Copper peptide GHK-Cu, also known as copper tripeptide, is a short chain of amino acids that naturally occurs in the body.
It was first discovered in 1973 when researchers noticed that pieces of liver regenerated somewhat in the blood of younger people. They found that this GHK-Cu peptide was the cause of the regeneration .
Fast forward through more than 40 years of research and GHK-Cu has been found to be involved in a number of regenerative processes.
It’s known as the “anti-aging” peptide because of its role in activating tissue remodeling and repair. In other words, it plays a crucial role in the body’s regeneration processes .
The more scientists looked into this wonder peptide, the more they have come to understand its specific, yet unusual, properties.
These include tissue renewal, wound healing, anti-inflammation, DNA repair, and nerve regeneration. It may even help prevent cancer. It also has been shown to reduce wrinkles and stimulate hair growth.
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What is GHK-Cu?
GHK-Cu is a peptide, which is basically a chain of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, so peptides are sort of like shorter proteins. This peptide is made up of three amino acids: Glycine, Histidine, and Lysine (GHK). These amino acids then bind together with a copper molecule to make GHK-Cu.
GHK-Cu occurs naturally in the human body. It is most commonly found in the plasma of the blood, although it can also be found in urine and saliva. While it occurs in all of us, it tends to decline with age. In healthy 20 years olds, you will usually see levels of GHK-Cu at about 200 ng/ml in your blood plasma. By the time you reach 60, your GHK-Cu declines to an average of about 80 ng/ml .
Supplementing GHK-Cu can be a great way to increase your body’s ability to regenerate itself the way it could when you were younger.
How does it work? Recent research suggests that it probably has an effect through its influence on genes.
Each of your cells has a copy of your genes. These are basically the blueprint to help your cells duplicate and create new cells. With age, the DNA gets damaged and changed so they express themselves differently. It looks like it’s GHK-Cu’s job to prevent and reverse some of this damage.
Some studies have found that this peptide can change how genes are expressed and can reverse expression to their healthier state [4; 5]. That basically means that the cells are able to repair themselves and duplicate better.
Because of its properties, GHK-Cu is typically used as a tissue regeneration agent. It has been found to help repair tissue damage, ulcers, lungs, and it may even help to regenerate nerves .
It also has some properties that make it a potent anti-aging agent. GHK-Cu has been shown to significantly reduce wrinkles in the skin and increase collagen formation. As a result, the skin becomes more elastic and it reduces its aging appearance .
It also appears that this peptide can stimulate hair growth. GHK-Cu hair growth occurs by regenerating and protecting hair follicles from damage .
Does GHK-Cu Actually Work?
With all its regeneration potential, GHK-Cu sounds a bit like a wolverine wonder drug. But do copper peptides actually work?
There's certainly a bunch of anecdotal evidence that it does. Several writers have expressed that GHK-Cu serum helped their skin noticeably by significantly reducing wrinkles and improving skin smoothness . Some even say that it helped their skin “glow” .
Importantly, that anecdotal evidence seems to be backed up by quite a bit of more rigorous scientific evidence. Loren Pickart, who first discovered the peptide, has published a huge library of findings over the years on its effects. In a large review of the literature, he notes the extensive evidence that GHK-Cu injections and topical ointments can be effective for a number of different kinds of tissue repair .
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GHK-Cu Benefits and Uses
Here’s a relatively comprehensive list of all the different effects that GHK-Cu can have. Each of these come directly from high-quality scientific studies.
GHK-Cu’s most well-known effects are in skin and wound repair. A ton of animal studies have found that this copper peptide facilitates wound healing . It does that by elevating levels of antioxidant enzymes, contracting wounds, and speeding up tissue growth. It seems to do this effectively both as a topical ointment as well as through GHK-Cu injections .
It has also been found to be effective in humans. GHK gel was found to not only increase how quickly ulcers healed but also drastically reduced how many got infected .
Basically, if you’re looking to heal a wound quickly and effectively, GHK-Cu is a great option.
One of the more promising uses of GHK-Cu is actually in cosmetics. It seems to have powerful anti-aging effects, including the substantial reduction of wrinkles and fine lines on the skin as well as increasing skin firmness and elasticity . There have been several high-quality controlled experiments using copper tripeptide in creams applied to the skin.
One study of women found that copper peptide was better than vitamin C and retinoic acid in increasing collagen and reducing fine lines and wrinkles . In another study, researchers looked at the effects of GHK-Cu cream on 67 women over 12 weeks. They found that it was very effective at reducing wrinkles and increasing skin thickness. They also found that it was non-toxic and non-irritating .
It’s now a very well-known anti-aging agent and can be commonly found in skincare products.
There seems to be some evidence that it plays a role in remodeling tissue. This means it helps repair damaged tissue, including creating protein synthesis of collagen . Some studies have also found that there is an effect on the repair of lung tissue and also in tissue in the digestive system .
Heads up guys: copper tripeptide has been found to be effective in treating hair loss, including male-pattern baldness. In clinical trials, researchers found that it has performed as well as other well-recognized treatment options like Minoxidil . It can also improve the likelihood that hair transplants will be successful .
It looks like it can be used on thinning hair as well, stimulating growth and improving the strength of the hair that’s already there.
Anti-tumor and cancer
Another study also found that copper tripeptide changed the expression of some genes that are involved in the formation and spread of colon cancer meaning it could be effective as a preventative measure .
More research is needed, but there are definitely some promising anti-cancer effects of GHK-Cu.
