What Is GHK-Cu?
GHK-Cu is a naturally occurring peptide first isolated from human blood plasma. It has since been identified in urine and saliva as well. Research into GHK-Cu has found the short peptide to have substantial benefits in wound healing and immune function. It has anti-aging properties and has been found to suppress free-radical damage, increase protein synthesis, fight bacteria, and increase the health of skin and skin fibroblasts.
GHK-Cu and Skin Healing
GHK-Cu is a natural part of human blood and, as such, has been found to play an integral role in skin regeneration pathways. Research in skin cultures has found that GHK stimulates the synthesis and breakdown of collagen, glycosaminoglycans, and other extracellular matrix components like proteoglycans and chondroitin sulfate. At least part of this effect is mediated through the positive recruitment benefits that GHK-Cu has on fibroblasts, immune cells, and endothelial cells. The peptide draws these cells to the site of injury and appears to coordinate their activity in repairing the damage.
GHK-Cu and Bacteria
The invasion of tissue by foreign pathogens is one of the primary reasons that wounds are slow to heal or do not heal at all. Bacterial and fungal infections are particularly problematic in burn patients and in those with compromised immune systems (e.g. diabetes, HIV). GHK-Cu, when combined with certain fatty acids, creates a potent antimicrobial compound that is active against a number of bacteria and fungi known to complicate wound healing.
GHK-Cu, Cognition and Nervous System Function
The death of neurons due to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s is poorly understood. This makes it difficult to develop treatments and those that are available are generally of limited efficacy. Research, however, suggests that GHK-Cu can counter the age-associated decline in neuron function that often underlies these diseases. Research shows that GHK-Cu can improve angiogenesis in the nervous system, boost nerve outgrowth, and reduce inflammation in the central nervous system. There is even evidence that GHK-Cu can reset pathological gene expression and help to recreate a state of health in dysfunctional systems.
GHK-Cu and Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Research in mice shows that GHK-Cu can protect the lungs against fibrosis that occurs following therapy with the cancer drug bleomycin. This could pave the way for using GHK-Cu as a chemotherapy adjuvant that allows doses of these life-saving medications to be increased without risk of increased side effects. The study when a step farther, than usual, by identifying the likely pathway by which GHK-Cu protects against fibrosis. It appears that the peptide regulations TNF-alpha and IL-6 levels, both of which act as inflammatory molecules and affect the extracellular matrix and smooth muscle of the lung. By reducing inflammation in the lungs, GHK-Cu prevents fibrotic remodeling from taking place and improves collagen deposition.
GHK-Cu and Pain Reduction
In rat models, the administration of GHK-Cu had a dose-dependent effect on pain-induced behavior. The peptide appears to have analgesic effects that are produced through increased levels of the natural painkiller L-lysine. Similar research has found that the peptide can also increase levels of L-arginine, another analgesic amino acid. These findings open up new avenues for pain control that do not rely on addictive opiate medications or NSAIDs, which have been found to have negative effects on the heart.