Peptide: What It Is, Types, Functions

Peptides are getting a lot of attention these days for their potential health benefits. There is a lot of research going into what they can treat and how effective they are at doing things like improving cognitive performance, aiding weight loss, increasing bone mass, etc. There’s a lot to digest in the world of peptides, and knowing what they are, and the basics of peptides are the best place to start.

Anytime someone tells you to take something and promises outlandish results, there’s reason to be skeptical. When you dig deep into peptides, however, you begin to understand how you can use them for your benefit. You start analyzing health and wellness at a deeper level that puts you more in control.

Here’s a basic overview of peptides and what you need to know. We cover some of the general information about what they are and what they can possibly do.

What Is a Peptide?

At the most basic level, a peptide is a short chain of amino acids. Anything under 50 amino acids is classified as a peptide. Any more amino acids and you’re into protein territory. As a result, peptides are often called the building blocks of proteins. They have specific functions that trigger some sort of reaction in the body, whether it’s hormone secretion, regulating sleep patterns, etc.

Studies have found that peptides have specific benefits for the skin. A very popular peptide, known as collagen, is found in many skin care products like facial creams and ointments designed to reduce and remove wrinkles. Collagen is what adds elasticity to shine to the skin. There are a lot of tests that are ongoing to determine other ways peptides benefit health.

What Do Peptides Do?

Peptides have shown an amazing array of benefits in tests on animal models. They point to promising results in everything from anti-aging to preventing memory loss. Peptides in rodents have been shown to dramatically facilitate weight loss and a range of other uses. There are a ton of different peptides, and each of them plays a different purpose in the body. They can help with things like muscle repair, and animal models show that they can treat sexual dysfunction.

Peptides are also sometimes used as a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants are great for reducing inflammation that hinders injury recovery and prevents effective immune response against disease. Reducing inflammation helps you heal wounds faster and eliminate soreness.

Different Types of Peptides

Many people lump peptides into a single category, but there are actually several categories of peptides that separate them into functions. Here are some of them.

Dipeptides – These are peptides that are made up of two amino acids that are linked together by a single peptide bond.

Tripeptides – When three amino acids are chained together by two peptide bonds, it’s called a tripeptide. These are more complex peptides than dipeptides, and aspartame is a very popular low-calorie sweetener that is found in soft drinks, sugar-free gum, and a host of other products, this is an example of a tripeptide.

Oligopeptides – When you get into amino acid chains between 3 and 20 amino acids, you’re now in oligopeptide territory. These, again, must be linked together by peptide bonds.

Polypeptides – Anything above 20 amino acids linked by bonds is called a polypeptide. Insulin is an example of a polypeptide. Likewise, growth hormone is another polypeptide that is used for injury recovery and a host of other treatments.

Taking a Measured Approach to Health & Wellness

Whenever you start taking a new product or exploring new treatment options, you should consult your doctor to make sure you’re not taking any unnecessary risks. Take things slowly and watch how your body reacts. Go from there and find a product use plan that works for you.

It seems like every month, we’re getting new evidence of the health and performance benefits of peptides, and there is still a lot of research ongoing. As more resources are invested in peptides, we’ll no doubt continue to discover how we can use them to improve our quality of life.

Learning more about peptides and how you can use them is key to experiencing their many benefits. Find out how you can use peptides to feel better for longer!