How to use Peptides for Bodybuilding

Peptides are chains of Amino Acids that when used correctly can result in massive gains, fat loss, and so much more. A secret weapon or a cursed venture?
Medically reviewed by Dr. Mohammed Fouda
Dr. Fouda uses his extensive knowledge and expertise as an academic scholar to medically review articles for scientific accuracy and credibility, ensuring that the medical information presented is up-to-date and trustworthy. He is responsible for ensuring the quality of the medical information presented on our website.

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.

You can use Peptides to Build Muscle, Lose Fat, or just fight Aging. Here’s how.

Warning: The content on Muscleandbrawn.com and the information included in this article is intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to buying anything, check that it is compliant where you live with your current government laws. We frequently mention research chemicals that are not made for human consumption. Therefore, before purchasing any product for personal use, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first.

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.

How to use Peptides for Bodybuilding
Figure 1: A simple example of how some 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

Peptides for Bodybuilding
Figure 2: Peptides are powders that need to be reconstituted with bacteriostatic water

Not all peptides are created equally. Hell, they aren’t even created remotely equally.

Some are the cr̬me de la cr̬me 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 РGHRHs and GHRPs.

Growth Hormone Releasing Hormones (GHRH) Peptide Type 💉Main Use 💊Mechanism 📏
MOD-GRF (1-29)Muscle GainIncreases growth hormone production by binding to the growth-hormone-releasing hormone receptor (GHRHR)
CJC 1295 (modification of Mod GRF 1-29)Muscle GainIncreases plasma growth hormone and Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels
HGH FragmentFat LossFragment 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-6Muscle GainStimulates production of HGH as well as increasing hunger via the production of Ghrelin
GHRP-2Muscle Gain and some Fat Loss 💪🚴‍♀️Elevates levels of HGH in the body, and stimulates hunger (much less than GHRP-6)
IpamorelinMuscle Gain and some Fat Loss💪🚴‍♀️Elevates levels of HGH in the body, and stimulates hunger (much less than GHRP-6)
HexarelinRecovery, 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:

CJC 1295 Overview

CJC 1295

CJC 1295 is considered one of the potent growth hormone secretagogues (GHS). 

The peptide was first developed to stimulate the natural production of growth hormone and IGF-1 from the anterior pituitary gland. CJC 1295 also provides an inhibitory effect on the release of somatostatin, an inhibitor of growth hormone. 

These hormones aid in increasing lean body mass, endurance, and strength. Researchers also believe that CJC 1295 is capable enough to regulate sleep cycles. Evidence suggests that growth hormone secretagogues such as CJC 1295 play an important role in maintaining and improving cardiovascular function, wound healing and repair, increased protein synthesis, and much more. 

For bodybuilders, it is recommended to stack CJC 1295 with Ipamorelin to gain maximized benefits. Nonetheless, if you’re a beginner, you might experience unpleasant side effects such as vertigo, increased body temperature, and mood swings. 

CJC 1295 Overview

⭐️ Top Benefits: Increase lean muscle mass, Enhanced endurance 
🧪 Form: Injectable 
💉 Typical Dosage: 250 mcg to 300 mcg 
⌛️ Typical cycle duration: 60 to 90 days 
💰 Average Cost: $49
✅ Availability: Easily available 
❤️‍🩹 Side Effects and Dangers: Vertigo, Increased body temperature 
📚 Best Peptide Stack: CJC-1295 / Ipamorelin, CJC-1295 / GHRP-2
🔄 See before and after
➡️ Go to the Full review

  • Increased muscle mass 
  • Increased muscle strength 
  • Cardioprotective effects
  • Vertigo
  • Mood swings 
  • Increased body temperature
Ipamorelin Summary

Ipamorelin

Ipamorelin is a pentapeptide (Aib-His-D-2-Nal-D-Phe-Lys-NH2), which displays high GH-releasing potency and efficacy in vitro and in vivo.

Being a synthetic derivative of growth hormone-releasing peptide 1 (GHRP-1), it follows the same course of action and shows similar benefits in the body.

The research suggests that it is more effective in terms of functioning than other similar peptides like GHRP-2 and GHRP-6.

The primary takeaway from ipamorelin intake is the increase in blood growth hormone (GH) levels. The other changes seen in the physique of the body are just results of elevated blood growth hormone (GH) levels.

Ipamorelin Overview

⭐️ Top Benefits: Increases natural HGH production
🧪 Form: Injectable liquid
⌛️ Max Time Used: Up to 3 months
💰 Average Cost: $52.99
❤️‍🩹 Side Effects: Insulin resistance
☢️ Dangers: Not really
📚 Best Peptide Stack: HGH / IGF-1 / GHRP / CJC-1295
⚤ Men/Women: Men and women
➡️ Go to the Full review

  • Muscle gain
  • Fat Loss
  • Increased bone density
  • Injection site pain
  • Insulin resistance

IGF-1

IGF 1 refers to Insulin-Like Growth Factor, a natural hormone found in the body working in close relation to natural Growth Hormone production.

