Get 60% Off The Best Tips to Slow Aging
Supplements & Ingredients

35 Best Peptides for Hair, Muscle Growth, Fat Loss, Energy, & Athletic Performance

Photo of author



32 Minutes

Outliyr is is editorially independent. We may get a small commission if you buy through our links (at no cost to you). Thanks for your support!

Best Therapeutic Peptides
Best Therapeutic Peptides

Imagine a family of substances that unlock your body’s built-in healing and regenerative capabilities.

That let you:

  • Recover like Wolverine
  • Build muscle like a bodybuilder
  • Fight sickness with ease
  • Think like a chess grandmaster
  • Defy aging like Benjamin Button

While the above is hyperbole, here lies the promise of therapeutic peptides. Talk to biohackers, advanced health practitioners, and those on the forefront of personalized medicine and you’ll come across this word often.

Why aren’t they well-known?

Naturally occurring substances are not patentable, and thus no one stands to profit from the expensive research required to market these products.

There’s a good amount of information regarding peptides online. I’ll defer to others for deep dives into any particular product. Rather, this post will act as a cheat sheet and comparison to the many options available. To help you find the best peptides for every goal.

Note that FDA has only approved about 60 peptide-based products. Most are for research purposes. This post does not constitute medical advice and is for entertainment only.

What are Therapeutic Peptides?

Amino acids are the “building blocks of life” and govern bodily functions. There are 20-23 standard amino, 9 of which must come from diet and supplementation. Proteins are long strings (chains) of amino acids. Peptides, on the other hand, are simply shorter amino acid chains. Usually between 2-50 amino acids.

Unlike most substances, peptides occur naturally within the body. In fact, so far researchers know of 7,000 different naturally occurring peptides. Peptides do not bluntly “force” changes throughout the body as drugs do. Rather, they suggest beneficial changes which result in great potential outcomes with minimal side effects.

Also, compared to most supplements and drugs which we administer in gram and milligram quantities, the therapeutic dose of peptides is in micrograms. Minuscule in comparison.

They help transmit information throughout the body. Aminos can act as brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), their precursors, systemic messengers (hormones), or general nutrients to build tissue for all organs.

The most common ways to use peptides include:

  • Injection into fat tissue or muscle
  • Oral pills and capsules
  • Inhalation through mist

Each peptide has one or more administration methods that work best.

How peptides work

Peptides have their differences (discussed later), but many share some underlying similarities.

Irrespective of how they’re administered, peptides eventually enter the bloodstream. Usually, through injection into subcutaneous fat tissue. Select a few peptides like BPC-157 that survive digestion and work orally (though injection is still more effective).

Once in the bloodstream, the peptide binds to receptors on cells. This initiates a biochemical cascade that causes the hallmark effects of the peptide.

Certain peptides work a little differently and instead, mostly influence epigenetics (the expression of our genes).

Peptides are naturally occurring and the body knows how to metabolize them. After exerting their effects, unless they’re chemically modified, the peptides generally get broken down quite quickly. That’s why, for the best effects, some require dosing 2-3X per day.

That’s the high level of how therapeutic peptides work. They also have some common benefits and mechanisms.

Top Benefits of Peptides

Benefits of Therapeutic Peptides

People turn to peptides for several things.

Each has particular use cases and excels at certain things.

In general, therapeutic peptides share these benefits:

  • Improved immunity: many peptides module immune function back into balance. Dampening overactive immune systems (autoimmunity) and stimulating underactive immune systems (frequent sickness).
  • Tissue repair & regeneration: this class of substance is well-known to promote tissue repair and regeneration throughout the body. Accelerating recovery from workouts and bouncing back from injuries and conditions.
  • Inflammation balancing: depending on the product and administration method, peptides help modulate both local and systemic inflammation. Since inflammation is one of the roots of all diseases, this builds overall health and performance.
  • Anti-infective: many therapeutic peptides displayed pronounced effects against microbial infections. Since they often rebalance inflammation, they can help the body mount an appropriate attack. For this reason, some people won’t travel without peptides.
  • Anti-aging: Through the aforementioned mechanisms and others, peptides improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the body. Often both directly and indirectly slowing biological aging.
  • Elite performance: peptides often impact hormones, the energy generation process, and the brain. Bodily systems working better elevate athletic and cognitive performance. Despite their safety, they’re often considered unfair ergogenic performance aids and banned for use in some sports.

Those are just the generally shared characteristics!

Specific peptides are researched to improve hormone levels, burn stubborn body fat, build lean muscle, become a super learner, deepen sleep, support mood, boost energy, increase sex drive, and improve overall health.

Best Foundational Peptides

Most people discover peptides through either BPC-157 or TB-500.

After experiencing miraculous results, they explore further.

There are several agreed-upon top peptides and these include:

  • BPC157
  • TA-1
  • TB-500 & TA4
  • LL-37
  • GHK-Cu
  • MOTS-C
  • CJC 1295 (with & without DAC)
  • Ipamorelin
  • Epitalon
  • Semax

(You can click on any of those to scroll down to that peptide in this list.)

I would also add the a-MSH (Melanotan) family of peptides to that list.

Unfortunately, for the greatest effects, each of those but BPC-157, GHK-Cu, and Semax require injection.

Since they work so many different ways, it’s extremely difficult to categorize each peptide. Nevertheless, below I’ve stack ranked each.

Best Regenerative Peptides

Most people discover peptides through these.

With our current understanding, these appear to be the most broad-spectrum and useful.

Most peptide stacking protocols include at least one of these.


Limitless BPC157 Review


Best Uses: Regeneration, gut health, inflammation, virtually everything

Administration: Injection (SubQ), oral

Potential Side Effects: Cold & hot flashes, appetite changes, fatigue, headaches, dizziness

Dosing: 200-300mcg once or twice a day (400-600mcg total)

Cycle: 6-12 weeks on, 4 weeks off

Cost per cycle: $120.96

BPC-157 is the best-known peptide, probably more than all the others combined. Its full name succinctly describes what it is: Body Protection Compound-157. Croatian scientists first discovered this 15 amino acid peptide back in 1993, when researching how the stomach lining rebuilds itself. The peptide naturally occurs in gastric juice as well as is sometimes manufactured in labs.

A few of the many things BPC-157 can help improve:

  • NSAID (Aspirin) gut damage
  • Inflammation
  • Gut mucosa integrity
  • Bone loss
  • Repair of damaged tendons, ligaments, muscles, bones
  • Skin burns
  • Nitric oxide production
  • Hormone regulation (mostly in the ENT)
  • Blood vessel growth
  • Dopamine neurotransmitter resensitization

BPC-157 takes the crown as the #1 best gut-supporting peptide. It’s also great for tissue repair and modulating inflammation. Due to its many mechanisms, impressive safety profile, and broad benefits, this peptide has become a regenerative medicine staple.

Plus, this is one of few that can be taken topically, orally, or via injection. I have capsules and a few vials and find that oral BPC works great for gut stuff. Still, injection is always the most effective.

BPC-157 is the “golden bullet” peptide, and generally the first peptide to consider.

TB-500 & TA4


Best Uses: Tissue regeneration and protection, organ health, stacking with BPC

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Head rush, headache, lethargy, nausea, skin irritation

Dosing: 2-2.5mg twice a week

Cycle: 1 day on, 3 days off for 4-6 weeks, 2-week break between cycles

Cost per cycle: $70.40

TB-500 (sometimes called Thymosin Beta-4) is a distant second behind BPC-157 for overall bodily protection. Dr. Allan Goldstein discovered it sometime around 1981. This 43 amino acid occurs in all animals and humans, in high concentrations around damaged tissue.

