Human growth hormone (HGH, or commonly abbreviated as just GH) is a vital hormone in men and women responsible for bodily growth as you age.
But it also comes with other performance benefits: “…boosts protein production, promotes the utilization of fat…larger muscles…more energy…and improved exercise capacity” (Source)
So it stands to reason we want this hormone fully optimized no matter how old or young we are.
But biohackers already know that the therapeutic peptide CJC-1295 is one of the most effective and safest ways to elevate your body’s GH levels.
And coupled with other peptides that aid GH production, you could reach bodybuilding paradise much faster and easier than you think.
This article is a thorough examination of CJC-1295 and how to use it properly.
What is CJC-1295 Peptide?
CJC-1295 is a synthetic analog of growth-hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) developed by Canadian pharmaceutical company ConjuChem Biotechnologies.
It consists of amino acids #1-29 of GHRH, which just so happen to be the ones that are biologically active and allow GHRH to exert its effects.
But let’s take a step back and talk about GHRH a bit more:
“Growth-hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) is produced by the arcuate nucleus and induces the release of human growth hormone (hGH) by the anterior pituitary. Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is stimulated by GH. IGF-I indirectly inhibits hGH through its stimulation of somatostatin in the hypothalamus. The downregulation of GHRH is accomplished by somatostatin”
You may also see this peptide referred to as “CJC-1295 + DAC”, with the “DAC” part being short for“Drug affinity complex” and represents a modification made to the peptide.
This addition allows the peptide to bind to albumin, a transporter protein commonly found in your bloodstream, and in doing so dramatically extends the half-life of the peptide:
“After a single injection of CJC-1295, there were dose-dependent increases in mean plasma GH concentrations by 2- to 10-fold for 6 d or more and in mean plasma IGF-I concentrations by 1.5- to 3-fold for 9 –11 d. The estimated half-life of CJC-1295 was 5.8 – 8.1 d.
After multiple CJC-1295 doses, mean IGF-I levels remained above baseline for up to 28 d. No serious adverse reactions were reported.”
(This is going to be a complicated peptide to explain due to its high similarity to other peptides, so bear with me)
CJC-1295 Mechanism of Action
Describing how GHRH works in the body involves a complex cascade of events, as it consequently describes CJC-1295’s mechanism of action.
Believe me when I say this was the simplest explanation I could find:
“It acts on somatotropes to increase GH biosynthesis and secretion… After release from the hypothalamus, GHRH binds to the GHRH receptor predominantly located on the pituitary somatotrope. The occupied GHRH receptor then activates a stimulatory G-protein (Gs), composed of α-, β-, and γ -subunits, by catalyzing the binding of guanosine 5 – triphosphate (GTP) to the α-subunit.
The binding of GTP then stimulates adenylyl cyclase, thus increasing intracellular cyclic 3 ,5 -adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). Activation of GHRH receptors results in the opening of a sodium channel in the somatotrope, leading to its depolarization. The resultant change in the intracellular voltage in turn opens a voltage-gated calcium channel, allowing the influx of calcium, which directly causes the release of premade GH, stored in secretory granules.
The elevation in cAMP also stimulates protein kinase A which phosphorylates and activates the transcription factor CREB (cAMP response element binding protein), which then stimulates de novo GH production via transcription of the GH1 gene as well as increasing transcription of the GHRH receptor gene as part of a short positive feedback loop”
To summarize all of this in one sentence… GHRH is responsible for both the production and secretion of growth hormone.
But it also contributes to cellular growth, which is why it has become a drug target of interest among cancer scientists:
“GHRH and its receptors are expressed not only in the hypothalamus and pituitary but also in peripheral tissues.
Thus, in addition to modulating GH release, GHRH indirectly regulates the proliferation of cells in multiple other tissues including tumor cells through a GHRH/GH/IGF-1 axis.
GHRH can also directly regulate cell growth through paracrine/endocrine mechanisms by binding to the GHRH receptor on target cells”
Don’t worry if none of this makes sense — keep reading and you’ll soon understand how everything ties together.
