Peptide therapy, used for everything from anti-aging to weight loss as well as muscle recovery and inflammation reduction, has been a growing wellness trend of late, and yet so few even know what they are, what they do, nor how they work.
We interrogated Dr. Ryan Greene—an osteopathic physician with a focus on human performance, sports medicine, nutrition and the most cutting-edge recovery methods available, not to mention the founder of our new favorite health club, LA’s Monarch Athletic Club—about why he believes peptides to be safer and more efficient than other available options out there, and the likely reason they’ve remained mostly behind the scenes until now.
SO WHAT ARE THEY?
“Peptides are not always hormones. They stimulate your body to produce a hormone, or they stimulate your body to produce a substance that will lead to a hormone response. Some of them may signal to your body, ‘Hey, we need more growth hormone’ or, ‘We need better immune system activity to help deal with inflammation.’ So, there’s a lot of different types of peptides, but for the most part, they are a naturally-occurring compound that your body already makes.
You cannot patent a biologically-occurring compound, so no pharmaceutical company can make a significant amount of money from peptides. That’s also why they’ve been attenuated in terms of their understanding, because no one’s going to do research if there’s no significant windfall of money. So that’s why peptides have been behind the scenes for a while.”
EUROPE DID IT FIRST
“In Europe and other parts of the world, they’ve been using peptides effectively for a long time, so we’re better educated and better set up to obtain them. People can now use them intelligently, with the guidance of a physician, to basically augment what their body is already doing. So, if it’s muscle recovery, there are peptides that can help facilitate muscle recovery that don’t have the adverse effects of a synthetic growth hormone, which has a high risk for potential side effects. And now we’re discovering they’re able to help with everything from muscle recovery to cognitive function to reducing inflammation, reducing body weight, improving insulin sensitivity. Some have even been found to improve memory. And they can be injected or administered orally, or even as nasal sprays.”
SAFTER THAN GROWTH HORMONES
“When you’re dealing with synthetic compounds, while they can bind receptors and have a similar result to peptides, if they can’t be used for something else, they’re just going to circulate in your system until they get used for something which may not always be a positive outcome and might end up creating some sort of negative health risk. The reason peptides are safer is because they’re a naturally occurring compound, so once they’re in your system, if they don’t find an area to execute their mechanism of action, your body can break them down into pieces and use them for something else.”
PEPTIDES AND WEIGHT LOSS
“There are many peptides that help facilitate weight loss. Ipamorelin, Sermorelin, and Tesamorelin tend to be very effective in terms of weight loss. And there’s a really exciting new one called Semaglutide, which is the active ingredient of Ozempic and Wegovy, which are generating a lot of press because they’re demonstrating anywhere from 5 to 20 kilos of sustained fat loss when administered monthly over a 52 to 60-week period.”
IT’S A TEAM EFFORT
“But all of the studies have shown that it’s only effective if you also participate in a well-monitored diet and exercise program. It’s not something where you can just sit at home and inject yourself, and all this weight’s going to melt off. You do need to do something.
If you have a poor lifestyle, no amount of peptides is going to fix that. If you dial things in, in terms of sleep, movement, hydration, nutrition, then these peptides are going to take you to another level that you haven’t experienced, but if you just start taking peptides and you’re still drinking too much, not sleeping, not exercising, nothing is going to overcome those poor lifestyle decisions.”
SO, HOW MUCH WILL THAT RUN ME?
“Semaglutide, if you get the brand name, is about $1,300 a month. The peptide formulation of Semaglutide for a three-month supply is roughly $400 to $500, versus $1,300 a month if you go with a brand name.”
REPUTABLE SOURCES ONLY
“The one area that’s been an issue is a lot of the producers of these peptides didn’t always execute their operations in accordance with laws and standards, so it’s not uncommon to see pharmacies that are producing peptides get shut down for any one of a myriad of ADA violations. If you’re working with someone who’s prescribing peptides and putting a protocol together, you want to make sure they’re getting them from a reputable source because you can technically order peptides on the internet as a general consumer, but most of those are intended for laboratory use only, so there’s a lot of misinformation and misconceptions.
You really want to work with someone who understands what they’re doing and has been well vetted, which is harder than it seems, but they’re far more efficacious and cost-friendly than using growth hormones and a lot safer than a lot of the hormone therapies people do.”
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are those of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of LEO.