GHK-Cu is a naturally occurring copper complex that was first identified in human plasma, but has recently been found in multiple locations such as saliva and urine. Copper peptides are small, naturally occurring protein fragments that have high affinity for copper ions, which are critical to normal body function. GHK-Cu has a variety of roles in the human body including, promoting activation of wound healing, attracting immune cells, having anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, stimulating collagen and glycosaminoglycan synthesis in skin fibroblasts, and promoting blood vessel growth.
Evidence has shown that it acts as a feedback signal that is generated after tissue injury. It seems to act as a potent protector of tissue and it is an anti-inflammatory agent that controls the oxidative damage that occurs after tissue injury. Further, it then plays a big role in signaling tissue remodeling which removes damaged/scarred tissue and generates new, healthy tissue.
These positive effects decline with age because the concentration of GHK-Cu in the body decreases with age. Thus, there is an increase in inflammation, cancerous activity, and tissue destruction. In plasma, the level of GHK-Cu is about 200 ng/ml at age 20. By the age of 60, the level drops to 80 ng/ml.
Up-to-date, it is established that GHK-Cu is able to:
- Tighten loose skin and reverse thinning of aged skin
- Repair protective skin barrier proteins
- Improve skin firmness, elasticity, and clarity
- Reduce fine lines, depth of wrinkles, and improve structure of aged skin
- Smooth rough skin
- Reduce photodamage, mottled hyperpigmentation, skin spots and lesions
- Improve overall skin appearance
- Stimulate wound healing
- Protect skin cells from UV radiation
- Reduce inflammation and free radical damage
- Increase hair growth and thickness, enlarge hair follicle size
Since GHK-Cu plays an important role in skin biology, it is widely used in cosmetics as a reparative and anti-aging ingredient.
GHK stimulates both synthesis and breakdown of collagen and glycosaminoglycans and modulates the activity of
both metalloproteinases and their inhibitors. It stimulates collagen, dermatan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and the small proteoglycan, decorin. It also restores replicative vitality to fibroblasts after radiation therapy. The molecule attracts immune and endothelial cells to the site of an injury. It accelerates wound-healing of the skin, hair follicles, gastrointestinal tract, and boney tissue. In cosmetic products, it has been found to tighten loose skin and improve elasticity, skin density, and firmness, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, reduce photodamage, and hyperpigmentation, and increase keratinocyte proliferation.
Copper peptide GHK-Cu is widely used in anti-aging cosmetics (INCI name: Copper tripeptide-1). Several controlled facial studies confirmed the anti-aging, firming and anti-wrinkle activity of copper peptide GHK-Cu. Abdulghani et al. established that facial cream containing GHK-Cu increased collagen in photoaged skin of 20 female volunteers, performing better than vitamin C and retinoic acid. Leyden et al. conducted 12 weeks facial study of GHK-Cu containing face and eye cream, reporting significant improvement of skin laxity, clarity and appearance, reduced fine lines and the depths of wrinkles and increased skin density and thickness comparing to placebo. GHK-Cu eye cream performed better than vitamin K cream. Finkley et al. conducted 12-week facial study on 67 women and reported that GHK-Cu cream applied twice daily improved aged skin appearance, increased thickness, reduced wrinkles and strongly stimulated dermal keratinocyte proliferation as determined by histological analysis of biopsies. The same study found copper peptide GHK-Cu to be non-toxic and non-irritating.
HAIR GROWTH BENEFITS:
Copper peptide GHK-Cu and its analogs were found to strongly stimulate hair growth. The efficiency of synthetic analog of GHK-Cu was similar to that of 5% minoxidil.
Copper peptides are clearly occurring small protein fragments that have high affinity to copper ions. In human plasma, the extent of GHK-Cu is ready 200 µg/ml at age 20. By the age of 60, the level drops to eighty µg/ml. In human beings, tripeptide GHK-Cu can promote activation of wound recovery, appeal of immune cells, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory consequences, stimulation of collagen and glycosaminoglycan synthesis in pores and skin fibroblasts and merchandising of blood vessels increase. GHK is a safe, extensively studied compound that has a wealth of positive and health-promoting effects in many tissues and systems. It has been widely used in anti-aging and cosmetic products in humans for decades without any adverse effects and can be easily incorporated in creams, liposomes, foams or subcutaneous injections.
- Abdulghani, AA, Sherr S, Shirin S, Solodkina G, Tapia EM, Gottlieb AB. Effects of topical creams containing vitamin C, a copper-binding peptide cream and melatonin compared with tretinoin on the ultrastructure of normal skin - A pilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study. Disease Manag Clin Outcomes. 1998;1:136-141
- Leyden J, Stephens T, Finkey MB, Appa, Y, Barkovic S, Skin Care Benefits of Copper Peptide Containing Facial Cream. Amer Academy Dermat Meeting, February 2002, Abstract P68, P69
- Finkley MB, Appa Y, Bhandarkar S. Copper Peptide and Skin. Cosmeceuticals and Active Cosmetic, 2nd Edition, P. Eisner and H.I. Maibach (Eds.) Marcel Dekker, New York. 2005:549-563
- Gorouhi, Farzam, and Howard I. Maibach. "Topical peptides and proteins for aging skin." Textbook of Aging Skin. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2010. 1089-1117.
- Pickart, Loren, Jessica Michelle Vasquez-Soltero, and Anna Margolina. "GHK peptide as a natural modulator of multiple cellular pathways in skin regeneration." BioMed research international 2015 (2015).
- Pickart, Loren, Jessica Michelle Vasquez-Soltero, and Anna Margolina. "The human tripeptide GHK-Cu in prevention of oxidative stress and degenerative conditions of aging: implications for cognitive health." Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity 2012 (2012)
- Pickart L. The human tri-peptide GHK and tissue remodeling". J. Biomater. Sci. Polymer Edn. 2008; 19(8):969-988 Peptide Sequence: Gly-His-Lys(Cu2+)