Peptides are a hot topic these days. Why? Because many peptides are great for burning fat, building muscle, and improving athletic performance. There are thousands of different peptides in the human body, but the one my patients have traditionally been most interested in is human growth hormone, or HGH.
HGH is the most over-arching of all the peptide hormones in terms of its benefits. As its name suggests, human growth hormone helps babies and kids grow in height. Low HGH in children can cause dwarfism or short stature syndrome. Giving kids with short stature syndrome HGH during the right stages of growth can help them grow to normal or near-normal height.
HGH levels are high until a person is around 18 to 23 years old, which is about the time the body stops growing in height. After that age, HGH does not increase height, but it does several other jobs in the body, so many adults seek out HGH injections. Injections of HGH provide many benefits, including:
- Cellular rejuvenation
- Increase in lean body mass (muscle)
- Decrease in body fat
- Increased collagen production and skin thickness
- Improved wound healing
- Improved joint healing and connective tissue health
- Increased bone density
- Reduction in carotid artery plaque (associated with atherosclerotic heart disease)
- Improved memory
- Enhanced well-being
- Decreased hospitalizations
- Improved cardiovascular output, meaning your heart pumps blood more efficiently
The big problem is that HGH treatment is expensive, and this high cost is a barrier to treatment for many people. Fortunately, there are newer peptides that provide a safe, effective alternative to HGH – at a fraction of the cost.
Peptide Treatment in the Spotlight
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They string together in chains, which can be short or long. Generally speaking, peptides are short chains of amino acids, and proteins are longer chains of amino acids.
Peptides are signaling molecules, which means they tell cells what to do. One of the advantages of peptides is that they can provide highly specific, targeted therapy. In other words, different peptides act on specific types of cells, so peptides can actually send specific messages to specific cells, resulting specific benefits.
There are about 7,000 peptides occurring in the human body. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved more than 60 peptides for use as treatments in humans. These targeted peptide therapies are safe and well tolerated, so patients can use these treatments without worries about major side effects.
Compounding pharmacies are now able to manufacture peptides, which opens up new treatment possibilities. Compounding a medication means tailoring its manufacture specifically for a patient. These peptides can often be made for significantly less than the same drug being commercially manufactured. Egrifta (generic name tesamorelin) is an FDA-approved name brand drug, developed to help reduce excess belly fat that HIV patients can develop (a condition called lipodystrophy). While very effective, it is also very expensive–costing about $6,000 per month. However, compounded tesamorelin is now available. Compounding the medicine has brought down the cost considerably–to about ⅙ the cost of brand-name Egrifta.
Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides (GHRPs)
Some peptides are Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides (GHRP), a chemical class of drugs known as growth hormone secretagogues. These drugs tell the pituitary gland to secrete, or release, more human growth hormone.
There are many HGH secretagogues. Each affects the body in a different way. Some stimulate release of a lot of HGH at once, for example, while others stimulate a slow, steady release over several hours. Many affect fat loss, muscle tone and even the quality of a person’s sleep. Others affect hunger and increase gastric motility, which is how quickly food is emptied from the stomach–helping with weight gain. The choice of peptide, or peptides, to use depends upon the needs of each patient. Depending upon each patient’s situation and goals, GHRPs are used either alone or in combination for an additive effect.
Here are a few of the most widely used GHRPs:
CJC 1295 – remains in the body longer than many other GHRPs and releases HGH for a longer period of time; so it has a strong effect over time on fat loss and protein synthesis. Works excellently in combination with Ipamorelin.
Ipamorelin – does not cause hunger like many other GHRPs can; this peptide is extremely well tolerated and has the added benefit of increasing deep-wave sleep. Deep-wave sleep is your body’s most restorative sleep stage, when lots of your own body’s HGH is released. Works excellently in combination with CJC 1295.
Tesamorelin – extremely effective in burning midsection visceral fat. Midsection visceral fat is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other health problems.
GHRP-6 – is a true HGH secretagogue that tells the pituitary to produce more HGH and IGF-1 (the protein that does much of the work of HGH in the body). It also causes hunger and promotes gastric motility and therefore is great for patients who want to gain weight.
GHRP-2 – has a more intense HGH release than GHRP-6 without promoting gastric motility; causes less hunger than GHRP-6.
Sermorelin – one of the first GHRPs used; stimulates HGH release but is less targeted than some of the newer GHRPs so is used for generalized increase in HGH production.
Some Other Popular Peptides That Aren’t GHRPs
Ghrelin – stimulates hunger and promotes weight gain in underweight people.
Bremelanotide PT-141 – works on the sexual center in the brain and increases sex drive in men and women; also used for erectile dysfunction in men and female sexual dysfunction (e.g. low sexual desire, arousal disorder, orgasmic disorder). Excellent alternative to Viagra or Cialis.
Melanotan – stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin so promotes tanning of the skin. Used cosmetically for those who want to be tan and may play a role in preventing skin cancer.
For more information on growth hormone releasing peptides (GHRPs) and how they can be an affordable alternative to HGH, make an appointment with one of the physicians practicing The Carragher Method of Age Management.
Free Quiz: Are You At Risk For Hormone Decline?
Want to find out if you’re at risk for hormone decline? First, take our scientifically based hormone decline risk assessment – completely free (takes no more than 5 minutes).
After completing it, you will find out your risk level for hormone decline and, most importantly, how to proceed with beating your symptoms. Click here to take the male version, and click here to take the female version.
Then, if you’re interested in learning more about our comprehensive Age Management & Hormone Optimization program, contact us through this form to schedule your free consultation, or call us at 323-874-9355.