Quick Peptides Summary Points
- Peptides are short chains of amino acids (containing up to 50 amino acids)
- Depending on their length, peptides may take the form of oral supplements or intravenous medication (available only by prescription from a qualified health care professional)
- Di- and tri-peptides are made up of two- and three- amino acids. They require virtually no digestion, and are therefore rapidly digested and absorbed. As such, they are the preferred form of peptides for oral consumption
- Certain whey protein hydrolysates may contain di- and tri-peptides; the levels of which can vary greatly
- The 'peptides' popularly highlighted in the media most commonly refer to injectable forms such as GHRP6 and CJC-1295. Such peptides are not typically available commercially
- Branched-chain amino-acid containing peptides are one of the newest categories of supplements that offer alot of promise for promoting muscle growth and recovery
What are Peptides?
Peptides are a generic name given to any group of amino acids that are linked together to form a chain. Essentially, they are similar to proteins, though in much shorter lengths (less than 50 units long). In the world of bodybuilding and exercise science, peptides generally refer to one of two things. They can refer to either broken protein fragments from hydrolysed proteins, or peptide hormones and related compounds.
During the hydrolysis process, whole proteins are broken down into smaller peptide fragments. These can sometimes be as short as two or three amino acids in length (known as di- and tri-peptides). The benefits of hydrolysed protein have been outlined in detail elsewhere. In short, hydrolysed proteins are much faster absorbed than other forms of protein. It has been shown that hydrolysed whey protein can increase the time of recovery compared to whey protein isolate (WPI) (Buckley et al, 2010).
What may be unknown to some people is that hormones can come in three classes. We are all familiar with steroid hormones, which are fat soluble hormones that include testosterone, oestrogen, and their derivatives. A lesser known group of hormones are those made from peptides. The best known peptide hormone is human growth hormone (hGH) and insuline-like growth factor 1 (or IGF1), both of which are anabolic hormones that are responsible for cell growth and proliferation. Finally, some single amino acid derivatives can also be classed as hormones. Amino acids such as phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan can also be biologically modified into hormones.
A large difference between steroid hormones and peptide hormones is that some steroid hormones exhibit oral activity, in that they can be active after they are taken by mouth. However, many peptide hormones are digested in the same way as proteins. They are broken down into amino acids in the digestive system, which means they no longer have the bioactivity of their parent compound. Consequently, they may require administration through injections.
Among peptide hormones are a group of substances that are capable of increasing the release of growth hormone. One such hormone is growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH). This is a hormone that is produced in the hypothalamus of the brain. This hormone binds to the growth hormone releasing hormone receptor to stimulate the release of growth hormone. Over recent years, pharmaceutical companies have developed synthetic peptide hormones, known as secretagogues, that also stimulate the release of hGH. These include substances such as GHRP6 and CJC-1295 which will be covered in greater detail elsewhere.
Although growth hormone and growth hormone releasing hormones are classified as prescription drugs, there is a safe and legal way to increase your levels of hGH production. There are a range of growth hormone supplements designed to boost hGH production within normal limits. For more information, please refer to our “Natural Growth Hormone Supplements Guide”.
Recommended Peptide Supplements
If you are looking for a legal peptide supplement to improve recovery and muscle gain, Elemental Nutrition Peptides is a recommended high end product that contains high concentrations of anaboilc peptides. This is an advanced product that is fast becoming popular among top tier athletes looking for natural, legal, and safe products.
Buckley et al (2010), Supplementation with a whey protein hydrolysate enhances recovery of muscle force-generating capacity following eccentric exercise. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 13: 178-181