It appears to work as a natural repair mechanism and I’d love to see a study comparing the speed of healing when it’s blocked. The therapeutic form of the peptide is generally synthesized in labs.

Some of the commonly associated benefits of TB-500/TB-4 include:

  • Faster wound & injury healing
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Protecting and repairing damaged tissues
  • Anti-aging
  • Reducing oxidative damage
  • Stimulate muscle growth
  • Lowering delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS)
  • Helping hair, eyes, skin, lungs, liver, kidneys, brain, heart, & connective tissue

Research suggests it has an affinity for protecting and helping rebuild organ systems.

It’s so effective, that most regulatory sporting agencies have banned it for its “doping potential”. Indeed, since it’s not patentable, unfortunately, most of the PubMed research on TB-500 investigates its doping potential.

Naturally, it stacks nicely with BPC-157 for speeding up injury recovery and general healing.

Interestingly, smaller fragments of TB-4 are used to target and amplify specific effects. Technically TB-500 is a seven-amino fragment (17-23) of TB-4. TB-500 is purported to be more potent for wound healing.

Some research suggests that TB-4 may contribute to the proliferation of cancer cells. It also may not be a great idea after surgery when you want to avoid increasing the flexibility of connective tissue. I’m not overly concerned with either of these.

TB-4 (over TB-500) excels for general organ health, muscle building, and rapid tissue repair, especially when stacked with BPC-157.

Best Immunity Peptides

More than determining whether you get sick, some functional health systems see the immune function as the primary bastion of well-being and overall health.

Immune over-activity and under-activity are both problematic.

These peptides modulate the immune system back into a healthy balance.


Limitless Thymosin Alpha 1 Review


Best Uses: Full-body immunity

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Local irritation, redness, or injection site discomfort

Dosing: 0.8-6.4mg twice a week

Cycle: 1 day on, 3 days off

Cost per cycle: $191.99

Thymosin alpha 1 (TA-1) is the immune-modulating superstar peptide. The thymus gland naturally produces this 28 amino acid peptide to regulate immunity. TA-1 specifically activates a subset of white blood cells in the immune system called “T-cells”. Researchers first isolated it from the thymus gland in 1972.

Potential benefits of TA-1 include:

  • Rebalancing the immune system
  • Modulating inflammation (cytokines and others)
  • Helping cancer treatments
  • Assisting conditions like autoimmunity, cystic fibrosis, infection, hepatitis, & respiratory disorders

It’s a well-studied (for a peptide), well-tolerated peptide, used by dozens of countries. Primarily to fight and lower the risk of infections. Thymosin-Alpha-1 works by helping the thymus gland release T-cells into the systemic circulation.

If I feel the initial symptoms of a cold or flu, I’d immediately go for Thymosin-Alpha-1. Unfortunately, it seems that regulations are making this peptide harder to find despite researchers finding it very promising. Note that it’s also not very stable and each vial should be used within a few days.

TA-1’s versatility for most things immune-related along with safety and stackability make it an ideal common travel companion.



Best Uses: Antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Psoriasis, possible contact dermatitis, rosacea

Dosing: 125mcg once a day

Cycle: 50 days, followed by a 2-4 week break

Cost per cycle: $93.75

LL-37 is key in the cathelicidin family of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). This one helps defend against systemic replication of pathogens as well as reduces local infections.

We naturally produce it when exposed to the sun, and it helps protect against microbes, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and other infections. It appears to work by breaking down the cell membrane of the microbe while simultaneously modulating the immune system.

Potential benefits of LL-37 include:

  • Helps gut dysbiosis (SIBO) and other pathogenic conditions
  • Reduces gastric inflammation
  • Modulates immunity
  • Better wound healing
  • Speeds recovery from leg ulcers
  • Improves blood vessels growth
  • Anti-cancer effects

LL-37 shines as a strong antibiotic when other antibiotic-resistant treatments fail.

Most of the limited research so far has investigated the effect of topical LL-37.

LL-37 does have a few drawbacks. First, it may exacerbate certain autoimmune conditions. Second, one paper suggested it may have some anti-cancer and pro-tumor effects. Whether these concerns will hold up is another question.

I personally keep a vial of this on hand, just in case. If I needed, I’d use this along with TA-1.

LL-37 is a powerful antimicrobial peptide but warrants care due to the minimal research on subcutaneous injection.



Best Uses: Life extension, immunity, anti-inflammatory, pain

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Restlessness, irritability

Dosing: 5-20mg once a day

Cycle: 20 days on, repeated every 6 months

Cost per cycle: $199.99

Thymalin is a lesser-known peptide involved in pain, inflammation, longevity, and immunity. First discovered in 1977, this nine amino acid peptide is the synthetic version of the thymus gland’s thymulin.

Some potential benefits of thymalin include:

  • Increased lifespan
  • Enhances immunity
  • Fights infection
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Helps against heart disease
  • Sleep-wake cycle regulation
  • Helps pain
  • Potentially neuroprotective

This peptide is particularly interesting because it’s not well-known outside of Russia (where it’s used often). It exhibits pleiotropic benefits, aiding various components of health and longevity. Thymalin is a key component of thorough longevity stacks.

Mouse studies of thymalin and its extracts suggest it can reduce all-cause mortality and extend lifespan.

Although thymalin displays immune, longevity, and inflammation benefits, it wouldn’t be my first choice for any of these functions.

Thymalin is a tool mostly used by Russia’s elderly population for its immune, inflammation, and potentially, longevity benefits.



Best Uses: Anti-inflammatory, wound healing, mold toxicity

Administration: Injection (SubQ), oral, topical

Potential Side Effects: Brain fog, pain, redness, and injection site swelling

Dosing: 200-500mcg once a day

Cycle: 4 weeks or once the ailment resolves

Cost per cycle: $40.31

KPV is a strong anti-inflammatory tripeptide. It’s a bioregulatory fragment of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (a-MSH), first documented back in 1973. KPV’s great for any MSH issues as well as balancing the immune system and helping stabilize mast cells. Making it especially useful against certain pathogens like mold.

Like the others on this list, KPV has a diverse array of potential benefits:

  • Anti-infection properties
  • Addresses chronic inflammation
  • Helps treat gut conditions
  • Lowers chronic inflammation
  • Accelerates wound healing

This peptide can safely be administered in many ways, including as oral capsules.

Although promising, there isn’t that much data behind KPV. A quick comb of the research on PubMed, searching for “KPV, peptide” returned just 39 results. What I did find portrayed KPV as safe and well-tolerated.

KPV is a good choice for those needing an anti-inflammatory and a-MSH support (ie mold toxicity) in the form of a well-tolerated oral peptide.

Best Hormone Optimizing Peptides

These peptides encourage endogenous (the body’s built-in) hormone production.

Since the body produces the hormones itself, usually this does not shut down normal production.

Hormone-modulating peptides are generally one of the first places folks start for:

  • Sleep
  • Longevity
  • Vitality
  • Lean muscle growth
  • Fat loss
  • Youthfulness
  • Mood
  • Skin, hair, & nails
  • Energy

And general biomarker improvements. Some of these result in more side effects than other classes of peptides.

CJC 1295 (Without DAC)

Limitless CJC Review


Best Uses: Wound healing, sleep quality, fat loss, energy, athletic performance

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Nausea, skin itching, dry mouth, water retention, weight gain

Dosing: 300-500mcg once a day

Cycle: 5 days on, 2 days off for 8-12 weeks, 4-week break between cycles

Cost per cycle: $112.79

CJC 1295 is a 29 amino acid synthetic growth hormone secretagogue (GHS) that stimulates the pituitary to release more growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). The GHS is among the most popular peptide categories, and CJC-1295 remains a crowd favorite.

