by Justin Gregory Maguire

Introduction and historical relevance

It was during the early days of my bodybuilding experience that I first heard about peptides, not knowing what these biological compounds were. My curiosity sparked and so began the journey into a world full of healing and performance possibilities. Peptides are by no means a new discovery in medical science, in 1923 insulin was synthesized and became the first commercial peptide available to treat and save countless lives battling with diabetes[1]. Although peptides were discovered in 1901[2], the viability to create stable peptides for administration was compromised due to the factors involving metabolism and short half-life cycles. Fortunately, due to modern medical advancements in cellular medicine, scientists are finding new and exciting ways to make a broader range of peptides capable of enduring metabolic breakdown whilst also ensuring a more pronounced impact on cellular restoration. 

The power of innate peptides

Over 7000 natural peptides have been discovered expressing endocrinological, immunological and neurological modulation, with most research targeting the efficacy in the treatment of both diabetes and cancer[3]. However, throughout this article our focus will be on the cognitive influence specific innate peptides provide whilst also highlighting reference to specific exogenous peptide therapies that enable improved brain function.  

Safety and considerations

Peptide therapy is generally considered safe[4] due to the modulatory and not stimulatory role most peptides exhibit within the body. However, specific peptides which directly alter blood sugar and or cardiac rhythms such as GLP1[5] and MK-677[6] should be considered with due caution. Thus, if you are considering the use of peptide therapies consult with a professional who understands the risks and benefits of including this tool within your health strategy.  

Gut-Brain-Axis and peptides: microbiome influence on cognition

Most neurologically active peptides are produced by the microbiome in the gut[7]. From gestation to birth and through to adulthood, our microbiome plays a crucial role in our ability to not only produce energy but also the development of peptides[8]. Notably, psychopathologies have a close correlation to dysbiosis[9], in which dysbiotic gut metabolites disrupt the nervous system and innate immunity, leaving one feeling stressed, depressed, and inflamed. Specific increases of actinobacteria and poor concentration of Bacteroidetes have been noted through cross-sectional analysis in those struggling with depression[10], along with a decrease in parasympathetic peptides such as GLP1 (glucagon-like peptide 1), PYY (Peptide YY), Ghrelin and Oxytocin[11]

Correlations of mental health and performance

The motto ‘there is no health without mental health’[12] holds weight beyond sociological consideration and crosses over into both biochemical and psychological frameworks. Physiological overwhelm stemming from both internal and external environmental factors needs to be identified to be understood, providing us with an opportunity to develop a course directive change and thus accelerating optimal cognition along with overall well-being. 

Progressive medical advancements/opportunities

Advancements in molecular diagnostics have afforded our generation with an opportunity to not have to simply suck it up and get on with feeling depressed, tired, and even intellectually disadvantaged!

Through analysis of active metabolites such as those depicted in an OAT (Organic Acid Test) https://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/organic-acids-test along with cross-analysis of FBCA (Functional blood chemistry analysis) https://www.optimaldx.com/blog/medical-practitioners-guide-to-functional-blood-chemistry-analysis-fbcaand stool analysis https://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/comprehensive-stool-analysis we can see where your body is falling short in its ability to produce neurochemicals, enzymes and cofactors all needed to maximize your brains full potential.  

Solutions during optimization 

Reforming biological terrain is essential for improving our cognitive function, yet it’s often not a quick fix, which when you struggle to focus or keep a smile on your face may be overwhelming, to say the least. 

Often during my time with patients, I explain that one should not embark on a detox until the nervous system is in a place to do so. This is where the use of peptides can make a difference! 

Now there are many peptides (as mentioned above), thus to provide educational information (please consult with your Dr. or health care provider before starting any peptide therapy), I will indicate my top choices to get a derailed mind into optimal cognitive drive. 

Exogenous Peptides 

Epitalon 

What makes this peptide one of my favourite cognitive peptides is its ability to improve melatonin production in the pineal gland[13]. Melatonin is vital as a powerful antioxidant that acts to improve mitochondrial DNA expression, a vital feature when we are looking to regulate autophagy, thus ridding the brain of cellular debris that would otherwise congest our ability to think, function, and live fully. 

