease in growth hormone secretion and serum IGF-1 levels. Also, loss of muscle mass, strength and impairment of physical performance, ending in a state of frailty, are seen in elderly. We aimed to investigate whether handgrip strength, physical performance and recurrent falls are related to serum IGF-1 levels in community dwelling elderly.

DESIGN: Observational cohort study (cross-sectional and prospective).

METHODS: We studied the association between IGF-1 and handgrip strength, physical performance and falls in participants of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. 1292 participants were included (633 men, 659 women). Serum IGF-1 levels were divided into quartiles (IGF-1-Q1 to IGF-1-Q4). Data on falls were collected prospectively for a period of three years. All analyses were stratified for age and physical activity and adjusted for relevant confounders.

RESULTS: Men with a low physical activity score in IGF-1-Q1 and IGF-1-Q2 of the younger age group had a lower handgrip strength compared to IGF-1-Q4. In younger more active males in IGF-1-Q2 physical performance was worse. Recurrent fallers were less prevalent in older, low active males with low IGF-1 levels. In females, recurrent fallers were more prevalent in older, more active females in IGF-1-Q2. IGF-1 quartile may predict changes in handgrip strength and physical performance in men and women.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that lower IGF-1 levels are associated with lower handgrip strength and worse physical performance, but less recurrent fallers especially in men. Associations were often more robust in IGF-1-Q2. Future studies on this topic are desirable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean journal of endocrinology
Issue number2
Early online date1 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Accidental Falls/prevention & control
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I/analysis
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands/epidemiology
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychomotor Disorders/blood
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Risk
  • Sarcopenia/blood
  • Sex Factors

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