There are two versions: CJC-1295 with DAC and CJC-1295 without DAC (Drug Affinity Complex). The DAC primarily extends the duration of effects. While extending the half-life from ~30 minutes (without DAC) to 6-10 days (with DAC) sounds beneficial, it does not mirror natural production, doesn’t confer the same benefits, and may be dangerous. So many practitioners prefer CJC-1295 without the DAC.

Potential benefits of CJC-1295 without DAC include improved:

  • Sleep
  • Fat burning
  • Lean muscle
  • Lipid biomarkers
  • Athletic recovery
  • Skin appearance
  • Inflammation
  • Energy
  • Nutrient partitioning

It’s among the most popular growth hormone secretagogues because it elevates beneficial hormones like GH and IGF-1 without spiking prolactin or cortisol (as some GHS do). 1295 is often stacked with other peptides—especially Ipamorelin (discussed below).

CJC-1295 without DAC is the best, most versatile, safest, and time-tested peptide used to increase growth hormone & IGF-1.



Best Uses: Muscle & strength, sleep quality, burning body fat

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Nausea, skin itching, dry mouth, water retention

Dosing: 200-300mcg once a day

Cycle: 8-12 weeks, 4 week break between cycles

Cost per cycle: $86.23

Ipamorelin is a pentapeptide ghrelin mimetic that belongs to the related subclass of GHS called “growth hormone-releasing peptides” (GHRPs). Unlike CJC-1295 which is a GHRH, Ipamorelin binds to the ghrelin receptor predominantly in the pituitary gland but also throughout the body. It also inhibits somatostatin which improves overall GH release.

Potential benefits of Ipamorelin include:

  • Fat loss
  • Sleep
  • Energy
  • Metabolism
  • Body composition
  • Bone strength
  • Athletic recovery
  • Blood vessel growth

Ghrelin mimetics often come with tons of negative side effects (appetite being the main). This cannot be overstated. Most growth hormone peptides dramatically increase appetite and alter other hormones. Feeling insatiably hungry gets old fast. Ipamorelin doesn’t have this issue. Making it better for cutting and burning body fat. It shows the best characteristics of biomimicry.

Thorough stacks usually combine both a GHRP and GHRH. Making Ipamorelin an awesome addition to most of the other items on this list.

Perhaps the most classic is CJC-1295 + Ipamorelin.

Ipamorelin is a top GHRP that encourages optimal GH production and stacks nicely with other GHRHs, without spiking hunger or balancing other hormones.



Best Uses: Burning belly fat (lipodystrophy), brain health, metabolism

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Bleeding, blistering, burning, coldness, skin discoloration

Dosing: 1mg once a day, before bed

Cycle: 5 days on, 2 days off for 8-12 weeks, 4-weak break between cycles

Cost per cycle: $576

Tesamorelin is another great all-around GHRH, approved by the FDA for use in humans in 2010. Originally used for HIV-associated lipodystrophy, this is an analog of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH). Bodybuilders later discovered its miraculous body-far-burning abilities.

Tesamorelin potentially improves:

  • Visceral fat
  • IGF-1 levels
  • Cognitive decline
  • Nerve health
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Biomarkers
  • Strength
  • Sleep

It’s the ultimate “belly be gone” therapeutic.

If you can afford it, it’s the best hormone-modulating fat-loss peptide. Here’s why. Clinical research is currently underway. Tesamorelin preferentially targets visceral fat around the belly. Yes, it actually spots targets fat and the results last at least a year after discontinuing.

The catch?

Tesamorelin is difficult to find and quite expensive. A single optimally dosed cycle can run many hundreds of dollars.

I’ve had this on my “to test” list for years, but for the time being, will stick with the popular stacks.

Tesamorelin is considered the holy grail of fat loss (belly fat) peptides, but it’s hard to get and very expensive.



Best Uses: Muscle & strength, sleep quality, bone density, appetite stimulation

Administration: Oral

Potential Side Effects: Increased appetite, lethargy, joint pain

Dosing: 12.5-25mg once a day

Cycle: 5 days on, 2 days off (optional) for 4-20 weeks, 4 week break between cycles

Cost per cycle: $12.50

MK-677 (Ibutamoren) is a growth hormone-releasing agent that shares many of the same properties as Ipamorelin, and it’s among the safest of the GHRPs. You’ll sometimes see it lumped into the same category as “SARMs”. Although it’s technically not a peptide, it shares similar mechanisms with the ghrelin receptor.

Ibutamoren’s key differentiators are its oral bioavailability and long half-life (IGF-1 remains elevated for 24 hours after dosing). Like the others in the GHS category, it amplifies but does not disturb the pulsatile release of GH.

Potential benefits of MK-677 include improved:

  • Sleep
  • Muscle growth
  • Bone strength
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Neurological function

That last one can be a pro or con. Whenever I use it, I stay ravenously hungry for the first few days before my appetite reduces slightly. I also consistently sleep deeper and for longer.

So far, MK677 has undergone a few clinical trials in humans which demonstrated safety and minimal side effects. Plus, it increases GH and IGF-1 levels without elevating cortisol.

MK-677 is one of the only orally active growth hormone amplifying agents, and the clinical trials so far confirm its safety (nicknamed “oral Ipamorelin”).



Best Uses: Boosts LH and FSH and thus testosterone, reproductive health, motivation

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Negative mood, low libido

Dosing: 100mcg twice a week at night

Cycle: 1 day on, 3 days off for up to 16 weeks (controversial), 4 week break between cycles

Cost per cycle: $16

Kisspeptin is a neuropeptide composed of ten amino acids that govern hormones related to reproduction, puberty, and fertility. Although it was discovered in 1996, Kisspeptin isn’t as well known as the GHS. It’s primarily produced in the hypothalamus where it stimulates the release of GnRH. Which then increases luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and eventually testosterone.

Potential benefits of Kisspeptin include improved:

  • Testosterone
  • Fertility
  • Reproductive health
  • Libido
  • Metabolism
  • Mood
  • Longevity

Kisspeptin is one of the few peptides that actively increases testosterone levels. But it does so upstream by increasing GnRH. Thus, the testosterone boost is only in men.

There are currently multiple forms (different amino acid chains). The most researched and used is Kisspeptin-10. Some clinical trials are still ongoing with this peptide.

I view Kisspeptin as a better hormone-optimizing alternative to SARMs.

Kisspeptin-10 is among the top indirect sex hormone (testosterone) boosting peptides available.



Best Uses: Considered among the best growth hormone releasing peptides (GHRPs)

Administration: Injection (SubQ, IM), oral, nasal spray

Potential Side Effects: Increased appetite, nausea, headaches, dizziness

Dosing: 150-300mcg daily

Cycle: 12-16 weeks and an equally long break

Cost per cycle: $45.36

Growth hormone-releasing peptide 2 (GHRP-2) is a 6 amino acid ghrelin analog that stimulates natural growth hormone release. As the name suggests, it’s also in the GHRP category and is generally stacked with a GHRH to prevent receptor downregulation.

Like MK-677, these ones are also orally active. Albeit not nearly as bioavailable, so injection is still recommended.

Both GHRP-2 and GHRP-6 share many mechanisms but differ slightly in their power and side effects. Both increase prolactin and cortisol, which isn’t good. GHRP-2 is a “cleaner” molecule, having fewer side effects (like major hunger) and stronger GH release. So we will focus on it.

Potential benefits of GHRP-2 include improved:

  • Lean muscle mass
  • Body fat
  • Stamina
  • Huge appetite
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Skin repair
  • Libido
  • Cognitive resilience
  • Neuroprotection
  • Mood

Although I am not a fan of either really. I haven’t come across anything that GHRP-2 or 6 do that others don’t do better and/or with fewer side effects. It causes undesirable hormonal fluctuations like increased prolactin and cortisol. Plus, it’s virtually always stacked.

