What are Growth Releasing Peptides?

Peptides are the newly emerging science of cell signaling amino acid sequences, with far-reaching regulatory and rejuvenation actions on neuro-endocrine-immune functionality. The specifically targeted use of peptides in the environment has the potential to rewrite bodily chemistry relationships, and ultimately generate a restorative trend towards anabolism and homeostasis. Peptides can also be utilized and applied in the treatment of injuries, with capabilities that help prevent aging, illness, and enhance peak performance.

What is Growth Releasing Peptide Therapy?

A peptide is a short chain of amino acids that are linked together, and can be thought of as a small protein. To date, over 7,000 naturally-occurring peptides have been identified. In our bodies, these small proteins typically act as signaling molecules. They bind to receptors on the cell surface and tell other cells and molecules what to do.

Growth Releasing Peptide Therapy, or the use of specific peptides in treatment, has gained great popularity in recent years. This is due largely to the fact that these peptides are highly specific (i.e., only do what you want them to do) while also being well-tolerated and safe. As of January 2015, there were over 60 US FDA-approved peptide medications, 140 peptide drugs being evaluated in clinical trials, and 500 in pre-clinical development.

Most of these peptide drugs are administered intradermally, but can also come in the form of transdermal creams and oral tablets.

What Conditions Does Growth Releasing Peptide Therapy Address?

Because these peptides are so numerous and variable in structure, their effects are likewise varied and wide-ranging. One class of these peptides are known as growth hormone secretagogues, and cause the secretion of one’s own, natural hGH in the body. These peptides have been shown to be very useful in the treatment of age-related conditions, osteoporosis, obesity, and various chronic inflammatory diseases, and have several advantages over traditional hGH administration.

Another type of peptide drug is composed of part of the hGH molecule that is responsible for fat cell death, and has been shown to be very effective as an anti-obesity drug. In addition to decreasing inflammation, these drugs lead to increased lean muscle mass and decreased body fat.

Growth Hormone Secretagogues (GHSs)

This class of peptides includes several therapeutics that stimulate growth hormone (hGH) secretion. Each peptide varies slightly as far as structure and mechanism of action. Thus, a certain peptide may be preferred depending on the patient’s health status and desired outcome. GHSs include: CJC 1295, GHRP 2, GHRP 6, Hexarelin, Sermorelin and Ipamorelin.

CJC 1295

This particular peptide offers therapeutic benefits similar to those of hGH. CJC 1295 is a growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) analogue. In other words, it is a molecule that serves the same purpose as does GHRH—the hormone that stimulates the anterior pituitary to release hGH. However, unlike GHRH, which has a half-life of only minutes after IV administration, CJC 1295 is able to remain active in the body for extended periods due to its ability to bind to a protein in the blood known as albumin and avoid degradation by various enzymes. CJC 1295 increases an important growth factor, IGF-1, in addition to hGH, leading to fat loss, lean muscle growth, and enhanced sleep.

GHRP 2

Growth hormone releasing peptide (GHRP) 2 is a type of peptide therapeutic that mimics the effects of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”. Ghrelin is a hormone that helps regulate appetite as well as energy distribution and rate of use, or metabolism. In the 1980’s, ghrelin was discovered to be the body’s natural ligand (or binding molecule) of the GHRP receptor in the anterior pituitary. This was a significant discovery, as it highlighted the role of ghrelin in hGH secretion and growth regulation. Modern biotechnology has used this knowledge to develop peptides that can be administered to mimic ghrelin’s hGH stimulation, but in a more targeted fashion. GHRP 2 is one such peptide, stimulating hGH secretion by 7-15 times, increasing appetite and meal initiation, while also decreasing fat mass and cholesterol.

GHRP 6

Similar to GHRP 2, this peptide is a more potent releaser of growth hormone, also acting on the ghrelin receptors of the anterior pituitary. Also like GHRP 2, GHRP 6 leads to increased growth hormone production, increased lean body mass, and decreased adiposity. Due to the peptide’s ghrelin-like properties, administration can lead to increased appetite.

Hexarelin

Hexarelin is a peptide that is derived from GHRP 6, but has been optimized to enhance its metabolic stability. Like the other GHSs, hexarelin increases hGH production, resulting in increased muscle mass, bone density, skin elasticity, and decreased body fat. Unlike the other GHRPs, however, hexarelin does not lead to a substantial increase in ghrelin and therefore does not cause the same appetite stimulation. This peptide has been further promoted for its cardioprotective and regenerative action as well. Hexarelin would be an ideal choice for those looking to benefit from increased growth hormone without appetite stimulation.

Ipamorelin

Ipamorelin stands out among other GHSs due to its enhanced specificity. This peptide generates similar increases in growth hormone secretion, but without the appetite stimulation and increase in cortisol, acetylcholine, prolactin, and aldosterone seen with other peptides in its class. This peptide has been found to be very well-tolerated.

