Peptides vs. SARMs – What are they? How do they work?
A comparison of Peptides vs. SARMs clearly shows that even if they differ from each other, they often act as biologically active molecules with overlapping functions within the body. The best way to distinguish Peptides vs. SARMs is to obtain an in-depth understanding of what SARMs are. It is important to note that most SARMs are not peptides though they can be. Peptides are short stretches of amino acids bound together through peptide bonds. They can either be of biological origin or be synthesized. In either case, they comprise the essential sequences of full-length proteins, enzymes, and hormones. This enables their biological potency and contributes towards their application(s). SARM, on the other hand, is the abbreviation for selective androgen receptor modulator.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs are ligands that recognize their cognate androgen receptors and therefore bind to androgen receptors A and B. Going by definition, it might seem testosterone will fall in the category of SARMs, but it is not so. Testosterone doesn’t fall into this category despite its binding to androgen receptors; it does not induce selective biological effects downstream. The efficacy of SARMs relies on the selectivity of their action. Testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and other natural androgen receptor ligands, on the contrary, exhibit broad-spectrum influence, which tends to reduce their legitimate uses. The potential for effectiveness of SARMs is based on their selectivity.
SARMs are part of a larger category of molecules known as selective receptor modulators (SRMs). SRMs are known for their ability to overcome the challenges of global receptor activation by targeting only specific tissues. The first SRMs to be developed were Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), with tamoxifen being the most reputed molecule. Tamoxifen is an estrogen receptor antagonist (binds and blocks the estrogen receptor) in the breast but acts as an agonist (stimulates the estrogen receptor) in the uterus and the bone. This unique function helps in preventing the growth of estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer while controlling the adverse effects. Other members of the SRM category include selective glucocorticoid receptor modulators (SGRMs) and selective progesterone receptor modulators (SPRMs). Ligandrol, Ostarine (Enobosarm), S-23, Andarine, and S-40503 are a few of the popular SARMs.
Peptides are short sequences of amino acids connected by peptide bonds (generally 50 amino acids or less). They happen to be similar to proteins but have a shorter length. Peptides can either be natural or synthetic. They are used in diverse contexts such as hormonal signaling, intracellular communication, and extracellular structures. Peptides have versatile capabilities like regulation of metabolism, improvement of sleep patterns, stimulation of libido, and better cognitive functions. They can be easily synthesized in the lab through recombinant DNA technology.
The last fifty years of peptide studies have revealed that many synthetic peptide derivatives of naturally occurring proteins continue to exhibit the biological properties of their parent proteins. As per the research published, peptides, due to their short length, can be easily manufactured, are biologically effective, and have a high degree of bioavailability compared to full-length proteins. They continue to be effective in high doses as they show minimal side effects. Many technological, industrial, and financial impetus have been given to the development of synthetic peptides. They can be easily modified to boost their biological influence, tissue-specific efficacy, and enhanced bioavailability. Studies focus on the effective use of peptides in learning about the biochemical processes, treatment of diseases, enhancing their function, and promoting better health. The enlisted peptides below show that there is greater variety in peptides vs. SARMs. This can be ascribed to the fact that there has been more focused and extensive research in peptides vs. SARMs.
Commonly studied peptides include: Tesamorelin, Sermorelin, PT141, BPC 157, CJC-1295, Semax, Adipotide, Gonadorelin, Hexarelin, GHRP-2, GHRP-6, Ipamorelin, GRF, TB 500, Epithalon, Follistatin, KPV, Larazotide.
SARMs Are Not Steroid Molecules
Most androgenic hormones are comprised of steroid-based molecules. This implies they are derivatives of cholesterol and are chemically different from peptides. Steroid hormones are lipid-soluble and include molecules such as estrogen, vitamin D, and testosterone.
Most SARMs are, however, are not steroid-based, unlike their natural androgen receptor binding counterparts. The majority are small molecules that are structural derivatives of aryl-propionamide or tricyclic quinolones. Thus there is a difference in the chemical composition of peptides vs. SARMs. Unfortunately, there has been limited success with the clinical trials of steroid hormones. Most of them have failed either due to toxicity or lack of selectivity. All steroids have the same basic four-ring structure in common, which is not found in most SARMs. The diverse roles of steroid hormones, from testosterone to estrogen, resulting from changes in the basic ring structure, which is shared with cholesterol.
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