CJC-1295 vs. Other Growth Hormone Analogs
Allow me to provide some context by distinguishing CJC-1295 from other GH-releasing peptides…
The original GRF [Growth hormone Releasing Factor] 1-29 (a.k.a. Sermorelin) had a half-life of 5-10 minutes due to rapid enzymatic cleavage of the amino acids, and thus its metabolic clearance was very rapid (i.e. it is extremely fast-acting).
Mod GRF 1-29 (a.k.a. Modified GRF 1-29, or “CJC-1295 without DAC”) involves replacing amino acids #2, #8, #15, and #27 in GRF 1-29 to yield an analogue with a half-life of 30 minutes, thereby increasing binding affinity to GHRH receptors while also improving its biological stability (its naming can be traced back to an anonymous researcher known as “DatBtrue” who coined the term in 2008).
CJC-1295 with DAC adds on a “Drug Affinity Complex” (DAC) to Mod GRF 1-29 and extends its half-life to 6-8 days by increasing its binding affinity to serum albumin for a short period of time.
Tesamorelin is almost exclusively used for fat loss and is prescribed for HIV patients suffering from visceral adiposity.
We’re more-or-less dealing with variations of the same peptide due to subtle changes in chemical structure that significantly change the dosing protocol used for each one; in the case of Mod GRF 1-29, numerous daily injections are required.
But I know what you’re thinking…
Why not just inject HGH itself? Why the need for peptides to stimulate the release of GH?
In my experience, using GH/HGH long-term for too long can cause insulin resistance and lead to gestational diabetes.
You’ll also see an outcome in older men/women where they have a “line” of belly fat from where they’ve been injecting GH for so long (plus your body’s natural production of GH is halted).
By stimulating biological pathways associated with GH instead, the body’s endogenous production and release of GH is not negatively affected.
Dr. William Seeds, one of the world’s top peptide physicians, also notes many other downsides to HGH injections:
- Promotes unnatural HGH levels and can shut down natural HGH production
- Negatively impacts pituitary function, increases risk of tachyphylaxis
- Your body’s HGH levels drop when you stop injecting HGG
- HGH is very difficult to obtain due to its status as a controlled substance
- Very expensive, costing hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a month
Peptides, on the other hand, are the exact opposite of the list above. 😉
CJC-1295 only has 17 studies on PubMed published since 2005… which doesn’t tell us an awful lot.
Therefore, the health benefits of CJC-1295 have to be directly derived from the production of the two hormones it is directly involved with.
Reliably Increases Growth Hormone Production
You saw the benefits of growth hormone in the beginning of this article, but let’s go a bit deeper.
“Protein metabolism: In general, growth hormone stimulates protein anabolism in many tissues. This effect reflects increased amino acid uptake, increased protein synthesis and decreased oxidation of proteins.
Fat metabolism: Growth hormone enhances the utilization of fat by stimulating triglyceride breakdown and oxidation in adipocytes.
Carbohydrate metabolism: Growth hormone is one of a battery of hormones that serves to maintain blood glucose within a normal range. Growth hormone is often said to have anti-insulin activity, because it supresses the abilities of insulin to stimulate uptake of glucose in peripheral tissues and enhance glucose synthesis in the liver. Somewhat paradoxically, administration of growth hormone stimulates insulin secretion, leading to hyperinsulinemia.”
Rapid Fat Loss
“24 obese subjects (22 women and 2 men; 22-46 years old) were fed a diet of 25 kcal/kg ideal body weight (IBW) with 1.2 g protein/kg IBW daily and were treated with recombinant human GH (n = 12, 0.18 U/kg IBW/week) or placebo (n = 12, vehicle injection) in a 12-week randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial.
