Peptides are fragments of protein made from amino acids. They can be ingested as supplements to boost muscle growth and repair tissues, or in topical form to treat skin concerns. Peptides are also well-known for their beauty benefits, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while increasing skin firmness and thickness.

The body’s peptide hormones are known for their ability to support the immune system, enhance muscle growth, aid in weight loss, promote libido and sexual health, and improve nutrient absorption. Examples of these peptide hormones include the hepcidin (which controls iron absorption), insulin (a 51 amino acid peptide chain) and IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor).

Although most peptides are found naturally in the body, they can also be synthesized or manufactured in a lab. For this reason, it is important to research any products you plan to use for a treatment to make sure they are safe and not potentially harmful.

Those who choose to add peptides to their skincare routine typically opt for serums, since they are more likely to absorb into the skin. They also work best with skin care ingredients that help to protect the skin barrier, such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and squalane.

Peptides have many beneficial effects on the body, including supporting immune health, promoting muscle growth, aiding in weight loss, and even treating erectile dysfunction. They have also been the basis for some powerful pharmaceutical drugs, such as Herceptin and Humira, which are used to treat cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.

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