In children, soil-transmitted helminth infections have been linked to poor nutritional status and growth retardation in association with lower levels of IGF-1. In adults, IGF-1 has an anabolic and metabolic function and is related to nutritional status. Here, we assessed the impact of helminth infection on free IGF-1 and its major binding protein, IGFBP-3, in adults. The levels of IGF-1 and IGFBP3 were measured in 1669 subjects aged ≥ 16 years, before and after receiving four rounds of albendazole 400 mg/day or matching placebo for three consecutive days. Helminth infection status was assessed by microscopy (Kato-Katz) and PCR. Serum free IGF-1 level was significantly lower in helminth-infected subjects [mean difference and 95% CI − 0.068 (− 0.103; − 0.033), P < 0.001 after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, and fasting insulin level]. There was no difference in IGFBP-3 level between helminth infected versus non-infected subjects. In the whole study population, albendazole treatment significantly increased serum free IGF-1 level [estimate and 95% CI 0.031 (0.004; − 0.057), P = 0.024] whereas no effect was found on the IGFBP-3 level. Our study showed that helminth infection in adults is associated with lower free IGF-1 levels but not with IGFBP-3 and albendazole treatment significantly increases free IGF-1 levels in the study population. Clinical Trial Registration: https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN75636394.