Peptide therapy and questions regarding it are a growing part of the fitness and weight loss communities. Almost daily now, I have questions in my practice from patients who have heard about these supplements from either a friend, or gym goer, or worse yet, the internet (gulp!). Unfortunately, most of them are either poorly informed or altogether ill informed.
Because of this, I’ve decided to write a series of articles regarding peptides, their uses, and their benefits.
Who am I? You can call me the Peptide Doc! I am an active member of both the American Academy of Anti-Aging and a fellow of the International Peptide Society, but I’m also an avid gym-goer and physique-refiner, so I feel I have good grounding to give some info on these matters.
Let’s Talk About Peptides
There’s a lot of buzz about peptides in the fitness world these days. Various peptides are recommended for burning fat, building muscle, and improving athletic performance.
But what exactly are peptides?
Peptides are short chain amino acid monomers linked by a peptide bond. Once broken down, the human body uses these short amino acids chains to release growth hormone already stored in your body. To put it simply, they are basically just small proteins. Peptides are fast becoming an alternative for those seeking to use growth hormone for recovery, anti-aging and fat-loss.
Peptides play a significant role in the regulation of multiple mechanisms of biological aging. Peptides have many functions in the body, some act like neurotransmitters, others like hormones. Many control and influence how our bodies react to diet and physical exercise. Isolation of these small peptides has led to a peptide theory of aging, which basically submits that the average lifespan can be increased by slowing down the aging process. The theory is based on the underlying assumption that changes in gene expression result in decreased protein synthesis, eventually leading to aging and the development of diseases. Stimulation of peptide production through use of “peptide bioregulators” is designed to affect a specific organ, system or condition in the body, using a highly specific short chain peptide to act as a shortcut to initiate protein synthesis and increase organ function.
The Link Between Peptides & Aging
Peptide research came about a way to try and extend lifespan and quality of life while minimizing potential side effects of the compounds used.
In a nutshell, aging involves the gradual process of a slowdown in protein synthesis, which eventually leads to malfunction and death of a living organism. There are myriad of factors related to this slowdown of protein building in the human body, including environmental factors, stress.
What do peptides do in real life?
Peptides are fast becoming the go-to in the fitness industry for muscle hypertrophy and fat loss. All walks of athletes, from competitive bodybuilders to weekend warriors, to anyone looking for a little boost or edge are now partaking in the Peptide Revolution. I have questions in my office daily about these supplements and will start with a basic breakdown of the two most popular versions which are often stacked together for optimal results.
GHRH & GHRP
Adults do not stop producing growth hormone as they get older. Let’s get that myth out of the way. However, as you age, it is harder to activate the body’s release or pulse of growth hormone as frequently as you did when you were still growing. What does this mean in practice? It means decreased ability to recover from both workouts and injury, greater difficulty with muscle building and retention!
It is important to understand that for growth hormone producing peptides we have two separate but related categories.
GHRH (Growth Hormone Releasing Hormones) cause the body to secrete a small amount of growth hormone, usually in a steady fashion. The length of secretion time depends on the individual peptide. These have a saturation point in the human body, meaning that there is a maximum dose you can use which will show no added benefit if you go above it.
GHRP (Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides) help facilitate a larger pulse of secreted growth hormone but do so in a pulsatile fashion. While GHRH will increase the amount of growth hormone your body secretes, GHRP actually forces a growth hormone pulse from your body (your pituitary gland), usually within minutes of administration..
Without going into great detail, think of GNRH as a steady leak, and GHRP a turn of the faucet, meaning once you take it, you get a burst of GH.
So why not always take the big gulp? Because timing is critical with GHRP’s, and the pulse is short lived.
So why not take the steady leak? Because the amount of increased GH leak, while significant, isn’t necessarily big enough to give you the positive benefits one would be looking for. The timing of the dosing is also critically important.
The Work around is GHRH + GHRP. The combination not only allows you to get the benefit of steady release along with intermittent bursts, but it’s been found that by taking both, you increase the efficacy of each peptide up to six times. In addition, when using GHRH and GHRP together you need not target specific times when your body produces pulse to get greater benefits (getting both the faucet and the steady leak we talked about earlier).
This was a quick primer for those new to peptides. The next article will speak about specific examples, including all the popular fat loss peptides and peptide combos that can help take you to the next level!