Brain Peptide: The Next Frontier In Sports Performance Enhancement?

July 5, 2024

Introduction

In the constantly changing field of sports science, athletes are constantly seeking innovative methods to enhance their performance and recovery. Among the latest advancements gaining attention is the utilization of peptides. Peptides, short chains of amino acids, play crucial roles in various physiological processes within the body, including muscle growth, tissue repair, and hormone regulation. Recognizing their potential, athletes across disciplines are incorporating peptide therapies into their training regimens to optimize their athletic prowess and achieve peak performance.

In this article, we explore the fascinating effect of brain peptide in sports, examining its mechanisms of action, benefits, and applications.

We will provide a glimpse into the translation of cutting-edge peptide research, exemplified by the utilization of the neuroprotective peptide EDR (Glu-Asp-Arg), Pinealon, as outlined in a chapter from the groundbreaking monograph by the Saint Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology.

Below you can find a translation of the Chapter 6 extract: “Prospects of practical application of the EDR peptide: 6.1. The effectiveness of oral application of EDR peptide in combination with other short peptides in athletes. 6.1.1. The effectiveness of oral application of EDR peptide in combination with other short peptides in top-level rhythmic gymnasts”.

Also, for your convenience, below is a short summary of the research.

Summary

Short peptides are being explored for enhancing physical and mental performance. The Saint Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology uses personalized peptide bioregulators to enhance gymnasts’ capabilities, considering genetics and age. These include Pinealon for neuroprotection, Vezugen for vasoprotection, Pancragen for adrenal function, and Crystagen as an immunomodulator, optimizing athletic performance and health.

The study described in the monograph involved 20 highly skilled female artistic gymnasts split into two groups: one received personalized peptides based on genetic predispositions (Crystagen, Vezugen, Pinealon, Pancragen), while the other served as a control. Both groups underwent thorough medical assessments, including molecular-genetic analysis and immune system evaluations. Peptide intake led to improved well-being, sleep quality, and mood stability in the main group. During a flu epidemic, 80% of athletes did not contract infections, supported by immunological findings. The study noted varied immune responses among athletes, including changes in T-lymphocyte activity and immunoglobulin production, while nonspecific resistance parameters remained consistent throughout.

Gymnasts in the main group showed increased activation markers (CD25+, CD71+, HLA DR+), higher T, B, and NK cell levels, and normalized immunoglobulin levels (M, G, E). This optimized the ratio and function of major lymphocyte subpopulations, indicating significant immunomodulatory effects from peptide bioregulators, including EDR.

Peptide bioregulators, such as EDR, improve antioxidant defenses, reduce lipid peroxidation, and optimize lipid utilization during intense physical activity without stimulating or inhibiting effects.

During treadmill testing, two athletes in the main group showed notable cardiovascular changes, while others experienced varying adaptation stress levels. Genetic predispositions to cardiovascular diseases were identified in these two athletes. Peptide bioregulators tailored to their genetic profiles improved cardiovascular function and resilience. Repeat testing indicated better blood pressure responses to physical exertion, highlighting the positive impact of peptide bioregulators, including EDR, on athletes’ recovery post-competition.

Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are crucial markers of cellular adaptive processes, acting as chaperones. Aging reduces cells’ ability to produce HSP-70, potentially accelerating cellular aging. HSPs respond universally to stress by enhancing protein synthesis and folding, crucial for cell protection during physiological stress and high physical exertion. Peptide bioregulators notably increased expression of the HSPA1A gene, encoding HSP-70, by an average of 2.2 times compared to baseline, affirming their role in enhancing cellular protection and training effectiveness in high-performance sports.

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The peptide bioregulators Pinealon, Vezugen, Pancragen, and Crystagen were well tolerated by athletes without any observed side effects, complications, or drug dependence. They were compatible with other medications used for treating concurrent somatic conditions. This study led to the development of a methodology to enhance athletes’ resilience based on their genetic predispositions.

