It’s not a supplement, and not a typical drug, so what is it?
by Guest Contributors Bryana Gregory, PharmD, RPh and
Kim Bennett RPh
A peptide is a short chain of amino acids that are linked together and can be thought of as a small protein. In our bodies, these proteins typically act as signaling molecules. They bind to receptors on cell surfaces and tell other cells and molecules how to function.
The use of peptides as part of a standard medication regimen has recently gained attention due to the fact that peptides are safe, effective, and have targeted functions in the body resulting in minimal to no side effects. In the past, peptides have only been available through injection therapy. However, at Physicians Preference Pharmacy, we compound our peptides in sublingual tablets which dissolve under the tongue. These dosage forms are non-invasive and allow for an easier dosing schedule.
What Conditions Does Peptide Therapy Address?
Peptides are numerous and variable in chemical structure, therefore their uses and effects are wide-ranging. Peptide therapy addresses numerous conditions including immunosuppression, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Irritable bowel syndrome, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, and brain fog. At Physicians Preference Pharmacy we name our peptides based on their function; however, the scientific peptide names are also included below.
Peptides offered at Physicians Preference Pharmacy:
Optimizer Peptide (CJC-1295/Ipamorelin)
The Optimizer combination peptide, which contains both CJC-1295 and Ipamorelin, has been found to be more effective than using either ingredient alone.
CJC-1295: As a growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) analog, CJC-1295 has been shown to steadily increase growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). CJC-1295 stimulates growth hormone secretion with no increase in prolactin, leading to fat loss and increased lean muscle mass, as well as increased protein synthesis. A benefit of using CJC-1295 in a daily sublingual tablet versus weekly injection is that daily dosing provides GHRH around the clock, promoting growth hormone release in the early morning hours, mimickimg the body’s natural rhythm. CJC-1295 also promotes slow wave sleep, or deep sleep, which is important for muscle growth and memory retention. Studies have shown that since slow wave sleep decreases significantly with age, the use of CJC-1295 promotes the GHRH response, which induces deeper sleep especially in middle-aged adults and older.
Ipamorelin: A growth hormone releasing peptide which stimulates the body’s own natural production of growth hormone, ipamorelin promotes strength, anti-aging processes and healing. Ipamorelin works in a pulsatile fashion so the side effects associated with direct human growth hormone (HGH) do not exist, and can therefore, be used long-term. Benefits of Ipamorelin include an increase in lean muscle mass, decrease in body fat, regulation of blood pressure, increased testosterone production, smoothing of wrinkles, healthier skin, increased bone strength, and improved quality of sleep.
Unlike some of the other peptides which stimulate the release of growth hormone, Ipamorelin does not produce unwanted side effects such as intense hunger or spikes in cortisol and prolactin.
Side Effects: Occasional irritation under the tongue, headaches (usually disappears after a few days)
Contraindications: Recent cancer
Dosage and Route: Optimizer is compounded into sublingual tablets, which dissolve under the tongue. This combination peptide is most beneficial when dosed at bedtime, at least 90 minutes after the last meal of the day, as it prompts the body to release growth hormone during sleep and mimics the body’s natural release of growth hormone. It is recommended that Optimizer be taken once daily on an empty stomach.
Additional Information: Your provider may order a blood test prior to prescribing this peptide.
Function Peptide (PT-141)
The Function peptide, which contains PT-141 or Bremelanotide, is used to help improve sexual function in both men (erectile dysfunction or impotence) and women (sexual arousal disorder). PT-141 was developed from the tanning peptide, Melanotan 2, which is a synthetically produced variant of a peptide hormone naturally produced in the body that stimulates melanogenesis or an alpha-Melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH). MSH activates certain melanocortin receptors in the process of exerting its effects. MSH exerts potent influence over lipid metabolism, appetite, and sexual libido. PT-141 has been shown to exhibit libido-enhancing effects by activating the melanocortin receptors MC1R and MC4R, but not skin tanning. Unlike Viagra and other related medications, it does not act upon the vascular system, but instead directly increases sexual desire via the nervous system.
Side Effects: Occasional headaches, nausea and flushing. Men have reported that headaches experienced from popular Erectile Dysfunction drugs like Viagra and Cialis were more intense and lasted longer than those experienced with PT-141.
Dosage and Route: PT-141 is compounded into sublingual tablets, which dissolve under the tongue. It is recommended that PT-141 be taken on an empty stomach.
Additional Information: Most men who have used Function report that they achieved erections after 2 to 3 hours of use. Depending on how the body responds, the benefit of Function may last anywhere from 5 to 12 hours. In women, the effects may take weeks to months to achieve the full desired effect. Because of the difference in response for men and women, men may be dosed on an as needed basis, whereas women should be dosed daily.
