Peptides are becoming a trendy buzzword these days. You might have heard various peptides can help your body burn fat, build muscle mass, help you sleep, provide anti-aging benefits, aid with anxiety and improve your athletic performance and sexual function. But what in the world is a peptide? Let’s examine what role peptides play in health and highlight the benefits of a few you might have read about.
Peptides: A Primer
First, what are peptides? Scientists define them as a compound of two or more amino acids in which a carboxyl group of one is united with an amino group of another. With the elimination of a molecule of water, a peptide bond forms.
To put it in layman’s terms, peptides are basically just tiny proteins. Proteins are an essential component of human life, and peptides have a similarly broad range of applications. More than 7,000 peptides have been identified in nature, and researchers have developed many more in laboratories.
Technically, scientists consider anything with fewer than 50 amino acids a peptide, though this rule is not set in stone. A dipeptide is made up of two amino acids joined by one peptide bond, tripeptides are three amino acids bound by two peptide bonds, and so on. And, if you’ve ever heard of a polypeptide, that is a long, unbranched chain of 10 to 30 amino acids connected by peptide bonds, but is not complex enough to be considered a protein. (Polypeptides are the building blocks of proteins.)
Peptides, as you now know, are composed of amino acids. Intake and production of amino acids is essential for your body to produce all the peptides it needs to continue working efficiently. Of course, as we age, our bodies produce less of some peptides and amino acids. For example, insulin-like growth factor production slows down naturally when we get stressed and as we grow older. People who are interested in fitness, of course, are interested in reversing this slow-down so they can make the most of their bodies’ ability to recover, perform and achieve their athletic goals.
What Do Peptides Do?
Peptides play a variety of roles in the human body. Some behave like neurotransmitters, while others are more like hormones. Many peptides control how our bodies respond to diet and physical exercise. Several amino acids are necessary in sufficient amount to produce hormones like human growth hormone. If you aren’t absorbing or making enough of those amino acids naturally, your production of that hormone will plummet.
Of course, fitness enthusiasts such as weightlifters are already familiar with the benefits of amino acid supplementation. However, peptide supplementation is beginning to replace the use of amino acids. What is the difference between the two? For one thing, because peptides are smaller molecules, your body can absorb peptides and use them more efficiently. Also, peptides tend to be more stable in the body, and therefore more beneficial than amino acids, which are more unstable.
Since your body delivers peptides to cells more quickly, peptides may aid in post-workout recovery. You may also experience fewer unpleasant side effects like cramping and bloating by using some of the newly developed synthetic peptides.
So, now that you’ve been through this quick guide to what peptides are and the various roles they play in your body, what are some of the most promising peptides today? Researchers have now developed a variety of lab-created peptides that have a variety of benefits to users. These artificial peptides mimic naturally occurring peptides in the body, which can enhance the body’s normal capabilities and accelerate various processes.
BPC-157 is a peptide composed of 15 amino acids. In experiments, it has been shown to promote wound and injury healing, including tendon-to-bone healing and more rapid healing of broken bones and torn or strained ligaments. In addition, research indicates that BPC-157 seems to protect organs and to prevent ulcers from developing in the stomach.
This peptide is also shown to decrease pain in damaged areas. If you are experiencing discomfort due to muscle sprains, tears and damage, you may see significant benefits from treatment with this peptide.
PT-141, AKA “The Sex Peptide”
PT-141, also known as bremelanotide, is a peptide that treats sexual dysfunction in both men and women. In other words, if you are looking to boost your sex drive and improve your overall sex life, this peptide can help you enormously.
Interestingly, bremelanotide is a melanocyte-stimulating hormone that researchers originally developed to help people in tanning their skin. However, a series of clinical trials determined that PT-141 was a highly effective remedy for sexual issues such as low libido in both genders, as well as erectile dysfunction among males.
Thanks to PT-141’s ability to speed the delivery of hormones like dopamine to the central nervous system, it acts like a powerful aphrodisiac, helping fire up sexual desire. In men, it can even lead to sudden erections.
CJC-1295 is a synthetically produced peptide that has been shown to increase growth hormone levels and protein synthesis in both humans and other animals. Initially, CJC-1295 was developed to treat diseases and medical conditions for patients, including burn victims.
However, athletes and fitness enthusiasts from around the world have begun using CJC-1295 injections for this peptide’s incredible performance-enhancing benefits and minimal side effects. Benefits of using CJC-1295 include lean body mass, gains in muscle mass and increased strength. It is a long-acting growth hormone-releasing hormone.
The Future of Peptide Research
With their limited harmful side effects and ability to mimic natural body functions, peptides have great potential for consumers and scientists alike. As peptide researchers constantly develop and discover more and more applications for peptides, peptide synthesis will become a simpler and cheaper process, and we will see an increase in the commercial availability of peptides that are approved for human use.
Peptides can change people’s lives for the better, from more rapid healing to slower aging and maybe even a longer, healthier lifespan. All in all, peptides are a fascinating topic in the world of personalized health care because of what we already know they can do, and we’ve just scratched the surface.