Instead, I’d choose either MK-677 or Ipamorelin in most cases.

GHRP-2 (which is generally superior to GHRP-6), comes with more side effects than other similar molecules and wouldn’t be my top choice.



Best Uses: Burning body fat (anti-obesity) & increasing metabolism without typical HGH peptide side effects

Administration: Injection (SubQ), oral

Potential Side Effects: Acromegaly, edema, hypertension

Dosing: 300mcg once a day in the morning around 30 minutes before eating

Cycle: 20 days and then take a break

Cost per cycle: $

Advanced Obesity Drug #9604 (AOD9604) is a modified version of the peptide fragment of hGH (amino acids 176-191) that’s most responsible for fat burning. Most of the peptides in this section stimulate the release and activity of particular hormones.

Potential benefits of AOD9604 include improved:

  • Fat burning (anti-obesity)
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Connective tissue (cartilage)
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Blood biomarkers

Notice the short list above. That’s because AOD is just a fragment, it targets particular effects of hGH and reduces some of the unwanted side effects. There’s no impact on insulin, IGF-1, prolactin, or cortisol.

Best of all, AOD-9604 appears to have an affinity for the most unhealthy kind of fat — visceral adipose tissue (VAT). It also improves nutrient partitioning — helping us store less of our meals as fat.

Overall, these properties make AOD ideal for those seeking to avoid the broad effects of hGH and to just burn fat. Plus, due to this safety, it’s a great beginner’s peptide.

AOD9604 is the ideal beginner-friendly peptide to (affordably) increase fat burning without the broad effects of growth hormone secretagogues.

Best Longevity & Anti-Aging Peptides

Longevity is the science of improving both lifespan and the quality of those years (healthspan).

It’s all about slowing or ideally reversing the biological aging process.

Peptides and a special subset called peptide bioregulators can be incredibly powerful therapeutics.

These are the longevity peptides you should know about.



Best Uses: Pineal gland and retina health, sleep, circadian entrainment, brain function

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Redness and itching at the injection site

Dosing: 5-10mg once a day

Cycle: 15 days twice a year (controversial)

Cost per cycle: $104.25

Epitalon (sometimes called Epithalamine, Epithalamin, Epithalon, and Epithalone) is a synthetic tetrapeptide (four amino acids) version of Epithalamin — a naturally occurring peptide produced in the pineal gland. The Russians first synthesized it in the 1980s, and it is the most popular anti-aging peptide to date.

At its core, Epitalon works by re-regulating the brain. Particularly, pineal gland health and all the functions it performs. One of the commonly discussed lifespan extension mechanisms is Epitalon’s impact on DNA protection. By increasing the activity of the telomerase enzyme, we’re able to reverse cellular aging.

Potential benefits of Epitalon include improving:

  • Biological age reversal (lifespan extension)
  • DNA protection
  • Resilience against diseases of aging and infection
  • Reproductive and immune system decline
  • Cancer
  • Skin health
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Melatonin and circadian rhythm
  • Pineal metabolite secretion
  • Eyesight

The pineal gland often calcifies and atrophies with age. Epitalon is one of the top ways to normalize the health and function of the pineal gland. Helping to mitigate many of the consequences of aging.

It appears even more useful with those with particular genes (which is why I recommend virtually everyone uses a high-quality DNA analytics service).

Epitalon is more expensive, but both the research and the current anecdotes suggest it’s among the most important brain/anti-aging peptides available.



Best Uses: Wound healing, skincare, immunity, longevity, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory

Administration: Injection (SubQ), topical

Potential Side Effects: Headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea

Dosing: 1-2mg once a day

Cycle: 8-12 weeks

Cost per cycle: $35.84

GHK-Cu is the copper peptide, a highly versatile and useful natural tripeptide (three amino acids). Although it occurs in the blood, urine, and saliva, scientists first discovered it in 1973. Since then, this biomolecule has undergone nearly five decades of research.

Today GHK-Cu is quickly catching on and finally becoming a famous peptide. Its varied but impressive effects make it a contender in most of the categories in this post.

Potential benefits of GHK-Cu include improved:

  • Wound healing,
  • Stabilizes mast cells
  • Endothelial health
  • Immunomodulation
  • Inflammation
  • Tissue regeneration
  • Skin and hair growth (promotes collagen, elastin, fibroblasts, and blood vessel)
  • Antioxidant and protects DNA from ionizing radiation (UV, X-Rays, CAT scans, etc)
  • Ulcer
  • Epigenetic stability
  • Slowed biological aging

GHK-Cu is interesting as it acts like TB500, as a post-injury signaling molecule that stimulates tissue regeneration. Ridding the wound of scars and creating new healthy tissue. At the same time, it acts as both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Plus, while subcutaneous administration works great, so does transdermal application through the skin. No injection is required.

All these together explain why it’s the number one skin and hair growth peptide, and advanced skincare products are finally incorporating copper peptides into their formulas.

Natural levels in the bloodstream drop dramatically with age, possibly explaining the typically slower wound healing and faster decline.

I always have copper peptide around. GHK-Cu is a beautiful, naturally vibrant blue color. Following the general cycle recommendation is important to avoid issues related to copper balance. These days, people tend to over-consume zinc and under-consume copper. GHK-Cu can help restore this balance.

GHK-Cu is one of the most promising transdermally-active peptides for longevity, skin and hair, DNA protection, wound healing, and much more.



Best Uses: Anti-aging senolytic that helps offset frailty

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Cough, shortness of breath, heartburn, gastrointestinal discomfort

Dosing: 3mg

Cycle: 1 day on, 1 day off for 6 days, used 1-3 times a year

Cost per cycle: $486

FOXO4-D-Retro-Inverso (FOXO4-DRI) is a synthetic modified version of the naturally occurring FOXO4 protein. FOXO4 is a key longevity protein hypothesized to help reduce senescent cell burden. Since cellular senescence is one of the recognized hallmarks of aging, this should confer increased lifespan and younger biological age.

FOXO4-DRI regulates a number of pathways and mechanisms. Including oxidative stress, insulin signaling (IGF), cellular apoptosis, and gene regulation.

Potential benefits of FOXO4-DRI include improved:

  • Cellular senescence
  • Energy
  • Neuroendocrine health
  • Hair loss
  • Slower biological aging
  • Organ health

Essentially, FOXO4-DRI helps cells operate more efficiently and helps eliminate SASP “zombie cells”. This is because its chemical structure allows FOXO4-DRI to penetrate senescent cells and selectively induce cell death.

Personally, I am not a big fan of this peptide. It’s quite expensive, and less researched than some, and high-quality senolytic supplement complexes can yield similar results.

FOXO4-DRI is a strong selective senolytic peptide best utilized by advanced peptide practitioners.



Best Uses: Dramatically increases deep (slow-wave) sleep and may improve hormones

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Headache, hypotension, vomiting

Dosing: 100-150mcg per 1-7 days, before bed

Cycle: Varies

Cost per cycle: $26.4

Delta sleep-inducing peptide (DSIP) is a nine-amino acid neuropeptide heavily involved in the sleeping process. Scientists first discovered it between the 1960s and 1970s when examining peptides produced in animal brains during slow-wave sleep. Although for some reason, research and interest seemed to plummet several decades ago.