Repair Peptide (BPC-157)
BPC-157, also known as Body Protecting Compound, is made by the body in very small amounts within gastric juices, where its function is to protect and heal both the upper and lower portions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. For this reason, BPC-157 is useful in the treatment of ulcers, esophageal irritation and symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. BPC-157 hastens the recovery of torn muscles, detached tendons, and damaged ligaments.
Side Effects: None reported
Dosage and Route: Repair is compounded both as a capsule and sublingual tablet. The capsule is specific to repairing the GI tract whereas the sublingual tablet has been shown to repair gut function but is primarily used to repair tendons and muscle tissue following surgery or injury.
It is recommended that Repair, in both capsule and sublingual tablet form, be taken on an empty stomach.
Brain Peptide (Semax)
Semax is frequently used for its neurogenic, neurorestorative, nootropic (cognitive enhancing) and neuroprotective effects.
Benefits of Semax include:
- Activation of the serotonergic and dopaminergic centers in the brain by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which supports the survival of existing neurons as well as the growth of new neurons and synapses.
- Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like properties
- Helps with treatment of depression and ADHD
- Helps with insomnia and calming “racing thoughts”
- Improves circulation – helps protect the heart from damage after a stroke or heart attack
- Improves memory
- May help alleviate pain by preventing the breakdown of enkephalins, which regulate the pain response
Side Effects: None reported. No known signs of addiction or symptoms of withdrawal.
Dosage and Route: Brain is compounded into sublingual tablets, which dissolve under the tongue. It is recommended that Brain be taken on an empty stomach in the morning, and add an additional tablet in the afternoon if brain fog persists.
Rejuvenation Peptide (Epitalon)
Epitalon is used for its anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic properties. Epitalon has been shown in animal studies to affect melatonin secretion as well as telomerase activity. Epitalon may also be referred to as epithalone, epithalon, LS-72251, or CID2192042.
Epitalon has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors by preventing the occurrence of early-stage tumors via the pineal gland. With an inverse relationship occurring between melatonin secretion and malignant tumor growth, epitalon has been found to activate melatonin secretion and therefore decrease the incidence of tumor growth.
- Promotes normal deep sleep patterns:
The pineal gland, which secretes melatonin, is responsible for sleep patterns. Epitalon stimulates production of melatonin through its action on the pineal gland, increasing the ability to achieve deep sleep, which supports a healthy immune system.
The aging process is largely dictated by the long-term maintenance of our DNA, specifically related to preserving the chromosomes. Chromosomes, which are responsible for our genetic makeup, have telomeres on their ends, which shorten each time that cell division takes place. However, with aging, telomeres shorten extensively, and eventually cell division stops. Studies have indicated that the shortening of telomeres is linked to age-related diseases which may lead to deterioration and early death. Telomerase, an enzyme produced naturally in the body, helps to decrease the progressive shortening of telomeres which may lead to age-related diseases. Telomerase production does decline with age. Epitalon helps to reactivate telomerase production, strengthen and lengthen telomeres and promote longevity. Ultimately this production of telomerase decreases cell death and degeneration, while extending the lifespan of our cells and protecting against many age-related diseases.
Side Effects: None reported
Dosage and Route: Rejuvenation is compounded into sublingual tablets, which dissolve under the tongue. It is recommended that Rejuvenation be taken on an empty stomach daily.
Immune Peptide (Thymosin alpha-1)
Thymosin alpha-1 (Tα-1) is a powerful modulator of immunity and inflammation. Studies have shown that Tα-1 plays a role in decreasing the pathogenesis of chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases by decreasing continual inflammation and supporting immunity. Tα-1 levels in the blood are found to be significantly lower in those with chronic inflammation or autoimmune diseases, therefore, with the replacement of Tα-1 the immune response becomes better regulated. Tα-1 regulates the immune response by primarily acting on cells of the innate immune system, therefore acting as an endogenous regulator of both inflammatory and adaptive immune responses. In mice studies, giving Tα-1 has been shown to increase natural killer (NK) cell activity in mice with cancer, but not healthy mice, proving the selective action on those who may benefit from Tα1 therapy.
- Improved tissue repair and healing
- Improved host defense to infection
- Reverses immunosuppression due to chronic infection
- Increases antioxidant and glutathione production
- Boosts Natural Killer cell function
- Binds neurotoxins and endotoxins
- Cardiac regeneration and protection post-myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, etc.
- Neurologic regeneration and protection in post-stroke, traumatic brain injury, Lyme, Alzheimer’s, neuropathy, Parkinson’s, etc.
- Stimulates stem cell activity and proliferation
- Increases longevity
- Side effects minimal even at 100x the prescribed dose
Side Effects: None reported
Dosage and Route: Immune is compounded into sublingual tablets, which dissolve under the tongue. It is recommended that Immune be taken on an empty stomach daily.
Note on all peptides: No known interactions with other drugs. All the above listed peptides may be taken concurrently. Use of these peptides have not been studied in women who are pregnant or lactating and should be avoided.