IGF 1 will virtually act on all of the body’s cells, looking at what it can do in muscle cells, it will boost protein synthesis, it might act as a glucose uptake aid, and it will also lead to a positive Nitrogen balance.

All of these form part of the perfect muscle-building environment, and thus IGF 1 LR3 can help with this when combined with training, diet, and the correct polypharmacology.

Another thing to consider is the fact that it could play a role in the downregulation of Glucocorticoids. This will not only massively reduce inflammation but thereby also boost recovery tremendously.

IGF-1 Overview

⭐️ Top Benefits: Anti-aging, improved muscle mass, fat loss, and improved life quality
🧪 Form: Injectable liquid
⌛️ Max Time Used: 2 – 3 Weeks
💰 Average Cost: $88.99
❤️‍🩹 Side Effects: Hypoglycemia and stomach discomfort
☢️ Dangers: Hypoglycemia can be dangerous if unexpected
📚 Best Peptide Stack: HGH
⚤ Men/Women: Men and women
➡️ Go to the Full review

  • Anti-aging
  • Muscle gain
  • Fat loss
  • Improved life quality
  • Better hair and skin
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Stomach discomfort

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:

ADO 9604 Summary

AOD 9604

Losing excessive body weight and getting rid of obesity has just become much easier with the introduction of AOD9604 in the market.

AOD9604 is a synthetic fragment of the human growth hormone (HGH) C-terminus (176-191). This hexadecapeptide has shown remarkable effects on fat metabolism by upregulating lipolysis and inhibiting lipogenesis.

AOD9604 targets fat-rich areas and promotes fat breakdown without disturbing the overall metabolic profile.

AOD9604 was well advocated as an anti-obesity medication in the past as it cuts down fat deposition. Perhaps this was confirmed in one of the clinical trials taking place in Australia, where nearly 300 obese individuals experienced weight loss.

Besides, AOD9604 doesn’t affect IGF-1 and insulin levels, thus ensuring minimal risk of developing glucose intolerance and diabetes mellitus. With AOD9604, you don’t have to worry about hypercholesterolemia as well!

The good news is that AOD9604 is an FDA-approved drug as an anti-obesity drug, so you don’t have to worry about adverse effects at all. All you can expect is mild headaches, indigestion, nausea, swelling, etc.

AOD9604 can really be your go-to therapy for weight loss but make sure to use it at the proper dosages, or else a disturbed metabolic profile awaits you!

Features

💉 Forms: Powders, Spray
🕑 Cycle Length: 20 Days
💊 Dosage: 300 mcg/day
Benefits: Weightless, Prevents Hypercholesterolemia
💸 Cost: $79.99
⚠️ Side Effects: Headache, Indigestion
Stacks: AOD 9604/Semaglutide

  • Marked fat loss
  • It can help prevent cardiovascular and metabolic disorders away
  • Pain, redness, and flushing of the face can be experienced after the injection
Semaglutide Summary

Semaglutide (GLP-1)

Semaglutide gets grouped with other Peptides but is more commonly known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. It mimics the action of human incretin glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).

This is something that you would want when trying to lose weight, and this is why Semaglutide is being used as an anti-obesity medication (combined with a good diet and training plan). It is simply a method of glycemic control. [1,2]

When trying to lose weight or even trying to increase weight dramatically (bulking), glycemic control could help a tremendous amount.

Semaglutide will help your pancreas release the right amount of insulin when your blood sugar is high. So, it helps your body produce the correct amount of insulin needed.

This can help you avoid chronically high levels of blood sugar, which can have some severe impacts on your health. Fitness fanatics will also know that elevated blood sugar levels are one of the major causes of inflammation, fat gain, and heart disease.

Semaglutide Overview

⭐️ Top Benefits: Increases glycaemic control and decreases hunger
🧪 Form: Injectable liquid
⌛️ Max Time Used: 6 – 8 Weeks
💰 Average Cost: $119.99
❤️‍🩹 Side Effects: Allergic reaction
☢️ Dangers: Allergic reaction
📚 Best Peptide Stack: HGH / IGF-1 / HGH-Frag
⚤ Men/Women: Men and women
➡️ Go to the Full review

  • Increases insulin control
  • Decreases hunger
  • Pain at the injection site
  • Allergic reaction
Melanotan II Summary

Melanotan II

Melanotan II acts as a non-selective agonist of Melanocortin receptors. It also binds with MC-1R to initiate the process of melanogenesis – darkening of the skin.

Melanotan II works very effectively in making your skin tanned according to your requirements if taken in optimal dosage. Melanotan II offers a lot of supplemental benefits besides just tanning your skin. Because it binds to MC-4R, it plays a substantial role in the homeostatic mechanism.

It regulates your body’s energy requirements and regulates your appetite/hunger cycles. It does this by reducing fat storage, essentially mimicking the role of the leptin hormone. This can be linked to Melanotan II’s potential treatment for diabetes, but so far it is just a hypothesis.

