Peptides are in simple terms a short chain of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. They play a vital role in our health. I should emphasize that what sets peptides apart from dietary supplements is their ability to target specific areas or functions in the body. Each peptide that you make (or take) has unique properties and can address specific health concerns very effectively.
There is ongoing research and regulation in this new field, and peptides are not supposed to be widely accessible to people, however, they’ve been extensively studied and they’re sold online. I do encourage you as you read this, to keep that in mind.
Unlike medications or even dietary supplements peptides sometimes require a lot of time to show noticeable effects and individual responses can vary. Let’s explore this exciting field together today because I want to teach you something cutting-edge, and also, I want you to say that you “read it here first.”
According to a recent report, the global peptide therapeutics market is projected to reach a staggering $48 billion in just a couple more years (by the year 2025). That’s no small feat! With the growing body of research, we’re discovering that these tiny but mighty molecules hold great potential in treating a variety of health concerns.
As more studies shed light on their therapeutic benefits, it’s no wonder that people are getting increasingly excited about the prospects of peptides for promoting health and well-being. It explains why people are buying these products online and learning to self-inject.
I’ve studied peptides extensively for the past 4 years. I’ve tried some of them during my research. I know that people are purchasing these even though they’re not researchers. How else do you think we’ve hit billions of dollars in sales… it’s not because a few universities are doing studies on mice!
Technically, only medical researchers should be buying peptides after acknowledging their intended purpose. However, individuals are acquiring and using peptides without prescriptions, and just YouTubing dosages, creating a sort of “Wild West” scenario.
So let’s dive into this fascinating world of peptides and explore how they’re shaping the future of healthcare, shall we?
How Does One Use Peptides?
The ability of a peptide to pass through the stomach intact -termed gastric survivability- varies with each peptide. Most of the therapies that I’ll share today have to be taken via subcutaneous injections because peptides are typically broken down in the digestive system and therefore will not be absorbed when taken orally.
However, there are some peptides and peptide-like compounds that have been designed or modified to improve their stability and absorption when taken orally.
A quick note on accessibility: The world of peptides is relatively new, and their use as “supplements” isn’t yet established. Many people including myself purchase these peptides online, where they are often labeled as “research chemicals” and “not for human use.”
It’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with using peptides obtained in this manner. Remember, these substances are sometimes classified as “research chemicals” for a reason and you’re using them at your own risk. They’re sold at various websites online for “research” use.
With that caution out of the way, you might be curious to know about the 6 most popular peptides that I’ve come across. In no particular order, here they are:
This peptide is one I’ve mentioned before in my other blog, How BPC 157 Helps Tendons and Tummy.
It is derived from a naturally occurring protein found in the stomach called “body protection compound” hence the abbreviation BPC. It can be taken orally as a capsule, but it can also be injected subcutaneously.
It has been studied for its potential wound healing, anti-inflammatory, and tissue repair properties. Although BPC-157 is primarily administered via injection, some studies have suggested that oral administration might be even more effective for gastrointestinal-related issues.
2. ARA 290
ARA 290 is also known as “EMA401” or “cibinetide” and it is a synthetic peptide that has been studied for its potential anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties. I’ve mentioned this before in my article on Small Fiber Neuropathy.
It is derived from the Erythropoietin (EPO) protein, which is involved in red blood cell production and has demonstrated tissue-protective effects. ARA 290 is designed to mimic the tissue-protective effects of EPO without stimulating red blood cell production, thereby reducing potential side effects related to increased red blood cell count.
Research on ARA 290 has been primarily focused on its potential benefits in treating neuropathic pain, inflammation, and tissue protection in various conditions, including diabetic neuropathy, sarcoidosis, and other chronic pain syndromes.
The results of these studies have been promising, but more research is needed before I make a blanket statement about it. This is a peptide that I know a lot about because I’ve studied it and tried it on Sam for neuropathy. You cannot and should not overdo it or stay on it for longer than a few months because it can cause headaches, increase blood viscosity and raise your risk for stroke.
Ask your doctor if it’s right for you, remember this is given by self-injection, using an insulin needle, so you can’t be needle shy if you want it.
3. SYN-COLL Peptides are for Skin
This is a patented, synthetic tripeptide designed to mimic a natural peptide sequence found in human collagen. Its primary purpose is to stimulate the production of collagen in your skin, which helps with skin elasticity, firmness, and a youthful appearance. The full chemical name of the peptide is “Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5” and it consists of three natural amino acids: glycine, histidine, and lysine. It can be applied topically, or injected into the skin.
The main benefits of SYN-COLL for skin health include collagen synthesis and reduction of the signs of aging. It will improve elasticity and address UV skin damage. It’s typically applied topically to the skin to achieve the desired anti-aging and skin rejuvenation effects but is only found in the highest-quality skincare products due to expense. You may recognize the name SYN-COLL because this is the exact ingredient that I put into Collagen Beauty Peptide Serum.
