There is a lot of buzz surrounding peptides and their benefits for your muscles, skin, and overall health. But what exactly are they, and do they actually live up to the hype?
Peptides are produced naturally by your body. They are strings of amino acids, generally comprising 2 to 50 amino acids, which are known as the “building blocks” of proteins. Keep in mind that peptides have fewer amino acids as compared to proteins.
Laboratory-manufactured peptides can imitate some of those found in your body. Some of these peptides are used in medications for multiple sclerosis and diabetes conditions.
Moreover, several companies are now adding peptides to their dietary supplements and skincare products. This means you can now purchase them over the counter. The peptides in these supplements might be derived from animal or plant sources of protein. These include milk, eggs, meat, fish, shellfish, lentils, beans, oats, soy, hemp seeds, flaxseed, and wheat.
Some of the most common peptides include creatine peptide supplements for improving athletic performance and building muscle and collagen peptides for skin health and anti-aging.
If you are curious to learn whether a peptide can benefit you, make sure to read this article and find out some of its incredible advantages and uses.
Benefits and Uses of Peptides
Peptides might be easier for the body to absorb than proteins as they’re smaller in size and more broken down as compared to proteins. Thus, they can penetrate the skins and intestines more easily and enter the bloodstream faster.
Adding peptides into your diet or skincare regime has plenty of benefits. These include:
Stronger Skin Barrier
Your skin barrier is your body’s line of defense against UV rays, pollution, bacteria, and other toxins. This barrier can get damaged due to exposure to cigarette smoke, over-exfoliation, environmental pollutants, or even lack of sleep.
Thankfully, peptides strengthen the skin barrier, helping it stay intact and ensuring that your skin remains healthy.
Collagen is a protein that’s found in the nails, hair, and skin. Collagen peptides are essentially smaller versions of collagen proteins that your body can absorb more smoothly.
Consuming collagen peptide supplements may benefit skin health. In fact, it can even slow down the process of aging.
Certain studies state that dietary supplements containing collagen peptides may prove effective in the fight against wrinkles. Another research states that such supplements might also enhance skin hydration and elasticity.
Since collagen is an essential element of healthy and nourished skin, collagen peptides might lead to the rapid healing of wounds. Bioactive peptides can even minimize inflammation and work as antioxidants that can improve your body’s healing ability.
Research is being conducted on antimicrobial peptides, which might also enhance wound healing ability. Having extremely low or extremely high levels of certain antimicrobial peptides might result in skin conditions like rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
Several peptides are currently being researched for use in treating various types of cancer. For instance, a study revealed that atrial natriuretic peptides could be effective in the treatment of colorectal cancer.
Moreover, certain peptide-based treatments have already gained approval and are being used for treating patients. For instance, Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonist drugs are used for treating prostate and ovarian cancer.
Peptides play a special role in vaccines. Peptide-based vaccines imitate proteins that occur naturally in pathogens allowing for specific responses to be replicated with a synthetic vaccine.
Apart from offering immunity against particular pathogens, peptide-based vaccines are also used for treating cancer. For instance, vaccinating patients with peptides from their tumor antigens produces an anti-tumor T cell response.
Stop Age-Related Bone Loss
A research linked moderate consumption of collagen peptides with an increase in bone mass in growing rats who also performed running exercise.
The research might indicate that collagen peptides are a practical way to thwart age-related bone loss. Nevertheless, more research is required, particularly on humans.
Improved Muscle Mass and Strength
Research on older individuals reveals that collagen peptide supplements can increase strength and muscle mass. In this particular research, participants combined resistance training with supplement consumption.
Creatine peptides might also lead to improved strength and build muscle mass. Peptides may also assist in weight management.
Even though fitness enthusiasts have been taking creatine protein powders for several years, creatine peptides are now becoming more popular.
These specific peptides might be easier for your body to digest. This means they might lead to fewer digestive issues than creatine powders.
Ease Inflammation and Clear Acne
Peptides can repair damaged skin and even out skin tone. They can even ease inflammation that might lead to skin redness, itching, stinging, burning, pimples, blisters, and thickening of the skin.
Certain peptides have antimicrobial properties. This means they can kill bacteria that cause acne.
Other Medical Uses of Peptides
At present, there are almost 80 peptide drugs on the international market. Peptides used in medicines are either synthetic or naturally occurring. Here are some medical uses of peptides.
Carnosine, a dipeptide and natural antioxidant, is found in the kidneys, heart, skin, gut, muscles, and brain. Studies reveal that might be beneficial in treating conditions such as brain ischemia, Downs syndrome, schistosomiasis, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, autism, and Alzheimer’s disease. It might even be helpful in preventing the formation of cataracts in your eyes.
Hepcidin is a peptide that controls your body’s iron absorption. The measurement of its levels in your body helps in diagnosing anemia.
Chromofungin is a peptide that can be a potential treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.
Several antimicrobial peptides are used to treat conditions such as HIV, pneumonia, hepatitis C, and certain bacterial infections. Such peptides are either administered orally, topically or through intravenous injections.
Peptides occur naturally in foods with high-protein content. You might want to use collagen peptides with the aim to slow down the aging process, or you might wish to take creatine peptides to increase strength and build muscle.
Nevertheless, if you plan to use nutritional supplements that contain peptides, remember to first speak to your healthcare provider, as you should before taking any type of supplement.