Feature Article: October 2018 – The Use of Peptides in Age Management Medicine

The Use of Peptides in Age Management Medicine

Jeff Morris

With discoveries of the medical uses of peptides—chains of amino acids—being made at an exponential rate, AMMG conference attendees have been clamoring for more information on how these helpful substances may be used in an age management medicine practice.

To meet this need, there will be a full-day pre-conference track on Thursday, Nov. 1 dedicated to the use of peptides in age management medicine. It will feature some of AMMG’s most experienced presenters, all well versed in the nature and uses of peptides, providing the latest information on their respective areas of expertise.

Leading the way will be Edwin N. Lee, M.D., FACE, a member of the AMMG Planning Committee and veteran of numerous age management medicine conferences, whose passion for peptides has been exhibited in multiple presentations over several years.

Dr. Lee says that a fascinating thing about many peptides is that they have pleiotropic effects; that is, like some genes, they may have an effect on several traits simultaneously. For example, the same peptide may help alleviate pain, and help with hair growth.

“Peptides are really exciting, because they can deliver phenomenal results,” says Dr. Lee. “I know that each of our speakers have their own different talks, and they will each be focusing on different peptides with different uses. I’ll be talking about the evolution of peptides, both going back into their history and taking a look at the future.”

Later, Dr. Lee will be talking about peptides that can increase growth hormone. “Growth hormone deficiency is associated with higher mortality, among other deleterious effects, but unfortunately treatment with recombinant human growth hormone is not covered under most insurance plans, and it is cost prohibitive for most people,” he says. “There are peptides that have been shown to help improve IGF-1 levels, with the advantage of inducing all five of the hGH isoforms rather just the one that is found in the synthetic form. It is a much less costly alternative to the expensive recombinant human growth hormone mostly commonly used for boosting IGF-1.”

Dr. Lee will also have a session on using peptides for a wide range of other purposes, from restoring sleep, to increasing telomere lengths, to treating sexual dysfunction and improving memory. “It is estimated that there are about 250,000 peptides in the human body,” says Dr. Lee, “and we only understand a fraction of them. But we are learning more every day.”

Luis Martínez, M.D., MPH, will focus more specifically on two areas of great interest to him: using peptides for cancer and for autoimmune diseases. “Age management medicine practitioners need to see themselves as integrative practitioners,” Dr. Martinez says. “Cancers are seen in the aging population; they are among the conditions that come with aging. I’m not saying we have to be oncologists, but we can integrate these treatments as part of age management medicine—same with autoimmune diseases. We see a lot of autoimmune conditions with symptoms that are severe.” Dr. Martinez has been working with peptides for some eight years, during which time the uses and protocols have been evolving.

Dr. Martinez says multiple peptides have recently been found that are capable of exerting therapeutic benefits in the treatment of cancer. He will discuss their mechanisms of action and proposed protocols for incorporating peptide therapy in the treatment of cancer patients. Likewise, he will discuss the use of specific peptides to target immune dysregulation, a universal characteristic of autoimmune diseases. But, says Dr. Martinez, the emphasis needn’t be on treating disease. “A lot of these peptide therapies can be focused on maintaining health. We don’t necessarily need to use these peptides for disease treatments. Peptides can be used as a preventative for these conditions. Definitely, their mechanisms of action can allow them to be used into a proactive, preventive approach.” Dr. Martinez intends to include actual case studies.

Kathy O’Neil-Smith, M.D., FAARM, came to understand peptides through orthopedics and stem cells. She says peptides are needed as bioregulators when you work with stem cells. “They’re made to match bioidentically; like bioidentical hormones, we have bioidentical peptides.” In her presentation in November she will focus on using peptides for brain health. “Brain health is an important consideration for health and well-being,” she says, but to date, little has been shown to be effective in treating concussions, TBI, memory loss and dementia. “Nootropic peptides are pleiotropic agents with effects on multiple mechanisms of brain injury,” Dr. O’Neil-Smith says. “They are an effective option to improve brain recovery and restore brain health.”

Rob Kominiarek, D.O., FACOFP, will speak specifically about BPC-157, which he says has been demonstrated to accelerate the healing of many different wounds, including tendon to bone healing and healing of damaged ligaments. BPC, or Body Protective Compound, 157 is released through the G.I. tract—it was discovered in human gastric juice—but it doesn’t only work in the G.I. tract; it works throughout the body in the soft tissue. Made of 15 amino acids, it is one of those peptides that is pleiotropic. In addition to protecting organs and healing and preventing ulcers of the stomach, this peptide has also been demonstrated to reduce pain in areas of damaged tissue, mitigating the need for narcotic type medications. Dr. Kominiarek says individuals who are suffering from muscle sprains, tears, and damage can benefit from treatment with BPC-157.

A final talk by Dr. Kominiarek will provide a look at some possible legal ramifications of these treatment protocols.