By assessing genetic risks for diseases, personalized peptide bioregulator complexes were tailored to each athlete, optimizing their physical readiness and psychological resilience for training and competition. This approach has been successfully integrated into the training regimen of the Russian national rhythmic gymnastics team.

The translation of the Chapter 6 extract

The Effectiveness Of Oral Application Of EDR Peptide In Combination With Other Short Peptides In Top-Level Rhythmic Gymnasts

One of the promising approaches to developing new drugs that promote the enhancement of the body’s protective functions, physical and mental performance, and endurance is the use of short peptides. The creation of medicinal preparations based on short peptides (peptide biotechnology) is currently becoming a leading focus in the activities of foreign pharmaceutical companies.

Among the most promising directions in sports pharmacology is the use of medicinal products and nutraceuticals that mimic endogenous regulatory peptide factors. At the Saint Petersburg Institute of Bioregulation and Gerontology, a methodology has been developed to enhance the reserve capabilities of gymnasts through the individual selection of a complex of peptide bioregulators, taking into account the genetic predisposition of athletes to develop diseases, as well as their biological age. One of the components of this complex is the neuroprotective peptide EDR, which is part of the composition of the biologically active supplement Pinealon.

In order to enhance the reserve capabilities of gymnasts, the following peptide bioregulators were applied: Pinealon (EDR, neuroprotective), Vezugen (KED, vasoprotector), Pancragen (KEDW, a peptide normalizing the functions of the adrenal glands), and Crystagen (EDR, immunomodulator).

The research subject comprised highly skilled female artistic gymnasts (20 individuals). Following comprehensive examination using stratified randomization, all gymnasts were divided into 2 groups. The main group of athletes (10 individuals) received physiologically active substances – peptides in the form of biologically active supplements, while the second group (10 individuals) served as a control and remained on a normal regimen.

The peptide bioregulators were individually selected for each athlete in the main group based on the identified genetic predisposition to diseases. Considering the identified risk of oncological diseases (mutations of genes L-MYC, p53-6, p53-16, p53-72, CYP-19, GSTM1) and aiming to enhance stress resistance (even in the absence of mutations in genes DRD-2A and DRD-2B, which are responsible for increased sensitivity to stress), all athletes in the main group were prescribed Crystagen. Depending on the degree of risk of various somatic diseases, in combination with Crystagen, Vezugen was prescribed (for individuals with gene mutations increasing the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases – 4 individuals), Pinealon (for individuals with gene mutations increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease – 4 individuals), and for two gymnasts with an increased risk of developing type II diabetes, Pancragen was prescribed. All participants in the main group received peptide bioregulators during meals, 1 capsule twice a day, for 20 days for each prescribed medication. Participants in the control group did not receive peptide bioregulators and remained on a normal regimen.

All athletes in both the main and control groups underwent comprehensive examinations by specialists (therapists, cardiologists) utilizing state-of-the-art medical technologies, including molecular-genetic analysis (genetic passport), treadmill testing, clinical, biochemical, immunological blood tests, assessment of antioxidant and prooxidant systems, and evaluation of biological age (melatonin level).

The assessment of the immune system included the study of T-cell, B-cell compartments, and nonspecific resistance. T-cell parameters were evaluated on a relative and absolute scale. Cell content was determined using the method of indirect immunofluorescence with monoclonal antibodies. Activated T, B lymphocytes, and monocytes were identified by determining CD25+, CD71+, and HLA DR+ cells.

Molecular-genetic research was conducted using real-time PCR. For each patient, the expression levels of five genes involved in the immune response were evaluated: the gamma-interferon gene IFNG, the CD40 receptor protein gene, the heat shock protein gene HSPA1A, the interleukin receptor gene IL2RB, and the IL6 gene. Changes in gene expression were determined following the administration of bioregulators (measurement 1 – before the start of bioregulator intake, measurement 2 – after intake) and in the control group (also 2 measurements), compared to the control gene standard (GAPDH gene), which is expressed at a constant level regardless of any organismal influences. Changes in the expression levels of all examined genes were calculated as the means of differences in threshold cycle fluorescence, normalized to the standard gene. The significance of differences between samples was assessed using automatic calculation of the Mann-Whitney U test.

