Before I started my functional medicine journey, I had never heard of peptides. When I heard Dr. Cook talk about them on his podcast, I did what any normal person would do; I went straight to google and started researching as much as I could find about peptide therapy, specifically to treat SIBO and COVID Longhaul.
At first, I was skeptical, but after four weeks of peptide injections, there’s no doubt these tiny little amino acids pack a helpful punch!
So, what are peptides? According to Medical News Today, “Peptides are short strings of amino acids, typically comprising 2–50 amino acids. Amino acids are also the building blocks of proteins, but proteins contain more.” Research indicates peptides may:
lower high blood pressure
prevent the formation of blood clots
improve immune function
act as antioxidants
To read more on peptides:
What peptides was I prescribed?
Dr. Cook prescribed me four peptides: Thymosin Alpha 1 (TA1), Thymosin Beta 4 (TB4), MoT-C and NAD.
From my research, I found that TA1 is a peptide naturally occurring in the thymus and that it has long been recognized for modifying, enhancing, and restoring immune function (just what I needed). It has been used to treat a whole host of illnesses but most importantly (and according to this awesome journal article I found), “TA1 has been used in the fight of numerous infections, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), pseudomonas, and mold toxicity, as well as sepsis, and recently in severely ill coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.” BINGO!
TB4 is a little different. This peptide has been know to play vital roles in repairing and regenerating injured cells and tissues.
The Mitochondrial-derived peptide aka as MoT-C promotes metabolic balance and regulates metabolic function throughout the body. For example, it helps turn glucose into usable energy. I call MoT-C my little booster peptide because after I take it I can feel a major energy boost for the rest of the day.
Finally, let's talk about the NAD peptide (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide). From what I’ve learned, NAD promotes healthy aging, protects brain cells, and promotes overall health. This may have something to do with clearing up the COVID brain fog.
Can peptides really help treat COVID Longhaul?
The short answer. In my experience, yes.
The peptides Dr. Cook recommended were shipped overnight straight to my door. It’s important to note they require refrigeration and they do expire within several weeks. I will most likely have to order each peptide three to four more times before the end of my treatment. Each vile of peptides costs between $200-$800 so make sure to check the expiration and use them BEFORE they expire.
The peptides I received must be taken subcutaneously which is just a fancy way of saying they have to be injected. I was a big baby the first two weeks and made my husband give me the injections but after a few weeks, I was able to do it on my own.
Two weeks in is when I started to notice a significant change. We booked a winter vacation to Suncadia Resort. It was a snowy, white winter wonderland and of course, all our two kids and Bernedoodle puppy wanted to do was play in the snow. The second day we spent all day outside in the snow, sledding, building a snowman, playing, running around, and having a great time. The following day I fully expected to be knocked on my ass by post-COVID fatigue and chest tightness which normally followed a day of overexertion.
I woke up the next day and felt amazing. I had more energy than I had since I was diagnosed with COVID in March 2020.
My chest wasn’t tight
I didn’t have a headache
I didn’t have a cough or congestion
And best of all, I wasn’t fatigued.
I felt almost normal, which to a COVID Longhauler is the best gift you could receive. I cried in the shower that morning.
I spent the rest of our five-day vacation playing with my family, enjoying long walks in the snow, sledding, and snowball fights. The day after we got home, I did have a minor “relapse” as I like to call them. I got hit with a bout of fatigue, but it wasn’t terrible, and I was recovered by the next day.
A week later, I decided to really put the peptides to the test. Prior to COVID, I was an avid runner. After COVID I was forced to stop running because every time I would attempt even just a run/walk, the next day I would be hit with crippling fatigue, joint pain, and chest tightness that would last for several days, so I stopped altogether because I didn’t know what was causing it and the chest tightness was frightening. (Note, my cardiologist didn’t find anything wrong with my heart so I still don’t know what’s causing it).
I went out for my first run/walk in 6 months. I made it just over a mile and a half. The next day I woke up and was mildly fatigued and had chest tightness. I was a bit disappointed but also grateful that it wasn’t severe. After my run, I injected the peptides, just like I did every day. About 30 minutes later, all of my symptoms disappeared. The chest tightness went away, my energy levels came back and my joint pain was almost nonexistent.
HOLY SHIT, these peptides were actually working!
A week later I asked my husband if he noticed any difference because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just me dreaming? My husband told me he did notice a significant change in my energy levels and said I seemed to be feeling better, which was huge.
After a year of endless sickness, doctor visits that left me frustrated and feeling alone, I finally felt like there might be a light at the end of this very dark tunnel. For the first time in almost 365 days, I had something that I hadn’t had before. I had hope.
I’m only 1/3 of the way through my treatment and I still have a long way to go. I don’t expect the peptides alone to “cure” my COVID long haul, but I can say without a doubt they have made a significant improvement in my symptoms and I'm hoping they continue to help. I’m excited to see what the next two months bring. So far...so good!
For more on my journey to cure COVID Long Haul and SIBO with functional medicinal, stay tuned for my next blog.
XOXO Carri E.
Note: the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate supplements in the same way they do medications. As a result, people should exercise caution and consult a functional medicine specialist or a physician prior to using peptides.