Ibutamoren Mesylate (MK-677) stimulates growth hormones to aid muscle growth. However, studies have found other interesting uses & side effects. Read on to find out what these potential benefits are, whether ibutamoren can help you, and how to deal with potential side effects.
Disclaimer: By writing this post, we are not recommending this drug. Some of our readers who were already taking the drug requested that we commission a post on it, and we are simply providing information that is available in the clinical and scientific literature.
What is Ibutamoren?
Growth Hormone Stimulator
Ibutamoren is frequently discussed on online forums for its muscle-building properties. It is available over the counter (OTC) and used by those wishing to increase their growth hormone levels.
However, clinical studies of this compound are few. Below we will highlight the current knowledge about ibutamoren.
Ibutamoren increases growth hormone levels by mimicking the action of the hormone ghrelin and binding to one of the ghrelin receptors (GHSR) in the brain. Activated GHSR stimulates growth hormone release from the brain.
GHSR is found in brain regions that control appetite, pleasure, mood, biological rhythms, memory, and cognition .
Therefore, we can expect that ibutamoren may also affect these functions. However, so far, clinical studies describe only the effects ibutamoren has on appetite – and as expected, like ghrelin, ibutamoren increases it.
A great thing about ibutamoren is that it increases growth hormone levels with little or no increase in other hormones, such as cortisol. Cortisol suppresses the immune system, reduces wound healing, and impairs learning and memory, and it’s usually not good to have this hormone elevated [4, 5].
- Boosts growth hormone
- Increases lean body mass
- Enhances fat burning
- Strengthens the bones
- Improves sleep quality
- May support cognition and longevity
- May cause swelling and muscle pain
- May increase blood sugar and cause insulin resistance
- May raise blood pressure and cause heart failure
- Dangerous for cancer patients
Potential Uses of Ibutamoren
1) Builds Muscle
Ibutamoren is frequently used as an anabolic substance, to increase lean body mass i.e. create bigger muscles. It is orally active and can be taken once a day. These are all benefits compared to other growth hormone stimulators.
In 24 obese men, a two-month treatment with ibutamoren increased lean mass, and transiently increased basal metabolic rate (BMR) .
2) Prevents Muscle Wasting
In a study of eight food-deprived healthy volunteers, ibutamoren reversed protein loss, that could cause muscle wasting .
In 123 elderly patients with hip fracture, ibutamoren improved gait speed, muscle strength and reduced the number of falls .
3) Increases Bone Density
Growth hormone (GH) increases bone turnover and eventually bone density. However, because of the increased turnover in subjects treated with growth hormone, bone density can initially drop before increasing [2, 11].
Basically, it takes time (> 1 year) to see the bone density increase.
In 24 healthy obese male volunteers, ibutamoren increased bone turnover .
In three clinical trials of 187 elderly adults (65+ years), ibutamoren increased bone building, as measured by osteocalcin, a marker of bone turnover .
In one study with 292 postmenopausal women, ibutamoren increased bone mineral density, which helps increase bone strength and prevent osteoporosis .
4) Improves Sleep Quality
Apart from scientific studies, there have been many reports of improved sleep quality across online forums.
5) May Promote Longevity
Growth Hormone (GH) secretion and muscle mass both decline from mid-puberty throughout life .
In a study with 65 older adults, daily ibutamoren increased GH and IGF-1 levels to those of healthy young adults without serious adverse effects .
In another study with 24 obese males (double-blind randomized controlled trial), ibutamoren rejuvenated the growth hormone profile .
6) Nootropic Effects
Some people use ibutamoren as a nootropic because it acts on the ghrelin receptor, which has nootropic effects. You can read more about these effects in the post on ghrelin. Science is, however, yet to determine if and how ibutamoren affects cognitive performance.
Two indirect mechanisms by which ibutamoren may improve brain function include:
- Increasing IGF-1, which improves memory and learning [17, 18]
- Boosting REM sleep duration and sleep quality, which is essential for cognitive function [19, 14]
A study questioned the association of low IGF-1 and Alzheimer’s disease, and whether ibutamoren could help. However, in this study, ibutamoren was ineffective at slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s in humans .
7) Combats Growth Hormone Deficiency
Ibutamoren can increase growth hormone, IGF-1, and IGFBP-3 levels in children with growth hormone deficiency without changing the concentrations of prolactin, glucose, triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), thyrotropin, cortisol or insulin .
It had a similar effect on severely GH-deficient men, but insulin and glucose increased, too .
8) May Support Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration
There are individual reports of ibutamoren being helpful, but scientific studies are lacking.
This one is anecdotal, but people report curing hangovers with ibutamoren.
Side Effects of Ibutamoren
The most frequent side effects of ibutamoren are increased appetite, mild lower extremity edema, and muscle pain .
Although most studies report little or no side effects, one study was terminated because of serious adverse events.
In elderly patients with hip fracture, ibutamoren elevated blood pressure, blood glucose and HbA1c, and there were cases of congestive heart failure. The patients who experienced congestive heart failure were over 80 and had a history of prior heart failure .
It would be prudent to watch your carbohydrate intake and regularly check blood sugar and insulin levels while taking ibutamoren.
As an anabolic, ibutamoren should be avoided if you have cancer. Both growth hormone and IGF-1 may promote cancer growth .
We would not recommend taking ibutamoren if you are Th1 dominant since growth hormone has immune-stimulatory properties.
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We at SelfHacked advise speaking to a doctor before taking any drug, especially an unscheduled drug with limited long-term safety data in humans.
Ibutamoren is an OTC drug that boosts growth hormone (GH) and IGF-1 while having no impact on cortisol and other hormones. Unlike other GH stimulators, it can be taken orally, once daily.
Bodybuilders use ibutamoren to build muscle and lose fat. Ibutamoren can also improve bone density and sleep. Users claim it has nootropic and wound-healing effects, but there are no studies to back this up.
On the downside, ibutamoren may cause leg swelling, muscle pain, and insulin resistance. In rare cases, it may increase blood pressure and cause heart failure. Cancer patients should avoid ibutamoren, since it may feed the growth of tumors.