The organically occurring short chains of two or more amino acids are known as peptides and these are linked to each other with the help of peptide bonds. This type of bond creates a special linkage between a single atom of nitrogen of the amino acid to the carboxylic atom of the other amino acid.
As per the number of amino acids found in each peptide, they can be classified into different forms. Oligopeptide contain less than ten amino acids. Peptide molecules contain ten to fifty amino acids. The molecules which contain more than 50 amino acids are termed as protein. Lastly, the molecules that have the molecular weight ranging from thousand to million Dalton are termed as polypeptide. This term is synonymous to protein under some circumstances.
Uses of peptides:
Peptides are naturally produced by the body and help in healing, fighting infections, rebuilding tissues, cell construction etc. And they act like neurotransmitters. These have multiple uses in the fields of medicine and biotechnology. As per recent research, there are at least 60 FDA approved Peptide drugs that are available in the market. Moreover, around 500 types of peptide drugs are still under development.
In order to treat acute diabetes the first therapeutic protein that was used is known as insulin. A certain type of peptide is also used to monitor the insulin production of the body and also determines the reason for low level of blood sugar. Peptides are useful in regulating other physiological progressions and growth factors.
Other than medical uses peptides have other uses. This is used in anti-ageing creams because of its ability regulate the production of collagen. Collagen is known to increase the elasticity of the skin and thus decrease the number of wrinkles. For getting this kind of effect the peptides are required to be applied externally.
Peptides are also widely used in antimicrobial treatments when the skin is damaged by ultraviolet rays of the sun, external injuries or acne lesions.
These chemical compounds are highly effective in detecting diseases and tumors. It is known that peptides are attracted towards acidic and hypoxic tissues, which are mainly found in tumors. Thus these are helpful in detecting the early stages of tumors and also life threatening diseases like cancer.
The artificial sweeteners that are used by the people who are conscious regarding their health and calorie intake are actually synthesized form of peptide. It was discovered accidentally while running a trial for anti-ulcer medication.
Side effects of peptides:
As Peptides are digested by the body faster and are very effective for those who are lacking amino acids, peptide supplementation has become quite common. Peptides can be injected in the body or taken orally. However, there might be some side effects such as red bump at the injection site, increase in appetite, increased hair and nail growth, dryness of mouth, headaches, nausea etc.
If the patient experiences extreme kidney pain or joint pain the consumption must be halted immediately and medical intervention might be required. Some of the long term effects include loss of fertility. Therefore, it is always advisable to seek medical help regarding the dosage and the type of peptide before injecting it.