GRF 1-29

Is a Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH) produced by the brain that stimulates the production and release of Growth Hormone (GH). GRF 1-29 was first developed in the 70s, which is thought to be the shortest fully functional fragment of GHRH and has been used as a test for Growth Hormone secretion. It is often used extensively in Anti-aging Therapy along with Testosterone in men. GRF 1-29 affects a more primary source of failure in the GH neuroendocrine axis, has more physiological activity, and its use for adult hormone deficiency is not restricted. Compared to human Growth Hormone (hGH), GRF 1-29 is a growth hormone secretagogue, which means that it stimulates the pituitary gland to produce and secrete growth hormone. Also, GRF 1-29 and Modified GRF 1-29 contains 29 amino acids whereas hGH is a larger molecule containing 191 amino acids.

AOD 9064

This peptide is a modified fragment of hGH which contains the portion of the molecule that is believed to be responsible for hGH’s anti-obesity effects. The peptide has been shown to increase fat burning without the increase in blood sugar and growth rate that has been seen with hGH itself. AOD 9604 has been deemed safe for chronic use by the FDA, receiving Human GRAS status in 2014. In addition to its utility as an anti-obesity peptide, AOD 9604 has been shown to have very favorable cartilage repair and regenerative properties, especially when paired with peptide BPC 157.

Melanotan II

Melanotan II is an analogue of alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone, the hormone responsible for pigmentation in skin and hair. This peptide has been shown not only to increase skin pigmentation, resulting in a substantially tanner skin tone, but also to stimulate fat loss and increase libido. Its aphrodisiac effects were so substantial that it was the basis for the development of another peptide designed exclusively to address erectile and sexual dysfunction—Bremelanotide PT 141.

Bremelanotide PT 141

Bremelanotide PT 141 was developed from Melanotan II, targeting its aphrodisiac effects. This peptide has been shown to have a substantial effect on libido, generating sexual arousal in both men and women within minutes of administration. It has been shown to be effective in treating erectile dysfunction, even in men who have not responded to other ED treatments, such as Viagra. This peptide is also able to cross the blood-brain-barrier, bypassing the vascular system and acting at the level of the central nervous system. This property gives Bremelanotide an advantage over traditional ED drugs, which can decrease blood pressure to dangerous levels. This peptide can be administered as a nasal spray, making its use convenient and discreet.

Follastatin 344 & 315

These peptides are inhibitors of a protein called myostatin. Myostatin is secreted by muscle cells and acts to essentially block the development of new muscle fibers and, thus, the development of lean muscle mass. In fact, individuals who have mutations in the gene coding for this protein have significantly more muscle mass and enhanced strength. The administration of follistatin peptides can generate enhanced muscle mass and strength, and has been found especially useful in patients suffering from muscle-wasting diseases or who have difficulty gaining muscle.

SARMs S4 & S22

SARMs are selective androgen receptor modulators. Androgens are naturally occurring hormones—such as testosterone—that regulate the development and maintenance of male sex characteristics. SARMs provide the benefits of anabolic steroids (i.e., increased muscle mass/strength, fat loss, increased bone density, increased libido) without the quantity and/or severity of unwanted effects. SARMs are not toxic to the liver, separating them from most oral steroids and making them an attractive treatment option to those looking to benefit from anabolic steroid drugs.

MGF

MGF stands for mechano growth factor—a peptide derived from insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which plays a large role in childhood development and continues to have anabolic effects throughout adulthood. MGF has the ability to encourage repair and growth of wasted tissue through the activation of muscle stem cells, thereby increasing the synthesis of proteins necessary for tissue growth. This peptide is ideal of anyone suffering from muscle loss, either due to old age or a particular condition.

Cerebrolysin

Cerebrolysin—also known as FPE 1070—is a synthetic nootropic drug. Nootropic drugs are substances that enhance cognitive functions such as memory, creativity, and motivation in otherwise healthy individuals. This peptide is extremely small, allowing it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and act directly on the neurons of the central nervous system. Cerebrolysin has been found to improve the metabolic activity of brain tissue, shield neurons from harmful substances, and stimulate the peripheral and central nervous systems. In addition to its utility as a nootropic substance, the drug has potential as part of a treatment plan addressing Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and moderate to severe head injury.

What Is a Subcutaneous Injection?

A subcutaneous injection is a method of administering medication. Subcutaneous means under the skin.

In this type of injection, a short needle is used to inject a drug into the tissue layer between the skin and the muscle. Medication given this way is usually absorbed more slowly than if injected into a vein, sometimes over a period of 24 hours.

This type of injection is used when other methods of administration might be less effective. For example, some medications can’t be given by mouth because acid and enzymes in the stomach would destroy them.

Other methods, like intravenous injection, can be difficult and costly. For small amounts of delicate drugs, a subcutaneous injection can be a useful, safe, and convenient method of getting a medication into your body.

