When you look at nootropic agents, they are usually meant to do one of two things: Protect your overall brain health over several years, or provide you with an immediate boost in mental performance.
But what if there was a peptide in existence that could simultaneously do both at the same time, depending on the dose you use?
A safe and effective treatment with over 40 years of clinical research and biohackers around the world singing its praises?
It exists, it comes straight from Motherland Russia, and it is best known as Semax.
And in a world where the global brain health market is projected to be worth $11.6 billion by 2024, we could use something that actually works and delivers the promised results.
So sit tight and get ready to learn about Semax, an essential tool for any fully optimized man or women seeking to maximize their cognitive well-being.
What is Semax?
Surprisingly, there appears to be an “official” website for Semax that tells you everything you need to know about the therapeutic peptide:
“SEMAX® is a neuropeptide developed from a short fragment of ACTH, Pro8-Gly9-Pro10 ACTH(4-10) and is a neuroactive peptide with unique neuroregulatory properties.”
ACTH is short for “adrenocorticotropic hormone”, and it appears to play a large role in controlling our stress levels:
“Adrenocorticotropic hormone is made in the corticotroph cells of the anterior pituitary gland. It is secreted in several intermittent pulses during the day into the bloodstream and transported around the body. Like cortisol, levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone are generally high in the morning when we wake up and fall throughout the day and lowest during sleep.”
But as it turns out, it also has a major impact on our cognition and our behavior:
“The first evidence of the effect of ACTH on the behavior of animals was obtained in the mid-1950s. At that time, David de Wied and colleagues studied the influence of ACTH and its fragments on the learning abilities of animals and showed that the removal of the glandular lobe of the hypophysis results in disturbed formation of conditioned responses”
“Clinical trials performed on volunteers proved that ACTH exerted a positive action on human cognitive abilities and improved attention and the ability to perform prolonged and monotonous work”
But due to its extreme instability in the human body and shortness of duration, Russian researchers at the Institute of Molecular Genetics at the Russian Academy of Sciences had to work on modifying ACTH until it was useful:
“In the late 1970s, a research team headed by Drs N.F. Myasoedov and I.P. Ashmarin initiated studies to create a nootropic peptide preparation based on ACTH and its fragments.
As stated earlier, the shortness of the effect of natural ACTH fragments was a limitation to their application, as the duration of action of the most effective natural fragment, ACTH4-10, was as short as 30 – 60 min, and an increase in the dose of the preparation administered yielded no effect”
After a lot of peptide synthesis and testing, scientists eventually created Semax and discovered it could replicate the cognitive effects of ACTH while lasting much longer:
“The resistance of Semax to the action of human serum proteases is significantly higher than that of the ACTH(4‒10) fragment. Thus, the addition of the Pro‒Gly‒Pro sequence to the C-terminus of the ACTH(4‒7) fragment resulted in the prolongation of the nootropic effects of the peptide by increasing its resistance to the action of proteases. The Pro‒Gly‒Pro fragment provides for the metabolic stability of the preparation”
Finally, after additional research in clinical studies, Semax was widely approved for use in Russia and Ukraine:
“Extensive testing over a period of 14 years resulted in the approval of the Russian Federation Ministry of Public Health and Pharmaceutical Industry on 28 March, 1996, for the clinical use of SEMAX® in the Russian Federation as a neuroactive peptide with endogenous regulatory properties affecting cerebral cellular processes” (Source)
“[Semax] is on the Russian List of Vital & Essential Drugs approved by the Russian Federation government on December 7, 2011. Medical uses for Semax include treatment of stroke, transient ischemic attack, memory and cognitive disorders, peptic ulcers, optic nerve disease, and to boost the immune system” (Source)
No word on when it will be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, but don’t expect that date to come anytime soon.
Yet this temporary roadblock hasn’t stopped the Eastern part of the world from using Semax freely and heavily benefitting from its powerful cognition-enhancing properties .
How Does Semax Work?
So what’s the “magic” behind Semax and why it appears to be so effective for brain health?
