I am pretty sure that if you are stepping into the world of fitness or you are already a well-trained bodybuilder, you must have tried looking for several ways other than workouts to optimally help you build muscle and enhance your endurance.
While anabolic steroids and SARMs are definitely the first thing that comes into mind when you hear ‘muscle building/muscle growth,’ many people are anyways reluctant to use them. This can be either due to the many practical adverse effects of these compounds or the associated fuss with them.
Nevertheless, this is where PEPTIDES come into play!
Peptides are short chains of amino acids that work at the cellular level and largely work by inducing the release of natural hormones. The effects of peptides are extremely pronounced, with minimal to no adverse effects.
This comprehensive review is all you need to know about the 5 best-known peptides to induce muscle growth. I am pretty sure that this review is an answer to all your questions if you are planning for muscle gain mass and getting bulky!
1. The top 5 peptides to enhance muscle growth include CJC-1295, Tesamorelin, Hexarelin, TB-500, and Sermorelin.
2. The majority of these peptides eventually trigger the release of levels of growth hormone.
3. Growth Hormone, a naturally occurring hormone, enhances protein anabolism and bone strength alongside several other advantages.
4. This article also includes basic instructions regarding peptide dosage, cycle, and reconstitution.
What are Peptides?
Peptides are strings of amino acids that are considered the building blocks of proteins (1). However, these peptides are much shorter than the latter.
Our own body synthesizes various peptides to regulate the daily metabolic pathways. Due to their concise structure, they are very easily absorbed in the body as compared to proteins.
Over the years, health-based supplements have gained immense hype, even among the general populace. Peptides are one of them! So what exactly are peptides used for?
Peptides function to provide a multitude of benefits. They can speed up wound healing, provide anti-inflammatory advantages, improve and strengthen immune function, act as antioxidants, and help gain muscle mass alongside bone integrity.
How do Peptides for Muscle Growth Work?
Many people who are into fitness and bodybuilding perform muscle-building workouts as well as use these peptides that help grow muscle to achieve synergistic benefits.
But before digging into the individual peptides that can trigger optimal muscle growth, I believe it is essential to understand the general mode of action these peptides follow and how they increase muscle mass.
Most of these peptides work by increasing the local levels of growth hormone, either directly or indirectly. Growth hormone, in turn, stimulates muscle protein synthesis and decreases protein breakdown. Perhaps athletes and bodybuilders administer human growth hormone for aggressive bulking.
These peptides are either growth hormone-releasing hormone analogs or growth hormone secretagogues (GHS). Peptides that largely fall into this category include CJC-1295, Sermorelin, Hexarelin, and Tesamorelin.
Not only this, but these peptides also stimulate angiogenesis by providing adequate amounts of oxygen to the growing muscle groups.
Now it’s time to talk about the individual peptides and what they have to offer so that you can make the right pick for yourself!
#1 Best Peptide for Muscle Growth: CJC-1295
CJC 1295, originally synthesized by ChonjuChem Technologies, consists of 30 amino acids in its structure. It is one of the potent analogs of Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH) and a Growth Hormone secretagogue (GHS).
In addition, it is advised to purchase CJC 1295 with DAC (Drug Affinity Complex) due to its greater half-life ranging from 6 to 10 days. It is believed that CJC 1295 can trigger a substantial release of growth hormone from the anterior pituitary, which is one of the anabolic hormones (2).
One of the major benefits of using CJC 1295 is its ability to significantly increase lean muscle mass and promote muscle growth (3).
When stacked with Ipamorelin, there's an even more significant increase in protein synthesis, hence greater lean muscle mass. Besides this, the peptide is often used to lose body weight, improve sleep, and aid in muscle repair.
With this peptide, you won't have much to worry about its adverse effects. However, there are minor chances of experiencing vertigo, increased body temperature, and some mood swings.
It is crucial to abide by the right dosages while supplementing with peptides. For CJC-1295, a 250-300 mcg per day dosage is recommended. Importantly, this peptide shouldn't be cycled for more than 60-90 days.
To know more about dosage and cycling guidelines, you can view our exclusive chart specifically involving all the peptides.
Increase in lean muscle mass
Promotes fat loss
Reduces body weight
#2 Peptide for Muscle Growth: Tesamorelin
This is one of the most popular peptides to build muscle. Tesamorelin contains 44 amino acids in its structure and is a growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) analog (4).
