There’s been a lot of buzz around peptides, and they’re showing up in skincare products and even dietary supplements. But what are they, and do they live up to the hype?
Peptides are short strings of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. They’re naturally made by the body, and they play important roles in things like regulating blood pressure, improving gut health, reducing inflammation, increasing muscle growth, enhancing athletic performance, improving libido, and possibly helping with weight loss and nutrient absorption. You might also see them in medications for conditions from diabetes to multiple sclerosis. And some are being researched for their potential to help with skin aging and joint pain, among other things.
Some peptides are natural, while others are lab-made. But both have been found to improve health in different ways. Natural ones are typically derived from foods or animals, while synthetics are designed in a laboratory to mimic natural peptides.
As we’ll explain in a bit, some of the benefits of peptides come from their ability to stimulate protein synthesis and boost collagen, elastin, and other vital skin building blocks. But they’re also effective for the way they hydrate the skin, soften laugh lines and wrinkles, and reduce redness and other signs of aging.
The other major benefit of peptides is the way they boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Research suggests that peptides can prevent the inflammatory response caused by stress, infections, and allergies, as well as prevent blood clots and other diseases like Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Other benefits of peptides include their ability to improve muscle growth, enhance sexual function in men and women, increase athletic performance, and possibly treat osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. They’re also being investigated for their ability to promote weight loss, enhance libido, and provide treatment for erectile dysfunction in men.
If you’re thinking about adding peptides to your supplement regimen, it’s best to talk to a trained healthcare professional before you start. Your doctor can help you decide which peptides are right for you and recommend the correct dosages. They’ll also be able to tell you if they’re safe for you based on your preexisting health conditions and current medications.