In the year 1922, a little kid named Leonard Thompson in Toronto got the first injection of Insulin (a polypeptide) and just became the most jacked guy you’ve ever heard of.
A bold claim, with lackluster evidence.
Poor Leonard was suffering from diabetes, unlike most bodybuilders who use insulin and other peptides for bodybuilding.
To be brash, peptides are chains of amino acids bound together by peptide bonds, and when administered to the body they can have very great, and specific effects.
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What are Peptides?
In essence, peptides are simply short amino acid chains, found everywhere in nature from meat, fish, and even plant sources. Of course, scientists can isolate or even just manufacture these peptides. It wasn’t long before these scientists also noticed that particular chains of amino acids had intense effects on the human body.
Peptides have an incredibly high affinity to bind with receptors, enzymes, and certain biomolecules in the human body, and therefore they can have health-altering effects. The main effects bodybuilders have after are muscle-building properties, accelerated fat loss, and recovery (1).
How do Peptides work?
Basically, by administering a peptide to your body, you are giving your body a very specific code. The composition and sequence of the peptide will determine the type of code the peptide carries. The code will then message certain receptors in the body to react a certain way like “Hey muscles! Grow!” or “Hey fat cells! Shrink!”. They do what Instagram influencers say their training programs do. Thing is… Peptides work.
Long story short, peptides stimulate receptors which in turn can signal hormonal release into the site and cause biological actions to take place.
Benefits of Peptides
Not all peptides are created equally. Hell, they aren’t even created remotely equally.
Some are the crème de la crème for bodybuilders, and some are frankly going to be the melted chocolate on the backseat of your truck. Here are the two most common types of peptides – GHRHs and GHRPs.
|Growth Hormone Releasing Hormones (GHRH) Peptide Type 💉||Main Use 💊||Mechanism 📏|
|MOD-GRF (1-29)||Muscle Gain||Increases growth hormone production by binding to the growth-hormone-releasing hormone receptor (GHRHR)|
|CJC 1295 (modification of Mod GRF 1-29)||Muscle Gain||Increases plasma growth hormone and Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels|
|HGH Fragment||Fat Loss||Fragment 176-191 is released, resulting in fat metabolism. Stimulating lipolysis and blocks lipogenesis (burning of fat and building of fat from non-food sources respectively)|
How does Growth Hormone Releasing Hormones (GHRH) work?
The Pituitary Gland is responsible for a host of different things, amongst which is going to produce and release growth hormones into the blood. The Hypothalamus produces GHRH, which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to do its job.
More growth hormone is something that you’ll want as a bodybuilder. Not only can it help with growth (Duh) but also with fat loss, youthfulness, joint repair, and a general feeling of well-being. Taking exogenous GHRH will then stimulate the pituitary gland to produce more growth hormone, as well as an increase in IGF-1.
GHRH can be very effective in helping you reach your goals, and when combined with a Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides (See below) can have even improved effects.
|GHRP Peptide Type and Example 🧬||Main Use💊||Mechanism📏|
|GHRP-6||Muscle Gain||Stimulates production of HGH as well as increasing hunger via the production of Ghrelin|
|GHRP-2||Muscle Gain and some Fat Loss 💪🚴♀️||Elevates levels of HGH in the body, and stimulates hunger (much less than GHRP-6)|
|Ipamorelin||Muscle Gain and some Fat Loss💪🚴♀️||Elevates levels of HGH in the body, and stimulates hunger (much less than GHRP-6)|
|Hexarelin||Recovery, Muscle Gain, and Fat Loss💪🚴♀️🏋️♂️||Stimulates production of HGH. Repair of muscle fibers and tissue|
How do Growth Hormone Releasing Peptides (GHRP) work?
One of the compounds the hypothalamus produces is known as growth hormone-inhibiting hormone (GHIH). This limits the amount of growth a human can achieve, essentially a safety mechanism that the human body doesn’t grow too large – and in one sentence I made every bodybuilder ever, shriek in fear of its existence. Well, fear not. GHRPs are here to help – sort of.
GHRPs work by limiting this GHIH, or so scientists think. GHRPs are completely synthetic, and they act on very specific receptors in the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. And because they are a relatively hard, and new peptide to study they’re not sure why it works. They do, however, know they work!
To quote a study for you, “At present, several data favor the hypothesis that GHRPs could act by counteracting somatostatinergic activity both at the pituitary and the hypothalamic level and/or, at least partially, via a GHRH-mediated mechanism.” (2)
We also know that when combined with a GHRH, GHRPs work almost 77% better.
*these are also known as Ghrelin mimetics
While these are some of the most popular peptides, all peptides can be split into a few different categories based on their main action (for bodybuilders): Muscle Building, Fat Loss, and Recovery.
