How many times that we hear someone just had a stroke, someone survived a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or someone just started to experience dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease? Very frequently, right?
Now let me put statistics in front of you. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cerebrovascular diseases, particularly stroke, is the third leading cause of death in the United States (1).
With so much burden on the global healthcare system, it sounds quite evident that many medications and treatment options have been made available to mitigate the risk factors that could cause cerebrovascular diseases.
Perhaps one such peculiar treatment option for cerebrovascular disorders is Cerebrolysin which falls into the category of neuropeptide.
Now I know most neuropeptides that you hear about are used therapeutically to enhance cognitive functioning and act as neural signaling molecules. Cerebrolysin falls into a different category and is one step ahead of all neuropeptides!
Now I know that I write about peptides that improve physical fitness, muscle building, and muscle strength. But Cerebrolysin is a whole lot different.
Stay with me through the end to know exactly what Cerebrolysin is, the possible mode of action, as well as its well-researched benefits and adverse effects if any.
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- Cerebrolysin delays the onset of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as the associated dementia.
- Cerebrolysin is a potent treatment option for cerebrovascular diseases like stroke and improves recovery time.
- Cerebrolysin also exerts its neuroprotective effects after a traumatic brain injury.
What is Cerebrolysin?
Cerebrolysin, a highly potent proteolytic neuropeptide, structurally contains low molecular weight amino acids as well as free amino acids and is fundamentally extracted from pig brain cells (2).
Because it is porcelain-derived, it constitutes various neurotrophic factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factors (NGF), enkephalins, orexins, P-21, etc.
The fact that it contains various natural active peptide fragments from brain tissue makes it an ideal neuropeptide with precise pharmacodynamic action to exert therapeutic effects.
Perhaps what sets cerebrolysin apart from other neuropeptides is its current clinical use in many countries.
How Does Cerebrolysin Work?
While cerebrolysin is widely used in certain parts of the world and is clinically proven to exert neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects, the exact mode of action that cerebrolysin follows is not widely studied as of yet.
One of the major effects of cerebrolysin is to delay the onset of neurodegenerative disorders, and it does this by regulating immune-mediated effects, such as inflammation.
Studies show that cerebrolysin downregulates the activity of microglial cells and inhibits the release of interleukin-1β.
Laboratory findings suggest that cerebrolysin regulates the activity of kinase proteins and decreases the phosphorylation of amyloid precursor protein, thus ensuring lower levels of amyloid-beta peptide, which plays a key role in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
It is also seen that this neuropeptide acts as an agonist of inhibitory chemicals found inside the brain tissue, such as adenosine A1 and GABAb (3).
Various growth factors such as nerve growth factor (NGF) found inside the cerebrolysin ensure strong neuronal and synaptic connections by the adequate release of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine (Ach) etc.
Further studies in rats also show cerebrolysin’s efficacious role in improving glucose transport and supply in the brain by upregulating the expression of GLUT-1 transporters.
Benefits of Cerebrolysin
Building on the above-mentioned mechanism of action followed by cerebrolysin, it is pretty evident that this neuropeptide improves the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and associated dementia.
Not only does cerebrolysin improve AD and slows down the progression of this neurodegenerative disorder (4).
A handful of studies have been performed to assess the efficacy of cerebrolysin in improving AD. In 5-month and 6-month-long studies, patients administered cerebrolysin showed improvement in dementia compared to the placebo group, thus making cerebrolysin one of the prospective treatment options for AD and vascular dementia both.
Perhaps cerebrolysin is widely proclaimed to stand apart as a highly potent treatment option for cerebrovascular diseases like ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic strokes (5).
It has been reported that cerebrolysin can work in conjunction with other standard treatment options to greatly restore sufficient blood flow and improve motor function and other critical complications manifested in the nervous system, such as trouble speaking, double vision, etc.
There are mixed results, but cerebrolysin is generally safe to be used, and it definitely plays a role in improving blood supply post-stroke and ensuring intact neurological functioning.
Although hypothesized, cerebrolysin may improve peripheral neuropathy by improving axons’ myelination and the axons’ size and diameter, thus keeping neuronal function intact.
This neuropeptide also seems to have clinical implications in treating Parkinson’s disorder. Parkinson’s disease is associated with higher levels of alpha-synuclein in humans. One of the studies found that treatment with cerebrolysin substantially reduces alpha-synuclein levels, thus playing a role in improving the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disorder.
Cerebrolysin also restores normal brain function by exerting its neuroprotective effects after a traumatic brain injury (6). It achieves this by reducing the oxidative stress induced during the injury as soon as possible.
Cerebrolysin may also improve chronic migraine symptoms and reduce the serum markers associated with migraine.
