What are Peptides?

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When the word Peptides comes up in a conversation, it’s common to hear people say “Peptides aren’t as strong as Steroids”, and while this may be true, every time a Pro Athlete’s stack is leaked online, sure enough there is at least one Peptide involved. Peptides are actually popular in the medical community, as the effects stretch further than just pure hypertrophy and fat loss. However, with so many available, how do we choose the ones that are best for us in our current situation? Are they a better option for females due to the lack of Androgenic side effects? Let’s find out.


The History of Peptides 

Peptides have been around in pharmacology since 1901, when glycylglycine was first prepared. Peptides refer to a short chain of Amino Acids that are bound with Peptide bonds, hence the name. When administered into the body they can have varying effects depending on the length and sequence of the chain. 

Around 239 Peptides have been approved for clinical use by the FDA, and the uses can vary greatly, ranging from fightin muscle wasting diseases, to increasing lipolysis (fat loss). The most commonly used Peptide is Human Growth Hormone (HGH or Somatotropin), which has multiple fat loss, muscle building, and anti-aging/longevity benefits. It is common to now see Professional Athletes perform well into their forties, when 30-40 years ago this was not the case. A big component of this is the rising popularity of exogenous hGH usage, now even prescribed by doctors as part of a Hormone Replacement THerapy (HRT) protocol.

Today Peptides are widely used by professional athletes, the elderly, diabetics, bodybuilders, and average people looking to improve their quality of life. Due to the effects and mechanism of action, most Peptides are generally well tolerated by almost everyone, man, woman, those in between, and of any age. The lack of Androgenic side effects associated with Peptides makes them perfectly safe (and efficacious) for women, unlike most Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids.


Different Types of Peptides 

Different Peptides will have a wide range of effects on the body. Depending on the compound(s) you can expect to significantly increase performance and quality of life. Generally they fall into one of four categories: Muscle Growth, Fat Loss, Longevity, and others.

Muscle Growth Peptides can promote the synthesis of new muscle tissue via Hyperplasia. Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 is utilized for this purpose. 

Fat Loss Peptides can burn fat via multiple different pathways, such as decreasing the uptake of free fatty acids by adipocytes, inhibiting lipoprotein lipase, which in turn leads to more stored fat being liberated and utilized to fuel the body. Human Growth Hormone is used for this, and other purposes. 

Longevity Peptides can be used to enhance one’s quality of life, and extend that life as long as possible. Many different pathways can be utilized such as increasing angiogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels), which can also dramatically reduce inflammation. Typically Human Growth Hormone, HCG , PT-141, TB-500, and BPC-157 would be used for their longevity effects. 

Other Peptides that don’t fit into the above categories are many and can include compounds that can change the color of one’s skin, enhance libido, expedite healing from injury, and be used for Post Cycle Therapy (PCT). Melanotan-II, PT-141, TB-500, BPC-157 and HCG are used for these reasons.


Peptides vs Steroids

A great misconception in the pharmacology world is that Peptides are similar to Steroids. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A Steroid is a synthetic hormone that will bind to Androgen Receptors and cause a biological change there. Peptides are natural chains of Amino Acids that can cause a myriad of different changes throughout the body via multiple pathways. Steroids will have more anabolic attributes, and the related adverse side effects compared to Peptides. Peptides have other benefits such as; not suppressing Endogenous Testosterone production, inducing Androgenic side effects, or causing infertility as prolonged Steroid use can. 

Growth Hormone, and directly IGF-1 is proven to uniquely induce Hyperplasia, which is the increase of the number of tissue cells within muscle – the creation of brand new muscle tissue from satellite cells. Steroids are proven to enhance Hypertrophy, which is the growth of existing muscle cells. The combination of optimizing the two different growth pathways together has great synergy if the ultimate goal is maximum muscular development. 


The Side Effects…

While Peptides tend to be a safer option than certain other performance enhancing drugs, unfortunately they all still come with some differing side effects. Making blanket statements about the positive, or adverse side effects of Peptides would be erroneous due to the pharmacological differences between the hundreds of differing Peptides available. However it is known that typically Peptide use will not bring as adverse side effects as Steroid use can. 