Medications given using subcutaneous injection

Medications administered by subcutaneous injection include drugs that can be given in small volumes (usually less than 1 mL but up to 2 mL is safe). Insulin and some hormones are commonly administered as subcutaneous injections.

At Method Health, we recommend injecting any of our Peptide Therapies or our HCG Therapies subcutaneous.

Preparing for a subcutaneous injection

The location of injection is important for subcutaneous injections. The drug needs to be injected into the fatty tissue just below the skin. Some areas of the body have a more easily accessible layer of tissue, where a needle injected under the skin will not hit muscle, bone, or blood vessels.

The most common injection sites are:

  • Abdomen: at or under the level of the belly button, about two inches away from the navel
  • Arm: back or side of the upper arm
  • Thigh: front of the thigh

Equipment used for subcutaneous injections includes:

1. Medication: Vials of liquid medication can be single-use or multiuse. Vials can also be filled with a powder to which liquid needs to be added.

2. Syringes: The needles are short, at 5/8 inches long. The thickness of the needle is usually 25 or 27 gauge. There may be other options for doses more than 1 mL or for children or people with visual impairments.

3. Auto-injector pen: Some medications are available in a “pen” with a short single-use needle screwed onto the end of a pen-shaped, multiuse vial. The amount of medication needed is then dialed in at the end. As mentioned earlier, emergency medications like epinephrine can also come in this form.

How to administer a subcutaneous injection

1. Wash your hands. Wash your hands with soap and warm water to prevent potential infection. Be sure to thoroughly scrub between fingers, on the backs of hands, and under fingernails. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends lathering for 20 seconds — the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

2. Gather supplies. Assemble the following supplies:

  • Needle and syringe with medication or auto-injector pen
  • Alcohol pads
  • Gauze
  • Puncture-resistant container to discard the used needles and syringe (typically a red, plastic “sharp’s container”)
  • Bandages

3. Clean and inspect the injection site. Before injecting medication, inspect your skin to make sure there’s no bruising, burns, swelling, hardness, or irritation in the area. Alternate injection sites to prevent damage to an area with repeated injections. Then you should clean the skin with an alcohol swab. Let the alcohol dry thoroughly before doing the injection.

4. Prepare the syringe with medication. Before withdrawing medication from a vial and injecting yourself or someone else, make sure you’re using the correct medication, at the correct dose, at the correct time, and in the right manner. Use a new needle and syringe with every injection.

Preparing a syringe:

Remove the cap from the vial. If the vial is multidose, make a note about when the vial was first opened. The rubber stopper should be cleaned with an alcohol swab.

Draw air into the syringe. Draw back the plunger to fill the syringe with air up to the dose that you’ll be injecting. This is done because the vial is a vacuum, and you need to add an equal amount of air to regulate the pressure. This makes it easier to draw the medication into the syringe. Don’t worry, though — if you forget this step, you can still get the medication out of the vial.

Insert air into the vial. Remove the cap from the needle and push the needle through the rubber stopper at the top of the vial. Inject all the air into the vial. Be careful to not touch the needle to keep it clean.

Withdraw the medication. Turn the vial and syringe upside down so the needle points upward. Then pull back on the plunger to withdraw the correct amount of medication.

Remove any air bubbles. Tap the syringe to push any bubbles to the top and gently depress the plunger to push the air bubbles out.

Preparing an auto-injector:

  • If you’re using a pen delivery system, attach the needle to the pen.
  • The first time you use the pen, you’ll need to prime it to push out extra air in the delivery system.
  • Dial a small dose (usually 2 units or 0.02 mL, or as indicated by the package instructions) and push the button to expel the primer.
  • Dial the correct dose and prepare for your injection.

5. Inject the medication.

Pinch your skin. Take a big pinch of skin between your thumb and index finger and hold it. (Your thumb and forefinger should be about an inch and a half apart.) This pulls the fatty tissue away from the muscle and makes the injection easier.

Inject the needle. Inject the needle into the pinched skin at a 90-degree angle. You should do this quickly, but without great force. If you have very little fat on your body, you may need to inject the needle at a 45-degree angle to the skin.

Insert the medication. Slowly push the plunger to inject the medication. You should inject the entire amount of medication.

Withdraw the needle. Let go of the pinched skin and withdraw the needle. Discard the used needle in a puncture-resistant sharp’s container.

Apply pressure to the site. Use gauze to apply light pressure to the injection site. If there’s any bleeding, it should be very minor. You may notice a little bruising later. This is common and nothing to be concerned about.

Complications of subcutaneous injection

If you’ll be doing this type of injection for more than one dose or for multiple days, you’ll need to rotate the injection sites. This means that you shouldn’t inject medicine into the same spot twice in a row.

For example, if you injected medicine into your left thigh this morning, use your right thigh this afternoon. Using the same injection site over and over again can cause discomfort and even tissue damage.

As with any injection procedure, infection at the site of injection is a possibility. Signs of infection at the injection site include:

  • Severe pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth or drainage
  • These symptoms should be reported to your physician immediately.

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