The Influence Of The Peptide EDR In Combination With Other Short Peptides On The Overall Condition And Immune System Of Female Athletes

At the follow-up examination, the majority of gymnasts in the main group reported improvement in well-being, sleep quality, and overall psycho-emotional state, manifested by better mood with fewer mood swings.

The correction performed with the complex of peptide bioregulators had a healing effect on the athletes. It is noteworthy that this scientific research was conducted during the seasonal flu epidemic; however, during the intake of peptide bioregulators, the majority of athletes (80%) did not contract influenza or acute respiratory infections (ARIs). This was confirmed by the results of immunological research.

At the initial examination, various moderate changes in the quantitative characteristics of T-lymphocytes were detected in 22% of the surveyed athletes, indicating a tendency towards some decrease in the activity of the T-cell compartment of the immune system. No clinical correlations with this condition of laboratory parameters were found. However, there was a change in the functional activity of these cells – a moderate decrease in cytokine production was observed during the assessment of spontaneous leukocyte migration (in 72% of patients), upon stimulation of leukocyte mitosis by concanavalin A (predominantly CD8+ cells) and phytohemagglutinin (PHA, CD4+ cells). Such parameters (55% and 32% of surveyed individuals, respectively) indicated activation of the immune response to infectious aggression. Additionally, an increase in the content of CD3+ cells was detected in 8 individuals, which was not accompanied by changes in the levels of immunoglobulins and was not associated with signs of inflammation.

The immune regulatory index (the ratio of major subpopulations) was within normal limits for the majority of the surveyed group. 12% had a decreased immune regulatory index, while 33% had an increased index. Additionally, 34% of patients showed a decrease in the relative and absolute content of B-cells. For most of them, these changes tended to be gradual, while 6% showed pronounced changes. However, the production of immunoglobulins by B-cells exhibited divergent patterns. A decrease in secretory IgA production was observed in 9 athletes. In one patient, the decrease in B-cells was accompanied by a decrease in all classes of immunoglobulins. Increased levels of acute-phase IgM were noted in 11% of cases. Eight individuals showed an increase in IgG. A significant increase in IgE (indicative of allergy predisposition) was detected in 4 patients. All patients had historical indications of noticeable susceptibility to allergic reactions of varying degrees of severity. Regarding nonspecific resistance, the phagocytic and microbicidal activity of neutrophils and monocytes remained unchanged, correlating with the data obtained from the study of cellular immunity parameters.

The results of the immune status study in the gymnasts of the main group revealed positive changes in the levels of activation markers, confirming the development of an adequate immune response to the administration of peptide bioregulators. Dynamic laboratory monitoring results showed a noticeable increase in the content of CD25+, CD71+, and HLA DR+ cells. There was also an increase in the content of T, B, and NK cells. Normalization of immunoglobulin levels of classes M, G, and E was observed. As a result, there was a change in the ratio of major lymphocyte subpopulations and optimization of their functional activity.

Thus, based on the monitoring results of key immunity indicators during the use of peptide bioregulators, including the peptide EDR, optimization of the activity of all branches of the immune system was noted. Therefore, peptide bioregulators exhibit significant immunomodulatory effects.

The Influence Of the Peptide EDR In Combination With Other Short Peptides On The Antioxidant System Of Female Athletes

Sports stress is multifaceted and encompasses emotional tension, physical fatigue, work hyperthermia, hypoxia, and acidosis. The systematic excessive accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the body contributes to the development of pronounced dystrophic and atrophic disorders in organs, accelerating the aging process and increasing the biological age of the organism. The application of peptide bioregulators has led to improvements in the antioxidant defense system by reducing the levels of lipid peroxidation products and activating compensatory-adaptive reactions. As a result, there is a more economical utilization of lipids in the body (Table 6.1).

Table 6.1

The Impact of Peptide Bioregulators on the Antioxidant Defense System in the Serum of Female Athletes

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The obtained data indicate that peptide bioregulators, including the peptide EDR, regulate metabolic restructuring processes in the athletes’ bodies under the influence of intense physical activity, without exerting stimulating or inhibitory effects.

