Let’s Talk Peptides!

Why are we convinced that peptide based protein is the best way to support senior athletes? Simply because we are aware of some fascinating although largely obscure research that compares various feeding formulas for critical care patients.

Please remember that protein whether from egg, milk, fish, chicken, etc. or from vegetable sources is a long complicated molecule made up of hundreds if not thousands of amino acids linked together. Amino acids are the smallest building blocks of protein. Small groups of less than 10 amino acids still linked together are called small chain peptides.

All protein must be broken down by the digestive system into amino acids and small chain peptides to be absorbed from the digestive system into the blood stream where they can then be utilized by various bodily system and reformed into internal proteins like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, tissue repair agents, growth factors etc. that the body needs.

It is important to understand that our medical profession largely assumes that digestion and nutrition take care of themselves. Your doctor’s focus is on finding the proper medications to deal with the symptoms you are suffering from. They might suggest you eat well or try a protein shake or smoothie but otherwise their focus is on prescribing the proper pharmaceutical for your condition.

Most medical schools do not train their graduates in the area of nutrition. Most doctors I’ve met say they remember a couple lectures on nutrition in medical school but that was about it.

The only area of medical research that is concerned about protein digestion and utilization is the arena of critical care. These patients are often being tube feed directly into the stomach to maintain their nutritional status while recovering from some trauma.

The doctors in critical care are focused on nutrition for two main reasons. They are trying to keep the digestive tube (esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines) healthy to prevent bacterial translocation which leads to infection spreading throughout the body and death. And they are trying to prevent muscle loss called sarcopenia and/or wasting syndrome.

Protein plays a critical role in both of these situations. The research has shown that the cells of the digestive tube are feed locally rather than by the blood stream. These cells literally receive their nutrients from the digested particles as they are absorbed through the lining of the tube and into the blood stream. From a protein standpoint this support comes from small chain peptides not individual amino acids. Please remember that protein is the main nutrient responsible for tissue repair, wound healing, stimulating growth, recovery after exertion, etc.

Wasting syndrome results from the body breaking down muscle tissue to access protein for more critical needs. The critical care researchers realize that in recovering from any trauma the body needs expansive amounts of protein for the repair and recovery cycles the body is going through. The need is so great that if the body cannot get protein from food it will access protein in our muscles. Muscle lose is an indicator of poor outcomes in critical care.

In an effort to determine the best tube feeding formula to use to prevent both bacterial translocation and wasting syndrome the researchers primary concern is how do I get the maximum amount of bioavailable protein into this patient. They compare three types of feeding formulas.

The first formula uses intact protein which is pumped into the stomach and the patients digestive system has to break it down for the body to be able access its amino acids and small chain peptides. In the second type of feeding formula the protein has been broken down all the way to only amino acids. And the third formula is based in small chain peptides.

The research consistently shows that the best results are obtained from the peptide formulas and the poorest results are seen with the use of the amino acid formulas which we would think would be most quickly absorbed and assimilated by the body. The fascinating discover contained in this research is that many peptides have biological activity in the body in addition to their direct nutritional value.

One critical role that small chain peptides play is they are the preferred protein nutrient of the cells of the digestive tube. Bacterial translocation issues are prevented by peptides! The peptide form of protein returns the digestive tube to good health and function. We have seen great success in using our Foundation Formula for all sorts of digestive issues including colitis, IBS, Crohn’s disease  and others.

In his seminal work Nutrition in Critical Care, Gary Zaloga, MD, outlines the various benefits of small chain peptides in nutritional support. Peptide based feeding formulas are superior to both amino acid based formulas and intact protein formulas in the following:

  • Gastrointestinal health including less diarrhea, improved absorption, maintaining gut integrity and prevention of bacterial translocation.
  • Liver function and the maintenance of hepatic function
  • Nitrogen utilization including improved growth and wound healing
  • Improved outcomes in recovery from burn, hemorrhage, and the impact of chemotherapy and radiation.


Through the years we have seen these various benefits in customers who have used Foundation Formula.

We hope this helps you to understand why our products are unique and powerful. Please don’t hesitate to call or write with any questions you may have.

Tom Staverosky