This peptide stimulates the somatotropic cells of the anterior pituitary to secrete growth hormone. The GH, in turn, acts systemically by binding to adipocytes, hepatocytes, and muscle and bone cells.
One of the practical uses of Tesamorelin is to cause an increase in overall muscle mass, thereby making it a potential peptide for athletes. Besides this, Tesamorelin is quite reasonably known for its beneficial impact on HIV-associated lipodystrophy due to its fat loss attributes (5).
Tesamorelin has mild to negligible side effects. At the most, you may experience itching, redness, or rashes at the administration site. However, muscle aches and diarrhea are often reported too.
Due to its diverse usage, there's no adequate dosage recommended by official sites.
However, if you're using Tesamorelin for HIV-associated lipodystrophy, a subcutaneous injection of 2 mg is advised. Regarding its cycling, it is recommended to supplement Tesamorelin 5 days per week for 2 months.
Stimulates muscle building
Improves lean body mass
#3 Peptide for Muscle Growth: Hexarelin
Hexarelin acetate is a six-amino acid peptide that works quite similarly to muscle-building peptides that we have already talked about. The peptide belongs to the Growth Hormone Secretagogue (GHS) class. The hippocampus and various peripheral organs are thought to contain GHS receptors, causing growth hormone release.
Hexarelin is hypothesized to work via growth factors such as phospholipid-dependent protein kinase pathways. This pathway is reported to cause a tremendous increase in growth hormone. The peptide enhances muscle growth due to its ability to trigger rapid protein synthesis (6).
Besides this, Hexarelin maintains cardiovascular health by binding to CD36 receptors of blood cells. With this peptide, you can also reduce excessive fat. If you're an athlete, the peptide can aid in making your bones stronger and your joints more flexible.
However, with Hexarelin, you will have to be extra careful because of its endocrine functions, such as increased cortisol levels, high prolactin stimulation, and insulin insensitivity.
According to studies, a daily intake of 200-300 mcg of Hexarelin can be safely consumed with maximum results. For this peptide, you can cycle for 12 to 16 weeks straight.
Enhances muscle strength
Speeds up muscle recovery
#4 Peptide for Muscle Growth: TB-500
TB-500 is a naturally occurring peptide synthesized in the thymus. Also known as Thymosin beta-4, the peptide consists of 43 amino acids. TB-500, unlike others, has a distinct mechanism of action.
Our muscle fibers consist of actin and myosin, which aid in movement. Thymosin Beta 4 works by enhancing the body's response towards actin functioning. This, in turn, leads to increased cell growth and proliferation and rapid healing.
TB-500 prevents severe muscle damage by promoting angiogenesis which is essential for wound healing and regeneration. All of these actions result in improved endurance and strength (7).
A few unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, and dizziness, are often reported with TB-500, which usually go away in a few hours.
TB-500, like another peptide, should be cycled carefully. Usually, bodybuilders use it for 14 weeks straight with 3 weeks off cycle. It is recommended to take 7.66 mg/week for optimum results.
Enhances muscle endurance
Improves muscle recovery
Rapid wound healing
#5 Peptide for Muscle Growth: Sermorelin
Sermorelin acetate was initially synthesized by ConjuChem Technologies before the development of CJC 1295.
The peptide works by mimicking the action of Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone, acting on the anterior pituitary gland. This subsequently causes a rapid increase in growth hormone levels, leading to several pronounced systemic effects, particularly on muscle mass, and helping build muscle (8).
What's unique about Sermorelin is its ability to keep the homeostatic balance of growth hormone levels in the body. Besides this, the peptide regulates the sleep-wake cycle and reduces stress hormones.
With sermorelin, you might feel a bit of dizziness, flushing, allergic reactions, and hyperactivity.
Regarding dosage for Sermorelin, 0.5-1.0 mg × 2 per day of the peptide is recommended. Also, you can safely cycle Sermorelin for 2-4 months.
Increased growth of skeletal muscle
Improves lean body mass
Helps you to get enough sleep
How to use Peptides?
Most of the peptides are available in injectable forms. However, you can find some varieties in oral, creams, patches, or liquid forms. Nonetheless, it's the injectable forms that require more attentive care.