By far, one of its primary mechanisms appears to be the increased production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB):
“Here, we found that a single application of Semax (50 microg/kg body weight) results in a maximal 1.4-fold increase of BDNF protein levels accompanying with 1.6-fold increase of trkB tyrosine phosporylation levels, and a 3-fold and a 2-fold increase of exon III BDNF and trkB mRNA levels, respectively, in the rat hippocampus”
This finding has been confirmed in numerous rat studies (here, here, and here), along with an increase in nerve growth factor (NGF), so it’s one of the few things we definitively understand about the peptide.
The next mechanism of action involves activating the serotoninergic and dopaminergic brain systems, both of which are connected to the regulation of overall mood:
“Intraperitoneal injection of Semax at a dose of 0.15 mg/kg caused an increase in the tissue concentrations of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) in the hypothalamus and striatum of mice 0.5 and 2 h after the injection. Using brain microdialysis, we detected increased levels of extracellular 5-HIAA in the striatum of freely moving rats 1 h after administration of 0.15 or 0.6 mg/kg Semax. The effect lasted for an additional 3 h.” (Source)
” Preliminary (20 min before D-amphetamine) administration of semax resulted in a greater peak of [dopamine] concentration (p < 0.05) and a more pronounced drop in DHPAA level (p < 0.01) as compared to the effects produced by the psychostimulant alone” (Source)
(FYI – 5-HIAA is a metabolite of serotonin, while DHPAA is a metabolite of dopamine)
The third way in which Semax influences positive effects is through the inhibition of enkephalin degradation:
“… we assumed that one of the mechanisms of action of Semax and Selank is related to their effect on the endogenous opioid system, which can be due to both direct interaction of the peptides with the opioid receptors and their influence on the activity of the enzymes of the endogenous opioids processing or degradation
“It was found that both Semax and Selank considerably decelerate the [Leu]enkephalin degradation by the human serum enzymes”
And in case you don’t know why enkephalins are important:
“Enkephalins are mainly involved in decreasing pain, reducing inflammation, preventing cancer cell growth, and increasing immune cell activity. They also play a role in memory, learning, emotional behavior, and pain. Balanced enkephalins levels are needed to maintain normal brain function.”
Finally, and this one is a big reach, Semax may have some effect on the melanocortin receptors MC4R and MC5R:
“Semax has been shown to have some activity on melanocortin receptors — specifically MC4 and MC5. In mice, both of these receptors have been linked to feeding behavior, metabolism regulation, and sexual behavior. While that does not mean Semax has any impact on any of these things, it is interesting to consider how Semax might produce its beneficial effects in the body.”
One more thing to mention: Semax is not only fast-acting in the brain, but also long-lasting with respect to its cognitive benefits:
” When endonasal administration of drugs through 4 min penetrates the blood-brain barrier, its half-life in the body is a few minutes, and the therapeutic effect after a single dose – 20 to 24 hours.”
So when you take Semax for the very first time, don’t be surprised if you immediately start feeling a little different. 😉
Benefits of Semax
A quick PubMed search for Semax and its benefits will only turn up 201 studies published between 1981 and 2021 as of this writing.
Even with several more studies published over that time period in Russian medical journals, we have over two decades of data showcasing numerous benefits of Semax: Neurorestoration, neuroprotection, cardioprotection, immunomodulation, and cognitive enhancement.
It’s no wonder Semax was coined as a “universal drug for therapy and research” after four decades of relentless research!
Let’s dive in and see what the hype is all about…
Treatment of Ischemic Strokes
Semax’s well-respected reputation as an effective medical treatment in Russia stems primarily from its outstanding results in treating ischemic strokes:
“Ischemic stroke is one of three types of stroke. It’s also referred to as brain ischemia and cerebral ischemia.
This type of stroke is caused by a blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the brain. The blockage reduces the blood flow and oxygen to the brain, leading to damage or death of brain cells. If circulation isn’t restored quickly, brain damage can be permanent.
Approximately 87 percent of all strokes are ischemic stroke.”
