Peptides – A New Era

This chapter is modified from a two part article I wrote last year for my good friend Paul Jeffreys for the NABBA magazine. It was very well received so I thought I’d include it here rather write an in-depth chapter on peptides as I really don’t consider them to be ‘all that’.

peptide use in bodybuilding

‘Peptides’ have become increasingly popular in bodybuilding/strength circles in the last 5 years or so, due in part to a reduction in availability of authentic steroids in the U.K., the legal aspects of steroid possession/use (peptides for ‘experimetal use are at press still considered legal), but mostly due to the fact that some mislead individuals are thinking they are the new Holy Grail of muscle growth (they aren’t). As a simple science lesson, synthetically produced GH, natural GH and Insulin are in fact complete protein peptide hormones, which as we know have been used in bodybuilding for the last 40-50 years or so. Before we get into what these designer peptides do though, I must supply a little scientific background as to what they actually are and even though I could go into a shit-load of scientific jargon here, you’ll just get bored and turn the page, so I’ll keep it as simple as I can.

A peptide is an amino acid chain (amino acids being the building blocks of proteins), responsible for signalling different responses in the body. These amino chains already exist in the body in one form or another, which is why some consider them as ‘natural’ compounds (although testosterone exists in the human body too, adding extra is considered cheating in most cases). Peptides have been classified in research and manufacture according to a number sequence in many cases, which is why some are just numbers and letters (see later).

Now these artificially manufactured compounds can replicate certain hormones within the human body to signal or trigger certain effects. Whereas GH (a total protein hormone of 191 amino acids), can attach to receptors at multiple sites within the body to influence different effects (say muscle cells, bone cells and fats cells, to name but three), shorter peptides have been isolated to trigger certain effects in a specific area/s. Imagine it’s like having a full tool box which you can mend a whole car with, but then you take certain tools out for different jobs and keep them apart in separate drawers which do specific jobs…sort of.

On the legality issue, peptides are always classed as ‘research chemicals’, not intended for human use. This is because anything that was intended for human use and especially compounds that are meant to be injected, would have to undergo intensive human research and testing, taking many years before approval. They are classed as research chemicals for use in lab experiments ONLY, which is why on the forums you will see guys talking about injecting their rat/rabbits/guinea pigs with peptides, etc., not specifically saying they are injecting themselves, as a get out clause if any legal repercussions came about.

So we get an array of peptides that have different effects in the body. But which do what? I’ll list the most commonly used first:

GHRP-6

The letters stand for ‘Growth Hormone Releasing Peptide’, and the compound is a peptide in the growth factor family, known as a HEXAPEPTIDE and GH SECRATAGOGUE. It has a strong effect on the release of endogenous (naturally produced) human growth hormone, in a dose related manner. It has been used in school medicine for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency in children and young adults, which drives home just how powerful this compound is at influencing the body to release its own natural GH. It works by signalling the pituitary gland to secrete GH itself, but also by the suppression of SOMATOSTATIN too (an antagonist of growth hormone releasing hormone – GHRH).

GHRP-6 Peptides for bodybuilding

Obviously, Increasing GH (and therefore IGF-1) levels are desirable for those looking to improve their physique in terms of increased muscle mass and loss of body fat, rejuvenation and strengthening of joints through connective tissue synthesis and bone mass density increases, as well as enhancing immune response and stimulating the immune system, particularly in those of us getting on in years (ahem). For anti-ageing purposes, GHRP-6 is normally singly dosed just before bed at night with users reporting the best night’s sleep they have ever had plus some funky dreams to match (since GH is released during REM or ‘dream sleep’ so the GHRP-6 sort of ‘forces’ us to dream). For bodybuilding purposes, users attempt to mimic pulsatile GH release for best results by administering multiple times throughout the day.

Dose-wise, studies have shown that the body will release a decent amount of natural GH with a dose of only 100mcg (termed the SATURATION DOSE) injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly. Higher doses can be used up to 300-500mcg in a single shot but double the dose does not mean double the GH; the amount of release is not directly proportional and the ratio of release diminishes as the dose climbs. I personally find 250mcg to be my sweet spot and doesn’t cost too much to run a short cycle at that dose.

All relevant GH side effects of numb/tingling hands and arms (especially at night), and water retention will be experienced by the user, but it also has a tremendouse hunger influencing side effect due to its ability to mimic GHRELIN (the hormone that makes our stomach growl and makes us want to eat). Obviously, ravenous hunger isn’t something one would want during a contest diet phase so one might swap from GHRP-6 to GHRP-2, another GH secratagogue which does not make you hungry but which I find is slightly less effective in GH release doses being equal. During the off-season however, hunger can be the bulking bodybuilders’ best friend, so I like to include GHRP-6 solely for this effect in some instances (GH influence aside), in myself and the athletes I help who struggle to find the appetite needed to get through all the food sometimes needed to pack on serious off-season mass.

Since GHRP-6 influences natural GH release, rules for its administration are similar to those when administering GH itself, i.e. do not have the dose within a 2 hour window after a meal, and/or wait 30 minutes till eating after dosing, due to any endogenous insulin release from the meal possibly stunting the release of natural GH and its uptake by the relevant cells.

GHRP’s have been used whilst steroid cycling, but due to their nature and comparative weakness to steroids and the like, I find the best use of these compounds is during and after post cycle therapy in an attempt to keep as much of the steroid-induced gains as possible as well as helping the users mind-set as they still feel like they are ‘on’ something…sad but true. GHRP’s are also cycled in an alternate fashion with GH (and IGF), so as to keep the body’s natural GH production systems from de-sensitizing and shutting down completely…much in the same way that steroid users alternate HCG with steroids; to keep the natural testosterone system functioning optimally.

GHRP’s come in a lypholised dry powder form, usually in vials of 5,000-10,000mcg (5-10mg). To mix, bacteriostatic or sterile water is normally used for reconstitution. Once diluted, peptides lasts quite a long time when left alone in the refrigerator (I would say safely up to 3 months), but some users (myself inculded) load pins with the required total daily dose and freeze them en-batch, ready for defrosting shortly before their shot is due…just to guard against any possible temperature related degradation.

Please note that this excerpt is only a small sample of the book chapter it is taken from. A great deal more content is available on this and many other topics in the Break the Code book.

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