While the science is not yet settled on all the effects of this copper tripeptide, it looks like it could be used to help nerve regeneration. One study found that GHK-Cu was involved in a number of processes that improve nerve regeneration. For example, it stimulated the production of nerve growth factors, increased axon count in nerve cells, and increased the proliferation of Schwann cells . Again, more evidence is needed to be sure, but there seem to be some promising findings of GHK-Cu in the regeneration of nerve tissue.
Anti-Pain, Anti-Anxiety, Anti-Aggression
Research on animals has also suggested that GHK-Cu reduces anxiety, improves tolerance to pain, and reduces aggression. [3, 18] It is suspected that GHK could have similar effects in humans, although this has yet to be confirmed with extensive clinical research.
GHK-Cu Side Effects
What about the side effects? The benefits are great, but you want to make sure you’re not taking anything unsafe.
In general, this peptide is considered very safe. For example, one team of researchers has said that GHK-Cu, “is very safe and no issues have ever arisen during its use as a skin cosmetic or in human wound healing studies” . The safety of this peptide is frequently cited by numerous researchers [3, 8, 9].
One of the likely reasons that it’s not toxic is that it already occurs naturally in your body. It’s not a foreign substance.
But keep in mind that the research on this stuff is still limited.
As a cream, copper tripeptide seems to be virtually side-effect free. Some studies have concluded that it is non-toxic and also doesn’t irritate the skin . Applying creams topically has not been found to have any side-effects. [5, 8].
One side effect mentioned by users is that it can be painful to administer via injection . Some people on Reddit have suggested that there can be cramping at the injection site as well . While these haven’t been long-lasting side-effects, the users have noted some discomfort.
While there have been very few side-effects found for GHK-Cu, it has not yet been completely researched. To give you a sense of side effects that you could experience, here is a list of side effects that can occur from the use of other peptides:
- Slightly elevated blood pressure
- Redness/pain in the area of injection
- Increase in appetite
GHK-Cu Dosage Guide
Dosing guidelines were difficult to arrive at because there does not seem to be a consensus among scientists. However, after a lot of reading, we did manage to find some guidelines for GHK-Cu in the scientific literature.
First, the dose you use depends on the delivery method you choose. There appear to be several effective delivery methods:
- GHK-Cu Injections
- GHK-Cu Topicals
Minimum GHK-Cu dosage: There does not yet appear to be a minimum effective dose identified for injections . We need some more research for that.
Effective GHK-Cu dosage: One study suggests that 100-200 milligrams (mg) at one injection per day would have therapeutic effects . This estimate for humans is based on what has been effective in animal studies. The researchers suggest even that may be an overestimate—it could be effective at much lower doses . So perhaps try a dosage on the lower end to begin with.
Other research suggests that, at least for healing, 50 mg per day would likely be effective .
Other studies found that 0.5 micrograms (μgs) /kg were effective to reduce anxiety in rats. For a 70kg human, that would be about 35 μgs. A review of GHK-Cu suggests that 35 μgs is a very low and safe dosage .
Lethal GHK-Cu Dosage: It’s also good to know that the lethal dose is very, very high. Based on studies on mice, a lethal dose for humans is about 300 mg/kg, or about 21,000 mg for a 70kg human . You should obviously stay well, well below that.
Ideal Dosing: GHK-Cu dosing recommendations are rare in the research we found, as long as you’re staying below 200 mg per day.
Here is a dosing cycle that seems reasonable and that has been recommended by some fitness experts :
- Dose: 1.5 mg per day,
- Injected subcutaneously or intramuscularly.
Injection frequency: 1 per day. Or, split the dose into several injections.
- Duration: 5-10 days
- Cycle: repeat once a year
1.5 mg per day is a very low dose. You should be able to safely go up to 200 mg per day. But start low and then adjust as necessary.
As always, you should consult with a physician before taking any supplements or substances.
GHK-Cu dosing for topicals
GHK-Cu also comes in a topical serum and creams. Researchers recommend applying creams and serums to the skin after plastic surgery, chemical peels, dermabrasion, laser treatment, and so on. You can also simply apply it to reduce wrinkles, and increase skin firmness .
It can be applied in skin solutions like sunscreens, creams, and serums.
Apply as needed. Once or twice a day is enough for skin rejuvenation and hair growth .
It’s also possible that it could be administered via a skin patch , although we’ve yet to see those for sale. If using a skin patch, follow the directions that come with it.
Where to Buy GHK-Cu Online? | 2021 Guide
You can order GHK-Cu from a few places online. As for all online purchases, and especially for peptides, you really need to be aware of the quality of the product you’re getting. Not everyone offers the same quality product.
We use Peptide Sciences for GHK-Cu injections because they offer only high-quality research-grade peptides. They not only sell consistently high-quality, but they also run a good business:
- Slightly elevated blood pressure
- Redness/pain in the area of injection
- Increase in appetite
If you’re looking for GHK-Cu creams and serums, we love Aseir Custom. Like Peptide Science, they offer high-quality products that really work. They also have a full refund policy if you’re not happy with your purchase.
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How to Order GHK-Cu in Your Country
Peptide Sciences suggests that it can take up to 10 days for international shipping, but it is often quicker—it just depends where you’re located. Like US shipping, it costs $15 for international shipping.
GHK-Cu Review | Verdict
GHK-Cu peptide is useful for regeneration. Its main uses are wound healing, skin rejuvenation, and hair growth, but there’s also some evidence that it could be useful regenerating nerves, preventing cancer, and as a way to reduce pain, anxiety, and even aggression.
The best part is that it seems to be safe and virtually side-effect free, besides some possible pain during injections. Topical creams can be used as needed, and the most recent science suggests they're non-toxic and don’t irritate the skin.
Basically, if you’re interested in a full head of hair, healthy skin, and feeling young, our verdict is that GHK-Cu could be a fantastic addition to your peptide regimen.