Popular Peptides

With an abundance of Peptides available to serve a number of different purposes, it can be overwhelming when deciding which peptides might be right for you.Here are some of the most popular and efficacious peptides, based on both clinical studies and anecdotal evidence.


BPC-157 (Body Protection Compound)

The most common Peptide for joint tissue injury repair is BPC-157, hands down. Naturally produced from gut secretions, this peptide has been shown to not only decrease inflammation, but can rapidly expedite the healing process following an injury. The way BPC-157 works is by causing Angiogenesis – the process of forming new blood vessels which increases the blood flow of essential nutrients to a site – therefore increasing potential recovery capabilities. Additionally, BPC-157 is used to help treat different gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS and Chrone’s Disease.


Possible Dosage: 

  • Men/Women: 200-400 mcg/day (injected SubQ or IM, as close to the injured area, or orally consumed for gut health).

HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)

HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is a popular peptide primarily used as part of a PCT protocol. It is used on cycle by some steroid users, primarily for superficial reasons of retaining testicle size and seminal volume while running steroids that would otherwise suppress natural production. After one completes a steroid/SARM cycle, there will typically be complete, or significant suppression of endogenous Testosterone production, which can be a struggle to initiate and return to a normal physiological level. HCG causes the release of both LH and FSH which signal the testes to produce Testosterone and Sperm via the Leydig cells. This  also increases Intratesticular testosterone (ITT), which plays a key role in spermatogenesis.

Clinically HCG is used to treat men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone). We know that having low Testosterone as a man can lead to a number of debilitating conditions like; depression, weight/fat gain, muscle loss, libido problems, mental health issues and a decreased quality of life. 

Posible Dosage: 

  • PCT Protocol for Men: 5,000-10,000 IU/total, evenly split daily, or every other day, for 10 days – after all Steroids/SARMs are cleared from the body (one day after cessation of oral SARM/Steroid ingestion, 4-7 days after short ester Steroid cessation, and 10-21 days after long ester Steroid cessation).
  • HRT/Low Testosterone Protocol: 500-1,000 IU/three times per week for 3-4 weeks, followed by 500-1,000 IU twice per week for maintenance. 
  • On Cycle Protocol: 250-500 mcg/week, split evenly into two separate weekly administrations.

IGF-1 LR3 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 LR3)

IGF-1 LR3, known as Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Long R3, is a prolonged form of regular IGF-1, which is a powerful growth factor that is part of homeostasis and can uniquely induce hyperplasia (synthesis of new muscle tissue), and enhance hypertrophy (increasing the size of muscle tissue) by promoting nitrogen retention and protein synthesis. 

We typically see two versions of IGF-1 on the market. IGF-1 DEC can be considered the short ester form of IGF-1 that is similar in mechanism of action, but it’s extremely short half-life of roughly 30 minutes requires multiple injections throughout the day, which is inconvenient and can be replaced by the LR3 form of IGF-1 which has a half-life of 20-30 hours, requiring only one daily (post workout site specific) injection. IGF-1 LR3 avoids binding to proteins in the body due to the substation of the Arg(R) Amino Acid for the Glu(E) Amino Acid at position three, hence the LR3 addition to the name. IGF-1 LR3 substantially has more effects on hypertrophy and fat loss. Muscles primed for insulin due to IGF-1, will be less likely to store Carbohydrates as fat, and can promote fat loss. 

Possible Dosage:

  • Men/Women: 15-60+ mcg/day (post-workout) .
  • Do not exceed 120 mcg/day to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
  • Cycle for 2-4 weeks on, followed by 2-4 weeks off to resensitize.


Melanotan-II is the new and improved offering of Melanotan, which was originally developed to treat skin cancer, however it was soon found it also stimulates the brain’s central melanocortin system, which results in the darkening of skin tone (with minimal UV ray exposure). Research has found that Melanotan-II not only darkens the skin tone of users, but it also greatly enhances libido in both men and women. It can also aid with reducing stored body fat. Melanotan-II usage can additionally decrease appetite, which makes it a handy tool for those trying to curb hunger and/or lose weight. 