Potential benefits of DSIP include improved:

  • Sleep quality
  • Sleep/wake cycle regulation (circadian health)
  • Neuroendocrine balance (corticotropin, somatostatin downregulation)
  • CNS functions
  • Stress inoculation
  • Oxidative stress
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Adjunctive treatment for major depressive disorder
  • Lessen alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms
  • Mood via monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) and serotonin stability

Strangely, DSIP appears in multiple bodily tissues and, like melatonin, it’s entirely possible that the majority is synthesized outside of the CNS and has important non-sleep functions.

This is another peptide with very mixed results. Some folks swear by it, and others notice nothing. Although it appears most useful when used repeatedly.

Instead of DSIP, I prefer to use easier and often more powerful sleep optimization therapeutics.

DSIP used regularly can be a life-changing enhancement for those that struggle with slow-wave (deep) sleep.

Best Energy & Mitochondria Peptides

Stimulants like caffeine and nicotine are the most used drugs on Earth.

Yet when it comes to boosting energy and improving mitochondrial health and function, we have better options.

No matter your goals, having more crash-free energy will help.

After all, energy—more than time or money—is the true currency of life.

These peptides improve the body’s natural energy generation process.



Best Uses: Energy, mitochondrial health, longevity, athletic performance

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Injection site pain, swelling, or redness

Dosing: 5mg once a day or 10mg weekly

Cycle: 4 weeks

Cost per cycle: $268.00

MOTS-c is a 16 amino acid peptide that’s a key part of the family of mitochondrial-derived peptides. This is one of the more unique peptides as its usually only created from the mitochondrial genome. With that, unsurprisingly, MOTS-c improves the health and function of mitochondria. Surprisingly, this peptide manages to escape the mitochondria and exert systemic effects. It works at both levels.

Granting this peptide a long list of uses, pathways impacted, and unique properties.

Potential benefits of MOTS-c include improved:

  • Energy
  • Metabolic health
  • Intracellular NAD+ booster
  • Longevity (AMPK activator)
  • Lifespan enhancement
  • Stress resilience
  • Weight loss
  • Fat burning (lipid beta-oxidation)
  • Insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization
  • Unhealthy white fat to thermogenic brown fat conversion
  • Neuroprotection
  • Cardioprotection
  • Endurance exercise capacity
  • Disease resilience
  • Senescent cell burden
  • Increases PGC-1a
  • Physical sports performance

MOTS-c is a multi-purpose exercise mimetic, one of the closest things we have to “exercise in a supplement”. It’s a potent anti-obesogen that: reduces fat gain from meals, encourages brown fat conversion, and directly increases body fat burning.

Plus, the PGC-1a mechanism is especially promising. PGC-1a increases mitochondrial biogenesis, and this is one of the core goals of quality exercise. More mitochondria confer innumerable benefits. Especially to tissues where they’re most abundant (brain, heart, eyes, reproductive organs).

MOTS-c also has interesting and varied mechanisms for improving longevity and is correlated with a longer lifespan.

So what’s the catch?

Search online and you’ll find odd information about its stability. Some sources claim 50% of it gets degraded within a few hours of reconstitution.

Basically, you’ll need to reconstitute an entire vial each time you use MOTS-c.

If you have the patience to deal with MOTS-c’s abysmal stability, it’s one of the most important health optimization peptides to aid virtually every goal.



Best Uses: Broad mitochondrial protection and cellular efficiency booster that’s often stacked with MOTS-c

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Fertility issues, neuropathy, bone loss with huge doses

Dosing: Varies

Cycle: Varies

Cost per cycle: Varies

Humanin is a 24 amino acid peptide derived directly from mitochondria within cells. It’s another of the peptides directly targeting mitochondrial health and function. Where MOTS-c appears better for upregulating mitochondria, Humanin is a mito protector.

Potential benefits of Humanin include improved:

  • Misfolded protein removal
  • Tau protein breakdown
  • Offsets the side effects of chemotherapy
  • Metabolic homeostasis
  • Cellular protection
  • Neuroprotective
  • Cardioprotective
  • Myoprotection
  • Endothelial cell health
  • Eye health and vision
  • Decreases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)
  • Oxidative stress
  • Bone health

Most of the research I’ve read regarding Humanin highlights its multi-tissue protective effects. It helps protect against free radical damage (and apoptosis) that results from increased mitochondrial activity — which is key because cleaner energy generation improves just about everything.

Here’s the catch. There’s very little data about this peptide online. Virtually no human safety data either. Dosing info varies wildly, so you’ll want to experiment with different protocols.

Like other peptides in this family, Humanin naturally occurs in areas of high mitochondrial density.

I don’t find Humanin as exciting as some of the other peptides (including MOTS-c), and although I personally haven’t used it, the peptide deserves a spot here nonetheless.

Humanin is the mitochondrial-enhancing peptide primarily used for its broad protective effects.



Best Uses: Energy, mitochondrial (membrane) repair, metabolic efficiency

Administration: Injection (SubQ, IM)

Potential Side Effects: Dizziness, headache, injection site redness/swelling

Dosing: 4-40mg once a day

Cycle: Varies by use case

Cost per cycle: Varies

SS-31 (MPT141, Elampretide, Bendavia) is a four amino acid synthetic peptide involved in the energy generation process. Specifically, mitochondrial repair and the downstream conditions associated with poorly functioning mitochondria. Scientists discovered SS-31 in the early 2000s and it has

Potential benefits of SS-31 include improved:

  • Energy production
  • Oxidative stress
  • Athletic performance
  • reverse cognitive dysfunction,
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • SIRT1

Essentially, SS-31 is believed to work by increasing ATP production while stabilizing the enzyme cardiolipin which reduces the free radical (reactive oxygen species) burden.

Through early phase III trials, it seems that the researchers chose the wrong endpoints to measure. Follow-up research will likely prove useful. Anecdotal reports I’ve heard regarding this peptide have been mixed.

For those struggling with mitochondrial dysfunction (specifically, impaired redox), SS-31 may be the ideal peptide as it helps increase energy production efficiency.

SS-31 is a useful mitochondria-repairing and protecting peptide that improves cellular energy generation.



Best Uses: Energy, wakefulness (anti-narcolepsy), appetite suppression, circadian management

Administration: Nasal spray

Potential Side Effects: Upset stomach, allergic reaction, rash

Dosing: 50-150mcg once a day

Cycle: As needed

Cost per dose: $1.21

Orexin-A is a longer 33 amino acid neuropeptide involved in attention and wakefulness. In 1998, multiple research groups around the world simultaneously discovered orexin and its related receptors. This isn’t like the others on this list, as I have not found any evidence that it actually improves the health or function of bodily systems.

Because of this, Orexin wouldn’t be my top pick for sustainable, long-term energy improvement. It can, however, act like a potent short-term energizing nootropic.

Potential benefits of Orexin-A include improved:

  • Energy
  • Brown fat activation
  • Wakefulness
  • Mood
  • Offsetting sleep deprivation
  • Narcolepsy
  • Appetite

In fact, narcolepsy is caused by insufficient Orexin in the brain.

Orexin levels are inversely correlated with food consumption. Elevated Orexin is likely one reason energy stays high and sleep becomes difficult while fasting. Consuming excess amino acids can also prolong Orexin’s elevation.

Orexin-A appears to cause a cascade of stimulating (excitatory) neurotransmitters in the brain including dopamine, norepinephrine, histamine, and acetylcholine.

Orexin-A is most commonly used as an intra-nasal spray.

Be careful with this one though. I couldn’t find nearly as much research on Orexin-A as many of the other peptides.

Orexin-A is a less studied but strong wakefulness and attention-promoting pseudo-nootropic peptide that’s best left to advanced users and those with narcolepsy.

Best Brain-Enhancing Neuropeptides

Neuropeptides are some of the best nootropics due to their profound benefits and favorable safety profile.

