In this two-part series, I will dive into an exciting topic in functional medicine: peptide therapy. Peptide therapy has been used for decades in cancer treatment, but newer applications show promise for anti-aging, sexual health, immune function, tissue repair, and many more amazing benefits.
I admit that I was a bit of a skeptic about the benefits of peptide therapy until I used it myself to address chronic foot pain and degeneration. The results were incredible! I enrolled in a peptide course and worked with a mentor to understand all I could about this frontier in medicine so I could be able to bring it to my patients.
Today’s article will cover the basics of peptide science, peptide therapy, and health benefits for both men and women. Then, in Part 2, I’ll cover more about how peptide therapy is used in my practice, along with specific peptides to know.
Let’s get started!
Peptides are a short chain of amino acids linked together, or a small protein. Peptides are found naturally in all living organisms and have biological functions. Peptides can cross cell membranes and bind to cell receptors, sending a signal to the cell.
There are around 7000 distinct peptides in the body. Low levels of these peptides are associated with aging, disease, certain genetics, and other factors. Having abundant levels of peptides supports balance and overall wellness.
Peptide therapy involves administering specific peptides into the body for a therapeutic effect. Examples of such peptides include ipamorelin, thymosin alpha 1, and sermorelin peptide therapy.
Typically, peptides are injected into the body, but sometimes they are administered through a transdermal patch or cream, nose spray, or an oral tablet. Peptide therapy is generally well tolerated, with minimal side effects, and many forms are FDA approved.
Because peptides function throughout the body and at the cellular level, peptide therapy has far-reaching benefits. These include:
Because of these benefits, peptide therapy has applications for a wide range of conditions, including autoimmune disease, HPA-axis dysfunction, hormone imbalances, osteoporosis, dementia, metabolic disease, physical injuries, muscle wasting, and sexual issues.
Peptide therapy is a personalized treatment to target a specific area or function in the body. This therapy is used promote wellness or for disease, injury, stress, and aging.
Let’s take a closer look at sexual health and anti-aging benefits.
Human growth hormone declines as we get older, affecting cells throughout the body and their ability to grow and repair.
Specific forms of peptide therapy, including growth hormone releasing peptide and growth hormone releasing hormone (I’ll discuss specifics in Part 2 of this series), stimulate the release of growth hormone without the downsides of taking this hormone directly.
In many cases, peptide therapy is effective for reducing the signs of aging and promoting healing. Again, the formula is highly personalized for each person and their desired outcomes.
Typically, testosterone replacement therapy is what is first thought of in the case of sexual dysfunction in men; however, peptide therapy offers additional treatments strategies.
For men, peptide therapy may help to produce the following:
Likewise, we have so many tools to support sexual health for women during the reproductive years, perimenopause, and menopause. One tool that I often recommend when it’s a good fit is bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. However, this isn’t the only tool, or it may not be a good fit for every woman. Peptide therapy offers additional options to personalize treatment. Some benefits women may see from peptide therapy include:
I will dive more into the overlap between hormones and peptides in Part 2 of this series, so check that article out. I will also detail more about my functional medicine approach to utilizing the benefits of peptide therapy in practice.
As you can see from the information presented here, the benefits of peptide therapy are far-reaching. Peptides may just be the boost to your system required for healing!
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