What Are Peptides and Why Strengthen Them?
Next Health Staff | | 0 comments
If you’ve been researching new, advanced supplements, you might have heard of peptides. They’ve been used in Europe for several years, and are now available in the United States. So, what is it about these remarkable substances that make them so popular?
In a nutshell, peptides are the raw material that makes up protein in your body. As a matter of fact, the human body naturally produces more than 7,000 known peptide types. As you can imagine, with this many peptides, they are used in a wide variety of the body’s systems. They’re essential for healing, bone and muscle regeneration, sleep regulation, and even weight loss.
With all of these benefits, it’s easy to see why so many celebrities and social influencers are using them.
But how do peptides work inside the body, and why should you strengthen them? Let’s dig a little deeper.
What Are Peptides?
Our bodies are made up of proteins. These are strings of organic molecules that give structure to all of our organs and systems. Proteins themselves are made up of chemicals called amino acids, and there can be hundreds or even thousands of amino acids in a protein. Peptides are smaller, intermediate-sized chains of amino acids, with anywhere from 2 to 50 acids in a peptide.
Now, you might be asking yourself why you wouldn’t just take a protein supplement, and there are certainly plenty of fine protein supplements on the market. But peptides can be easier to absorb than proteins for a couple of reasons. First off, because they’re less complex, they’re easier for the body to break down into their base amino acids. Second, because they’re smaller, they can penetrate your body’s internal membranes more easily.
So, where do peptides come from? They can be found in many plant or animal sources, such as beans, lentils, milk, eggs, meat, fish, soy, wheat, oats, flaxseed, and even hemp seeds. Because of this ready availability, most peptide supplements use these naturally-existing peptides.
In humans, peptides can be found in literally every cell in the body. They’re the very building blocks of our cell walls and other internal structures. Different types of peptides perform different functions and are used to build different proteins. It follows, then, that getting the right number and type of peptides in your diet is essential for balancing the body’s systems and maintaining overall wellness.
For instance, some peptides function as hormones. Instead of building your cells, they serve as messengers that allow them to communicate. One important function of peptide hormones is regulating your blood glucose level. Insulin, glucagon, and glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1) are all peptide hormones. Another important peptide hormone is ghrelin, which helps regulate your appetite.
As you can imagine, biologists and chemists are fascinated with peptides of all kinds. But the most interesting peptides for our purposes are the ones that provide a benefit to physical health.
These are called bioactive peptides, and they fall into a variety of categories depending on their amino acid makeup. Here are just a few examples of bioactive peptides:
There are other peptides as well that can be useful for enhancing athletic performance. Be careful, though. Many of these, such as follistatin, have been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. If you’re a competitive athlete, you need to read both the doping regulations and the ingredients very carefully and consult with your athletic trainer.
What Are the Benefits of Peptide Treatment?
Because there are so many types of peptides, there’s no single benefit to nail down when it comes to the benefits of peptide therapy. Instead, the benefits will largely depend on what kinds of peptides you take.
That said, certain types of peptides may:
- Function as antioxidants
- Help maintain normal blood pressure levels
- Support the body’s immune system and contribute to immune cell production.
- Reduce inflammation.
- Reduce signs of the body’s aging process.
This last point is particularly relevant today, because collagen peptides are becoming more and more popular. Collagen peptides are used by the body to build collagen, a key component of skin, hair, and nails. They improve skin elasticity and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. They may also promote the production of melanin, a pigment that protects your skin against damage from the sun.
On a similar note, collagen peptides are often used to promote tissue healing. Because they’re essential for building healthy tissue, any supplementation can only be helpful. Not only that, but there’s currently ongoing research into antimicrobial peptides. It’s important to remember that nothing has been proven yet, but it’s possible that some peptides may even kill germs.
Animal research has shown a definitive link between increased peptide intake and the slowing of age-related bone loss, when combined with regular exercise. Unfortunately, the study was performed on rats, so the same may or may not be true in humans. More research is required before we’ll know for sure.
That said, peptide supplements are already a popular choice for athletes. Since they form the building blocks of all our cells, it stands to reason that anyone who wants to build a lot of new cells would want to take in more peptides. Keep in mind, though, that peptides are just like a pre-workout protein shake or any other supplement. You still need to put in your gym time if you want to see any results.
Peptide Supplement Safety
The good news about peptide supplements is that they’re almost universally safe. They’re taken from the peptides in natural foods, so there shouldn’t be any issues for healthy people. That said, there are certain medical and dietary conditions that can cause problems for some individuals.
If you suffer from any chronic medical condition, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before using any peptide treatment. Similarly, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, ask your doctor about the exact supplement you’re considering taking.
There are also a few other concerns that aren’t related to peptides themselves.
For one thing, oral peptide supplements aren’t as effective as injected supplements. This is because they get broken down into amino acids in the gut before they’re absorbed. In addition, peptide supplements are supplements, not medication, which means they’re not regulated by the FDA. This means that some fly-by-night manufacturers sell shoddy products.
For instance, many topical collagen treatments can actually cause skin irritation. This isn’t the fault of the peptides themselves, but the other cheap chemicals used in the cream. Your best bet is to stick with reputable, quality manufacturers.
If this all sounds too confusing, don’t worry. All of Next|Health’s membership plans include monthly health coaching. During these one-on-one sessions with a health professional, you’ll be able to get answers to any questions you might have. You’ll also get access to screening and other perks that help you build a fitness plan that’s right for you.
Types of Peptide Supplements
Next|Health provides three different injectable peptide supplements to meet different types of needs. Here’s a quick overview of each type, and the benefits it provides.
Thymosin Alpha 1
Thymosin Alpha 1 is a peptide that’s produced in the thymus, the gland that produces all our immune system cells. It’s essential for the generation of T cells, a key player in your body’s adaptive immune system. For this reason, Thymosin Alpha 1 is often taken to boost the body’s immune response.
Not only that, but some T cells fight cancer, and research is ongoing to investigate Thymosin Alpha 1’s effectiveness against cancer. Finally, Thymosin Alpha 1 may slow the aging of the immune system, which slows the aging of the body as a whole.
Thymosin Beta 4
Like Thymosin Alpha 1, Thymosin Beta 4 is produced in the thymus gland. However, instead of being used to build immune cells, it’s used in healing. Once produced in the thymus, Thymosin Beta 4 spreads throughout the body, and is found in all the body’s cells. There, it sits in wait until the cell is damaged. At that point, it’s released, and attracts stem progenitor cells to the area. These cells in turn replace damaged tissues. As such, Thymosin Beta 4 is often used following injuries, surgeries, or other trauma. Because it’s used in every cell, it can promote healing anywhere inside the body. Not only that, but it’s known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and can even promote hair growth.
BPC-157 in its natural form is a component of gastric juice. However, when isolated, it has been shown to promote healing in skin, tendons, and ligaments. It also promotes the body’s natural pain-relief system. This makes it popular among athletes who have suffered from sports injuries. By injecting it subcutaneously near the site of the injury, it becomes easily available inside the body. Similarly, BPC-157 can be used after some surgical procedures to promote faster healing.
Peptide therapy can be a massively beneficial addition to your regular health and wellness regimen, and only the highest-quality, pre-vetted peptide therapies are available to you from Next|Health.