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What are Peptides and Why Should I Take Them?
Let’s start with the most common question: what are peptides? Peptides, in a basic and literal sense, are the molecules that makeup proteins.
First, amino acids form a chain called an amino-peptide. Then, when those peptides link together, they become a protein.
They are present in every living organism, and peptides in humans are responsible for a variety of functions. They act as hormones, deliver messages from tissue to blood, regulate appetite, and more.
One of the most important proteins in your body is collagen. It lies just under your epidermis, in the dermis layer. The dermis layer contains all the nerves, fat, blood vessels, elastin, and collagen.
Collagen peptides are responsible for making your skin smooth, firm, and glowing. In your youth, you will produce collagen at a higher rate until you hit 20.
The rate slows down to less than 1% per year until you turn 40. Then the production stops completely.
Another handy use for these peppy little molecules is in bodybuilding. Peptide supplements are in high demand for those seeking to build body mass. They provide a building or anabolic effect on muscle mass.
What is the anabolic effect? This refers to the creation of complex metabolic pathways from simpler molecules.
What are the different classes of peptides?
Here are the various classes of peptides:
Milk Peptides — Come from milk, a protein-rich source, and are formed when milk ferments, leading lactobacilli to create proteinases.
Peptones — Formed by protein hydrolysis, which occurs when protein comes in contact with water. Peptone water is commonly used as growth media for bacteria in laboratories.
Ribosomal — Formed upon mRNA translation and can be easily modified to become newer peptides.
Non-ribosomal — Made without ribosomal machines and are usually created by microorganisms that inhabit the soil. Some can be used to revive soil contaminated by oil while others can be used as antibiotics.
Peptide Fragments — Can be made both synthetically in a lab or in nature. They are primarily used for quantifying source proteins.
How do peptides work?
While actual collagen molecules are too large to be able to penetrate the skin effectively, topical peptides have molecules small enough for absorption. The application of peptides on your skin may help boost the body’s own peptide production.
This doesn’t mean you should just douse yourself in a peptide solution or walk around with a thick slathering of peptide lotion. Peptides simply signal your body into healing injuries.
If your skin is prematurely aging, applying topical peptides could simply alert your body into producing more collagen and hyaluronic acid. This basically means you’re tricking your skin into thinking there’s an emergency.
What is hyaluronic acid? It is a substance that helps improve moisture retention.
There are many peptides out there specific to every skin need:
Carrier Peptides — Deliver minerals to the skin for a collagen boost.
Enzyme Inhibitor Peptides — Help slow down the natural collagen breakdown in the skin.
Signal Peptides — Signal various parts of the skin to produce more proteins like elastin and collagen.
Neurotransmitter Peptides — Act like botox by preventing chemicals to contract muscles, leading to smoother wrinkles.
In Muscle Repair
In the fitness industry, GHRP or growth hormone-releasing hexapeptide helps athletes recover more quickly after injuries. Athletes are very prone to injury due to the nature of their lifestyle. Some of those injuries are even on purpose.
Bodybuilders, for example, focus on lightly tearing their muscle fibers in order to make them grow stronger and bigger.
The GHRP helps soft tissue or muscles heal faster to return to productivity after an injury. Athletes prefer GHRP as they don’t have the same side effects as anabolic steroids.
Here are some of the peptide treatments for fitness:
TB-500 — A synthetic peptide that heals muscles as well as eye and skin tissues.
BPC-157 — Helps facilitate the healing of injuries such as muscle tears and bone fractures.
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators — Stimulate the male hormone into having effects that mimic testosterone but without side effects. It can boost strength and bone density.
Why are peptides so popular?
Peptides aren’t just popular in sports and skincare but also as an oral and/or intravenous medication. They help control many bodily functions such as:
- Insulin production
- Sugar metabolism
- Suppression of the chemicals that lead to organ rejection in transplant operations
Their small molecule size also makes them function as flag-wavers that signal the body into healing. After their job is done, they are simply recycled by the body and need no further detoxification.
Who should I take peptides?
Peptides cover a broad range of uses and their particularly gentle nature makes them widely available and generally safe for anyone.
Bodybuilders, fitness buffs, those suffering joint disorders, and those concerned about prematurely aging skin are only a few of the types of people who could benefit from peptide use.
Vegetarians and vegans should watch out, though. Some peptide treatments and collagen products come from fish scales and animal bones.
What is a peptide hormone?
Peptide hormones are those with peptides or proteins as molecules. Compared to synthetic peptides, these hormones have longer amino acid chains.
They have a shorter half-life, which means it takes a faster time for the body to transform half of the substance to another form. The body is able to use these peptides for a variety of processes more quickly.
Some of the examples of peptide hormones are:
- Human growth hormone (HGH), which promotes bone density growth, metabolism of fats, and muscle synthesis.
- Prolactin, which stimulates the mammary glands to produce breast milk during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Insulin, which aids in regulating blood sugar levels by acting as a messenger for glucose to the cells.
- Some neuropeptides, which allow the parts of the brain to communicate, can also be peptide hormones.
- A good example is an oxytocin, which the body produces when people bond socially or intimately.
What are the other peptide benefits?
Aside from delaying the appearance of sagging skin and stretch marks, these small protein molecules can also boost weight loss.
Hydrolyzed collagen peptides including those found in dietary supplements and protein powder may reduce joint pain. In a 2015 research, the double-blind random-controlled study showed that they can improve rheumatoid arthritis by introducing anti-inflammatory properties.
If you still have any additional questions, please get in touch with our experts here and get free advice!