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Peptides Part 1
The advances in cellular and molecular biology from the time I received my Master’s Degree have been amazing. The intracellular and extracellular mechanisms responsible for our bodies’ proper functioning are complex, richly orchestrated, interwoven into a dizzying array of chemicals controlling every function. The components needed for a cell to survive and thrive are legion, and we are still discovering more signaling pathways and interactions on a nearly daily basis. Many of these discoveries have led to an understanding of the mechanisms of cellular aging. We all have seen and know the cycle of life: Birth, Growth Aging, Death. We accept the fact that once we stop growing we start aging. But interestingly, we all age at different rates! Many of us wonder why, and that question has plagued scientists and philosophers for millennia. The famed search for the “Fountain of Youth” drove explorers to all ends of the earth seeking the secret to long and healthy life. As the secrets of the cell are unlocked, we have begun to peer into the abyss and find answers to questions about why and how we age. Understanding those things has led us to find ways to help our bodies stay healthy longer.
What do peptides have to do with all of this? Peptides are involved in cellular functioning, and production of certain peptides decreases as part of the aging process. Damage to DNA and the cellular machinery necessary for proper functioning creates cellular aging and death. As the cell ages and just before it dies, it releases toxins that affect surrounding cells. Efficiency is reduced and tissues begin to break down. At this stage, researchers have discovered peptides that can support proper cell functioning and reduce or prevent the production of the toxins that damage surrounding tissues. The net effect of this is to slow physiologic aging. Of course, peptides alone can’t accomplish everything. Eating french fries and drinking a gallon of diet coke every day will not give the body what it needs to thrive, no matter what or how many peptides get pumped in. However, as part of a total program they can be a major factor in increasing healthspan.