And as you would imagine, there are several published human studies confirming this (otherwise it wouldn’t be the benefit to start this section).
In one clinical trial involving 110 older men and women, Semax use led to early rehabilitation regardless of what stage of ischemic stroke a patient was in:
“Administration of semax, regardless of the timing of rehabilitation, increased BDNF plasma levels which remained high during the whole study period. In semax- subgroups high BDNF plasma levels were positively correlated with early rehabilitation.
Administration of semax and high BDNF levels accelerated the improvement and ameliorated the final outcome of Barthel score index.
There was a positive correlation between BDNF plasma levels and Barthel score, as well as a correlation between early rehabilitation and motor performance improvement. The correlation between BDNF plasma levels and Barthel score was modified by the timing of rehabilitation.”
This is not a one-off trial, as we have studies dating all the way back to 1999 confirming this incredible outcome:
“The study aimed at evaluation of tolerability and clinical efficacy of the medication and complications in [cerebrovascular insufficiency] course. Semax treatment resulted in significant clinical improvement [of 187 patients], stabilization of the disease progress and reduced a risk of stroke and transitory ischemic attacks in the disease course. The drug is featured by minor percent of side-effects and is well tolerated by patients, including those of older age groups” (Source)
“Significant positive clinical dynamics, an absence of side effects of Semax demonstrate its therapeutic potency in acute [Ischemic stroke]. Marked accelerated reduction of [glucose] level in [cerebrospinal fluid] possibly reflects an ability of Semax to reduce excitotoxicity. Elevation of levels of IL-10 and TNF-alpha shows immunostimulative and modulating properties of the neuropeptide [and correlated with good clinical outcomes on day 30 of intranasal use]” (Source)
“It was established that including of Semax in combined intensive therapy of acute ischemic stroke had some influence on the rate of restoration of the damaged neurological functions in terms of increasing the regress of general cerebral and focal, especially motor disorders. The most effective daily doses were 12 mg for patients with strokes of moderate severity and 18 mg for patients with severe strokes (treatment course–5 and 10 days).” (Source)
It’s no surprise, then, to see a patent already filed by Russian scientists in 2015 for the use of Semax in treating ischemic stroke.
If Semax can be useful for patients suffering from a stroke, could it also be useful in reducing the pain associated with it and other pain-inducing conditions?
One rat study suggests this is the case, finding Semax’s pain-lowering effects were present regardless of HOW pain was inflicted:
“When studying the analgetic effects of Semax, we used different types of painful irritants: thermal (the hot plate and tail flick tests), mechanical (hind leg squeezing), and chemical (writhing). The increase in pain threshold in different tests indicates that the analgetic effects of Semax do not depend on the type of painful irritant used.
Thus, the results of our experiments demonstrated that Semax, as well as ACTH, MSH, and their fragments and synthetic analogs, is an analgesic. Based on analysis of these results and published data [2–4], we may assume that the analgetic effects of Semax and other melanocortins are related to supraspinal mechanisms of the control of the sensitivity to pain.”
A separate rat study confirmed similar effects in stress-induced pain during a forced swimming test, although higher doses of Semax were unhelpful in lowering stress levels:
“On the basis of the results obtained in this study, it can be concluded that preliminary injection of Semax at the doses used attenuates analgesia induced by forced swimming but does not affect the behavioral changes induced by this stressor. When Semax is injected after the end of stress, its effect depends on the dose.
If the peptide is injected at a dose of 0.05 mg/kg, the direction of effects coincided with the effects observed in the case of preliminary injection. However, the injection of Semax at a dose of 0.5 mg/kg leads to an increase in the stress response of animals.”
If this is what we’re seeing in rats, I’m more than curious to see if humans will experience similar results with Semax.
Treatment of Various Eye Disorders
This is one of the benefits where I could not find a respectable number of human studies translated into English, as many of them are published in Russian medical journals.
Nothing to fear, however, as this has been common knowledge amongst Russian doctors for the past 20 years.