GH treatment caused a 1.6-fold increase in the fraction of body weight lost as fat and a greater loss of visceral fat area than placebo treatment (35.3 vs. 28.5%, p < 0.05). In the placebo group, there was a loss in lean body mass (-2.62 +/- 1.51 kg) and a negative nitrogen balance (-4.52 +/- 3.51 g/day). By contrast, the GH group increased in lean body mass (1.13 +/- 1.04 kg) and had a positive nitrogen balance (1.81 +/- 2.06 g/day)”
(This link describes the mechanism through which this happens)
Increased Lean Muscle Mass
“Pooled results of 11 RCTs showed that GH administration significantly increases the lean body mass, total water content, and extracellular water and reduces the fat mass (–0.67, 95% CI: –0.93; –0.40, p < 0.01) without changing the muscle protein synthesis rate and muscle strength as compared with placebo.
A conclusion was made that GH administration can improve the body composition in healthy young subjects by exerting a significant lipolytic effect without causing hypertrophy of muscle fibers. The increase in lean body mass is due to an accumulation of extracellular water.”
“In the present study, the possible somnogenic effects of intravenous bolus injections of a dose of GHRH eliciting physiological elevations of GH secretion in healthy young men were investigated. GHRH (0.3 micrograms/kg body wt) was given in early sleep [i.e., 1st slow-wave (SW) period], late sleep (i.e., 3rd REM period), and early sleep after sleep deprivation until 0400 h (i.e., 1st SW period).
In the absence of sleep deprivation, injection of GHRH in early sleep did not modify SW sleep but increased REM sleep. GHRH administration in the third REM period was followed by a marked decrease of wake and an almost 10-fold increase in SW sleep. When GHRH was administered during the first SW period after sleep deprivation until 0400 h, the duration of wake decreased. “
Faster Injury and Wound Healing
“There was a study on 216 patients each of whom underwent a moderate or major surgery. Only half of the patients received HGH while the rest were a control group. Compared to controls, the patients who were given HGH after surgery preserved more of their lean body mass. Furthermore, the scientists reported that the treatment group had less postoperative fatigue and a lower risk of postoperative infection due to improved immune defenses.
“One study in 46 children with severe skin burns compared the effect of growth hormone therapy to placebo. HGH accelerated burn wounds healing and skin repair leading to 25% quicker recovery. According to scientists, HGH therapy can significantly shorten the total length of hospital stay for patients with wounds and burns.”
Higher Energy Levels
“The long term effects of GH replacement in adult GH-deficient (GHD) patients have not yet been clarified. We studied 21 GHD adults who originally took part in a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of GH treatment in 1987. After completion of that trial, 10 patients received continuous GH replacement for the subsequent 10 yr, whereas 11 did not.”
“… Assessment of psychological well-being using the Nottingham Health Profile revealed improvement in overall score, energy levels, and emotional reaction in the GH-treated group compared with those in the untreated group (P < 0.02)”
Increases IGF-1 Production
While increasing GH production clearly leads to aesthetic improvements and short-term benefits, perhaps there’s something CJC-1295 for our longer-term health.
As it turns out, the increase of IGF-1 production does exactly that..
“ApoE-null mice (8 weeks) were infused with vehicle or recombinant human IGF-1 and fed a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. Analysis of aortic sinuses revealed that IGF-1 infusion decreased atherosclerotic plaque progression and macrophage infiltration into lesions.
Furthermore, IGF-1 decreased vascular expression of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-, reduced aortic superoxide formation and urinary 8-isoprostane levels, and increased aortic pAkt and eNOS expression and circulating endothelial progenitor cells, consistent with an antiinflammatory, antioxidant, and prorepair effect on the vasculature.”
