Using Peptide’s for Men’s Wellness
Men can greatly benefit from the use of peptides in their health care programs. Peptides are building blocks for all body structures, including muscles. The peptide market is different from other nutritional supplements; there are very few independent companies producing them and most peptides are made by pharmaceutical manufacturers or produced through biotech companies specializing in fermentation products (microorganism derived).
Because peptides cannot be patented like drugs they will not make it to the mainstream of supplement industry and will remain a highly specialized area. There is however increasing demand for these unique compounds that we’ll discuss below. Studies of men over 60 showed that plasma levels of Arginine – Glicinamide (A-G) were significantly lower than those of young men.
A-G is formed by the enzyme NO synthase from Arginine and Glycine. Studies also showed that administration of 2 grams per day increased plasma levels of A-G in men over 60 with low levels. The increase was parallel with the improvement in walking performance, general well-being, skin elasticity, muscle strength, and cognitive functions. This amino acid combination may be the best solution for the prevention or treatment of erectile dysfunction due to its positive effect on nitric oxide production and erection quality.
Increased testosterone levels are also very desirable, especially as we age; they help define masculinity and enhance libido which is for many men’s health issues.
Decreased gonadotropin secretion leads to decreased testosterone production. This may be the cause of age-associated decreases in serum testosterone levels. One study showed that supplementation with several hormones including DHEA, L-arginine, and Zinc increased circulating testosterone levels in men over 60 years of age.
One recent paper did a detailed analysis on the effect of 25 different Peptides on various aspects of Testosterone function. Not surprisingly, all peptides were able to increase systemic (blood) Testosterone levels but some had no effect at all on libido. Other peptides affected different stages of the sexual response cycle without affecting plasma Testosterone or luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. The authors concluded that it is possible to affect Testosterone function and the sexual response cycle at the same time with one peptide, but not with other peptides acting via different mechanisms.
An example of this was found when studying the bradykinin 2 receptor (BK2). Bradykinin is a small protein or peptide that can bind to plasma membrane receptors for kinins and cause blood vessels to dilate and smooth muscles surrounding blood vessels to relax by activating G-proteins. BK2 specifically activates Gq proteins and stimulates cyclic AMP production and thus also the release of stored catecholamines in chromaffin cells. This can result in penile erections as well as increased energy expenditure, lipolysis, and thermogenesis.
The authors found that BK2 peptide can increase blood flow to the penis in animals without affecting the plasma levels of Testosterone or LH. This suggests that it is possible to have an increase in penile blood flow without increasing serum testosterone levels if other pathways are activated by the peptide at the same time.
Other examples include one study where several peptides were able to enhance sexual desire, but only if their half-life was less than 10 minutes or they caused little or no increases in plasma Testosterone or LH. The best example here would be Melanotan II which was used in a clinical trial for male erectile dysfunction resulting from spinal cord injury. It improved all aspects of sexual function including sexual arousal, erection hardness, orgasmic function, and satisfaction. It is still not approved for this indication by the FDA but it shows that such peptides can lead to improvements in male health without effects on Testosterone plasma levels.
Do Peptides Work?
The evidence from these studies strongly suggests that peptides can have a positive effect on male health and actually restore normal function. Sometimes the effects are only seen in those with low levels or those who are deficient in certain hormones or chemicals. The mechanisms by which they exert their beneficial effects vary but they do not appear to affect Testosterone plasma levels directly. This makes them promising for many men’s health issues since it is possible to avoid the complications associated with Testosterone replacement therapy, without decreasing serum T levels.
Since peptide therapy has become more popular, several companies have come out with products of questionable quality that may be dangerous for some users. It is therefore highly advisable to use specifically designed supplements that clearly state all ingredients and their quantities so you know exactly what you are getting. The benefits of peptides can be great but so can the risks if they are used incorrectly or without adequate knowledge.