One study from 1999 conducted in humans confirms Semax’s therapeutic power for treating optic nerve disease:
“Addition of semax to therapeutic complex in patients with diseases of the optic nerve had a favorable impact on the intensity and rate of recovery and improved the visual functions.
Semax effectively protected nervous tissue from aftereffects of injury, particularly during the acute stage of optic nerve disease: it stimulated positive changes in the clinical picture, which were evaluated by improvement of visual acuity, extension of the total visual field, increase in the electric sensitivity and conductivity of the optic nerve, and improvement of color vision.”
And another one from 2001, except the condition being investigated was glaucoma:
“A complex of neuroprotective therapy, including a new Russian neuropeptide semax, was used in the treatment of glaucoma patients with normalized ophthalmic tone.
Electrophysiological and computer methods of examination demonstrated the advantages of new therapy over traditional neuroprotective treatment for glaucoma.
The efficiency is due to pathogenetic activity of semax possessing both neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects.”
If the studies on using Semax for eye disorders date that far back, I can only imagine what other outstanding clinical evidence is being kept from us through something as meaningless as a language barrier!
Potential for Treating Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
As I’ve written before, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a debilitating condition that continues to destroy the lives of many patriotic military soldiers.
A condition as prevalent as TBI calls for alternative solutions when conventional means simply don’t provide the desired results.
Semax presents itself as one of such alternatives, as evidenced by one cell culture study:
“Various studies showed that neural progenitor/stem cells (NPSCs) that persist in certain parts of the brain, give the brain the ability to produce new neurons and glia”
“We found that [Semax] as a promising candidate in traumatic brain injury therapy, has a direct positive effect on the proliferation of endogenous NPSCs in the sub-granular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampus dentate gyrus (DG), through BDNF/TrkB pathways system.
This increases the possibility of developing therapeutic strategies in acute phase, which aims in harnessing neurogenic capacity to repopulate and repair the damaged brain due to traumatic brain injury, for brain function repair.”
But fortunately for us, there are some human studies which can confirm these effects.
In one study comparing Semax against standard therapy for moderate head injuries, it significantly reduced the duration of hospital stays:
“Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the major causes of death and disability. Apoptosis after TBI contributes significantly to the final extent of tissue damage. The Bcl-2 family proteins are important apoptosis modulators which increased in injured neurons. Bcl-2 has shown an antiapoptotic effect in rats and mice.”
Bcl-2 serum level in standard therapy was 1.39 ± 0.75 ng/mL on day 1 and 1.48 ± 0.77 ng/mL on day 5. After treatment with [Semax], Bcl-2 level was 1.39 ± 0.70 ng/mL on day 1 and 3.70 ± 1.02 ng/mL on day 5″
“[Semax] reduced hospital length of stay significantly compared with standard therapy alone.”
The second human study examining the use of Semax for TBI discovered that patients were far more functional several months after being treated:
“The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of [Semax] on the clinical output (Glasgow Outcome Score/GOS and Bartle Index) in patients with [Diffuse Axonal Injury] at hospital discharge, 3 months and 6 months post-treatment.
This study revealed that [Semax] administration resulted in higher GOS and Barthel Index scores than that in control.
Further study will required with other variables, such as cognitive and motor examination, and some biomarkers can also be examined serially.”
It’s just too bad our military won’t be examining the use of Semax for our heroic men and women anytime soon…
May Reverse the Negative Cognitive Effects of Alcohol Consumption
It’s entirely possible that Semax could be used for a more “functional” disease state seen in millions of people, such as an excessive drinking habit.
In one rat study, Semax was shown to restore function to the central nervous system when it was taken 1 hour before AND after consumption of alcohol:
“It was established that ethanol causes in rats violation of motor, research and search performance, speed of a decision-making, dimensional orientation and physical endurance within two weeks after intoxication beginning.
Application of molixan, semax and their combinations improved restitution of the central nervous system functions caused by ethanol intoxication.
Drunkenness monotherapy of semax or molixan and the combined therapy by collateral application of both preparations did not differ by efficiency from each other.”