Possible Dosage: 

  • Men/Women: 125-250 mcg to first assess tolerance. If tolerated without experiencing nausea, increase to 0.5-1 mg/day until your desired skin tone is achieved. To maintain your tan take 250-500 mcg twice per week, or as needed.

Human Growth Hormone (Oxytrop)

Human Growth Hormone is the one of the most popular and regularly used Peptides, and for a number of reasons. HGH has many benefits such as enhancing longevity, expediting healing and aiding with fat loss. Growth Hormone will act upon two enzymes that will largely control lipolysis and lipogenesis, namely Lipoprotein Lipase (LP) and Hormone Sensitive Lipase (HSL), which makes this peptide very efficacious in regards to fat loss and not gaining body fat.

The release of Growth Hormone initially downregulates the uptake of Free Fatty Acids (FFA) into Adipocytes (Fat Cells) by inhibiting LPL. With the lack of LPL, FFA will stay in the blood, and the body will reduce the demand for Glucose for energy, and rather use these FFAs. Growth Hormone will also increase the action of HSL. HSL will break down stored triglycerides into FFAs, which can then be used as fuel for the body. 

Growth Hormone can also be used to enhance muscular hypertrophy, as the presence of exogenous Growth Hormone (or secreted endogenous GH) in the body initiates the creation of IGF-1 within the liver. IGF-1 has been linked to an inducing muscular hyperplasia (the creation of new muscle tissue). The creation of new muscle fibers within the muscle belly can lead to an increase in muscle mass that would not be possible otherwise. Growth Hormone itself is not very anabolic, and will not yield the same results associated with Steroids or SARMs, but is generally stacked with these more anabolic compounds. 

Growth Hormones primary function is linked to promoting recovery, by increasing cell regeneration, and cell reproduction. This also makes HGH a very popular peptide for its anti-aging attributes, as it will slow down the biological aging process for cells, which externally benefits skin quality and hair growth, not to mention the myriad of internal bodily benefits. 

The ideal timing of Human Growth Hormone administration can be very subjective. The mechanism of action of Growth Hormone can change depending on the timing of administration. The following breakdown is a condensed version of what happens when Growth Hormone enters the bloodstream.

Growth Hormone does not cause anabolism by itself. It does however signal to contractile tissue (and other tissue as well) to be prepared for growth. With the presence of Growth Hormone (endogenous or exogenous), the Pancreas will then produce Glucagon and Lipase; Lipase will release Fatty Acids from Adipocytes and Glucagon will circulate the system and reach the liver. The liver will then contribute Glucose from Glycogen stores into the bloodstream, which causes blood sugar to increase, which initiates the Pancreas to release insulin. Putting all this together, you have cells that are prepared for growth, fuel (via fat and sugar) that is available in the bloodstream and insulin to shuttle the nutrients where they are needed to go. The ideal timing of HGH administration will differ based on the desired goal.

Timing Protocols:

  • For optimal fat loss, the best time to inject is while fasting, before cardio. HGH will increase the amount of fat (liberated from stored body fat) into the bloodstream, and by then doing fasted cardio, that fat will primarily be used for fuel. 
  • For enhanced muscle growth, the best time to inject is before bed. Optimal recovery and growth happens during quality REM sleep, HGH can enhance quality of sleep while it works its magic.

Possible Dosage: 

  • Men: 2-6+ IU/day
  • Women: 1-2 IU/day

PT-141 (Bremelanotide) 

PT-141 was originally derived from Melanotan, and chemically altered to enhance its aphrodisiac attributes. Research has shown PT-141 to be roughly 50x stronger than its predecessor Melanotan when it comes to libido enhancement. Multiple clinical studies have shown that both women and men who use Bremelanotide experience significantly increased libido/arousal, and post intercourse. PT-141 functions via the central nervous system, so is different than traditional sexual enhancement medication such as Viagra or Cialis, which are PDE 5 Inhibitors (which are vasodialators, increasing blood flow to the genitals). PT-141 binds to the melanocortin receptors (MC3-R and MC4-R) in the hypothalamus in the brain, which will result in a erectogenic effect for males, and a sexual stimulory effect for females. This peptide is a game changing compound for those who suffer from sexual dysfunction.