Restored Insulin Sensitivity
“In a 2010 study, lower IGF levels were associated with diabetes. Those findings were for people under age 65 who didn’t have cardiovascular disease. The researchers adjusted for a variety of other factors, including serum cholesterol, lifestyle, and body mass index. Researchers couldn’t make the IGF-diabetes association in people over age 65″
Better Heart Health
“In 15-years prospective study of 231 cases and 374 matched controls without any sign of ischemic heart disease (IHD) at the baseline of the study, those with baseline IGF-I levels in the lowest quartile had a 2-fold increased risk of IHD (when the major IGF-binding protein, IGFBP-3, was controlled). It is hypothesized that low IGF1 is correlated with, obesity, low physical activity, and [insulin resistance]”
CJC-1295 Dosing for Optimal Growth Hormone Production
I’m still uncertain on what a good CJC-1295 dosing protocol would look like as I haven’t used it myself, but here are some recommendations from experienced users…
One protocol suggests “injecting 0.10ml of a 2000 mcg/mL subcutaneously 5 out of 7 nights of the week before bedtime on an empty stomach.”
Dr. William Seeds uses the following protocols depending on which variation of CJC-1295 is being administered:
- CJC-1295 WITHOUT DAC: A saturation dose of 100 mcg is typically used (1 mg/kg), as any higher dosage adds minimally to the pulse of GH released
- CJC-1295 WITH DAC: Twice a week at 100 mcg, OR 100 mcg daily (this dose works best for short-term treatment to elevate IGF1 above physiologic levels)
He also recommends avoiding food consumption 30 minutes before GHRH use and 1.5 hours after using it (due to carbs and fats blunting GH release), and therefore it’s best to take it either before bed (thus improving sleep) or in the morning before your first meal.
Others have suggested anywhere from 200-350 mcg a week, but results may vary… it’s definitely a drug you will want to cycle on and off with.
Combining CJC-1295 (Without DAC) and Ipamorelin for Maximal Growth Hormone Release
Ben Greenfield strongly recommends dosing CJC-1295 without DAC alongside a longer-acting growth hormone releasing peptide (GHRP) such as Ipamorelin for the following reason:
“…to cause an even greater increase in GH than you’d get if you used GH by itself, and also to minimize the negative side effects of using GH by itself.
Remember what you learned earlier: GHRP’s release a pulse of GH, and then the GHRH’s release and amplify this pulse.”
This is another way of saying that the two work synergistically to maximize the endogenous release of GH from the pituitary gland, as the resulting “pulse” is much greater than if CJC-1295 without DAC is used on its own.
To expand upon this further, I’ll quote The TOT Bible:
“The pituitary gland releases HGH due to the action of chemicals that attach to two receptors: the Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone Receptor (GHRH-R) and the Growth Hormone Secretagogue Receptor (GHS-R).
The graph shows how combining a GHRH (Sermorelin, CJC- 1295) with a GHRP (Ipamorelin, GHRP-2, GHRP-6) causes synergistic release (i.e. their positive effects are combined to create one larger positive effect). GHS requires endogenous hypothalamic GHRH for maximal GH stimulation.
Using Ipamorelin with a GHRH like Sermorelin or CJC-1295 without DAC will give users the biggest increase in GH and IGF-1. CJC-1295 without DAC is a 30-amino acid peptide hormone that will release a series of pulses over a long period of time.
GHRHs are paired specifically with GHRPs in order to create a synergy between the peptides that will unlock the body’s own stores of HGH, ultimately improving the benefits of Ipamorelin over time.”
(NOTE: Ben specifically recommends against the use of CJC-1295 + DAC because “it can only be used for four to five weeks at a time if you want to avoid permanent damage to your pituitary gland”)
In fact, this is the most commonly used combination of therapeutic peptides if you walk into any anti-aging clinic prescribing them to patients.
And again, as I wrote in The TOT Bible many years ago, there is a reason why you are using Ipamorelin and not any other GHRP on the market:
“Other GHRPs (GHRP-6, GHRP-2, Hexarelin, etc.), some of which are stronger in their ability to increase growth hormone release than Ipamorelin, have noticeable negative side effects that normally come from increased cortisol and prolactin production. GHRP-6 and GHRP-2 also elevate hunger levels, which is terrible for people trying to lose body fat while reducing their insulin signal and ultimately their risk of inflammation.”
