Peptides are short chains of amino acids. Short enough that they don’t take on a three-dimensional configuration. They are essentially linear compounds. Longer chains of amino acids or longer peptides turn in on themselves into a 3-D structure and being much longer than linear peptides we refer to them as proteins. One of the first peptides identified and then further synthesized in a lab is insulin. Insulin is one of the most life-saving peptides known to man. First derived from a porcine source (kiss a pig next time you see one) they were eventually made much ‘’cleaner’’ synthesized in a laboratory. Today synthetic but bioidentical insulin is used in diabetics to control their blood sugar. This peptide saves lives with those suffering run-away hyperglycemia in a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a killer and without insulin to come to the rescue those who suffer from this condition often die.
Peptides are naturally occurring biological molecules. Peptides are found in all living organisms and play a key role in all manner of biological activity. Like proteins, peptides are formed (synthesized) naturally from transcription of a sequence of the genetic code we call DNA. Technology now allows us to reproduce them identically in the laboratory.
As we have already stated peptides are smaller versions of proteins. Many health and cosmetic products contain different peptides for many uses, such as their potential anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, or muscle building properties. Recent research indicates that some types of peptides can:
Lower high blood pressure, kill microbes, reduce inflammation, prevent blood clot formation, improve immune function, act as antioxidants, slow down the aging process, improve tissue/tendon and wound healing, prevent age-related bone loss, build strength and build muscle mass, fight cancer cells, get rid of worn-out cells, clean up dysfunctional cells (a term in science we call autophagy), improve sexual health, and much more.
Since peptides are short chains of amino acids linked together defined at about 50 amino acids or shorter. Think of a peptide as a small protein in linear form (not 3-D). Peptides are found in all living cells; the human body has over 7,000 known peptides. Each peptide activates a specific function in the body. Therefore, there can be many different types of peptide therapy. The FDA has approved some peptides for medical purposes that are currently in use. Insulin and endorphins are early and generally known examples. European physicians and researchers (especially in Russia, Ukraine, Sweden, etc.) have been researching and using peptides for almost 30-years. However, in the United States & Canada, peptide therapy is a budding science only in the past half-decade or so. For whatever reason it has come late to our shores.
Peptide production in the human body declines with age. Therefore, replenishing specific peptides can be used to maintain wellness, and enhance performance. Their use in medicine has been mostly to treat illness. However, Peptide therapy has now moved into the preventive medicine arena. Peptides affect multiple pathways that can be targeted for repair, prevention, and enhancement of the human body.
Peptides treat specific conditions in the body and provide a wide range of benefits. They can direct good genes to turn on and bad genes to turn off. Peptides suppress organ rejection after a transplant. Because peptides are so useful in boosting the immune system, they have been enormously helpful in the treatment of many conditions, such as Lyme disease, viral infections including COVID-19 infections, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, recurrent cancer, scleroderma, HIV, chronic Epstein-Barr (EBV), mold illness, chronic pain, Chronic Immune Response Syndrome (CIRS), Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Autoimmune diseases of many varieties, and fibromyalgia. In early 2021, the FDA changed the definition of peptides and disallowed compounding pharmacies to manufacture them. This has limited their availability and taking one step further made many peptides illegal to use in human therapy. The FDA has relegated peptides for veterinary medicine and invitro research. Of the near 60 or so peptides used historically as healing agents, many are now not allowed to be prescribed by doctors. One reason has been postulated that early on in the COVID-19 pandemic where lung injury was seen in those hospitalized, peptides were used to heal lung tissues, and this was counter to the narrative of how mainstream medicine was supposed to be treating those ill with COVID. Whether this is true or not remains to be investigated. But what remains is a much-limited access to these healing entities.
Peptides work by binding to G-Receptors proteins embedded in the cell wall. When a peptide lands on those G-Receptors it sparks an intracellular response by other chemical and hormonal mediators. So peptides do not even have to go directly into the cytoplasm of the cell to act. And what is considered the spark of the response is a quick on and quick off response. This limits untoward effects and limits any overdose effect.
That response starts a process within the cell that signals other hormone or messengers to ‘’tell’’ the nucleus and other cell organelles what to do. Unlike steroid hormones, for example that must be dragged into the cell and proceed to the nucleus to exact their actions directly on DNA transcription, peptides work in quite a different way. Shorter acting, less lag time and safer with less fuss in dosing and micromanagement.
Some of the more popular peptides used are mentioned below:
- Sermorelin (CJC-1295 aka modGRF-1295)
- KPV (a Tripeptide – Lysine-proline-valine)
- BPC-157 (Body Protecting Compound) is a very popular peptide for healing tissue and is gut stable so it can be taken as a pill along with being injected.
- Thymosin Alpha-1 (TA1) derived from the thymus gland
- Thymosin Beta-4 or TB4-Frag (Thymosin Beta-4 (fragment)) AKA TB500
These are just a few of the many healing peptides that can be uses in research, in the animal model (veterinary medicine) and hopefully once again in humans.