Peptides for Bulking (Muscle Building)
When thinking of the word bulking (or cutting) we are imagining certain periods where we have a singular goal in mind. In this case, it’s gaining muscle mass. Thus, we want to do the following:
- Improve muscle protein synthesis which would increase the rate at which we build muscle
- Improve insulin response which would allow us to consume more food
- Improve GH release which would increase IGF-1 levels in the body, thereby increasing muscle mass growth
- Improve IGF-1 release increasing the amount of muscle mass we can grow
- Delay fat gain or completely avoid it
- Improve recovery and sleep seeing as the latter is a lot harder when you’re bulking
When taking these things into account here are some of the best Peptides for building muscle mass:
Peptides for Fat Loss (Weight Loss)
Fat loss and weight loss are largely dictated by caloric intake and your training style. There are certain things we can take to improve fat loss, however, stimulants aren’t the easiest on your health. When using peptides in a fat-loss phase you’re trying to do the following:
- Release fat from adipocytes (which are the literal fat deposits) into the blood
- Increase energy even though calories are low
- Increase strength factors to keep muscle mass and performance as high as possible
- Improve sleep as a major caloric deficit might lead to poor sleep
All things considered, here are some of the best Peptides for fat loss:
Peptides for Recovery (Injuries)
These peptides are the ones only used when you’ve injured yourself acutely but might also be used for a recurring injury. These are focused on two main things:
- Increasing blood flow to deposit more food and nutrients to the injury site
- Reduce inflammation to allow the injury to recover
Are Peptides Legal?
Since these peptides have such great effects you’re by no doubt at least considering checking out the prices no? Are they even legal though? The use of peptides for humans of many peptides has not been legalized by the FDA, since they haven’t completed human-based clinical trials yet. Peptides are also banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), while apparently, it is only legal to buy peptides for research purposes, and not for human consumption.
How to use Peptides for Bodybuilding?
Obviously, we look at the problem and then find a solution. With bodybuilders, the goal almost always is, not enough muscle mass, and too much fat. Now let’s see if we can find a solution for these problems with the help of certain peptide combinations.
Finding accurate dosing for the specific peptide you want to use can be tricky. Not only are then dozens on the market but they all have their own sides and we all will have an individual reaction to them. Thus, you have to be careful.
Your best bet is to use a coach (like myself, shameless marketing to ask you to schedule a call with me here). A coach has quite a lot of experience with these compounds and will be able to guide you through the process.
If you need more help you can also look at our Peptide Calculator to help you calculate your dosages.
The next logical question you should be asking (hopefully) is whether or not these compounds have any side effects. They do. Depending on which peptide you use, and to what extent, they can have tiny to more severe side effects that can be extremely detrimental to your health. Chief amongst which:
- Alterations of your Insulin Sensitivity: GHRPs can negatively impact your insulin sensitivity, leading to fat gain, inflammation, and a pre-diabetic state.
- Increase of Cortisol: High cortisol has been linked to insulin resistance, fat gain, muscle loss, fatigue, and loss of libido.
- Numbness in the hands: Specific peptides that mimic HGH can cause Carpet Tunnel Syndrome-like side effects.
- Bloating and water retention: Products that mimic HGH can cause water retention and bloating which can lead to higher blood pressure.
- Gynecomastia: Whilst peptides are not hormones, HGH does have a link with estrogen, and can lead to gyno.
- Prolactin Sides: Prolactin is something that rises in the body with the use of GHRPs, and can lead to soreness, lactating nipples, sexual dysfunction, and intensifying estrogenic effects.
Take away message
Peptides can immensely influence your bodybuilding journey, whether you need mass, less fat, or just to heal post-injury. Certain peptides can take a bit longer to work and aren’t always going to be cost-effective.
However, in the long run, they could even be so effective as to change your whole bodybuilding look, but only if you can afford them. Probably not best to sell your car to afford them; if you’re strapped for cash then plain ‘ol Test ‘n Dbol will have to do.
Peptides vs SARMs
Peptides are going to be more effective in the long run, with potentially more side effects. SARMs could yield faster results, but probably not as strong. SARMs also have the disadvantage that they do not have youthful effects as most peptides do.
Can you take steroids and peptides together?
Without doubt. Steroids act upon nuclear gene transcription by activating protein receptors, whereas HGH (or other HGH mimicking peptides) act upon skeletal stem cells (amongst others). In fact, there is a prevailing theory that using steroids and peptides together can yield better results than the two on their own. Keep in mind that some peptides have estrogenic or prolactin side effects, and can be amplified by estrogenic steroids.
Is creatine a peptide?
Yes. Creatine is a peptide molecule that is also the supplement with the most research done on it and has plenty of benefits.
Are peptides classified as steroids?
No. Peptides are chains of amino acids that serve a particular function when administered to the body. Steroids are hormones mostly based on testosterone. The former acts upon stem cells, whilst the latter acts upon nuclear sites within the muscle.