Both peptides and proteins are made of amino acid chains. The main difference between the two is that peptide chains are shorter than protein chains. However, both are essential building blocks for much of what happens in your body.
Peptides are molecules made of anywhere between two and 50 amino acids. On the other hand, proteins are larger, with at least 50 amino acids. Fewer amino acids mean that proteins are usually more complex molecules and can carry out more complicated biological functions.
That doesn’t mean peptides are all that simple. However, researchers have found ways to use peptides for specific functions with limited to no adverse effects, making them a fantastic potential treatment for many conditions related to aging, weight loss, muscle development, skin health, wound healing, and more.
Overall, proteins can be described as large peptides capable of having complex functions. Let’s explore some of the differences between peptides and proteins and some of the benefits of using peptides.
As stated, proteins are much larger than proteins. Technically, they can be anywhere above 50 amino acids, but they often run into the hundreds of amino acids based on what they do. For example, proteins are usually the structural building blocks of organs and tissues in the body. The larger the organ, the more proteins are required. If the organ carries out a complex function, like the liver, you’ll typically find larger proteins to keep things moving.
Likewise, many of the body’s antibodies are proteins. These proteins defend other hosts and us by recognizing unwanted radicals or pathogens and eradicating them before they cause irreparable harm.
Proteins also give the shape of your cells and keep them in good condition for as long as possible. They also help with muscle contraction and other biological responses. There are also transport proteins that move smaller molecules between cells.
As you can see, proteins, made of larger amino acid chains, serve various critical functions. They need more amino acids to guarantee they can meet the demands of your body while you live and move around.
Peptides – The Signaling Molecules
Peptides aren’t as large or complex as proteins but serve a vital purpose. Sometimes we refer to peptides as signaling molecules because they send signals to and between cells to get the body to do certain things.
Natural peptides are created in the body. However, researchers have been making synthetic peptides for decades.
Some Examples of Peptides
There are many types of peptides, and research into what they can do is ongoing. However, here are some of the most common peptides and their benefits.
This is a synthetic version of a natural body protection compound, or BPC. It’s known for facilitating healing in body tissues and the GI tract. In tests in animal models, BPC promotes ligament and tendon healing. Topical administration also helps with dermal wounds. As an oral peptide, it treats some GI tract conditions effectively.
MK-677 is undergoing tests based on promising initial results related to the increased bone mineral density and muscle mass.
This is a potent antioxidant and also regulates several biochemical processes. Research in animal models shows that Glutathione reduces neurodegenerative disease, promotes cartilage health, and slows many age-related health declines.
Sermorelin is a growth hormone releasing hormone analog that triggers enhanced release of growth hormone. Sermorelin and other peptides were developed years ago after studies in animals found they help with weight loss.
Several other types and categories of peptides are designed to trigger biological functions aimed at better and healthier living. Learn more about peptides and how they differ from proteins in the body to discover their potential.