As with all substances, your response may vary. So you can test the similar analogs to find your ideal brain peptide.


Limitless Semax Review


Best Uses: Brain health, neuroprotection, mental performance, mood, anxiety

Administration: Injection (SubQ), nasal spray

Potential Side Effects: Drowsiness, dizziness

Dosing: 200mcg-1,000mcg once a day

Cycle: 1 day on, 1-2 days off

Cost per month: $6.72

Semax is a synthetic 7 amino acid peptide analog of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). It’s a true nootropic that was developed in Russia around 1982 and eventually earned a coveted spot in the Russian List of Vital & Essential Drugs. What makes this peptide particularly fascinating is that it exhibits both immediate cognitive sharpening, along with longer-term brain structure improvements.

Semax is my favorite nootropic peptide due to its affordability, administration method options, and potent and immediately apparent effects, combined with extensive research and real-world use.

Potential benefits of Semax include improved:

  • Stroke
  • Neuroprotection
  • Cognitive impairment (ALS, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) recovery
  • Offsets alcohol-induced brain damage
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Immunomodulation
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Cardiovascular protection
  • Pain management
  • Novelty seeking
  • Epigenetic expression
  • Cognitive performance
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) production
  • Neurotransmitter production (serotonin and dopamine)

This one works through mainly different mechanisms. Including upregulation of BDNF, reduced breakdown of enkephalins, protection against oxidative stress, and epigenetic regulation.

Semax has become so popular that there are now a bunch of different analogs (types) targeting slightly different properties. Some last longer, some feel stronger, some work better with particular neurochemistry, etc. I have at least four different forms stocked in my nootropics pantry as I write this.

Semax does appear to have some effect on serotonin activity.

It is a well-studied and safe neuropeptide, and despite that, there are no signs that American regulators are considering bringing it to market.

To prevent receptor downregulation, most experts recommend avoiding daily use.

Semax is a well-studied, Russia-approved neuroregulator peptide with both acute and long-term beneficial effects.



Best Uses: Anxiety, depression, mood

Administration: Injection (SubQ), nasal spray

Potential Side Effects: Nausea, headaches, dizziness

Dosing: 100-300mcg once a day (injection), or 250-1,000mcg once a day (nasal spray)

Cycle: 6 days on, 1 day off for 2-12 weeks

Cost per cycle: $6.40

Selank is a synthetic seven amino acid analog of tuftsin. The only difference between the two is Selank has four amino more than tuftsin, which increases its half-life and stability. It too was developed in Russia and praised for its major anxiolytic effects. That’s really what it’s used for and where it shines.

While I don’t find Selank all that interesting or useful, it is a godsend to those that suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

In fact, that’s exactly what Russian regulators approved it for over a decade ago.

Potential benefits of Selank include improved:

  • Anti-anxiety (especially generalized anxiety disorder)
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Immunomodulation
  • Monoamine neurotransmitters
  • Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)
  • Metabolic syndromes
  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Pain perception

For those without anxiety disorders, I’d imagine this peptide would shine in situations that generally cause heightened nerves. Things like public speaking, first dates, job interviews, etc.

Just like with Semax, it’s often administered via nasal spray and comes in different forms. You’ll want to avoid daily dosing to maintain the potency of its effects.

Selank is a profound anxiolytic nasal-sprayed nootropic that has substantial research and approval as medicine in Russia.



Best Uses: Cognitive health, mental stamina, long and short-term memory, learning & skill development

Administration: Injection (SubQ), oral, topical

Potential Side Effects: Irritability, mood swings, change of taste, anxiety, nausea, insomnia

Dosing: 5-25mg

Cycle: Varied

Cost per dose: $0.85

Dihexa (PNB-0408), is a six-amino peptide derived from Angiotensin IV (involved in learning and memory). It gets complicated because Angiotensin IV is a derivative of Angiotensin II. Making Dihexa a derivative of a derivative. Nevertheless, Dihexa has stronger, longer-lasting, and more cognitively therapeutic effects. Dihexa’s famously known as the agent 7 orders of magnitude more powerful than BDNF itself. It’s also shrouded in anecdotes claiming that it benefits creative thinking, concentration, and mental stamina.

Potential benefits of Dihexa include improved:

  • Synaptogenesis (connections between neurons)
  • Electromagnetic signaling (via dendritic spines)
  • Neurological health (helps Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s)
  • Increases Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)
  • Memory formation
  • Learning

Unlike other nootropic peptides, Dihexa seems most adept for long-term cognitive health. Its neuroprotective, neurogenic, and neuroreparative effects persist for a very long time thanks to its long half-life of ~13 days.

This is one of the controversial neuropeptides that are very difficult to source and lack consensus on the ideal dosing protocols. Plus, there’s not much peer-reviewed research.

Dihexa itself is a small enough molecule to be orally active, but most folks prefer to administer it transdermally. I have about a gram of it on hand and I plan to use it to amplify and accelerate the benefits of neurofeedback training.

That said, it’s not a beginner brain peptide. Most people enter this space with either Semax or Selank.

Dihexa is an advanced neuropeptide with an extremely long half-life useful to address neurodegeneration, parameters of cognition, and amplify learning.



Best Uses: Treatment of memory disorders, concentration disorders, degenerative dementia

Administration: Injection (SubQ, IM)

Potential Side Effects: Dizziness, nausea, sweating

Dosing: 5-20ml once a day

Cycle: Daily for 10-30 days (controversial)

Cost per cycle: $32.56

Cerebrolysin (FPF-1070) is actually a mixture of peptides derived from pigs. It contains many of the peptide fragments referenced throughout this post, including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), P-21, enkephalins, and orexin. Cerebrolysin is actually one of the older peptides on this list, with development dating back to the 1940s.

Although many Westerners have never heard of it, Cerebrolysin is another well-researched (hundreds of studies) and widely used peptide complex. Especially in Russia and China. Even before Semax, the Russians classified it as a Vital and Essential Medicine in 1992.

Potential benefits of Cerebrolysin include improved:

  • Neuroprotection
  • Cognitive recovery (strokes and TBI)
  • ADHD
  • Stroke
  • Neurodegenerative conditions (dementia)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Stress resilience
  • Fear, trauma, PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Alertness and concentration
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Mental clarity

Since Cerebrolysin contains a complex of multiple neuropeptides, we should expect to see wide-ranging effects.

Indeed, it has both neuron-building properties (neurotrophic factors) along with strengthening the pathways between neurons (synaptogenesis).

All in all, this makes Cerebrolysin perhaps the ultimate peptide for overall brain health, protection, and function.

Some people notice acute effects, but generally, it’s most powerful during repeat administration.

Cerebrolysin is difficult to find, and I plan on running a course when I undergo intense neurofeedback training to amplify my results.

Cerebrolysin is the most profound overall brain health secret with more than half a century of research and medical approval in other countries around the world — if you can find a real source.



Best Uses: Neuroprotection and neuroregeneration

Administration: Nasal spray

Potential Side Effects: Nausea, restlessness, hot/dry eyes

Dosing: 500-4,000mcg once a day

Cycle: 1 day on, 1-2 days off for 2-5 weeks

Cost per cycle: $12.12

P21 is a synthetic four-amino acid nootropic peptide fragment related to cerebrolysin. While reverse engineering the mechanisms of cerebrolysin, researchers discovered CNTF is responsible for the majority of the cognitive benefits. They then found the primary sub-sequence, and slightly tweaked it to better cross the blood-brain barrier. This became P-21.

Potential benefits of P21 include improved:

  • Neurogenesis (increased BDNF)
  • Synaptogenesis (connections between neurons)
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Nervous system health
  • Neurotransmitter synthesis
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Appetite suppression
  • Anxiety

We can extrapolate a number of benefits from its mechanism of increasing CNTF levels. One of which, would be increasing the synthesis of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone. Interestingly, that same system acted on by tanning and libido peptides.