Injectable peptides should first be reconstituted thoroughly. Initially, the peptide will be available in a short vial in lyophilized form, aka powder. To reconstitute it, add drops of bacteriostatic water inside the vial after determining the dosage guidelines. After this, keep the peptide in favorable conditions for reuse.
Peptides are generally injected intravenously. However, intramuscular or subcutaneous administration may also be implied. For these methods, it's essential to administer them under a professional supervisor.
To know more regarding the usage of peptides, we have very detailed guidelines available only on Muscle and Brawn!
Are Peptides Legal?
In the United States of America, peptides are prohibited for human consumption by the Foods and Drug Administration (FDA). One can only purchase them under a doctor's prescription.
Besides this, peptides can easily be purchased for research and clinical purposes.
Are Peptides Safe?
Although few human-based clinical trials are available to say whether peptides are safe for muscle growth, limited human trials and animal trials have yielded promising effects of peptide therapy.
Peptides are considered safe for human consumption when intaken in the correct dosage. Nonetheless, mild side effects such as headache, dizziness, redness at the site of administration, nausea, and a few changes in appetite may also accompany peptide therapy.
FAQs on Peptides
Are peptides similar to steroids?
No, peptides and steroids are poles apart. Steroids unnaturally increase testosterone, whereas peptides work by signaling these hormones' stimulation.
Do peptides have side effects?
The majority of the peptides are safe for human consumption. However, mild effects such as headaches, dizziness, or nausea may be reported.
What do peptides do to your body?
Peptides cause numerous beneficial effects. They can help reduce inflammation, gain muscle mass, increase endurance, and treat certain diseases.
What peptides are used for bodybuilding?
Peptides commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes include TB-500, CJC-1295, Tesamorelin, Sermorelin, Hexarelin, etc.
Which one is better, SARMs or Peptides?
SARMs should be used for growth at a faster rate since peptides can be slow in doing so. As far as side effects are concerned, peptides are pretty safe to ingest.
1. Forbes J, Krishnamurthy K. Biochemistry, Peptide. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; August 29, 2022.
2. Timms M, Ganio K, Forbes G, Bailey S, Steel R. An immuno polymerase chain reaction screen for the detection of CJC-1295 and other growth-hormone-releasing hormone analogs in equine plasma. Drug Test Anal. 2019;11(6):804-812. doi:10.1002/dta.2554
3. Sackmann-Sala L, Ding J, Frohman LA, Kopchick JJ. Activation of the GH/IGF-1 axis by CJC-1295, a long-acting GHRH analog, results in serum protein profile changes in normal adult subjects. Growth Horm IGF Res. 2009;19(6):471-477. doi:10.1016/j.ghir.2009.03.001
4. Falutz J, Mamputu JC, Potvin D, et al. Effects of tesamorelin (TH9507), a growth hormone-releasing factor analog, in human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients with excess abdominal fat: a pooled analysis of two multicenter, double-blind placebo-controlled phase 3 trials with safety extension data. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;95(9):4291-4304. doi:10.1210/jc.2010-0490
5. Rahman F, de Chantal M, Mesquita P, Aberg JA. 935. Effect of Tesamorelin in People with HIV with and without Dorsocervical Fat: Post Hoc Analysis of Phase III Double Blind Placebo Control Trial. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2020;7(Suppl 1):S500-S501. Published 2020 Dec 31. doi:10.1093/ofid/ofaa439.1121
6. Mosa R, Huang L, Wu Y, et al. Hexarelin, a Growth Hormone Secretagogue, Improves Lipid Metabolic Aberrations in Nonobese Insulin-Resistant Male MKR Mice. Endocrinology. 2017;158(10):3174-3187. doi:10.1210/en.2017-00168
7. Maar K, Hetenyi R, Maar S, et al. Utilizing Developmentally Essential Secreted Peptides Such as Thymosin Beta-4 to Remind the Adult Organs of Their Embryonic State-New Directions in Anti-Aging Regenerative Therapies. Cells. 2021;10(6):1343. Published 2021 May 28. doi:10.3390/cells10061343
8. Walker RF. Sermorelin: a better approach to management of adult-onset growth hormone insufficiency?. Clin Interv Aging. 2006;1(4):307-308. doi:10.2147/ciia.2006.1.4.307
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