Possible Dosage:

  • Men/Women: 0.5-1 mg, 1-4 hours prior to intercourse, as needed.

TB-500 (Thymosin Beta-4 variation)

TB-500 is a synthetic variation of Thymosin Beta-4, which is commonly regarded as a “miracle healing peptide” when it comes to recovery. TB-500 a synthetic version of the naturally produced Thymosin Beta-4 peptide that is naturally secreted by the Thymus gland in humans during adolescence until the gland serves its natural purpose and then atrophies and dies. Research has found that TB-500 can promote Angiogenesis, cell differentiation, Keratinocyte migration, and can decrease inflammation. TB-500 has the ability to regulate Actin, which plays a vital role in the function and structure of the cells within contractile tissue. This allows TB-500 to expedite the healing process of multiple types of injuries (wounds, scars, burns, etc.), making this peptide invaluable for those recovering from an injury or surgery, and also for those looking to promote anti-aging.

Possible Dosage: 

  • Men/Women: Loading phase (4-5 weeks) @ 5-10 mg/week (split total weekly dosage into 2 injections per week). Maintenance phase @ 2-5 mg/week.

TB-500 & BPC-157 Blend

The combination of BPC-157 & TB-500 will result in a 1+1=3 mechanism, by which the synergy of these two miracle healing peptides works exceptionally well together. This “miracle healing” blend will expedite the rate of healing and recovery from  injuries such as; cuts, scars, burns, bone fractures/breaks, muscle/tendon/ligament damage/tears, etc. Both peptides function via different mechanisms of action and together they will expedite recovery from training and injury like nothing else. This peptide blend is commonly used by elite athletes and anyone looking to quickly recover from injury like the “Wolverine” superhero. Where TB-500 is a synthetic variation of Thymosin Beta-4 that primarily enhances the recovery of contractile muscle tissue, BPC-157 is a synthetic form of Body Protection Compound that can heal connective tissue and gastro-intestinal issues. Combined, these two peptides can promote healing of the entire body making it a compound unlike no other.

Possible Dosage:

  • Injury Healing protocol: Men/Women @ 400-800 mcg/day.

So are Peptides for YOU?

As the popularity of Peptides continues to grow, providing users with a number of different benefits, their use has become more mainstream as with Steroids and SARMs. People of different ages, sex, and demographics experiment with these valuable compounds for their many life enhancing characteristics. Some peptides have become invaluable in clinical settings for the treatment of a number of chronic medical conditions and diseases. They can be used by athletes for their performance enhancing attributes, giving a competitive edge over the competition. Recently, peptide use has even been getting more mainstream, as regular people utilize these compounds to help recover,heal, tan, sleep, grow, stimulate libido, etc. It’s safe to say that there are probably at least a few peptides out there that could benefit your quality of life.

There is no cookie cutter Peptide protocol, there are hundreds of them available, and what works for someone, may not work as well for the next person. When it comes to Peptide use, you must be responsible, by doing your own research, setting appropriate attainable goals, and putting in the work to train, eat, recover, and supplement adequately, as there are multiple factors that are all equally essential for obtaining optimal health. Even a slight deficiency in any one area will hinder growth and limit your potential. 

Experimenting with different compounds responsibly over time will show you which Peptides work best for you and what dosages can be safely managed. Ideally you always want to use the least possible amount of a compound that will allow you to reach your goals, with the minimal amount of adverse side effects, while maintaining the highest quality of life. Ensuring you can obtain pharmaceutical grade Peptides from a reputable underground lab (UGL) such as Oxygen Pharm is essential as most all UGLs in North America produce very poor quality compounds that are typically underdosed by 20-80% of the advertised potency, and/or are completely counterfeit that can render nothing other than adverse side effects. Responsible PED use should allow one to achieve their goals, while maintaining optimal health and quality of life. 

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