Unfortunately, there’s not as much human clinical research as I’d like to see. Mouse models have so far concluded no known adverse side effects. The one “side effect” was lower anxiety.

One of the things that make it so popular is that it’s bioavailable via nasal spray and doesn’t require injection.

For this reason, coupled with the difficulty in procuring this neuropeptide (still easier than cerebrolysin though), it’s best suited to the more advanced.

P-21 is a relative of cerebrolysin that’s available in nasal spray and appears a powerful tool for neuroprotection and neuroenhancement, although it’s lacking human clinical trials.



Best Uses: Mental performance, energy, motivation, athletic performance, sports recovery

Administration: Nasal spray

Potential Side Effects: Nausea, hot/dry eyes, restless physical energy

Dosing: 100-200mcg once a day

Cycle: 1 day on, 1-2 days off

Cost per month: $11.99

Adamax is an upgraded, more potent peptide derivative of Semax. Basically, it’s a hybrid of P21 and N-acetyl Semax. The main improvements include greater stability, longer duration, and significantly stronger effects. This peptide was developed and exclusively sold by a company called Ceretropic until it shut down in 2018. It’s virtually extinct these days, making it less famous and used than other (of the many) Semax analogs.

Potential benefits of Adamax include improved:

  • Energy
  • Motivation
  • Alertness
  • Endurance (2-3X superior to other Semax analogs)
  • Recovery (physical workouts and mental)
  • Cognition
  • Mood
  • Mental clarity

Semax is already a powerful, easy-to-use, and extremely therapeutic peptide. Normal Semax has a few downsides: short-lived effects, low potency, large doses required, and mediocre physical performance.

The thing about Semax and its analogs is that everyone responds differently to each. I find normal Semax to work great and feel virtually nothing from the theoretically more potent “NASA” version.

Anecdotal reports show much greater consistency (and also cognitive benefits) for Adamax. Overall, Adamax sits a couple of notches above other forms of Semax. Plus, it’s still bioactive when administered via nasal spray.

That said, since it’s so rare, I couldn’t find clinical research or significant data on Adamax. Nevertheless, I find the prospect of this neuropeptide so fascinating that I ordered some to experiment with.

I plan on using it during my quarterly coffee tolerance reset protocol to ween off caffeine. Interestingly, Semax derivatives may also potentiate stimulants and balance the effects of other drugs.

Adamax, the best version of Semax, is possibly the top neuropeptide for most people in most situations — difficulty sourcing and newness to market make it less researched and hard to find.

Other Great Peptides

Although they don’t cleanly fit into the other categories, these peptides are also worth researching.

Melanotan I & II


Best Uses: Skin tanning, libido and sexual health, fat loss

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Nausea, stomach cramps, decreased appetite, flushing, darkening of skin spots

Dosing: 0.25-0.5mg once or twice per week

Cycle: 1 day on, 2-6 days off for up to 8 months

Cost per month: $6.99

Melanotan (Afamelanotide) is a synthetic 13 amino acid peptide structurally similar to an endogenous peptide called alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH). This peptide was developed back in the 1980s and is used for a variety of things — especially as a sunless tanning agent.

But it’s more than a tanning peptide. According to Sayer Ji in his book Regenerate, melanin (skin pigment) was one of the keys to humanity’s proliferation. Melanin protects humans against environmental and biochemical stressors, even transmuting harmful radiation into “metabolically useful energy”. Leading to the expansion of energy-intensive brain tissues like the cerebral cortex.

Potential benefits of the Melanotan family of peptides (1 and 2) include improved:

  • Tan skin (safely)
  • Cardiovascular biomarkers
  • Neuroprotection
  • Erectile function
  • Libido
  • Lean body mass
  • Appetite suppression
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Addiction
  • Glucagon production
  • DNA protection
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Helping autism symptoms

Melanotan I has become hard to find due to the release of its more potent sibling, Melanotan 2. Melanotan II was the first therapeutic peptide I ever used, solely to mitigate the UV damage that occurs from long days spent under intense sun.

The body contains five types of melanocortin receptors that drive melanin production. The two peptides activate them in different amounts which explains the different effect profiles.

Melanotan II appears the better choice for tanning and sexual health, while Melanotan I seems best for the other benefits.

I found that Melanotan II gave me a reddish tan, and I found the Viagra-like effects disruptive. So I’m currently using Melanotan I. I recently ordered some a-MSH nasal spray which should work similarly.

Note that this entire family of peptides works better when you expose your skin to a bit of UV light (sunlight) to “activate” them. This also makes for the most even tan.

I do notice some slight temporary side effects for about 30 minutes after administering high doses. My face flushes. I feel very full, sometimes almost nauseous. Sometimes it increases gastric motility. They also work better for certain (pale) skin types.

Melanotan I and II (and even a-MSH) are all “sunless tanning” agents with all kinds of other uses and benefits, and are key for those that spend significant time in the sun.



Best Uses: Sexual health and libido

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Nausea, injection site pain, headache

Dosing: 2mg as needed (max of 1 dose a day and up to 8 doses per month)

Cycle: Varied

Cost per session: $9.9

PT-141 (Bremelanotide) is a synthetic seven amino acid derivative of Melanotan II. If you recall from above, Mt2 is another peptide specifically developed to target stronger sexual effects of alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (a-MSH) agents. It’s sometimes called “female Viagra” because clinical trials have investigated it as a sexual stimulant for both males and females. PT-141 is the newer member of this family, with the first research emerging in 2003.

This is likely because of the five melanocortin receptor types, PT-141 has a strong affinity for MC-4 and MC-1.

Potential benefits of PT-141 include improved:

  • Sexual arousal
  • Sexual desire/libido
  • Immunity
  • Acute hemorrhage
  • Ischemia and shock (insufficient blood flow)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-fungal
  • DNA repair
  • Appetite suppression

Judging by the intense pro-sexual effects of Melanotan II and the anecdotes I’ve heard, PT-141 delivers on the sexual health front. That’s the overwhelming reason people take it. As an alternative to questionable ED drugs. Unlike many of those drugs, the effects of PT-141 last for a very long time.

The side effect profile appears slightly milder than Melanotan II too.

PT-141 is a peptide related to Melanotan but specifically targets sexual wellness, and it works in both men and women.

Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP)


Best Uses: Vasodilation, gut health, circadian rhythm, cardiovascular function, overall health

Administration: Nasal spray

Potential Side Effects: Low blood pressure, rashes, dizziness

Dosing: 50mcg one to four times a day

Cycle: Daily for 4-12 weeks

Cost per cycle: $17.50

Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP) is a 28 amino acid peptide that appears to play a broad role across human biology. Therefore its functions, mechanisms, and uses are innumerable. Although most folks use it for increasing full-body oxygenation. It was first discovered in the 1970s, and thousands of studies have investigated its roles throughout the body.

Potential benefits of VIP include improved:

  • Oxygenation
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Circadian rhythm management
  • Respiratory function
  • Blood sugar regulation
  • Erectile function
  • Metabolism
  • Arthritis
  • Gut health
  • Immunity
  • Neuroprotection
  • Chronic mold toxicity

Since this peptide is so ubiquitous throughout the body, and researchers are still working to discover (instead of speculate) exactly how it works, I’m cautious of exogenous VIP.

Despite the abundance of research, I see little regarding its precise effects and human applications. Dosing information is hard to find and varied.

If I get any conditions that warranted immediately increasing oxygen saturation in my blood, I’ll definitely use VIP. For now, I’m prioritizing other peptides.