It’s one reason it works so well!
LL-37 is a naturally occurring antimicrobial peptide found in humans. It is the only member of the cathelicidin family of antimicrobial peptides identified in humans so far.
LL-37 is primarily made by immune system cells, like the neutrophils and macrophages. It plays a crucial role in your body’s innate immune response against a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It’s sold online, and given via self-injection (subcutaneous), it’s not oral.
In addition to its antimicrobial properties, LL-37 has been shown to have various other biological functions, such as modulating the immune system, reducing excessive inflammation and clearing pathogens. It can also promote wound healing and neutralize bacterial toxins (things like LPS (lipopolysaccharides) which cause inflammation and sepsis). You can see how useful LL-37 is! In fact, I bought some of this when COVID was going around because it was studied for use in that condition.
Some studies have suggested that LL-37 may have potential anticancer properties, as it can promote apoptosis (programmed cell death) in certain cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth.
Given its diverse biological functions, LL-37 has attracted interest for its potential therapeutic applications in so many areas! However, more research is needed to fully understand the roles and therapeutic potential of LL-37 in various medical conditions.
5. Thymosin Alpha 1
Thymosin Alpha-1 is a synthetic peptide derived from a protein naturally found in the thymus gland. It plays a vital role in immune system function by modulating the activity of T-cells and other immune cells. I use this one sometimes for myself. It’s great for immunity, along with natural Vitamin D3.
The Internet was buzzing with studies and research regarding this peptide for COVID treatment. One STUDY entitled “Thymosin Alpha 1 Reduces the Mortality of Severe Coronavirus Disease 2019 by Restoration of Lymphocytopenia and Reversion of Exhausted T Cells” investigated the role of Thymosin Alpha-1 in treating severe COVID-19 patients.
This suggests that Thymosin Alpha-1 is beneficial in reducing mortality among severe COVID-19 patients by restoring lymphocyte numbers and improving T-cell function. It helps with autoimmune conditions and supports the immune system. It may help with energy. I take this one frequently, several times a week sometimes. It is given by subcutaneous self-injection, not by mouth.
Researchers have explored Thymosin Alpha-1 for supporting immune system function, demonstrating antiviral activity against hepatitis B and C and HIV, and other viral pathogens. In conjunction with a well-balanced diet, this peptide could have remarkable staying power.
Furthermore, it may be useful in augmenting cancer treatments by boosting the immune system’s ability to recognize and target cancer cells specifically. In another fantastic scenario, it may help alleviate symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
While this peptide is probably the most popular of all of them on my list today, it’s important to note that like all peptides right now, it’s NOT approved by the FDA. Peptides (and dietary supplements are NOT approved by the FDA, only pharmaceutical drugs).
I always suggest that you consult your doctor before considering changes to your vitamin protocol, especially with unapproved peptides.
6. Thymosin Beta 4 (TB-500)
TB-500, also known as Thymosin Beta-4, is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring peptide found in various tissues throughout your body. The most important function of Thymosin Beta-4 is to promote the healing and repair of damaged tissues. It has been studied in wound healing, cytokine balancing, anti-inflammatory benefits, muscle repair, joint and tendon health, and more!
TB-500 is thought to aid in the repair and regeneration of joint and tendon tissues by stimulating the production of collagen and other essential structural proteins. It doesn’t do much for skincare though.
I just want to reiterate that TB-500 is a research chemical and is not approved for human use by regulatory agencies such as the FDA. More research is needed to fully understand the safety, efficacy, and optimal dosing of TB-500 in humans. Always consult with a healthcare professional before considering the use of experimental or unapproved peptides for any medical condition.
Similar to most peptides that I’ve discussed today, Thymosin Beta 4 is typically sold as a research chemical and is not technically approved for human consumption by the FDA. However, people are buying it online anyway! Its availability for purchase varies depending on the country and local regulations. Again, I have to tell you using peptides that are not technically approved for human use even though people buy them online including myself (We shop at Peptide Sciences website but there are many).
You should obviously consult with a healthcare professional before buying anything, or self-treating yourself.
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about how peptides have gained popularity in recent years! You can see why they are growing in a world where people are seeking more and more ways to help themselves affordably.
I’ve highlighted some cool, and useful peptides, such as BPC-157, which may help with tissue repair and wound healing; TB-500, which may aid in muscle growth and repair, wound healing, and inflammation reduction; and Thymosin Alpha-1, which provides immune system support, antiviral properties, DNA protection, and relief of fatigue.
However, it’s essential to note that many of these peptides are still considered “research chemicals” and sold online. They are not approved for human use technically, even though humans are buying them by the millions.
Further research is necessary to fully understand their safety, efficacy, and optimal dosing in humans. Consult a healthcare professional before considering using experimental or unapproved peptides for any medical condition. This article is for educational purposes and not to be construed as medical advice.
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.