However, it turns out the dose makes the poison.
Because a separate study in rats conducted over six months suggests higher doses of Semax may INCREASE one’s craving for alcohol:
“Semax in a dose of 200 μg/kg caused a significant increase in alcohol motivation, whereas its lower dose induced no proalcohol effect.
Clinical trials demonstrated the safety (the absence of side effects and fairly high tolerance) of Semax in the course of alleviating the acute withdrawal syndrome and its efficacy for the recovery of mnestic functions (which was similar to the efficacy of Pyracetam).
Semax did not change the frequency of cases of pathological craving for alcohol, but increased the overall intensity of behavioral reactions, which made the craving for alcohol stronger.
These results allowed determination of safe course doses of Semax (to 50 μg/kg) under conditions of chronic alcoholization and inclusion of this nootropic agent in a scheme of complex therapy for patients with alcohol dependence“
More studies are needed to verify this therapeutic benefit for Semax, and I would really love to see a clinical trial involving human subjects who suffer from chronic alcohol dependency.
Semax Could Be Used to Treat Multiple Conditions
Before I get to the cognition-enhancing benefits of Semax, I wanted to briefly cover some of the other medical uses currently being explored for Semax:
- Possible reduction of withdrawal symptoms from opioid abuse
- May positively impact the body’s immune response
- Shows potential anti-ulcer activity in patients with refractory peptic ulcers
- Beneficial effects observed for reducing epilepsy in rats
- Regulates the “organization of circadian rhythms of hormones” (such as cortisol, testosterone, and prolactin)
As far as I’m concerned, we are only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maximizing all the therapeutic value Semax has to offer.
Semax Nootropic Benefits for ADHD and Anxiety
Last but most certainly not least, Semax has been used off-label for several years as a cognitive enhancer.
The studies on this specific use of Semax are sparse, but the few made available to use leave behind some helpful clues:
- “prolonged stimulation of attention and short-term memory parameters” (with beneficial effects seen as much as 24 hours after intranasal administration in humans)
- “significantly improves memory and attention in healthy men under extreme conditions of activities”
- “induced anxiolytic and antidepressant effects” in rats (here and here), explained by the connection between reduced BDNF levels and greater severity of depression)
- Reduced anxiety levels in rats with “toxic damage of dopaminergic neurons”
- “prevents functional impairments of avoidance response in rats”
- Could potentially treat ADHD
So until we get more human studies, we’ll have to rely on the collective testimonials of biohackers around the world.
And believe me when I say the overall response is overwhemingly positive:
- “significantly better, hugely uplifting and slightly euphoric then what i have ever experienced on Modafinil”
- ” Semax and Modafinil is perhaps the closest thing I’ve experienced to prescription grade stimulants like Vyvanse or Adderall.”
- “immediately puts you in a “flow” state… very stimulating but simultaneously reduces anxiety, even if you’re under pressure”
- Increases in learning and memory capacity may be permanent (here, here, and here)
- “…more interested in understanding and empathizing with people around me”
- “I take it first thing in the morning and it provides a feeling of having woken up rested, as opposed to having taken something stimulating”
- “Speed reading is enhanced; Hd focus; a higher complexity of text sort after. i.e I have a strong desire and motivation to read more complex texts” (after just two days of using Semax!)
- “…my memory became better and better with time. It seemed I was incapable of forgetting things, which is very much unlike me as I’m usually very forgetful”
- “allowed me to focus on my work for a much longer period of time before getting distracted”
- “heightened verbal fluency, quicker recall with more accuracy and more vivid dreams”
- “You memorize faster and more information you understand concepts and ideas faster, you read faster, your overall thinking processes are enhanced”
- “there is a feeling of clearheadedness I get almost immediately after dosing… my thoughts collected better and my vocabulary seemed more extravagant. I recall most of my moments on Semax remarkably well”
- For one former meth addict, Semax restored his ability to socialize with other people
Finally, let me end off this section with a testimonial from a biohacker who has spent $1 million over the past 15 years to enhance his brain and body in every way imaginable:
“I count Semax as one of the top 3 most effective nootropics I use. It bears mentioning that I’ve trialed very nearly every nootropic that, at the time of administration, appeared reasonably safe. That number likely exceeds 50 tests in total.
