What Are Peptides? Peptide Therapy for Fitness and Chronic Illness Recovery
- Peptides are short strings of amino acids that (under the right conditions) create proteins in the body. Since proteins are found in every cell of the body, this means peptides are essential for cellular health.
- Many peptides are naturally anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even antibacterial. In addition to the typical benefits of peptides (like muscle building), many patients experience improvement in cognitive function, arthritis, chronic infections, and aging-related issues like joint degeneration.
- Peptides can quickly break down in the body, so science has created a few different ways to get the most out of your peptide supplementation through pills, nasal sprays, and injections.
Fact or fiction: peptides can be a great addition to your health and wellness journey.
We know the idea of peptides, proteins, and amino acids may seem confusing at first. And clever internet marketing doesn’t bring us much clarity on the benefits of peptides, what they do, or how they’re any different from plain old proteins. (We’re looking at you, skincare brands.)
So we’re breaking down the answers for you. No fluff, no clever marketing, just the facts.
And here’s a fact… There are more than 7,000 known types of peptides hanging out in your body right now.
Peptides are abundant in the body and constantly work to regulate hormones, optimize organ function, and keep your skin looking great. In fact, you might have heard of the more popular ones, like collagen peptides (for skin) and sermorelin peptides (for bodybuilding and anti-aging).
Peptides are popular — there’s a lot of science that explains the benefits and uses of peptides. But these short-chain strings of amino acids are still being studied and tested across the globe. So really, we’ve just scratched the surface of how amazing peptide therapy could be. Stay tuned in the coming years — we suspect peptides will be a major player in the health and longevity game.
What are Peptides?
Peptides are strings of amino acids that provide various benefits to the body. When organized in a group of 50+, these peptides form what we know as a protein.
Peptides are widely used within the medical community not only for physical and athletic performance, but for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
Peptides vs. Proteins: Are They The Same Thing?
Amino acids create peptides and peptides create proteins. Make sense?
For those of us who aren’t medical pros, this may seem confusing at first, but we promise — it makes sense.
Let’s say you’re building a house. Think of a peptide as different parts of the building — walls, the roof, floors, windows — that may become a complex structure aka the home as a whole, the protein — when organized correctly. While peptides are required to build proteins, they aren’t proteins themselves, just as walls and a roof on their own can’t be called a house. Amino acids are the building blocks of both peptides and proteins, the raw building materials.
Proteins are found in every cell of the human body, so if you want to have more of them (and you do!) peptides are essential. This explains why peptides are often prescribed to help with fitness goals and illness recovery.
Peptide Benefits for Fitness, Muscle Building, and Weight Loss
Peptides are perhaps most well-known for their fitness benefits. Since peptides create proteins, a targeted peptide supplement along with a balanced diet can help you reach your muscle-building goals faster and more efficiently.
Not only are they great for muscle, but peptides also help to protect your organs and skin as they adapt to the stress of higher activity levels. They offer great prevention for injuries and stretch marks.
Best Peptides for Muscle Building
Not sure where to start? Here are a few popular peptides for fitness enthusiasts. With peptides, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional to find the right option for you.
- Follistatin — Aids in cell turnover and muscle repair
- BPC-157 — Great for recovery days. It promotes wound healing and can provide natural pain relief.
- Collagen — Associated with weight loss, muscle gain, and skin health
- 5-Amino-1MQ — A newer peptide that has promising effects for weight loss
Peptide Benefits for Medical Use
While certain peptides have a popular reputation in the physical fitness community, other types of peptides have even more clinical benefits. Doctors may prescribe peptides for hormone regulation, organ function, gut health, and skin health.
Brain Fog Relief
Since many peptides are anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that peptide therapy can help reduce inflammation in the brain — gradually relieving brain fog in some patients.
One exciting study shows the peptide Dihexa as a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. The peptide Selank may be used — alongside brain retraining — to rewire neurological pathways and relieve anxiety and mental stress.
Psst. We have another trick up our sleeves for brain fog and cognitive function — BodyBio PC!
Nail, Skin, and Hair Health
Hello, collagen obsession. Collagen peptides are extremely popular around the world for their beauty benefits. Many people swear that a daily scoop of collagen cured their dull skin and brittle nails.