Despite that, it has a solid safety profile and appears well tolerated.

VIP is a well-studied (yet not well-understood) peptide used to rapidly oxygenate the body and stabilize health.



Best Uses: Pain, immunity, wound repair, cardioprotection

Administration: Injection (SubQ)

Potential Side Effects: Psychosis-like behavior, nausea/vomiting, tachycardia/hypertension

Dosing: 1.3-4mg once a day

Cycle: Daily for 4-24 weeks

Cost per cycle: $200.15

ARA-290 is another lesser-known, synthetic 11 amino acid derived from erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is the infamous doping drug used by elite athletes to increase red blood cell production. Yet this fragment has no impact on red blood cells. Instead, ARA-290 exerts anti-pain, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Potential benefits of ARA-290 include improved:

  • Pain
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Cytokine storms
  • Neuroprotection (specifically in diabetic neuropathy)
  • Blood biomarkers
  • Endothelial health
  • Wound repair
  • Gut health
  • Immunity

As evident by this list, the uses of this peptide are far more targeted than many of the others. ARA is hypothesized to primarily work by blocking or interfering with the normal functioning of pain receptors. That and it’s activation of the tissue repairing “Innate Repair Receptor (IRR)”. Thus making it an attractive option for virtually all conditions with a pain component.

Currently, several phase II and III clinical trails are investigating ARA-290’s effects on a handful of conditions. So far it appears well tolerated.

ARA-290 is the pain management peptide that may also help with tissue repair and conditions associated with chronic inflammation.


FGL is a promising nootropic peptide with neurotrophic and memory-enhancing properties. It also may promote neuroprotection and repair, making it an excellent option for recovery from TBI, dementia, and other brain injury. But here’s the issue. It’s nearly impossible to find. Legit sources of the right form don’t exist because it’s prohibitively expensive to synthesize. That’s why many vendors have considered it and eventually abandoned selling FGL. Be careful.



Best Uses: Depression, stress resilience

Administration: Injection (SubQ), oral

Potential Side Effects: Unknown

Dosing: 10mg once a day

Cycle: 5-7 days on, 5-7 off for 1-2 weeks

Cost per cycle: $82.99

MIF-1 (Melanostatin) is a peptide made of three amino acid metabolite of the neurohormone oxytocin. Human clinical trails occurred in the 1970s and 80s, yet researchers are still uncovering exactly how it works. One of the primary mechanisms is hypothesized to be the inhibition of melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH).

I don’t love this peptide because of the mediocre research behind it. But it can be life-changing for some.

Potential benefits of MIF-1 include improved:

  • Neurotransmitter production (dopamine and norepinephrine)
  • Stress resilience
  • Mood disorders
  • Motivation

It appears most useful to combat state of Anhedonia (apathy, lack interests, motivation and pleasure). MIF-1 also helps people suffering from debilitating life stress.

MIF-1 has some mixed impact on opioid receptors, so it shouldn’t be combined with anything (opiates) that works on them too. Same with other agents that agonize a-MSH (the Melanotan peptide family).

MIF-1 has a long half life of about 5 days and the effects persist for many months after ceasing usage.

“Unlike other antidepressants, MIF-1 exerts its maximal effects in less than a week, usually within 3–5 days, and these effects can persist for months even though larger doses may not be effective…”

Concepts for Biologically Active Peptides

Although it’s usually sold as an injectable, MIF-1 also appears to be orally bioavailable.

For those that’ve exhausted other options, MIF-1 may be a game-changing peptide to combat serious mood issues.

Peptides I Dislike

I love peptides as a general class of therapeutics.

But some less than others.

Peptides I dislike generally match one or more of the following:

  • Limited scope of effects or power
  • Conflicting research
  • Potential dangers
  • Price

With so many great options, outside of specific circumstances, we just have better options available. Here are just a few of the recent peptides I’ve researched and disliked.


TA-65 is a longevity peptide billed as an answer to telomere attrition — one of the current hallmarks of aging. The benefits of TA-65 seem mostly relegated to telomere health. While that’s likely better than nothing, it’s overall breadth and depth of benefits pale in comparison to other top peptides. Plus, it’s hard to find and quite expensive.


Semaglutide and its newer derivatives are the best selling weight loss medications of all time, by a landslide. This class of medications is known as the GLP-1 receptor agonists. They suppress appetite so heavily that they basically force caloric restriction. Medically, the benefits may outweigh the risks. For heathy folks looking to drop some weight (or body fat), the evidence looks less appealing. Weight regain is common after the protocol. A huge percentage of the weight lost is lean tissue—very bad. Plus, the half-life of the drug is insanely long. Dramatically prolonging a natural and healthy state in humans often leads to pathologies. Long-term effects on fat cells are unknown and knowledgable experts predict a massive global weight re-gain if the drugs get banned (which is certainly possible with the release of new safety data). If you choose to use it, know all the dangers and risks of Semaglutide and other GLP1 agonists.


Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF) is among the most important human hormones. Bodybuilders often use a form of it exogenously to improve recovery and to indirectly accelerate muscle growth. Even then, it’s virtually always stacked alongside anabolic agents and/or Human Growth Hormone (HGH). IGF-1 LR3 is a synthetic, modified version of normal IGF-1 that lasts up to 120X longer. Agents that don’t approximate normal bodily rhythms often come with unintended consequences. Making it far less biocompatible. Most people are better suited using the pleiotropic GHS listed above.

Peptide Questions & Answers

When should I use peptides?

Each peptide has an ideal timing and use, but the general recommendation is to take them away from protein rich meals.

What are the best peptides?

TB-4, BPC-157, and TA-1 are generally considered the best universal overall peptides for most people. Although your ideal protocol depends on your goals and lifestyle.

Should You Use Therapeutic Peptides for Health, Performance, & Wellbeing?

Therapeutic peptides are here to stay.

Peptides have among the most incredible power-to-safety ratios of the therapeutics I’ve studied.

I’ve been using peptides for many years and have experienced the benefits first-hand. I’m constantly reading, researching, and testing all things peptides.

On a daily basis I hear new raving testimonials of folks succeeding with them when all else failed. Or how peptides dramatically improved their health and performance.

With more and more public exposure, they’re slowly creeping into mainstream awareness.

Yet they’re still not very well known and under-researched due to the difficultly in profiting from natural molecules.

You can certainly take courses on therapeutic peptides or scour the web to learn the specifics of each individual one (and I recommend you do). Hopefully this post helped guide your research.

When it comes to peptides, choose carefully. They’re unregulated so quality is all over the place. As peptides generally avoid the body’s built-in filtration/detoxification systems, your source matters more than more products we ingest. That’s why I only recommend a select few top online peptide shops.

If you’re interested in supplemental peptides that come in capsules and don’t require injection, I highly recommend you check out this post on “Micro-Peptide” Bioregulators. These regulate epigenetics to improve the health and function of particular organs and bodily processes.

Am I missing any here? Have you used therapeutic health peptides? Let me know in the comments below and let’s make this a conversation!


Post Tags: Athletes, Biohacking, Brain & Cognition, Energy, Peptides, Recovery & Resilience, Strength & Muscle, Supplements

4 thoughts on “35 Best Peptides for Hair, Muscle Growth, Fat Loss, Energy, & Athletic Performance”

  1. Love your overview of dosing and side effects. Great and easy to understand. Better than most would be nice if you could print it for some reason you’re not allowed to print the sheets and it would be great if he made stacks like that awesome work.

    • Hey Lloyd! I like LVLUP Health. They use the optimal form of BPC-157 which results in 90% more bioavailability. You can learn more in my post on recommended peptide vendors.


Leave a Comment