There’s been a lot of buzz lately about peptides and what they can do for skin, muscles, and even weight loss. But what are peptides exactly, and do they live up to the hype?
Peptides are short strings of amino acids that (under the right conditions) create proteins in the body. Proteins are found in every cell of the body, and are critical for cellular health. Many peptides are naturally anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even antibacterial. For this reason, peptides have been used as a natural alternative to drugs for many health and wellness issues such as fibromyalgia, chronic infections, arthritis, and joint degeneration.
Besides their use in dietary supplements, they are also incorporated into many cosmetic treatments and beauty products for anti-aging effects. These include peptide creams, injections, and nasal sprays. There is a wide range of peptides, and the different sequences of amino acids within them can have varying effects on the body. For example, collagen peptides can help minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Creatine peptides can increase muscle mass. Other peptides can boost athletic performance. Unfortunately, a number of these have been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, including follistatin and GHRP-6, because they can encourage muscle growth, which is against anti-doping regulations.
These peptides can be either derived from food or manufactured synthetically. They are almost universally safe for healthy people, but it is important to check with a licensed and trained healthcare professional before starting any peptide regimen. It’s also important to be completely honest about any preexisting conditions or medications you are taking, as some peptides may interact with certain prescription and over-the-counter medications.
Many peptides are hormones, and play an essential role in physiological growth, differentiation, and development. They can have both paracrine and autocrine effects, affecting both local tissues and distant organs. Some of the most well-known peptide hormones include insulin, vasopressin, oxytocin, and glucagon. Defensins are also an important family of peptide hormones that promote immune function and the body’s ability to destroy pathogens.
Peptides can be made in a lab, and have been used to treat a variety of conditions from diabetes to multiple sclerosis. In the future, we expect to see them incorporated into skincare, beauty products, and dietary supplements. However, the most effective way to reap the benefits of peptides is to get them through a doctor-approved dietary supplement like a serum or nasal spray. This way, you can be sure that they are formulated to meet the recommended dosages and do not interfere with any underlying conditions you have. This is especially crucial for at-home peptide products. These are often delivered by a specialist in a private, medical setting. This allows patients to avoid the pitfalls that can be associated with purchasing a peptide product online. Be careful when making purchases online, and always talk to a healthcare professional about any new products you’re considering. They’ll be able to provide you with the best advice and make sure that the product is safe for your unique situation.