Semax is my favorite type of nootropic, the kind that works in such a way where you can actually feel the benefit after administration. I would describe Semax, when taken the right way, as a pro-vigilance, wakefulness enhancing, mood booster.”
Semax Dosage for Cognition and Neuroprotection
The recommended doses for Semax seem to be all over the place, so here are the few protocols I feel comfortable recommending if you want to experience the peptide’s nootropic effects:
- Dr. William Seeds, Peptide Protocols Vol. 1: 750-1000 mcg once a day if taken intranasally, 100-300 mcg once a day if injected subcutaneously
- Ben Greenfield in his book Boundless: 0.5-1.0 mg per day when taken nasally or through subcutaneous injection
- Nick Andrews, my business partner with Aseir Custom: 1.0-1.5 mg via intranasal spray when working very late nights, as Semax “provides a smooth burst of focus that defeats fatigue without spiking you up like caffeine does”
Let’s quickly do the math for the intranasal spray: If your bottle contains 30 mg of Semax in a 10 mL solution, and each spray contains around 0.1-0.13 mL of solution, you’re looking at 300 mcg of Semax per spray (i.e. 1-2 sprays in each nostril).
It’s imperative you choose either the subcutaneous injection or the nasal spray, as the majority of peptides are absorbed very poorly if administered orally.
And for obvious reasons, Semax appears to be best taken in the morning as you don’t want it to interfere with your sleep schedule (although one user claims testing nootropics at 3pm in the afternoon during an “energy lull” is the best way to confirm their energizing effects, if any)
However, this dosing recommendation is entirely different from the one you would use for treating a brain stroke with Semax.
As it turns out, taking a 0.1% Semax solution or a 1% Semax solution is based entirely on what you want to get out of the peptide:
“Semax 1%: Faster recovery after strokes, Alleviation of migraines, Transient ischemic attacks;
Semax 0.1%: Increasing attention during repetitive and monotonous tasks, Increasing intellectual capacity in extreme circumstances, Alleviating the effects of cerebrovascular diseases [in healthy people]”
Either way, make sure you find the minimum effective dose needed to achieve satisfactory results and then slowly work your way up (some people report results with as little as 100 mcg of Semax per day).
Here is some additional intel if you want to dive deeper into the intricacies behind dosing Semax:
- A two-part tutorial (here and here) on how to subcutaneously inject Semax for best results
- A tutorial on how to create your own Semax nasal spray from scratch
- How to properly store Semax (one prominent peptide chemist claims it is stable for 2 years when left in a fridge)
- User-reported differences in the effects of Semax when administered subcutaneously or intranasally (here and here)
- Why you MUST clean the nasal spray tip with an antibacterial wipe between doses
Semax’s Side Effects and Safety
While Semax may appear to be a miracle peptide based on everything you’ve read so far, you may be curious about the potential downsides of using it.
So allow me to dispel any fears you have by showing you what’s been found in numerous studies regarding Semax’s side effects and overall safety profile:
- No adverse events in a safety & efficacy study involving 36 human patients with primary glaucoma
- Successfully used in human adults for brain studies without any unwanted side effects
- Effective in reversing memory and learning defects induced by heavy metal toxicity (here and here)
But it’s equally important to see what biohackers have reported, so here’s a short compilation of anecdotal side effects claimed by recreational Semax users
- Possible onset of headaches with higher doses than what is recommended (one user accidentally used a dose of 24 MG, and his headache went away in 30 minutes)
- Desensitization of maximum dosages are exceeded, according to Dr. William Seeds
- May be anxiety-inducing for some individuals
- Nausea in one user who took the highest recommended dose of Semax for the very first time
- Some people simply do not “respond” to Semax use (one possible explanation could be a “history of dopaminergic stimulant use/abuse”)
- 2-3 days of consistent use may be required before “intelligence improvements” are observed (faster comprehension, better memory, etc.)