BP 157 is a protein that has been studied for its potential gut health benefits. Some studies suggest that BP 157 may help to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which can improve overall gut health. Additionally, BP 157 may help to support the integrity of the gut lining and protect against damage from harmful substances. This, in turn, may improve gut function and help to reduce the risk of digestive disorders.
Reduced Joint Pain
Peptides are great for muscle repair and inflammation management — which means peptide therapy is a promising treatment for arthritis. Even if you’re dealing with another joint pain illness (like Lyme Disease), peptides can be a great symptom management tool while you work on other root cause treatments.
For example, someone with joint pain could use prescription pain relievers or they could try collagen peptide injections to strengthen the joint itself. Collagen is found in connective tissues, cartilage, and skin, so it’s a more natural and productive way to boost healing.
When we use peptides for aging, we aren’t just talking about wrinkle prevention and skin elasticity (those are icing on the cake!) Peptide supplements are used to increase organ, muscle, brain, joint, and tissue health (basically anything that has to do with the physical structure of your body), which means they may help you avoid some of the uncomfortable symptoms associated with aging.
For example, Sermorelin injections may help to improve sleep, strengthen bones, and lower cholesterol. Targeted peptide use can help us avoid over-the-counter drugs with a laundry list of side effects — and potentially allow us to get to the root cause of an issue, not just manage the symptoms.
How Do I Get Peptides?
Some peptides are readily available in skincare products and over-the-counter supplements. Peptides are popular additives in fitness drinks or protein powders as well as anti-aging creams.
However, if you’re working with a doctor, they may recommend prescription peptides to target a specific health issue. You can have these prescribed in supplement form or you can opt for peptide therapy through injection, nasal spray, or topical application. More on that below…
How Do I Take Peptides?
There are three main ways to embrace peptide therapy. We recommend you choose your method based on medical history, personal needs, and practitioner recommendations.
The most common way to get your daily peptides is through supplements. Pills can be helpful, but powder supplements in a morning smoothie are typically more effective and bioavailable. Plus, a scoop of powder can provide a much higher dose than one or two pills.
Peptide Nasal Sprays
Peptides have low metabolic stability, meaning it’s tough for them to cross the blood-brain barrier on their own. Nasal spray is used as a means to deliver peptides more directly to the brain. It’s non-invasive, convenient, and — we promise — not as weird as you think.
A great example of this type of delivery is vasoactive intestinal peptide spray, which is often used in the final stages of mold and chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) recovery.
Peptide injections aren’t for just anyone, but they can be extremely beneficial for athletes, the elderly, or provide a much-needed boost for those fighting chronic illness. By delivering peptides straight to the bloodstream, these healing compounds can be absorbed at a much higher rate and completely bypass the digestive system. If you are interested in peptide therapy, look for a Seeds Certified practitioner.
Keep the Conversation Going
Our bread and butter is cellular health and all of the benefits that come with making your cells the number one priority in your health journey — but we’re always learning about new innovations in the health and longevity space.
We’re always keeping up with the latest information in biohacking, health optimization, and healing chronic illness. Whether you’re dealing with a health condition or looking to get in the best shape of your life, you need a holistic approach to wellness: this includes things like peptides, phospholipids, diet, and so much more!
So if you’re curious, try this post…
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Alabsi, W., Eedara, B. B., Encinas-Basurto, D., Polt, R., & Mansour, H. M. (2022). Nose-to-Brain Delivery of Therapeutic Peptides as Nasal Aerosols. Pharmaceutics, 14(9), 1870. https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics14091870
Wang, L., Wang, N., Zhang, W., Cheng, X., Yan, Z., Shao, G., Wang, X., Wang, R., & Fu, C. (2022). Therapeutic peptides: current applications and future directions. Signal transduction and targeted therapy, 7(1), 48. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41392-022-00904-4
Zdzieblik, D., Oesser, S., Baumstark, M. W., Gollhofer, A., & König, D. (2015). Collagen peptide supplementation in combination with resistance training improves body composition and increases muscle strength in elderly sarcopenic men: a randomised controlled trial. The British journal of nutrition, 114(8), 1237–1245. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114515002810
Sun, X., Deng, Y., Fu, X., Wang, S., Duan, R., & Zhang, Y. (2021). AngIV-Analog Dihexa Rescues Cognitive Impairment and Recovers Memory in the APP/PS1 Mouse via the PI3K/AKT Signaling Pathway. Brain sciences, 11(11), 1487. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111487