BPC 157 – 

Body protection Compound, otherwise known as BPC 157, is a peptide found in our gastric juices and thus directly impacts the gut-brain axis in a very profound way. BPC 157 Modulates the activity of both tryptamine and dopaminergic receptors[14] thus providing possible support to psychopathologies ranging from addiction, Alzheimer’s, dementia, and major depressive disorder. 

Certain bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or viral infections dramatically induce cytotoxicity to dopaminergic and tryptamine receptors, often leaving the host with damage to neurons in the brain. During the analysis of diagnostics, I found it common for those who express neurological dysfunction to have some form of microbiome contamination. 

Through the use of BPC 157 whilst reforming the microbiome terrain likelihood of a successful intervention is much greater. 

Cerebrolysin

Initially designed to treat traumatic brain injury, Cerebrolyin has immense pleiotropic value to the brain. Notably, Cerebrolysin contains high amounts of BDNF (brain-derived nootropic factor), NGF (nerve growth factor), and P21 all of which are nootropics that instigate the restoration and regeneration of neuron cell bodies. 

Improvements in memory and attention have been noted through clinical trials in Cerebrolysin’s ability to aid cognitive enhancement, notably due to its influence on alpha brain wave activity[15].

Selank

Selank was developed by the Russians in 1983 as an anti-anxiolytic peptide aimed at improving performance through increased stress tolerance. This is by far the most effective peptide I have experienced to have a dramatic and relatively immediate effect in those struggling with GABA[16] (gamma amino butyric acid) receptor imbalance. 

Selank is the combination of a gut peptide called Tuftsin with 3 additional amino acids added to the peptide chain.

The addition of the 3 amino acids enables the stability of the peptide to be utilized in the nervous system without undertaking rapid breakdown. 

For those with any history of substance abuse, this is also a phenomenal peptide to aid the repair of the hippocampus and MAO gene expression. 

Semax

Heavy metal toxicity is a big issue amongst those with ADHD[17], Semax may, however, provide a solution to aid those with heavy metal-induced ADHD by counteracting the neurotoxic effects; and inhibiting neurodegeneration caused by dopamine oxidation. 

For those facing an increase in glutamate toxicity, Selank may be a valuable aid in expressing its role in modulating NMDA receptor activity and excitation. Essentially any environment in which Calcium ion flow has been disrupted would benefit considering the use of Semax as a restorative and supportive aid. 

Final words

Mental health is a vital part of our perceptive experience in life, without a healthy mind we perceive even the most ideal reality as a potential hell. Strangely in my time around the world, having lived in both first and third-world economies I can safely say that I have seen more smiling faces in those living closer to nature than those residing in big cities. Could this be our western diet, technological pollution, or simply increased work pressure? Whatever the reason, we have an opportunity to circumnavigate the imbalance caused by technological and societal progression and restore our best possible cognitive opportunity.

Given that our microbiome exhibit 150X more gene expressions than our innate human cells, I believe that investigating not only our gut terrain but also its correlative effect on our biochemistry is a wise move toward not only improving mental performance but importantly perceptive well-being over life. 

If you are motivated to think clearer yet feel a bit lost as to where in your body the problem lies, I would like to offer you a comprehensive physiological symptoms review. 

It’s not a short form! But for every good reason: to be thorough in finding solutions all possibilities need to be considered! 

If that beautiful brain of yours is screaming at you to get on with it and start your healing journey, then I am honoured to present to you AC’s provisional symptoms diagnostic form: 

For those wanting a little off-cuff advice as to how they can start dealing with dysbiosis and improve mental performance the below two links will take you to 

  1. Dysbiosis management https://www.autonomiccoaching.com/dysbiosis-dietary-recommendation/ Adrenal restoration measures https://www.autonomiccoaching.com/dietary-recommendations-arenal-restoration/

Finally, I wish you a wonderfully joyful and productive 2023. One filled with endless accomplishment and limited stress. 