Research suggests that Melanotan II strengthens libido in individuals and enhances sexual performance, primarily affecting males as it improves male erectile functionality. This was confirmed by one of the clinical trials involving 10 men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. Out of 10 men, 8 men had a reversal of erectile dysfunction.

Melanotan II Overview

⭐️ Top Benefits: Skin tanning, Energy homeostasis, Treats ED
🧪 Form: Injectable peptides, Nasal sprays
💉 Typical Dosage: 0.1 mg to 1 mg
⌛️ Typical cycle duration: Variable
💰 Average Cost: $41
✅ Availability: Easily available
❤️‍🩹 Side Effects and Dangers: Spontaneous erections, systemic toxicity
📚 Best Peptide Stack: Melanotan 1 / Melanotan 2
➡️ Go to the Full review

  • Darkening of skin
  • Fat Loss
  • Improved libido
  • Kidney damage
  • Diarrhea
  • Priapism

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
BPC 157 Summary

BPC-157

BPC-157, or pentadecapeptide, is categorized as a body protection compound. It is composed of 15 amino acids in a very particular sequence that doesn’t exist naturally.

It is artificially synthesized in laboratories using the partial sequence of the body-protecting compounds isolated from gastric juices. Hence, it is one of the derivatives of the peptide found in human gastric juices.

The therapeutic effects of BPC-157 are exerted through multiple courses of action. One of the most common ways that BPC-157 acts as a therapeutic agent is by carrying out angiogenesis, which is the formation of new blood vessels. 

It does this by activating a protein called the “vascular endothelial growth factor” which initiates the formation of new blood vessels. This ensues in the organization of a healthy vascular network which gives BPC-157 its key regenerative and healing properties.

Another mechanism of action of BPC-157 is blocking the inhibitory growth factor called 4-hydroxynonenal, which is a negative modulator of growth. This allows the peptide to carry out effective healing of wounds, especially surrounding tendons.

BPC-157 Overview

⭐️ Top Benefits: Recovery from injury
🧪 Form: Injectable liquid, Nasal Spray
⌛️ Max Time Used: 14 weeks
💰 Average Cost: $51.99
❤️‍🩹 Side Effects: Abdominal pain
☢️ Dangers: Not really
📚 Best Peptide Stack: TB 500 / HGH / IGF-1
➡️ Go to the Full review

  • Improved recovery from injuries
  • Improved gastric function
  • Injection site pain
  • Abdominal pain
TB500 Summary

TB-500

Thymosin beta-4 is a small peptide with G actin-sequestering action. It is associated with the induction of angiogenesis and accelerated wound healing (10).

TB-500 is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring peptide LKKTETQ. The peptide segment (17)LKKTETQ(23) is the active site within the protein thymosin β(4) responsible for actin binding, cell migration and wound healing

Muscle fibers are made up of actin and myosin, which are contractile filaments. These filaments allow our muscles to contract and relax for mobility and carry out efficient metabolism and cell signaling.

TB-500 increases our body’s response to actin by increased reception of the protein by the peptide segment (17)LKKTETQ(23). This upregulation promotes increased cell growth, healthy cell proliferation, healing effects, and cell migration, particularly keratinocytes and endothelial cells.

TB-500 promotes angiogenesis which is the formation of new blood vessels. It builds up new blood vessel pathways for efficient blood supply to the wounds for increased healing. It also augments beneficial inflammation at the site of injuries.

TB-500 Overview

⭐️ Top Benefit: Rapid recovery from injuries
🧪 Form: Injectable liquid, Capsules, Transdermal patches
💉 Typical Dosage: 7.66 mg/week
⌛️ Typical cycle duration: 14 weeks
💰 Average Cost: $69.99
✅ Availability: Easily available
❤️‍🩹 Side Effects and Dangers: Headaches and stomach discomfort
📚 Best Peptide Stack: BPC-157 / TB-500
➡️ Go to the Full review

  • Rapid wound healing
  • Heals ligament and joint injuries
  • Helps build endurance
  • Injection site pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches

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.

Peptides Dosages

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.

Side Effects

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.

FAQs

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.

Still Have Questions?

Drop us a comment down below and one of our expert coaches will respond to it. We’ll also be answering questions on our Instagram!

Contributors

Daniel Louwrens BSc PT

Daniel Louwrens BSc PT | Writer

Daniel Louwrens is a well-rounded fitness professional with over 10 years of experience in bodybuilding and fitness. He holds a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Western Cape and is a certified International Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He is also a skilled bodybuilder and head coach for Muscle and Brawn. With his knowledge and expertise, he provides personalized training, nutrition, and recovery guidance to help clients reach their fitness goals.

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Dr. Mohammed Fouda

Dr. Mohammed Fouda | Reviewer

Dr. Fouda uses his extensive knowledge and expertise as an academic scholar to medically review articles for scientific accuracy and credibility, ensuring that the medical information presented is up-to-date and trustworthy. He is responsible for ensuring the quality of the medical information presented on our website.

Read all articles
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Steven Freeman
2 days ago

How do i get prescribed GHRPs and GHRHs for bodybuilding, so that i am using the correct amounts to get the correct results?

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