Peptides For Healing: (How) Do Healing Peptides Work?

In this article, we will take a close look at if and how healing peptides work. We will look into how the peptides for healing influence tissue repair, cell proliferation, bone repair, and other parts of the healing process. We will understand whether peptides can speed healing and analyze the overall benefits of using peptides.
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

A blue image with text saying "The Healing Process and the Role of Peptides"

How do peptides contribute to healing?

Peptides contribute to healing and tissue repair by accelerating skin wound closure, preventing bacterial infection, and promoting cellular proliferation, neoangiogenesis, colagenogenesis, and reepithelialization. They can also stimulate bone healing and support osteoprogenitor cells.

What is considered as a healing process?

Healing is a multidimensional process. It is influenced by a variety of factors and has various stages and perspectives on healing.

However, from a biological perspective, healing is a biological process involving inflammation, fibroplasia and remodelling. Usually, there are overlaps between these phases. The inflammation phase usually refers to the phase in which nutrients are brought to the area of the wound. Debris and bacteria are removed and the chemical stimuli for wound repair are provided. Fibroplasia or proliferation is a phase throughout which a granulation tissue is formed and the vascular network restored. It is a phase of the recovery of the wound surface. The remodelling phase refers to the changes happening in the components of the extracellular matrix, the physiological endpoint of wound repair and ultimately the formation of the scar.

From the holistic perspective it is considered to be an experiential, energy-requiring process. Throughout this process, the individual builds on a one-to-one relationship associated with the feeling of wholeness and spirituality [1, 2]. Healing in a holistic perspective helps to achieve the opposite state of mind as crisis elicits. This theory outlines three obligatory steps: to feel, to understand, and to let go of negative decisions [1].

Here in this blog, we will refer to the word healing as a biological process.

Can peptides speed the healing process?

Peptides have been shown to have an important role in the acceleration of the healing process, in particular in skin wounds.

Peptides in this process promote cellular proliferation, re-epithelialization and new blood vessel formation, all of which are important steps in wound healing [3, 4, 5]. Interestingly, some peptides are being studied fot tendon repair.

For instance, angiotensin peptides have been found to accelerate collagen deposition, re-epithelialization, and new blood vessel formation in wounds.

For instance, a study reported that the percentage of the wound with collagen increased 2 to 6 fold and the number of blood vessels at the wound site increased 2 to 3 fold on days 4 and 7 after injury depending on the peptide used [3].

A peptide known as RGD-peptide matrix was reported to significantly speed up the rate of epithelial migration and healing of second-degree burn wounds in pigs. Woulds treated with RGD peptide matrix showed a faster rate of resurfacing in comparison to hyaluronic acid [4].

In addition to this, H1 peptide, which normally targets fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 IIIc was found to promote the proliferation and motility of fibroblasts and vascular endothelial cells and accelerate wound healing in a rat model 6].

In combination with other studies, the results seem to show that peptides have a positive effect on the healing process in particular in skin wounds.

How can peptides influence healing?

Peptides help the healing process by promoting the proliferation of fibroblasts and keratinocytes, both of which are important in the process of wound healing.

Small molecular peptides derived from the mantle of Pinctada martensii have been reported to promote the proliferation of these cells [5]. In addition, H1 a peptide targeting fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 IIIc promotes proliferation and motility of both fibroblasts and vascular endothelial cells [5].

Peptides also help with reepithelialization, which refers to the process of restoration of the epidermis over a wound. For instance, a hydrogel conjugated with a peptide called QHREDGS was found to increase keratinocyte migration and improve wound healing in diabetic mice [6].

Importantly, peptides also promote collagen deposition, which is essential for wound healing and tissue repair [5].

What are the benefits of peptides on healing?

Peptides provide a wide range of benefits for healing. Firstly they contribute to the production of collagen and elastin fibres. We are losing these as we age and therefore promotion of them not only helps reduce the visibility of wrinkles by plumping the skin but also offers benefits for wound healing and tissue repair [5, 4]. They also seem to help with the proliferation of human skin fibroblasts and immortalised keratinocyte cells which is beneficial for wound healing [7].

Then peptides also help ease inflammation, repair damaged skin and even out skin tone.

Peptides also provide antimicrobial effects [] and can for example kill bacteria causing acne. We explored this in more detail in our blog about peptides for skincare

In terms of bone healing, peptides seem to accelerate the bone healing process [9].

In summary, peptides offer a range of benefits for healing, including strengthening the skin barrier, promoting cell proliferation, easing inflammation, and supporting bone healing. However, it is important to note that some peptides are lacking definitive scientific evidence. For example, the safety, benefits and side effects of BPC 157 in humans need further research.

Aside from healing, peptides have other uses. Peptides may support brain health, peptides can affect gut health, and peptides can support muscle growth. Recently, peptides have been used to develop weight loss drugs.

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.