The Influence Of The Peptide EDR In Combination With Other Short Peptides On The Cardiovascular System Of Female Athletes

The most significant changes in the cardiovascular system (CVS) were recorded during functional testing (treadmill testing) in only two athletes from the main group. In the remaining athletes, signs of adaptation stress on the CVS were detected to varying degrees.

Molecular identification of allelic variants of the studied somatic genes revealed in these two gymnasts a genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis and CVS diseases (Apo E, ApoCIII, PON1, ACE). Excessive physical stress under stress conditions may have triggered functional disturbances in the CVS, especially in individuals genetically predisposed to cardiovascular diseases. However, the use of peptide bioregulators tailored to the genetic predisposition to diseases contributed to improving the function and increasing the reserves of the cardiovascular system in these gymnasts.

During repeated treadmill testing in the main group gymnasts, despite their high tolerance to physical exertion, positive dynamics in the autonomic control system of the cardiovascular system during adaptation to high physical loads were noted. In some cases, this was manifested by a more adequate response to increased load in the cardiovascular system – blood pressure. In most studies, there was a tendency to decrease both resting and exercise diastolic blood pressure. This indicates the positive influence of peptide bioregulators, including the peptide EDR, on the recovery period in athletes during the post-competition period.

The Genostimulatory Effect Of The Peptide EDR In Combination With Other Short Peptides In Female Athletes

One of the main markers of adaptive processes activation within a cell is heat shock proteins (HSPs), which belong to the chaperone group. With age, the ability of cells to synthesize HSP-70 decreases, which is considered one of the possible mechanisms of cellular aging. Thus, HSPs serve as a universal nonspecific response of the cell to stressful stimuli. Increased expression of HSPs indicates the initiation of nonspecific protective processes in leukocytes aimed at preserving and activating protein synthesis and preventing potential disruptions in protein synthesis and folding under the influence of physiological stress, including high physical exertion. Through this mechanism, cell protection against hypoxic and sympathoadrenal damage, which occurs during maximum physical exertion, is intensified. Additionally, there is activation of protein synthesis, including in muscle tissue, contributing to training effectiveness. Moreover, HSPs participate in combating the stress inevitably associated with high-performance sports.

Our results are consistent with this hypothesis and indicate that under the influence of peptide bioregulators, the expression of the HSPA1A gene, which encodes HSP-70, increased on average by 2.2 times compared to the baseline. Changes in the expression levels of all investigated genes (IFNG, CD40, HSPA1A, IL2RB, IL6) are presented in Table 6.2.

Table 6.2

Average values of gene expression changes (in cycles)

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When using Pinealon, Vezugen, Pancragen, and Crystagen, no side effects, complications, or drug dependence were observed. The preparations were well tolerated by the athletes and were compatible with all medications used in the complex treatment of concomitant somatic diseases.

The results of this study allowed the development of a methodology for enhancing the body’s reserve capabilities of athletes depending on their genetic predispositions. Assessing the genetic predisposition to somatic and oncological diseases enables a targeted approach to correcting identified changes and selecting an individual complex of peptide bioregulators tailored to their genetic specificity. Moreover, the ability of peptide bioregulators to regulate gene expression will help enhance the body’s reserve capabilities of athletes, leading to greater physical readiness and psychological resilience during training and competitions.

Thus, the use of a complex of peptide bioregulators individually selected for each athlete based on their genetic predisposition to diseases will improve their physical condition and increase the physiological reserve capabilities of athletes. The developed methodology has been implemented in the training process of the Russian national rhythmic gymnastics team.

Final words

In conclusion, the application of peptide bioregulators, individually tailored for each athlete based on their genetic predisposition to diseases, may demonstrate promising results in enhancing physical performance and physiological resilience. These findings provide valuable insights into optimizing training protocols and enhancing the well-being of athletes, paving the way for further advancements in sports science and performance optimization.

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