- No noticeable withdrawal symptoms after stopping the use of Semax
- Could lead to increased agitation in cortisol-sensitive individuals
- One individual found himself “zoning out” after using Semax
- A “honeymoon phase” with Semax for some people (i.e. after a few days, the effects will stabilize and be less potent compared to the first time you take it)
- A collection of reports on hair loss due to increased production of BDNF *
* NOTE: This connection is entirely anecdotal and has not happened to everyone, which gives credence to the idea of accelerated hair loss in people who are ALREADY predisposed to hair loss and early balding. Some people say the hair loss reverses upon cessation of Semax, while others claim the hair loss is permanent.
As for combining Semax with other nootropics and peptides, people have very mixed opinions.
Ben Greenfield endorses the idea in his book Boundless, citing what he’s found to work well alongside Semax:
“I have found that Semax combines quite well with the racetam family of nootropics, and, in my own experience, a Semax-racetam or Semax-Qualia combo can give a good four to five hours of focused cognitive performance and focus without deleteriously affecting sleep or causing any type of anxiety or jitters.
“For an even bigger boost in brain function, Semax works quite well when combined with the peptides Dihexa, Pinealon, and Cortagen (warning: you’ll be awake and highly efficient for at least eight hours after using this peptide stack).”
But as with the peptide Selank, my recommendation is the following:
DO NOT combine Selank with other peptides or nootropics. You want to examine what it will do to your mental state in isolation, and there’s no way to tell what will happen when it is combined with other cognition-alterting drugs/supplements.
Semax Vs. Selank: Similarities and Differences
If you’ve read my article on the Russian peptide known as Selank, you may have noticed how it may have a lot in common with Semax.
And this is partially true, as there are some similarities and differences you should know about before deciding which one is best for your needs.
How Are Semax and Selank Similar?
Semax and Selank inhibit the breakdown of enkephalins in your body by blocking the activity of enkephalin-degrading enzymes, explaining why users of both peptides will report lower levels of anxiety.
Semax and Selank show potential in the medical treatment of tuberculosis.
Semax and Selank are optimally administered via nasal spray.
Semax and Selank were both developed in the 1980s by the Russian-operated Institute of Molecular Genetics.
How Are Semax and Selank Different?
Semax is derived from the neuropeptide known as “adrenocorticotropic hormone” (ACTH), while Selank is derived from the naturally-produced peptide called tuftsin (a vital part of your immune system).
Semax and Selank affect different regions of the brain upon administration.
All in all, two wonderful peptides serving entirely different yet equally useful purposes!
Where to Buy Semax
My recommendations for sourcing Semax are nearly identical to what I recommended for Selank:
Limitless Life Nootropics does NOT have the original Semax peptide, but they do carry two stronger and longer-lasting analogs: N-Acetyl Semax (NA-Semax) and N-Acetyl Semax Amidate (NA-Semax Amidate).
Use code JAY15 to get 15% off your order!
Why are they stronger, you may ask?
First, we have the acetyl group added to the Semax’s N-terminal end, which directly enhances its metabolic stability:
“Via N-terminal acetylation the charge is removed from the amino terminus of a peptide. Generally, acetyl modification is recommended to make the peptide more closely mimic the charge state in the native protein. In addition this modification stabilizes the resulting peptide, and enhances their ability to resist enzymatic degradation by exopeptidases.”
We then have the amide group added to the C-terminal of the Semax peptide, thus increasing its biological activity:
“C-terminal amidation removes the charge from the C-terminus of a peptide. This may reduce the overall solubility of the peptide. The uncharged C-terminal amide end more closely mimics the native protein, and therefore may increase the biological activity of a peptide. It also tends to increase the stability, and prolongs their shelf life.”
(BTW: If you want to geek out on all the ways you can change a peptide’s activity through these kinds of modifications, this paper is a good starting point)
In other words, we have two analogs which will cross the blood-brain barrier with greater ease compared to the original Semax peptide.
