Anti-aging molecule could improve liver and kidney treatments
What to know about peptides for health
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 could have a beneficial role in slowing down the aging process, reducing inflammation, and destroying microbes.
People may confuse peptides with proteins. Both proteins and peptides are made up of amino acids, but peptides contain far fewer amino acids than proteins. Like proteins, peptides are naturally present in foods.
Due to the potential health benefits of peptides, many supplements are available that contain peptides that manufacturers have derived either from food or made synthetically.
Some of the most popular peptides include collagen peptides for anti-aging and skin health, and creatine peptide supplements for building muscle and enhancing athletic performance.
What are peptides?
Peptides are short strings of amino acids, typically comprising 2–50 amino acids. Amino acids are also the building blocks of proteins, but proteins contain more.
Peptides may be easier for the body to absorb than proteins because they are smaller and more broken down than proteins. They can more easily penetrate the skin and intestines, which helps them to enter the bloodstream more quickly.
The peptides in supplements may come from plant or animal sources of protein, including:
- fish and shellfish
- beans and lentils
- hemp seeds
Scientists are most interested in bioactive peptides, or those that have a beneficial effect on the body and may positively impact human health.
Different bioactive peptides have different properties. The effects they have on the body depend on the sequence of amino acids they contain.
The most popular peptides used to improve body functions:
- Thymosin alpha-1
(T α 1) is a peptide, or small protein, consisting of 28 amino acids. T α 1 is produced naturally by the thymus gland. The thymus is located behind the sternum and between the lungs and is where immune cells known as T cells mature and are released, prompted to do so by the T α 1 peptide. T cell production and action within the body are vital to adaptive immunity—the mode by which immune cells are able to recognize and eradicate foreign invaders.
- Thymosin Beta 4
Thymosin beta 4 (Tβ4) is the predominant form of thymosin in our bodies. It has been found in high concentrations in wound tissue and certain blood cells involved in clotting, signifying its important role in the healing process. In fact, recent studies have revealed that the first gene to be upregulated after an injury is a Tβ4 gene. As the body begins the recovery process, Tβ4 aids in the creation of new vessels in the injured area, which carry blood, nutrients, and reparative substances to the site.
Ipamorelin stands out among other GHSs due to its enhanced specificity. This peptide generates similar increases in growth hormone secretion, but without the appetite stimulation and increase in cortisol, acetylcholine, prolactin, and aldosterone seen with other peptides in its class. This peptide has been found to be very well-tolerated.
- Selank and Semax
Selank and Semax are neuroprotective peptides that help with concentration, motivation, curiosity, and curiosity. They can help with anxiety and depression while providing a calming effect.
- CJC 1295
CJC 1295 is a growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) analog. It is a molecule that stimulates the anterior pituitary to release hGH. However, unlike GHRH, which has a half-life of only minutes after IV administration, CJC 1295 is able to remain active in the body for extended periods due to its ability to bind to a protein in the blood known as albumin and avoid degradation by various enzymes. CJC 1295 increases an important growth factor, IGF-1, in addition to hGH, leading to fat loss, lean muscle growth, and enhanced sleep.
- And others.
Uses and benefits
Research indicates that bioactive peptides may:
- lower high blood pressure
- kill microbes
- reduce inflammation
- prevent the formation of blood clots
- improve immune function
- act as antioxidants
People often use peptides to try to achieve the following effects:
- Slow down the aging process
Collagen is a protein in the skin, hair, and nails. Collagen peptides are broken down collagen proteins that the body can absorb more easily. Taking collagen peptides may improve skin health and slow the aging process.
Some studies indicate that dietary food supplements that contain collagen peptides can treat skin wrinkles. Other research indicates that these supplements may also improve skin elasticity and hydration.
Peptides may stimulate the production of melanin, a skin pigment, which may improve the skin’s protection against sun damage.
Topical anti-aging cosmetics can also contain peptides, which manufacturers claim can reduce wrinkles, help skin firming, and increase blood flow.
- Improve wound healing
As collagen is a vital component of healthy skin, collagen peptides may facilitate faster-wound healing.
Bioactive peptides can also reduce inflammation and act as antioxidants, which can improve the body’s ability to heal.
Research is currently ongoing into antimicrobial peptides, which may also improve wound healing. Having very high or very low levels of some antimicrobial peptides may contribute to skin disorders, such as psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema.
- Prevent age-related bone loss
Animal research links a moderate intake of collagen peptides with an increase in bone mass in growing rats who also did running exercise.
The study may point to collagen peptides being a useful way to counteract age-related bone loss. However, more research is necessary, especially on humans.
- Build strength and muscle mass
Some research on older adults indicates that collagen peptide supplements can increase muscle mass and strength. In the study, participants combined supplement use with resistance training.
Creatine peptides may also improve strength and help to build muscle.
While fitness enthusiasts have been using creatine protein powders for many years, creatine peptides are increasing in popularity.
These particular peptides may be easier for the body to digest, which means they may cause fewer digestive problems than creatine proteins.