Because of the diverse effects of cerebrolysin, there is wide clinical research undergoing to map down the effects of this therapeutic neuropeptide on various disorders such as schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injuries.
All-in-all, it can be concluded that cerebrolysin greatly reverses cognitive impairment and improve cognitive functioning by triggering neuroprotective effects inside one’s brain.
Is Cerebrolysin Legal?
While cerebrolysin is not an FDA-approved drug, it is widely used in eastern Europe, Russia, China, and some Asian countries.
European Medicines Agency (EMA) has termed it as a safe medication option owing to its efficacy and potency as a treatment option for neurological complications.
Who Should Use Cerebrolysin?
Cerebrolysin can be used in case of transient ischemic attacks as it relieves blood clots and prevents any blood vessel rupture.
Anyone who had just survived a stroke or any other cerebrovascular disease and is in his/her recovery phase can surely use cerebrolysin augmented with other conventional medications.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to any neurodegenerative disease such as AD or Parkinson’s can use cerebrolysin for treatment and even mitigate the progression.
Also, anyone looking for some neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects a post-traumatic brain injury can get some benefits from cerebrolysin!
Forms of Cerebrolysin
As it is usually used for medicinal purposes, you will only find cerebrolysin solution in the vials that are ready to be infused in the veins.
How To Use Cerebrolysin
Cerebrolysin injections are administered parenterally, specifically intravenously (IV). This is primarily because of the fact that cerebrolysin can cross the blood-brain barrier, thus, injecting it intravenously will ensure maximum levels inside the brain tissue.
For more information on how to administer peptides intravenously, read my detailed guide.
Cerebrolysin Dosage and Cycling
While cerebrolysin dosage essentially depends on your purpose of intake, people are within a safe area if they administer single reconstituted doses of up to 50ml.
Besides, one can only use this neuropeptide for anywhere between 10 and 15 days straight.
Because this peptide largely has medicinal use, there are no specific stacking guidelines available at the moment.
So far, it is only used in conjunction with other treatment options available for cerebrovascular diseases.
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Now it’s time to dig into some of the subreddits on cerebrolysin.
One of the users advocated the peptide’s effects on TBI as he said,
“I took it after a brain injury that destroyed my short term memory and noticed a lot of benefit. It was too expensive for me to take long term.. but while I briefly took it I noticed I could improvise on the piano even though I don’t know music theory. I felt creative.”– Reddit user
Another one said,
“If you use CBL for 20+ days – you’ll unquestionably know what all the fuss is about. I’ve never, in my 12 year history of nootropic use, ever found anything that’s come remotely close to the benefits I’ve received from CBL.”– Reddit user
“The effects it has had on me were:
-Waking up with lots of energy
-Ability and mental willingness to study tasks and procrastinate less
-Ability to think and decision make on the spot faster and clearer
-Very clear headed / removal of brain fog for most of the day
-Less general anxiety
If you are reading this and thinking is it worth the cost? My answer to this is yes, yes it is.”– Reddit user
Cerebrolysin Side Effects
Cerebrolysin is generally safe and well tolerated amongst patients. You don’t have to worry about adverse effects when taking cerebrolysin.
Only milder side effects, such as transient brain fog, milder headaches, and minimal risk of seizures, are reported.
Cerebrolysin vs. Other Neuropeptides
Frankly speaking, cerebrolysin differs greatly from other conventional neuropeptides or nootropics and has no competition from other neuropeptides available in the market.
It is mainly used as an effective recovery agent for medicinal purposes, while other neuropeptides or nootropics are valued based on their therapeutic/peripheral effects.
Is Cerebrolysin Legit?
Cerebrolysin definitely works, and the limited clinical trials performed so far prove its effectiveness.
While its effects on speeding up recovery from stroke, traumatic brain injuries, and neurodegenerative disorders are substantial, there is a strong need for more clinical trials because of its great potential and natural chemical composition.
How long do the effects of Cerebrolysin last?
A long-lasting ameliorative effect of Cerebrolysin was found after its 4-week administration, while the two-week-treatment had only temporal effects.
Is Cerebrolysin a Nootropic?
Cerebrolysin is a nootropic drug and can significantly improve cognitive function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
Does Cerebrolysin help with memory?
Cerebrolysin improves memory and ameliorates neuronal atrophy in spontaneously hypertensive, aged rats.
What type of drug is Cerebrolysin?
Cerebrolysin ® is a multi-modal neuropeptide drug that improves the brain’s ability for self-repair by stimulating neuro recovery.
Does the FDA approve Cerebrolysin?
While Cerebrolysin is not FDA-approved in the United States, it is approved in many European and Asian countries for stroke, dementia, and traumatic brain injury.