But what do other people have to say about NA-Semax and NA-Semax Amidate?
Some people insist the theoretical implications of modifying Semax’s structure are directly manifested into its real-world use:
“Semax – Personally I did not get much of anything with regular Semax; any effects that I did feel were likely due to the dopamine rush from using a novel pharmaceutical. Slight dex potentiation, but again, could just be placebo. I get about the same mood lift from candy, and candy is much more affordable for me.
NA Semax – CLEAR focus… I was really glad that I went forward in my research of Semax and had decided to get this. It’s amazing. It’s tangible how this permeates the blood brain barrier. Mood lift, slight stimulation on its own, and potentiates the crap out of my Rx stims (for the better, i.e. positive effects are increased while negative effects remain the same if not slightly improved with the inclusion of NA-Semax).
NA Semax Amidate – WOOOOOOW strong focus. Best out of all of them. Comparable to NA-Semax in stimulation, but with an added badass mood lift that neither of its counterparts provide. Plus it lasts way longer, likely due to it being less prone to enzymatic degradation. And, dare I say, it became mildly anxiolytic after using it daily for a month. I’m in love with the amidated version, and forever will be thanking MYASD/Ceretropic for it. I feel like I’m really harnessing the benefits of Semax with this specific version/preparation.”
But since these two analogs have not been studied in humans and animals like Semax has, you’ll hear a wide variety of different opinions on NA-Semax and NA-Semax Amidate
- Some say NA-Semax is more “nootropic” in nature than NA-Semax Amidate (including here as well)
- Others say NA-Semax and Semax provide similar results, although the initial “boost” with NA-Semax Amidate is far more intense
- 100-300 mcg seems to be the right dose of NA-Semax Amidate for peak focus and memory improvement
- Both NA-Semax and NA-Semax Amidate led to increases in motivation and significant reductions in anxiety
- NA-Semax Amidate provided improvements in emotional stability for one neurotic individual, while reducing extreme outbursts of anger in one individual with borderline personality disorder, and providing “super intense focus” for another user
- Semax and its analogs are NOT “magic pills” and you will have to put conscious effort towards whatever it is you are studying/learning
- A small compilation of various comparisons between Semax, NA-Semax and NA-Semax Amidate not linked in previous bullet points
As with any variation of a well-studied peptide, you are responsible for self-experimentation and determining which dose best suits your needs and tolerance profile.
I strongly recommend using NA-Semax or NA-Semax Amidate at the lowest dose possible (ex. one single nasal spray from a 10 mg bottle, once a day for seven days) and then gradually adjusting your dose from there.
Additional Reading Resources for Semax
As much as I would have loved to directly speak with the Russians who created the Golden Age known as Semax, there’s only so much you can do for a single article.
So if you’re interested in knowing everything there is to know about this peptide, I highly recommend digging through the following resources…
The official Reddit subforum for the Semax peptide, which is semi-active and contains a decent compilation of user testimonials and concerns.
An HOUR-LONG podcast on Semax intel that goes into topics such as cold storage, additional mechanisms of action, and potentially using the peptide for conditions such as fatigue and ADHD.
One biohacker’s report on using Semax consistently for an entire year, which addresses both the benefits and possible side effects (this separate report is better for a detailed explanation of what happens over an 8-hour period)
The International Peptide Society’s webinar on Semax and how it works in the human body (A MUST WATCH VIDEO)!
A short 10-minute documentary covering the history of Semax’s development by Russian scientists.
A compilation of every single study on Semax done to date (likely excluding the ones which are written in Russian and have yet to be accurately translated into English).
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 three options.
- You can set up a private One on One Call with me.
- You can join the Elite Level of The Optimized Tribe where we discuss these kinds of things every week on Wednesday Nights at 6PM PST.
- Joining a Monthly Mastermind with two 60 Minute Group Coaching Calls with Me Discussing Fully Optimized Living including Peptides, Hormones, Gray Market Agents, Performance Enhancement and much more. (The Link is coming)