They’re in most health and skin care products, but what are peptides exactly? Read on to find out whether they’re beneficial for you or not.
In this article:
- What Are Peptides?
- What Are the Different Classes of Peptides?
- How Do Peptides Work?
- Why Are Peptides so Popular?
- Who Should Take Peptides?
- Where Can I Get Peptides?
- When Should I Take Peptides?
What Are Peptides? This and Your Other Questions Answered
What Are Peptides?
Peptides, in a basic and literal sense, are the molecules that make up proteins. First, amino acids form a chain called 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 and the rate slows down to less than 1% per year until you turn 40 and 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, as they provide a building or anabolic effect on muscle mass.
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 n contact with water. Peptone water is commonly used as growth mediums 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?
In Skin Care
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.
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, and 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 skin care, but also as an oral and/or intravenous medication. They help control many bodily functions such as insulin production, sugar metabolism, and even the 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 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, to 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.
Where Can I Get Peptides?
You can get peptides from skin care stores and pharmacies, and there are several available topical skin care products out there containing peptides. But you should always consider the formulation of the product and how stable the ingredients are, and how well it could work with your skin type, and a consultation with your dermatologist could be helpful.
Dr. Seeds also has the Body Protective Complex+, a daily supplement for athletes and gym buffs.
When Should I Take Peptides?
Peptide skin care products act just like any skin care product and need no special application instructions. You simply apply it generously onto your freshly cleansed face twice daily, underneath your sunscreen and makeup.
To further boost your skin’s collagen production, you could also introduce more collagen sources into your routine. This can be by taking a good collagen supplement or consuming collagen-rich foods such as bone broth and tendon stews.
For those taking peptide treatments for fitness training should be more vigilant, as every product is different and has different dosage and intake schedules.
Learn more about peptides in this video by Alex Spinoso, MD:
In this age of technological breakthroughs, everybody is coming up with newer medications that claim to be better and better cures. Peptide treatments and skin care products are among these newer breakthroughs, and though promising as they may seem, you should still consult with your primary healthcare provider or dermatologist before diving in.
Have you any experience using peptide therapy like skin care products and supplements? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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