Muscular Development: ‘Peptides: Do They Live Up to the Hype?’ by PJ Braun

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The Following Article was originally published in Muscular Development Magazine in June 2023. It is the ninth in a series of articles written while PJ Braun was in prison. You can find previous and future articles in this series here. At the end of this article, you will find an addendum not included in the original publication where PJ reflects on the content of this article.

I am really surprised at the popularity of peptides among some of the more advanced fitness freaks in prison. I have fielded a ton of questions on the subject lately so I figured this would be a good topic for this month’s column. 

When I was competing, no one that I knew was really using peptides yet. It wasn’t until shortly after I retired that it seemed like peptide companies were popping up more and more. At one point, I had a well-known chemist, Trevor Kouritzin, on my podcast to break stuff down and he said many of them were overrated, which bummed a lot of people out. Trevor is a man whose knowledge I have always trusted and I was happy to have his opinion on my show. 

So here is what I’ve decided to do now– I am going to write about what the peptide experts are saying and what I know from personal experience.

Semaglutide/GLP-1 Agonists. This one really does work. I used Semaglutide for about a month and I was eating plenty and still losing fat. You have probably seen commercials for these products and have not even realized it. In clinical trials, subjects were routinely losing 15 percent of their body weight. This has become very popular in mainstream society to reduce appetite, promote fat loss, and rebalance your metabolism.

Humanin. Can’t say that I know much about this one, but it’s derived from the mitochondria and may revitalize the carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

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PT-141 binds to receptors in the brain that are believed to be a central nervous system hub for sexual arousal and libido. I was offered this one a few times to try with Marissa and it’s supposed to be amazing for women, but it just sounded like too much BS to me. I am curious to find some people who can back the hype up because who doesn’t love to enhance their sex life, no matter how good it may already be!

BPC-157 may help speed up recovery from ligament tears and rotator cuff issues. I really wanted this one to work for me. I took it orally and noticed nothing. I don’t know how good the quality was at the time and would be interested in trying it again from a high-quality source. A side note: This peptide is shown to produce outstanding results in treating gut problems.

Sermorelin and Tesamorelin mimic the action of Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone (GHRH). The big one with this is they are much cheaper to obtain than synthetic growth hormone and can be legally prescribed off-label. I had one doctor tell me that comparing these peptides to synthetic GH was like comparing a bicycle to a crotch rocket, and that was enough to steer me clear. However, I am very interested in what others have to say.

Ipamorelin mobilizes stored body fat for fuel, improves muscle mass, and speeds recovery. I actually used this one but while taking a few other things into consideration at the time, mainly the stress of getting ready to go to prison, I can’t give accurate feedback.

Melanotan-I darkens your skin by stimulating the production of melanin. Basically, it’s a tan without being in the sun and it absolutely works. I have tried it, but I got very nauseous after each injection. I tried doing it on an empty stomach or with food but, no matter what, I got sick and that was a turnoff. It’s said to also give great erections, but I never noticed that. This is certainly a much safer way to get tan than baking in the sun all day.

There are over 80 peptides legally approved by the FDA, but these are just the ones I am most familiar with. It’s something I am going to entertain more when I am free again. As far as HRT goes, nothing will surpass the importance and overall benefit of testosterone replacement therapy – but by adding in peptides, you may be able to really enhance your body’s immunity, recovery, and ability to thrive as you age. It’s very important that you talk to your doctor at whatever hormone replacement clinic you work with and stay away from black-market sources. I think that online pharmacies will soon be shut down because you can’t trust what you are going to get out there. I have found that they are readily available at any HRT spot or compounding pharmacy, so stay with a safe and reputable option.

I promise to keep educating myself more and more and tying it into my personal struggles, experiences, and successes. If there is anything you are really interested in, please DM the @pjbraunfitness Instagram or just let my friends at MD know. I love that I can have a voice with MD and until next time, please don’t forget I love you all! 

Peace out, bye!

Instagram @pjbraunfitness

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Editor’s Note (June 2024): Prior to posting this article, PJ Braun was requested for comment and asked to reflect on the content of this article. This was his response. It has been edited for clarity.

A lot has changed with Peptides since I wrote this article. The biggest thing being that Big Pharma is exploding with money thanks to Semiglutide. These are the most widely used prescriptions in the USA now with Ozempic and Wegovy turning Novo Nordisk into a 400 billion dollar company and it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. It’s so popular that sales of fat burners in the dietary supplement world are majorly down. Why take a fat burner to help you burn more fat while you are working out when you can just take a weekly subcutaneous injection that makes you lose weight doing absolutely nothing?

South Park did an awesome job with their latest “End of Obesity” Special that hit a home run with all the moms wearing midriff-revealing shirts and talking about their drugs. I laughed my ass off. Less people are going to the gym. I fear that many of these people are setting themselves up for a slew of problems down the road because the weight is coming off simply from not eating rather than exercise. I have seen reports of hair loss, skin issues, muscle loss and other malnutrition-related health concerns.

I swear it seems almost all the women I know, who were heavy and also lazy are now using some form of GLP-1 agonist, like Semiglutide. It’s wild. From my own personal standpoint, I am still very interested in BPC-157 especially since it’s not Illegal to have the oral versions now. The rules are strange. Injectables have been regulated but oral use is ok? I don’t get it. I will have to do more research and get back to you all on this one 😉