Copper Peptides, Used to Improve Aging Skin, Also Reverse Cognitive Impairment

  • by Nils Osmar. June 3, 2024
  • This post is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. 
  • See full Medical Disclaimer

A recent study concluded that copper peptides, used to heal skin aging in humans, also partially reverses cognitive impairment in mice.

  • Many people using copper peptides topically have reported improvements in their skin thickness and smoothness after putting the product on their skin. As they use it, the production of collagen increases and injured skin begins healing.
  • Recent studies suggest that it also has cognitive benefits (though it may not be beneficial for people who already have Alzheimer’s).

What I’m doing

  • I use a product called NEEL (3% copper peptides).
  • In the past I’ve used it mainly for skin issues.
  • For example, I’m currently using it to get rid of a seborrhoeic keratosis (SK), a wart-like growth that we become vulnerable to developing as our skin ages. I started putting NEEL on one two weeks ago, morning and night. It started changing visibly after 7 days, then split in two, then parts started breaking off. It’s now about 1/4 the size it was; I expect that it’ll be gone completely in another week or two.
  • I’ve also used NEEL to improve the thickness of the skin on the back of my hands, and remove age spots.
  • I plan to use it more often due to its possible cognitive benefits, (Using it topically results in its being absorbed through the skin and available internally.)

Study 1: “The potential of GHK as an anti-aging peptide

From the study – emphases are mine:

GHK (glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine) is a naturally occurring peptide found in human serum with levels averaging 200 ng/ml at age 20 but declining to an average of 80 ng/ml by age 60. The molecule has a very high affinity for copper and forms the chelate GHK-Cu. The peptide as well as its Cu (II) chelate have anti-inflammatory and tissue remodeling properties.

GHK-Cu has been shown to promote skin remodeling, wound healing and regeneration, and has prominent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in in vitro and in vivo studies.

In addition, preliminary observations suggest GHK can partially reverse cognitive impairment in aging mice by targeting anti-inflammatory and epigenetic pathways.

Since GHK is absorbed at a high efficiency across the blood brain barrier into the brains of rodents and nonhuman primates when delivered parenterally, testing the effects of the peptide on neurological function is warranted. C57BL/6 male mice, 28 months of age, were treated with GHK at a dose of 10 mg/kg body weight 5 times per week for three weeks. Control mice were treated with saline in a similar manner.

Mice treated with GHK were able to find the escape hole significantly faster in trials 4 and 5 compared to mice treated with saline (Figure 2) as assessed by a Box Maze spatial navigation learning task [27] at the end of the treatment period.

Immunohistochemistry of brain tissues from mice treated with GHK showed evidence of decreased inflammation and increased labeling of histone deacetylase 2, suggesting that in addition to an anti-inflammatory effect, GHK may be triggering an epigenetic pathway in the amelioration of cognitive impairment in aging mice.

Study 2: “Association Between Copper and Global Cognition…

From the study (note and emphases are mine):

(Note: The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is a cognitive test that consists of a series of tasks, with a maximum score of 30. A score of 25 or higher is generally considered normal, while a score below 24 may indicate cognitive impairment. )

Serum copper level (as a continuous variable) was significantly associated with MMSE score (B = 0.065, 95% confidence interval = 0.023–0.108, p = 0.003). Low serum copper group showed significantly decreased MMSE score compared to high copper one (B = −2.643, 95% confidence interval = −4.169 to -1.117, p < 0.001), while middle copper category had no difference (B = −1.211, 95% confidence interval = −2.689 to 0.268, p = 0.107).

There was a significant low serum copper ×iron interaction effect on the MMSE score (B = 0.065, 95% confidence interval = 0.016–0.114, p = 0.010). Subgroup analyses showed that low serum copper was significantly associated with a low MMSE score in the low-iron (B = −4.174, 95% confidence interval = −6.607 to −1.741, p = 0.001) but not high-iron subgroup (B = −0.721, 95% confidence interval = −2.852 to 1.409, p = 0.495).

Our findings from non-demented older adults suggest that a low serum copper level within the normal range was associated with AD or cognitive decline and this is moderated by iron. To prevent AD or cognitive decline, clinicians need to pay attention to avoiding low serum copper and iron levels, even within the clinical normal range.

Not medical advice

This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplement(s), just reporting on what I’m doing. Supplements, like medications and other interventions, can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen, and consult with a medical professional about any issues which might have a medical component.  See full Medical Disclaimer

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