“Increased levels of cortisol and prolactin often lead to potential negative side ef- fects such as increased breast tenderness and discharge (i.e. gynecomastia and lactation), a suppressed immune system, hypertension (high blood pressure), high blood sugar (hyper- glycemia), insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.”
Dr. William Seeds goes one step further to back up my observations:
- Hexarelin: The strongest GHRP in the family; known to give the biggest pulse of all. Hexarelin will create prolactin and cortisol side effects. Desensitization will happen regardless of the dose.
- GHRP2: Second strongest in the category; desensitization is unclear if used beyond saturation dose.
- GHRP6: Third in the lineup for potency; when shorts are broken up, desensitization does not occur. Creates slight prolactin and cortisol issues. GHPR6 is one of the only peptides that is known to actively increase gherkin in the stomach.
In his clinical experience, the addition of a GHRP overcomes the rate-limiting effect of somatostatin (which is produced in the hypothalamus and inhibits pituitary growth hormone secretion) in releasing GH… which is distinct in stimulating the PULSE of GH.
Although this protocol is commonplace among peptide physicians, I personally found the GH release was too powerful and too much (similar to a “niacin flush”).
Nevertheless, if you choose to go down this route, here is what appears to be a standardized dosing protocol:
- 200 mcg Ipamorelin and 200 mcg CJC-1295 without DAC injected subcutaneously on a daily basis — 5 days on, 2 days off
CJC-1295 Side Effects
CJC-1295’s side effects haven’t been clinically evaluated in humans, at least not to an appreciable level.
So here are some of the most commonly reported ones from various peptide clinics:
- Water retention
- Redness/itching at the site of injection
- Head rush
- For diabetics, possible loss of glycemic control
The side effect profile tends to be slightly stronger compared to other therapeutic peptides.
Additionally, bear in mind that optimizing your body’s growth hormone production does not mean jacking it up to the highest levels as often as possible.
There are numerous medical conditions and unwanted side effects associated with too much or too little GHRH production.
One final caution to athletes reading this:
If it isn’t obvious by now, CJC-1295 is BANNED by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Stay away from it as regulators are 100% guaranteed to test for it and they will penalize you heavily for it.
Where to Buy CJC-1295 Online
Fortunately, Limitless Life Nootropics is fully stocked on the best CJC-1295 (without DAC) around:
Use code JAY15 to get 15% off your order!
They do not have any other GHRH peptides, but knowing what you now know, you won’t need to worry about it.
And for a peptide as sensitive and powerful as CJC-1295, it goes through the quality and purity control processes that make Limitless Life Nootropics the #1 peptide vendor on the Internet.
Just remember you can also add Ipamorelin to your cart if you want to try the GHRH/GHRP stack I mentioned earlier!
Additional Reading Resources For CJC-1295
Even though little research has been done on CJC-1295 itself, the use of synthetic compounds to increase growth hormone secretion has been thoroughly studied by scientists and field-tested by pro-level bodybuilders for decades.
There’s no way I could possibly summarize all of the research into a single article, so here are some helpful resources if you really want to gain a PhD in all things related to growth hormone…
Dr. William Seeds’ Peptide Protocols (Volume 1) was a big help in writing this article and goes further into detail about dosing CJC-1295 alongside Ipamorellin to achieve specific health outcomes (Fat loss, muscle building, anti-aging, injury treatment, etc.)
Ben Greenfield’s viral article on growth hormone stacks is an epic breakdown of the numerous GH-producing peptides and how to stack them together for a fully optimized physique.
And as always…
Raise Your Vibration To Optimize Your Love Creation!
PS – When you’re ready to learn how to use peptides at a much deeper level, you have two options.
- You can set up a private One on One Call with me.
- Joining The Fully Optimized Health Mastermind with two Monthly 60 Minute Group Coaching Calls with Me and Daniel Kelly Discussing Fully Optimized Living including Peptides, Hormones, Gray Market Agents, Performance Enhancement and Raising Your Vibration.