Helping you to stay Optimized

Justin 

  [1] Wang, L. et al. (February 2022). Therapeutic peptides: current applications and future directions. [online] Available at: <https://www.nature.com/articles/s41392-022-00904-4> Sourced: 19 December 2022

[2] Stawikowski, M. Fields B, G. (Feb 2013). Introduction to Peptide Synthesis. [online] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3564544/pdf/nihms-397061.pdf> sourced: 21 December 2022

[3] Fosgerau, K. Hoffman, T. (January 2016). Peptide therapeutics: Current status and future directions. Available at: <https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S1359644614003997?token=A8BB72C5FD9D553F1EF3CFC7393DCF0D9484E50E9343AED06014C5CDDDC479CC110FE99470CD15DC2757D88293A6B3C1&originRegion=eu-west-1&originCreation=20221222121640> sourced: 22 December 2022

[4] Nickel, B. (2019). Is Peptide Therapy Safe? [online] Available at: <https://antiagingnorthwest.com/is-peptide-therapy-safe/#:~:text=While%20peptide%20therapy%20is%20considered,any%20side%20effects%20you%20experience.> sourced: 22 December 2022. 

[5] Russell-Jones, D. (Sep 2010). The safety and tolerability of GLP-1 receptor antagonists in the treatment of type-2 diabetes. [online] Available at: < https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20716148/> Sourced: 23 December 2022) 

[6] Filho, J Z I. (May 2022). Major approached the use of GH secretagogue (MK-677) for muscle gain in elderly: A brief systematic review. [online] Available at: < https://d197for5662m48.cloudfront.net/documents/publicationstatus/37511/preprint_pdf/a14d2540a146260dc4e30de32cc5aa1f.pdf> sourced: 23 December 2022

[7] Skonieczna-Zydecka, K. et al. (Nov 2020). Gut Biofactor – neurocompetent metabolites within the gastrointestinal tract. A scoping review. [online] Available at: < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7693392/> sourced: 19 September 2022 

[8] Yahfoufi, N. et al. (Jan 2020). Adolescence and Aging: Impact of Adolescence inflammatory stress and microbiota alterations on brain development, aging, and neurodegeneration. [online] Available at: < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302172/> sourced 20 September 2022

[9] Mlynarska, E. et al. (2022). The role of microbiome-gut-brain-axis in the pathogenesis of depressive disorder. [online] Available at: < https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35565888/> sourced: 18 September 2022 

[10] Sonali, S. et al. (Apr 2022). Mechanistic insights into the link between Gut dysbiosis and Major depression. An extensive review. [online] Available: < https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35456041/> sourced: 25 September 2022

[11] Mlynarska, E. et al. (2022). The role of microbiome-gut-brain-axis in the pathogenesis of depressive disorder. [online] Available at: < https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35565888/> sourced: 18 September 2022

[12] Logan, C A. (2015). Dysbiotic drift: Mental health, environmental grey space and microbiota. [online] Available at: Logan Journal of Physiological Anthropology (2015) 34:23 DOI 10.1186/s40101-015-0061-7 source on: 19 September 2023

[13] Goncharova, D N. et al. (Jan 2005). Pineal peptides restore the age-related disturbances in hormonal functions of the pineal gland and the pancreas. [online] Available:< https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0531556504003171?via%3Dihub> sourced 23 December 2022 

[14] Sikiric, P. et al. (Apr 2016). Brain-gut Axis and Pentadecapeptide BPC 157: Theoretical and Practical Implications. [online] Available at: < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5333585/pdf/CN-14-857.pdf> sourced 23 December 2022 

[15] Alvarez, A X. (2000). Oral cerebrolysin enhances brain alpha activity and improves cognitive performance in elderly control subjects. [online] Available at: < https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10961443/> Sourced: 23 December 2022

[16] Volkova, A. et al. (Feb 2016). Selank administration affects the expression of some genes involved in GABAergic neurotransmission. [online] Available at: < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757669/> Sourced: 23 December 2023

[17] Min-Jing, L. et al. (Jun 2018). Heavy metals’ effect on susceptibility to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: Implication of Lead, Cadmium and Antimony. [online] Available at: < https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025252/> sourced 24 December 2022

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